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7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People
Learn how to deal effectively with PA people
by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist

Read the following to:
  • Learn how to use the following rules and methods to help you deal effectively with PA people.
Related articles by Dr. Frank:

Previous: Introduction to responding to PA behavior

Next: Learn to tell the difference between malicious and unintentional PA behavior.

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

Rules When Dealing With Passive-aggressive People

The following rules provide some guidelines to managing PA people. As you read these rules it may seem impossible to develop an appropriate response on the spur of the moment when confronted with PA behavior because there are so many things to consider.

You don't need to learn everything at once. Much of the time certain people in your life probably engage in repeated PA behavior which gives you the opportunity to prepare your response in advance.

A good technique is to write out scenarios that occur frequently and list possible reponses. Practice these responses out loud until they feel natural and flow easily. That way you are prepared when the situation occurs.

Once you have practiced the skills in these predictable situations, you will be better able to manage the less predictable ones.

Learning to manage PA people can take a lot of effort but is worthwhile in the end because your emotions are under your control and not subject to other people's whims. A good way to use the following advice is to take each rule and focus on just that one aspect of the PA situation until you feel you are comfortable. Sometimes this may take several weeks but that is okay because it can make a lifetime of difference.

Next: Learn to tell the difference between malicious and unintentional PA behavior.

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