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Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles


by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Tap to Listen to Article


Passive-aggressive communication seeks to control the emotions of others and thereby, control their behavior. Typically, this communication style seeks to express anger in an indirect manner. By doing so the individual is able to deny all responsibility for the anger yet they score a direct hit on their target. A common example is criticizing as if you are concerned, "You've put on so much weight! You might get diabetes or heart disease if you don't take it easy with the sweets." Certainly, in the right context this could actually be an expression of concern. However, the right context doesn't include making such a statement in front of others just as the individual is taking a bite of dessert. In this instance, if the comment is confronted, the person will often deny responsibility by stating something like, "I'm just concerned about you. Wow, are you sensitive!"

The best way to recognize passive-aggressive behavior is by analyzing the process and purpose of the behavior. Typically, as the purpose is to control and/or deflect responsibility for anger, the passive-aggressive behavior causes frustration or anger in the recipient and will escalate conflict unless the recipient handles it passively by swallowing, ignoring, or discounting their anger. Yet, if the purpose is to escalate conflict, the passive-aggressive behavior is calculated to cause the recipient to act unreasonably.

For example, a father conveys the subtle message of "I don't think you're capable" by taking on a task to do it right, "Here, let me help you cut that out" as he takes over the child's school project. When the child states "I can do it myself" the father keeps working on the project "I know you can. I'm just helping. Now doesn't that look better?" If the child should protest angrily, "You don't think I can do it right!" the father might respond "Of course I do. I was just helping. You are so ungrateful!"

In this situation, the father has escalated the situation to cause the child to become angry and then to criticize the child for being angry. This teaches the child that her emotions are unacceptable as well as that her father doesn't believe she is capable. Over time the child learns to not trust her own perceptions of reality.

Another common example may be when a couple are trying to make a simple decision such as where to go for dinner. The wife says, "I don't care" but then pouts when her husband decides. When her husband asks her what is wrong she responds "You know I don't like Chinese." Later on in a completely unrelated situation, she may even take this a step further "You make all the decisions and don't take my preferences into account!" This can become even more ugly if the wife should accuse the husband of deliberately mistreating her "You do whatever you want. You don't care about my feelings!"

This example shows how a simple situation can escalate to include many different situations. The passive-aggressive wife can angrily attack her husband while blaming him for the attack. He becomes confused and angry "You're crazy!" which allows his wife to prove her point "See how you treat me? Calling me names and putting me down!" READ MORE: page 3

Introduction--page 1

What is passive-aggressive behavior?--page 2

Catagories of passive-aggressive people.--page 3<

Types of passive-aggressive behavior.--page 4

How do you handle passive-aggressive people?--page 5

"By better understanding how conflict and anger arise, and practicing handling such conflict in an assertive way, it can become far less intimidating and be an aspect of work you can learn to manage rather than have it manage you."


By Brett Hart, Ph.D.
One rarely sees David and Susan more than a few feet from each other at work. The thought of Susan increases David’s heart rate, while Susan’s thoughts do likewise every time David is near. The way they look into one another’s eyes tells their co-workers, “You don’t really belong here.” Even their boss feels a bit awkward when the heat between them borders on the inappropriate.

A passionate relationship beginning to bloom? No. David and Susan are two co-workers locked in what seems to be an incurable conflict at work. Their situation illustrates how conflict can affect us at our job. Conflict may not only take a toll on our physical body (as it did on David’s racing heart), but it often occupies our thoughts and causes us a great deal of emotional distress. As we saw in the situation with David and Susan, conflictual behavior impacts not only those involved in the conflict, but also those who have no part in it. As most of us spend approximately one-third of our adult lives in the workplace, conflict in this setting can’t be easily dismissed as unimportant. In fact, failing to address such conflict may have implications for our “non-working” lives. As a result, it becomes important for each of us to understand how conflict arises in the workplace, and what steps we can take to deal with such conflict.

Introduction.--page 1

What causes conflict at work?--page 2

Understanding and handling anger in the workplace.--page 3

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