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Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

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

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

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Passive-Aggressive Examples

The following are examples from website readers of passive-aggressive encounters they have experienced. The suggested responses are not personal advice as a full evaluation of the situation is not available. Also, the suggestions may not work in every situation but are to give you an idea of possible ways to respond. For more, read: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People and 7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

  • Example 1: Wife's Withholding and Denial

  • Example 2: Boyfriend's Critical Roommate

  • Example 3: Mother-in-law and Communication Problems

  • Example 4: Sibling Won't Help with Elderly Father

  • Example 5: Mother's "Helpful" Criticism

  • Example 6: Wife Deflecting Problems to His Anger

  • Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

    I'm sure you've dealt with individuals who have caused you to be so frustrated that afterwards you scratch your head asking "Am I crazy?" Most likely you just had an encounter with a passive-aggressive person. Such encounters may include sarcasm, shifting blame, saying one thing while meaning another to name a few...The problem with these kinds of comments is that if you try to confront them about the insult, you will be accused of not understanding, "I didn't mean it that way" or of misinterpreting, "You must have a problem to think that. I was just trying to compliment you. Sorry I didn't word it right to suit you." As a result, you end up looking like the bad guy, feeling frustrated, and asking yourself, "Am I crazy?" And the other person walks away blameless. Read more...
  • Example 7: Co-Worker's "Joking" Criticism

  • Example 8: Husband's Passive-Aggressive Avoidance

  • Example 9: Volunteer Using Victimization to Control

  • Example 10: Sister's Lack of Support

  • Example 11: Grandmother's Critism of Child

  • Example 12: Disrespectful Attitude from Adult Child

  • Example 13: Sarcastic Ex

  • Example 14: Boyfriend Gets Defensive

  • Example 15: Mother-in-law Wants to Be Center of Attention

  • Example 16: Parents' Criticism of Bride

  • Example 17: Is She Passive-Aggressive or is She an Extrovert?

  • Example 18: Is it Passive-Aggressive or is it Aggressive?

  • Example 19: Confronting a Passive-Aggressive Insult

  • Example 20: Living with Blaming and Guilting Mother (Part 1)

  • Example 21: Living with Blaming and Guilting Mother (Part 2)

  • Example 22: Living with Blaming and Guilting Mother (Part 3)

  • Example 23: Living with Blaming and Guilting Mother (Part 4)

  • Example 24: Child Holding Family Emotionally Hostage

  • Example 25: Got His Way at a Cost

  • Example 26: "I will take care of it just as I ALWAYS do!"

  • Example 27: Insulted by Thank You Notes as a Gift

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

    The most difficult social conflict usually involves passive-aggressive (PA) behavior. The reason it is more distressing than even aggressive behavior is because it causes the recipient to be doubtful of him or her self. When someone is aggressive towards you, their intention is clear and it is easier to make a decision such as “I need to steer clear of this person” or “I need to report this behavior.” However, the purpose of passive-aggressive behavior is for the aggressor to avoid responsibility for their actions. PA behavior can easily be denied or blame shifted: “I didn't mean it the way you took it” or “You're being too sensitive” or “You're just trying to get me in trouble.”

    As a result, PA behavior cannot be addressed in the same way you might handle aggressive behavior. When managing PA people you need to be aware of the underlying purpose of the behavior so that you can respond in a way that prevents them from succeeding at their agenda. The less likely they are to achieve their goal, the more likely you will see a reduction in their behavior. Read more...
  • Example 28: Adult Son Deliberately Upsetting Mother

  • Example 29: Handling a Backhanded Compliment

  • Example 30: Trap of Demanding Private Thoughts

  • Example 31: The Passive-Aggressive "Nice" Mother

  • Example 32: Another Passive-Aggressive Mother and Planning a Wedding

  • Example 33: Husband and Wife Mutual Sulking

  • Example 34: Controlling by Refusing to Discuss Problems

  • Example 35: Confronting Step-son About Not Visiting

  • Example 36: Husband's Unreasonable Expectations of ADD Wife

  • Example 37: Back-Stabbing Doctor

  • Example 38: Why Does My Husband Want a "Reward" for Hurting Me?

  • Example 39: Deliberate Annoyances Followed by Denial

  • Example 40: What Do I Do When I am Ignored Most of the Time?

  • Example 41: Problems with Adult Child Living at Home

  • Example 42: Passive Control as a Form of Passive-Aggression

  • Example 43: Getting in the Middle of Passive-Aggression

  • Example 44: Screaming and Calling Names is Aggressive, Not Passive-Aggressive

  • Example 45: Son with Depression Blames Parents

  • Example 46: Caretaker of Passive-aggressive Mother

  • Example 47: The Perfect Backhanded Compliment

  • Example 48: When "I'll Pray for You" is Passive-Aggressive

  • Example 49: Brother Manipulating Mother to Hurt Sister

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