Love And The Passive-Aggressive Personality

There are times in a relationship where both parties can show examples of passive-aggressive behavior. On the whole, this is not harmful and is actually normal. However, some can use passive-aggressive behaviors to manipulate a situation to their advantage. Passive aggressive behavior can often be traced back to a person’s family. Families that don’t discuss upsetting issues and topics for fear of angering others can often contribute to younger members developing passive-aggressive personality traits. These younger members never learn to deal with anger and conflict in a positive way so often resort to things like sarcasm, silence and other methods to cope.


The question of can you love a person that shows passive aggressive behaviors arises? The answer is yes but it isn’t easy. If the behaviors aren’t addressed and proper techniques used, the situation can become chronic and the relationship can potentially fail. So what is a person to do when faced with such challenges?

Once you recognize that your partner is trying to escalate a situation into an argument, the best thing to do is simply respond. For example, if you notice they are using sarcasm do get sucked into replying in the same manner. If they offer a thank you in a sarcastic tone simply reply, you are welcome without emotion. Calling them out on their behavior or replying with sarcasm will likely just add fuel to the fire and give the partner the ammunition they need to start an altercation.


Should you ever call your partner out on their behavior?  Yes, however, there are a few key points to remember. If you decide to address the behavior it is essential that you only call them out on that incident that is occurring. Do not go into past behavior and examples. This again only adds fuel to the fire and soon you are engaged in a full-on argument. The other point is to tell the partner how that behavior makes you feel. When they see the effect on your emotions it may have a positive impact. It will look more credible and sound far less like an accusation. It could also potentially open more positive lines of communication.


Can the non-passive-aggressive partner be assertive and defend themselves? Yes but this has to be handled very carefully. The non-passive-aggressive partner must first know the difference between assertiveness and aggression. They next must realize why their partner is using passive-aggressive behavior. Although it may not seem like it, passive-aggressive behavior is an avoidance tactic. They avoid rather than confront an issue. This gives the other partner the chance to assert the way they feel. The nonpassive aggressive partner should stick to using I statements and again state how this is making them feel.


Is it always worth the effort?  No. Many couples can work through the issue but some passive-aggressive people simply will not change. Once your efforts have been exhausted it may be time to end the relationship despite how badly you may want it to work.

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