Dealing With Passive Aggressive Individuals While Preserving Your Health

Dealing With Passive Aggressive Individuals While Preserving Your Health

While it can be difficult to deal with passive aggressive individuals, doing so may go a long way to ensure your personal health care.  They come in various forms and the behavior may not always be very apparent, however, it is wise to invest a bit of time to observe patterns in the way they operate.

For example, sometimes the individual (such as an employer or supervisor) appears nice, having a healthy personality and sense of humor and/or compliant. What you do not realize is this is not typical and the positive side of their personality will not endure.  In fact, The individual is now seemingly working against you, behind your back, even causing uprisings you are blind to. Passive aggressive behavior is a form of quiet aggression.  American Heritage Dictionary Definition is "Of, relating to, or characterized by habitual passive resistance to requirements for performance in occupational or social situations, as by procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness, or inefficiency

Passive Aggressive individuals are those that have an established pattern of "forgetting", yet another date, appointment or obligation, even regular commitments where ample notice is provided.  Passive aggressive individuals appear very disorganized when, in fact, the opposite is true and will invent excuses or procrastinate on having a conversation about their behavior.

Passive Aggressive individuals walk around as if they project,  "the rules do not apply to me," and often employ minimal work effort, shirk responsibilities or rules, refuse accountability, appear to have a healthy outlook when they do not, report or exploit fellow employees  or friends needlessly, spread malicious rumors, engage in unhealthy or risky acts and then deny if caught, are not team players but cause mutiny and strife under wraps, are absent or truant, smile when upset and deny negative or unhealthy feelings when confronted.  A passive aggressive most always person denies anger though appearing outwardly angry.  The passive aggressive individual shuts out those who insist on discussing anger and solving the problem. This individual also fears or complains repeatedly about authority.  In addition, the individual can display disrespect and attack weaknesses of fellow employees or school team mates, primarily in close working conditions or when attempting a common goal.  They may refuse to provide a direct answer or honest commitment and/or are very ambiguous and make general statements, never really answering questions or pinpointing issues or dates.

Passive aggressive behavior is demonstrated by an unhealthy pattern of dealing with life's commitments; placing roadblocks in your path.  If you encounter an unhealthy individuals such as these, withdraw from them if possible, but kindly inform the individual that you are moving forward with your goals and you can highlight their behavior but you will not get a confession in the near future or possibly ever.  Inform your team of employees, groups or school officials, of this individual's behavior if you can refrain from gossip and conjecture and supply only facts.  Avoid employing a passive aggressive individual in a position that requires meeting deadlines or being accountable.  Provide lesser tasks that are not imperative for your project completion.

Avoid perceiving passive aggressive behavior as a personal attack and reexamine any interactions with this individual in the future.  For example, if the individual is a coworker, ask for reassignment if possible. If a friend is passive aggressive to the point where it is negatively affecting your health (physical or mental), consider ending the friendship or keep in contact sporadically instead of regularly, as you see fit.  Remove yourself from groups that contain individuals that do not act in a healthy manner in general or have acted in a passive aggressive manner. 

Make healthy choices about your relationship(s) with passive aggressive individuals and those that demonstrate toxic behaviors. A diagnosis is unnecessary - only your discomfort and emotional pain should direct you to remove yourself from the harm that may ensue from ongoing contact with these individuals.  If it is unfeasible to remove yourself completely from the relationship, (family or coworkers) minimize your contact with them, even if only in your mind.  Minimize in your mind what they mean to you or conversations and arguments you have only in your mind.  Despite the fact that it is impossible to justify their opinions, feelings or any relationship you may have, they still may have a significant impact on your health without you realizing it. Stand ready to endure month(s) or year-long process of "letting them go" while decreasing their worth in your mind.  You will feel emotionally stronger and more accomplished after completing this emotional endeavor. 

During this process, if you find you cannot remove them from your mind and continue to feel stressed, experience negative or unhealthy emotions, go for a mini hike, walk the stairs, do exercises such as push ups or sit ups, or go to the gym.  Discuss anything in confidence with a trusted friend or write it in a secure journal. You can always destroy it later.  Really any method of reducing the stress that these individuals cause will maintain your health, emotional outlook and improve your work (school) performance. 

While it is not easy, having read this article, you are now one step ahead of the rest of the world on recognizing and removing or minimizing passive aggressive and unhealthy behavior from your life.






Published by Kim Harvey


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