Mental Health Pathology of the day !

Passive-aggressive behavior

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Passive-aggressive behavior refers to passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to authoritative instructions in interpersonal or occupational situations. Sometimes a method of dealing with stress or frustration, it results in the person attacking other people in subtle, indirect, and seemingly passive ways. It can manifest itself as resentment, stubbornness, procrastination, sullenness, or intentional failure at doing requested tasks. For example, someone who is passive-aggressive might take so long to get ready for a party they do not wish to attend, that the party is nearly over by the time they arrive.

Someone who is passive-aggressive will typically not confront others directly about problems, but instead will attempt to undermine their confidence or their success through comments and actions which, if challenged, can be explained away innocently so as not to place blame on the passive-aggressive person.

In some instances the passive-aggressive person will solicit the confidence of others as to their ability to perform duties, and then purposely sabotage those duties through procrastination or mishandling responsibility. Subsequent demands for performance are laid aside with claims of interference by the demanding parties or some other condition outside the control of the passive-aggressive’s influence, when in fact the delays and poor performance are due to the passive-aggressive’s internal perception that to perform the task at another’s demand is a demeaning insult to them. The omission of performance leaves the passive-aggressive person in control of the situation, and allows that person to continue the aggressive behavior toward others. These behaviors can persist even if it means personal loss to the passive-aggressive person, i.e. job loss or loss of esteem by others.

Some passive-aggressive behavior may result from society’s conditioning of individuals; direct confrontation can lead to harmful consequences. For example, confronting one’s manager may lead to the loss of opportunities, such as being passed over for a promotion or even losing one’s job.

Often passive-aggressive behavior manifests itself in individuals who view themselves as “peaceful.” These individuals feel that expressing their anger through passive-aggressive behavior is morally favorable to direct confrontation.

The lack of repercussions resulting from passive-aggressive behavior can lead to an unchecked continual attack, albeit passive, on one’s acquaintances. The treatment of this disorder can be difficult, mostly because efforts to convince the person that they have this problem are met with resistance, and the passive-aggressive will frequently leave a treatment regimen claiming that it did no good.

I wonder why everytime I read about a new pathology I feel myself identified with it.


  1. Omg – I was just reading this the other day, in reference to someone I’m having difficulties with at the moment. I hate passive-aggressive people, they’re so annoying.

    I think I’m gonna friend u 🙂

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