It's important to have some passive aggressive behavior examples because too many people like to throw labels around--especially when they are angry!
When someone won't do what you want them to do, that's just them either being too busy, disinterested, unwilling, or just plain ornery. Who knows?
When someone doesn't do what they promised they would do, and then says it's your fault for even asking them to do it in the first place, that's passive-aggressive.
You ask your partner to meet you at a party at 8 PM. S/he agrees readily. You confirm date, time and place. It's a go!
S/he never shows up.
You get home and ask what happened.
S/he says, "I don't know what you were thinking. Why would I even want to be with those people."
Of course, it shows up in a whole bunch of crazy-making ways, just to add variety to the many ways you can feel frazzled by the behavior.
Passive-aggressive patterns are based in the person not being willing to tell the truth in the first place because there is the possibility of conflict in the moment if he does. Too much risk! In the example above, rather than give you an honest answer that there is no way it's interesting and sure to be boring, she agrees to go. The stage is set.
When you confront a passive-aggressive person about the behavior, he is absolutely unwilling to take responsibility for choosing to blow the event off. Instead, it becomes your fault for even asking! That's because your partner's fear of confrontation, of being wrong, or making a mistake is so high that she cannot face it honestly.
Passive-aggressive behaviors are defense mechanisms that people who are not comfortable being opening aggressive use to stay (hopefully) under the radar and get what they want while still appearing--at least, for a short while--to please other people. They are in a terrible bind. They want their own way, but they also really want people to like them. Unfortunately, in the long-run, that all works against them. Often leaving them alone which is just what they don't want!
If you think you are in relationship with a passive-aggressive person, you can figure it out by taking my Passive-Aggressive Checklist HERE. If you are wondering if the person you have in mind is MORE than passive-aggressive, download my free ebook, How To Spot A Hijackal, at Hijackals.com
© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
The Relationship Help Doctor
Disclaimer: All advice, insights and suggestions made here are not to be construed as psychological or legal advice. Any actions you undertake as a result of reading any article, book, video, ebook or blog post from Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, are entirely your own. Having worked with individuals and couples for more than twenty-five years, she offers her insights and opinions for your consideration only.