Personal Development

7 Reasons Why People Use Passive Aggressive Behaviour

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Passive aggressive behaviour is: non verbal aggression that manifests into negative behaviour. In other words, you are super mad at someone but won't tell them, leave them guessing, and act out in other ways OR people who don't want to see you succeed or do well will chip away at you to make you feel like you are not worthy or good enough. These are just two example and small definitions of passive aggressive behaviour but in a nutshell, a PA person will do anything t o make you feel bad. Period.

Does that sound like anyone you know? Chances are, it probably does. There are many that exert this type of behaviour and didn't even know there was a name for it.   When we are subjected to this type of behaviour we are left scratching our heads wondering what on earth did we ever do to deserve this treatment. You did nothing, really.

passive_agressiveSo why do people behave this way? Is there an ulterior motive? Below are only 6 reasons why they might act out like this.

1. They really are scared.

They are afraid of many things. Insecurities, their own feelings of jealousy or anger, staying stuck in the same situation while others around them are evolving and changing.   Using passive aggressive behaviour is their way of exerting control and power over you as they feel powerless. It's the only way they know how to make them feel superior when really they know they aren't.

2. They lack diplomacy.

When faced with an issue which they don't feel confident enough to handle, they will use this type of behaviour. It makes them feel like they have the upper hand although they know they don't. If they are ill prepared or lack knowledge about something, using PA behaviour makes them feel like they have some sort of power over t he situation. This way, they don't have to confront or deal with it.

3. It's easier than being assertive.

As you know, assertiveness is not their forte. They have a difficult time trying to be assertive and besides, they have little desire. They would much rather use emotional manipulation. That's their game and they are masters at playing at. Why would they want to learn a new game they may not be good at?

4. Being revengeful makes them feel good.

I know it's almost sick, but they feel satisfied with this. Remember that thing you did yesterday, last month, last year? They haven't forgotten and they won't let you forget it either. Revenge is their friend. It's their weapon of choice. They will get you back, when you least expect it and when you aren't looking.

5. Your success is not sitting well with them.

They are intimidated by it and annoyed by it. They don't want to hear about it or congratulate you on it. Quite frankly it upsets them and turns them green with envy. Expect phrases like Are you sure you are the right person for that job? or Who did you have to sleep with to get that promotion? Don't expect them to cheer you on. It won't happen.

6. Being PA is very powerful for them.

They often feel weak, insecure, scared and inferior so exerting this type of behaviour gives them a sense and feeling of power. They know they have no power over you or the situation but being PA, for them, is mighty and makes them feel superior.

7. Showing angry emotions will make them look small.

No one likes to be angry or display those types of emotions, especially in public. Being PA takes care of that. They are seething mad inside but can effectively control that anger and using manipulation as a tool instead. It gives them the same level of satisfaction as revenge does.

Passive aggressive behaviour is often considered emotional abuse. If you know someone with this type of behaviour and it directly affects you, you should have it addressed immediately. No one should be abused in any way shape or form.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.