6 Signs You Are Facing Passive Aggressive Behavior
Discover and deal with it
Passive aggressive behavior is a sneaky sort of antagonistic behavior that is often easy to spot. It’s not as obvious as direct aggressive attacks, but it can be just as destructive in the workplace. Passive aggressive individuals are afraid of being openly rejected or disliked by their peers and will usually only express their hostility covertly, through uncooperative or Indirect actions. The result is an inability to achieve goals, frustration, and stress among team members. Keep reading for 10 telltale signs you are facing passive aggressive behavior at work.
- They have a tendency to procrastinate.
If you notice that one or two team members are constantly putting off important tasks, they may be using procrastination as a means of sabotaging the work of others. Passive aggressive individuals are often not facing their own discomfort; they are simply engaged in a form of rebellion. They may not be aware of the underlying reasons for their behavior or that they are responsible for their own emotions. Passive aggressive team members want to feel like they have control over the situation, and they know that if they are responsible for a critical task, they will be under more pressure. They are also much more likely to feel anxious and stressed, which is not good for anyone.
- They constantly give vague, ineffective, or conflicting instructions.
The silent treatment is a very common passive aggressive technique. Passive aggressive individuals will give you conflicting or unclear directions and then, when you ask for clarification, refuse to discuss the issue. In this situation, you may feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells and never able to resolve the situation. Passive aggressive team members are often very vague in their instructions and lack the ability to express clearly and concisely. They may also be unorganized, which is another form of passive aggressive behavior. Passive aggressive individuals want to appear to be cooperative and good team players, but they are not able to discipline themselves.
- They are constantly late — without providing adequate explanation.
People who constantly arrive late or always put off meetings until the last minute are often passive aggressive. They are trying to manipulate the situation to their own benefit and may resent the responsibilities they have been given or the fact that they have too much to do. They may also be using the silent treatment as a way of letting you know they are unhappy with you. The key here is the phrase “without providing adequate explanation”. If you are late, you need to have a good reason.
- They are expert manipulators and know how to use silence as a weapon.
People who are passive aggressive use silence as a powerful weapon. They are often afraid to express disagreement directly and will use silence as a means of shutting down communication. Asking a question that receives no response may be another passive aggressive technique. This is an attempt to manipulate others into responding with the desired information or action.
- They are master apologists and diversion artists.
People who are passive aggressive will create diversions when they are put on the spot. They will often apologize and take responsibility for someone else’s mistake or a situation that is actually not their fault. This is a diversionary tactic that allows them to avoid taking responsibility for their own mistakes or inappropriate action. They may also apologize for your mistakes, perhaps claiming that they did not understand the instructions.
- Team members feel resentful and frustrated working with them.
This is one of the most obvious signs that you are dealing with a passive aggressive team member. Passive aggressive individuals will often engage in what is known as “enmeshment” with their colleagues — they will feel overly connected and responsible for the feelings of others. They may constantly apologize for their team members, defend them, and become frustrated with you for having feelings of frustration and resentment. If you are experiencing this type of situational stress, it is important to step back and gain some perspective on the situation.
Final Words: Know the Signs of Passive Aggressive Behavior
Passive aggressive behavior is often the result of unacknowledged emotions and feelings of insecurity. When people feel vulnerable, their natural reaction is to defend themselves in some way. This can result in behavior that is meant to deceive, mislead, deny, and put others off track. Passive aggressive people are often afraid of being rejected or disliked, so they may be less likely to say what they really feel. Since they are not really sure how they feel themselves, they may not know how to define what they are feeling. You can’t change other people, but you can change how you react to them. Next time you find yourself dealing with passive aggressive behavior, try to remain calm and focused. Keep your emotions in check and do your best to respond with logic and reason to diffuse the situation.
The author of this article is a therapist from the Sensera app. Sensera is a daily 10-minute self-therapy app. It’ll help you to cope with various mental problems (anxiety, self-esteem, and relationship issues). Feel better with CBT audio sessions and exercises. Download now to become happier!