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Passive-aggressive behavior is probably not new to you.

You must have experienced unresolved feelings after someone completely ignored you. When passive-aggressive behavior rears its ugly head in a relationship, it can have disastrous effects.

So what is this unwanted treatment, and what are its signs? Most importantly, how would you deal with it before it shatters your relationship?

What is Passive-Aggressive Behavior?

Passive-aggressive behavior is an indirect expression of anger or hostility. People who are passive-aggressive will take their time to do tasks. They may also become stubborn and refuse to do as told.

A passive-aggressive person does things to get results that you wouldn’t want. The aim of this is to irritate those who anger them.

Why People Use Passive-Aggressive Behavior?

Why might your partner suddenly become passive-aggressive? He or she may have a mix of social and personal reasons for throwing sullen tantrums.

First of all, expressing anger isn’t socially acceptable. People learn from a young age that it’s necessary to ‘hide’ feelings so that they can get along. Also, it’s an indirect form of self-expression. It’s just simpler to give a cold shoulder than to communicate displeasure in a thoughtful, healthy way.

Furthermore, it’s a subtle method of getting revenge. Your partner may forget to turn up at a party because the absence would embarrass you. Another reason people choose to behave like this because it’s convenient. Your partner usually attends to your requests to fix leaky drain pipes or take out the trash. However, feeling irritated about work may provoke the cold shoulder.

Effects of Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Passive-aggressive behavior can create rifts in relationships. It creates a fear of closeness and leaves the ignored party feeling isolated.

This behavior may affect the mental health of children as well. Kids may see it as normal and treat their friends the same way.

Furthermore, the tension and mixed messages they pick up may cause them to develop anxiety issues. They may fear to extend their trust to others.

Signs of Passive-Aggressive Behavior in A Relationship

How would you know that your partner is ignoring you, or just too busy to speak to you? Here are some ways to tell the difference.

1.. The Cold Shoulder

First of all, if your partner intends to ignore you, he or she would do so over a period. He or she would usually speak to you once a free moment is available.



2. Snide Remarks

Your partner will also use sarcasm. For example, he or she would say, ‘Thanks for doing the dishes,‘ when you didn’t do them yet. He or she does this to force you to behave in the way they want.

3. Put-downs

Another way your partner may show passive-aggressive behavior is to put you down in front of others. He or she seeks to gain the upper hand in the relationship by making you feel small.

4. Backhanded compliments

You’ll know that your partner’s sarcastic when he or she says, ‘You look so slim in that pair of jeans,‘ when about half a dozen other people feel otherwise. This lack of support can create deep rifts in your relationship.

5. Not Being Supportive

Finally, he or she may refuse to help you in reaching your goals. If becoming a chef’s your dream, he or she may tell you how bad your cooking is.

Manage Passive-Aggressive Behavior Before it Ruins Your Relationship

All’s not lost when you notice passive-aggressive behavior. Use the following strategies to control it before it creates kinks in your relationship.

First of all, refuse to accommodate the behavior. Don’t practice tit for tat and behave passive aggressively like your partner, or there’s no room for communication.

Then, point out your partner’s anger in a simple, matter of fact way. Say ‘It seems that you’re mad at me because I couldn’t come home for dinner today.’ Do this without making any judgment that will prolong the quarrel.

Also, your partner will deny that he or she is angry, but you shouldn’t argue with him or her in the heat of the moment. Leave him or her with the idea that you understand her anger and that you’re ready to discuss it.

This approach not only creates room for discussion but also shows your partner that he or she cannot become passive-aggressive to solve issues.

In all, passive-aggressive behavior doesn’t work wonders for a relationship, but you can limit it if you recognize its signs.

By Michelle L.

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