Are You Passive-Aggressive in Your Relationship?


Are You Passive-Aggressive in Your Relationship

When in a relationship, do you tend to be passive-aggressive and give silent treatment when upset, instead of talking about your feelings?

Recognizing behavior flaws such as a passive-aggressive communication style in others, particularly your partner, is usually easier than acknowledging your own shortcomings. Countless people are hostile in passive ways, yet, many have no idea that their conduct could be described in such a manner.

You may be passive-aggressive if you sulk, conveniently forget to do things for a spouse you are upset with, or you are aware that you are exceedingly uncomfortable around anger.

If you are passive-aggressive, chances are it is damaging your marriage and other close relationships.

Silent Treatment is Emotionally Abusive

What is passive-aggressiveness?

Passive aggressiveness emerges as hostility that is not openly aired, at least not verbally.

Someone might “forget” to do something for a person they hold a hidden grudge against.  Alternatively, he or she may take a long time to perform such tasks, be late constantly, make faces behind someone’s back, or engage in a variety of other antagonistic behaviors. In close and intimate relationships such as marriage, a spouse might withhold affection, eye-roll and “huff and puff” instead of openly expressing anger. Alternatively, the spouse will make their partner’s life difficult in some other manner.

Passive-aggressiveness often arises in response to your partner’s demands and requests. Or, you are unhappy about some aspect of the relationship and are not directly expressing this.

Read 11 Signs It’s An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

What makes people passive-aggressive?

Much of the time, demonstrating hostility in such an indirect or complicated way stems from childhood. Children who are taught that anger is a terrible emotion or ridiculed when they reveal their temper, get the message that exhibiting strong emotions (such as anger) overtly is unacceptable.

Children then fail to learn how to adequately express feelings that they perceive as undesirable. Sometimes, even a belief that they are incompetent and imagine that they will not be taken seriously if they show anger. On other occasions, they may be afraid that their anger could spark rage from someone else, which they won’t be able to manage.  Expressing anger verbally is difficult for such individuals since they do not possess the necessary communication skills.

Does this sound like you?

If you think you may be passive-aggressive, do not panic! This does not make you “defective.”  Displaying hostility passively means you have not learned more efficient and effective ways of communicating.

And, let’s face it, your behavior does not usually afford you what you want.

Read 6 Steps To Disarm The Silent Treatment Without Making it Worse

Can you change the way you communicate?

While altering a life-long habit may not be an easy task, it is definitely possible – and well worth the effort – to develop assertive communication skills and learn how to handle anger effectively and express yourself.

The first step is to recognize the unhealthy behavior you display when you are angry. Each time you feel the urge to carry out similar practices in the future, stand back, and take inventory of your actions. Ask yourself whether there are alternate ways you could express how you feel that are likely to be beneficial and more readily get your needs met.

Telling your partner that you are angry and what is bothering you is a healthy way to respond.

There are positive ways to do so that do not involve blame. Begin by saying how his or her actions make you feel, and if relevant, how the behavior is detrimental to your well-being. Avoid shouting, swearing, accusing, and name-calling at all costs. Instead, begin sentences with “I” and follow with a factual description of why you feel hurt.

Poor communication patterns such as passive-aggressiveness are not that uncommon since many people act out their hostility rather than communicating verbally on occasion. Nevertheless, when doing so is repetitious, meaningful relationships—such as your marriage—can slowly crumble and break down. Learning how to express yourself in constructive ways can rebuild damaged relationships and prevent them from falling apart.

Do you need help with your assertive communication? As a couples therapist, I do this all the time! Feel free to reach out to me for help.

For many people, being passive-aggressive is a better option than indulging in a full-blown fight. You might feel that it is less draining to withdraw and not talk about the things that bother you. But festering emotions can create more problems than before, in your relationship. So instead of staying silent, talk about what hurt you or affected you and try to find out a solution together.

Written By Dr. Marni Feuerman
Originally Appeared In The Talking Solution
Republished with permission

Are you Passive Aggressive One In Your Relationship pin
Are You Passive-Aggressive in Your Relationship pin

— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next

The Psychology Of Narcissistic Injury: How It Wounds A Narcissist’s Ego

Narcissistic Injury Recognizing and Managing the Impact

We all know that narcissists just love to abuse and hurt others. But what happens when a narcissist feels hurt or abused? What happens when their self-esteem and ego gets wounded? Narcissistic injury refers to the emotional trauma a narcissist experiences when they are devalued, rejected and criticized. 

And this can seriously scar the narcissist’s pride, self-worth and self-esteem. In fact, the damage can sometimes be so severe that the narcissist can never actually recover from it, leading to what is known as narcissistic scar.

Note: As narcissism lies on a spectrum, by using the term “narcissist” we mean to refer to individuals with narcissistic personality traits. However, the severity of

Up Next

Growing Stronger Together: 11 Clear Signs Your Relationship Is Getting Healthier

Good Signs Your Relationship Is Getting Healthy

Is your relationship thriving or stuck at a crossroads? Here are the unmistakable signs your relationship is getting healthy with your partner, day by day!

Relationships are a constant work in progress. In other words, it requires effort, patience, and understanding from both partners. But how do you know if your relationship is moving in a positive direction? 

But before we get into that, let’s find out what exactly it means to be in a healthy relationship.

Are You In A Healthy Relationship?

A healthy relationship is a mutually satisfying and respectful partnership between two individuals who are committed to supporting each other's growth, well-being, and happiness.

Up Next

Unlocking The Secrets To A Happy Relationship: 13 Science-Backed Tips

Science Backed Secrets To A Happy Relationship

Defining a happy relationship can be tricky, right? But what if you could get a blueprint of secrets to a happy relationship?

Today there are so many different opinions on what makes a relationship happy. Some people say it’s all about unconditional love, while others think it’s more about finding the right balance between independence and togetherness.

Let’s unlock the key to the secrets to a happy relationship so that we can build successful relationships for ourselves.

But before we uncover the secrets, let’s get a clear idea about happiness and relationships.

How do relationships affect happiness?

Does this question come to

Up Next

The Lovable Zodiac Signs: Top 8 Zodiac Signs Who Are Easy To Love

Top Easiest To Love Zodiac Signs: Find Your Ideal Partner!

Are you on the lookout for a partner who can make your heart flutter? To make things easier for you,  we'll be discussing the 8 easiest to love zodiac signs in this blog.

We all know that compatibility is a significant factor in any relationship, but some zodiac signs just make it seem effortless. These star signs are just naturally charming, loyal, and loving. They have that 'it' factor that makes them irresistible to anyone they come across. 

Easiest To Love Zodiac Signs Who Will Simply Love You

Up Next

Heart-On-The-Sleeve Lovers: Top 5 Zodiacs Who Love Deeply With All Their Heart

The Top Zodiacs Who Love Deeply Check Them Out Now

Are you tired of half-hearted lovers who don't give their all in relationships? Look no further than these five zodiacs who love deeply. 

Love is the one force that can move mountains, heal wounds, and change the world for the better. And when it comes to love, there are those who hold back and those who give it their everything.

Love is a battlefield, and these 5 zodiac signs are fearless warriors who can risk their hearts. They know that love is not for the faint of heart and are ready to give it their all. 

These zodiac signs don't hold back when it comes to matters of the heart and will stop at nothing to make their loved ones feel cherished and appreciated.


Up Next

Is It Possible to Change My Partner? Exploring the Dynamics of Relationships

Change My Partner: Exploring Dynamics of Relationships

If you are in a relationship, have you ever thought that "I want to change my partner"? Thinking that "I should be trying to change my partner" or expecting your partner to change is more complex than you think. Moreover, asking your partner to change might not always be the right thing to do.

Key Points

A partner’s choice or inability to change doesn’t reflect on you or your worthiness.

Change is complicated, and it can feel confusing about whose responsibility it is in a relationship.

Try to pick partners you don't have to change to love or feel loved by.

Up Next

60+ Funny Marriage Advice: Humorous Marriage Secrets Revealed

Funny Marriage Advice Best Secrets Of Happy Marriage

The best way to spice up your marriage? Add some humor! It’s like the salt and pepper of relationships - a little goes a long way.

If you're looking for a good laugh and some helpful marriage advice, then you are in the right place, my friend. From never going to bed angry to always having a sense of humor, these pieces of funny marriage advice will keep your relationship strong and thriving.

Check out these hilarious pieces of funny marriage advice. 

60+ Pieces of funny marriage advice curated just for you!

These funny marriage tips will make you laugh and help y