5 Causes of Passive-Aggressive Behavior

According to The New York Times, passive-aggressive personality disorder is a long-term chronic disease in which the person seemingly complies with others’ needs, but passively resists them. It should be remembered that there is no official diagnosis for this condition as yet.

Understanding Passive Aggressive Behavior Better

Let’s give you two examples to help you better understand passive-aggressive behavior:

  • A person does not agree with a co-worker’s plan, but does not object or say anything about it. Later, he does certain things to undermine the plan. For instance, he might miss deadlines or he might underperform his role.
  • A wife does not like her husband going out with his female co-workers. Instead of expressing this, she stops talking to him without telling him the reason.

Some signs of passive-aggressive behavior include:

  • Procrastinating
  • Being forgetful of important things
  • Being irritable and disagreeable
  • Being stubborn
  • Playing the blame game
  • Complaining

Causes of Passive-Aggressive Behavior

The exact causes of passive-aggressive behavior have not yet been figured out, but it is certain that genetic and environmental factors combine to cause this behavior. Here are 5 likely causes of passive-aggressive behavior:

Domineering Parent

A strong and domineering parent in the family can be one of the causes of passive-aggressive behavior later on in life.

With a dominating parent, there might be a tough competition for attention and approval and hence, a struggle for individual identity.

Observation of Passive Aggressive Behavior

A person observing one of his parents to resort to passive-aggressive tactics might learn from this and apply the same later in life.

Becoming passively aggressive at such an early age might lead to hidden feelings of frustration and resentment, which might further deteriorate the situation.

Dominant Figure from the Opposite Sex

One of the parents might have an inappropriate amount of control over the other partner. Being a girl, she might have seen a dominant father influencing all of the decisions of the family members. This might have caused feelings of resentment, which later exhibit themselves as passive-aggressive behavior.

Being Socially, Intellectually or Physically Disadvantaged

Suffering from speech impairment, obesity or low IQ are some examples of being disadvantaged. These defects might have caused the person to be severely judged by people. The negative feelings caused might later be demonstrated as passive-aggressive behavior towards other people.

Experiences of Facing Societal Constraints

Gender bias, race discrimination and class difference are some societal constraints that might cause passive-aggressive behavior. When expression of different ideas is restricted, resentment is the result.

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