I swear, think half the time the Passive/Aggressives are out to get me.


Pfffth! :stuck_out_tongue:

Interesting article, as I had always heard (and used) “passive aggressive” in a quite different way. My friends and I always used it to mean someone get what he wants in sneaky, non-confrontational ways, such as leaving notes instead of talking to someone directly, expressing his beef with someone by talking to their friend in the hope that the information will get back to the offending party, etc.

It overlaps somewhat in situations where the person being labeled passive/aggressive does little mean things because they think they have been somehow wronged on a larger scale. For example, your roommate is upset that you stay up late at night making noise, but instead of discussing the issue with you he leaves his stinky food sitting unwrapped in the fridge because he knows it drives you crazy.

In the sense that my examples above illustrate a non-confrontational personality, they come close to matching what Cecil has down as the official definition. But I think they differ in that the passive/aggressive action displayed is not always directly related to the actual issue at hand, and in any case has nothing to do with procrastination or refusing orders.

Whaddaya think?

I see psych. professional friends use it more in the everyday sense of a behavior and not a personality. The behavior is to be non-confrontational, but not helpful either. Eg,

A: “You want to go out to eat?”
B: “Sure, that’s ok.”
A:“Where do you want to go?”
B:“I don’t know, you pick.”
A: “How about X?”
B: “No.”
B: “No”
A:“Where then?”
B:“It was your idea!”

Result: End up not going becuase B would go, but can’t think of anywere and shots down the options even though agreeing in principle.

Regarding Cecil’s argument that there were more cases reported under less strict guidelines, and fewer under stricter ones: this doesn’t prove anything. Almost by definition a narrow diagnostic criteria will produce fewer reported cases. The fact that the criteria keep changing is telling, but not the case report numbers.

Well, I guess I’ve always thought of this incorrectly. An example of my understanding would be someone sitting at a restaurant and the server hasn’t stopped by with more to drink, to check on other needs, etc., and the customer refuses to start/continue eating, getting madder and madder as though their undisplayed aggression and control over what they CAN control makes some difference to the server or proves some point. In that sense, it is literally passive aggression (anger not acted upon). This idea is along the sames lines as the non-confrontation idea mentioned previously.

I would have to agree with Kyomara. I’ve always known the term Passive-Aggressive to mean someone who tries to get what they want through psychological manipulation rather than simply by asking for it directly.

The roommate example is perfect – instead of actively expressing dissatisfaction with the offending behavior of roommate A (i.e. staying up late), roommate B does something that she knows will upset roommate A even more. This allows roommate B to seem aloof and nonchalant about the whole late-night noise thing while at the same time giving her the great satisfaction of driving roommate A up a wall.

Unfortunately, I think passive-aggressive behaviour can be rather infectious, and in our example above, it might be likely that roommate A would become even more obnoxious in response. It’s that sort of escalation that can really wreak havoc in a relationship, which is probably why passive-aggressiveness is considered to be such a hateful trait.


Well, Cecil listed the “symptoms”:

… so I think all the examples given would fit the pattern.

For instance, the restaurant example (cited by John), where the guy doesn’t complain, but just sits there waiting for the waiter to notice he’s not eating his soup, getting angrier all the time… that’s (4), (8) and (9). It is, of course, an old joke:

Waiter: Sir, you’re not eating your soup. Is it too hot?
Patron: No.
Waiter: Is it too spicy?
Patron: No.
Waiter: Well, what’s wrong with it?
Patron: You taste it.
Waiter: OK :::fumbling around a bit::: Um, ah, er, where’s the spoon?
Patron: AHA!

That’s great! It’s really a pain when someone makes you guess why they’re upset.

How about this scenario? You’re in a restaurant on a date. She wants dessert, but you don’t feel like it…

You had better damn well order the dessert/share one, or face a cold shoulder for the rest of the evening because she won’t eat one by herself.

Is that passive/aggressive? It’s happened to me more than once before I caught on.

My inexpert opinion, monterey, would be that’s not passive-aggressive behavior, that’s just manipulative (or rude.)

Passive aggression is just that.
A person causes, through inaction,(passivity) harm or inconveience to another for malicious reasons.(aggression).

Passive aggression is just that.
A person causes, through inaction,(passivity) harm or inconveience to another for malicious reasons.(aggression).

Like driving in the left lane when someone is behing you and the right lanes are free.

Exactly. They seem to think that if you want to go faster than they do, you must be a jerk.
But it’s not their job: they’re not a cop and they don’t know if you have a medical emergency or maybe you’re a psycho killer…
They need to move over and let you by.
My motto is: “Far be it from me to hold anybody up.” (Let them get the ticket, eh?) doczaphod