signs you're dating a passive aggressive person

9 Signs You’re Dating A Passive-Aggressive Person And What To Do About It

Ever dated someone who constantly gets angry but tends to disguise this emotion through hushed tones and calm words? Or maybe you have a partner who usually acts sarcastic and tends to roll eyes at you rather than communicating what he/she feels during an argument? If you’re seeing these red flags, it might be because you’re dating a passive-aggressive person.

While this won’t make someone typically bad for you, these behaviors can put a toll on your relationship in the long run. It might seem harmless at first, but partners who deal with these kinds of behaviors should know how to handle people with this personality type.

A passive-aggressive person may be someone who finds it hard to verbally share or show their negative emotions with you. While it doesn’t seem like a big problem, these hidden emotions can come out in veiled acts of hostility and other unhealthy actions.

Understanding this behavior should be the first thing you have to work on if you want to create a better relationship with this person. Let’s break it down for you.

What is Passive-Aggressive Behavior?

Passive-aggressive behavior is defined as a pattern of expressing negative feelings indirectly instead of addressing them openly. There are many different ways that passive aggression can manifest in a relationship. For example, your partner may refuse to communicate with you about what’s bothering them, or they may make sarcastic comments meant to hurt you.

Passive-aggressive behavior often results from someone feeling powerless or unable to express their feelings directly. This can be due to upbringing, cultural influences, or past experiences. Whatever the cause, passive-aggressive behavior can be destructive to a relationship, and it’s essential to be able to identify it to address the issue with your partner.

How Does It Affect Relationships?

Passive-aggressive behavior often leads to conflict and tension in relationships. When people are passive-aggressive, they are not openly communicating their feelings or needs, which can lead to constant misunderstandings. This can be frustrating for both partners and often results in arguments.

Additionally, passive-aggressive behavior can also be a form of emotional manipulation. For example, your partner may guilt trip you into doing something they want by indirectly commenting that you’re never around or don’t care about them.

When dating a passive-aggressive person, you may constantly feel like you are walking on eggshells and never quite knowing what will set them off. This can be exhausting and make you feel like you are always defending yourself. The mistrust and lack of communication standards in passive-aggressive relationships can also be damaging.

What Causes a Passive-Aggressive Person’s Behavior?

There are several different factors that can contribute to passive-aggressive behavior. It is often a result of someone feeling powerless or unable to express their feelings directly. Apart from alcoholism, ADHD, and drug abuse, here are several other causes:

Upbringing

The formative years of a person’s life can play a role in developing passive-aggressive behavior. If someone was raised in an environment where their feelings were not valued or punished for expressing emotions, they might learn to stuff down their feelings and express them indirectly. 

upbringing causes a passive-aggressive person's behavior
People raised in an environment where their feelings were not valued might learn to hide their emotions until they feel a need to release them.

Cultural Influences

Specific cultural influences can also contribute to the development of passive-aggressive behavior. For example, it is considered rude in some cultures to express emotions openly. This can lead to people bottling up their feelings and expressing them passive-aggressively. 

In some cultures, certain genders are not supposed to display weakness, which may lead to pent-up feelings expressed in this manner.

Past Experiences

Past experiences can also contribute to the development of passive-aggressive behavior. Someone who has experienced trauma or abuse may be hesitant to express their feelings directly for fear of being hurt or rejected.

Fear Of Rejection

A person’s fear of rejection can also contribute to passive-aggressive behavior. If someone is afraid of being rejected or hurt, they may express their feelings indirectly to protect themselves.

Need To Control

Some people may also use passive-aggressive behavior as a way to control others. By being indirect and manipulative, they can get what they want without having to communicate their needs openly.

Fear Of Conflict

Another common reason for passive-aggressive behavior is a fear of conflict. Some people may avoid confrontation because they don’t want to argue or know how to resolve conflict. This can lead to them expressing their feelings in a passive-aggressive way.

9 Signs You are Dating a Passive-Aggressive Person

Knowing what to look for and how to respond can help you identify passive-aggressive behavior in your partner. Here are some common signs:

1. They Are Inconsistent

One sign that you may be dating a passive-aggressive person is that they are often inconsistent in their words and actions. They may say one thing and then do another. For example, they may tell you that they are okay with something and then get angry or upset about it later.

If you notice a string of inconsistencies in your partner’s words and actions, it may signify that they are passive-aggressive.

What To Do About It

Dealing with an inconsistent partner can be frustrating and confusing. If you are in a relationship with someone who is passive-aggressive, it is essential to communicate directly with them about your feelings and needs. Try to avoid getting into arguments about their inconsistencies. Instead, calmly explain how their words and actions make you feel.

2. They Are Resistant To Change

Another sign of a passive-aggressive person is that they may be resistant to change. They may be unwilling to try new things or resist when you try to change something in the relationship. For example, they may not want to try new foods, activities, or ways of doing things.

If you notice that your partner is resistant to change, it may signify that they are passive-aggressive.

What To Do About It

When your partner is resistant to change, getting them to try new things can be difficult. However, it is essential to communicate with them about your needs and desires. Try to find compromise and understanding. For example, if you want to try a new restaurant, you may also need to find one that they are comfortable with.

3. They Procrastinate

procrastinating passive aggressive person
A common sign of a passive-aggressive person is that they tend to procrastinate when it comes to accomplishing tasks.

Procrastination is another common sign of passive-aggressive behavior. A passive-aggressive person may avoid doing tasks or may put them off until the last minute. They may also make excuses for why they cannot do something.

For instance, your partner may say they will do the dishes but then never get around to it. Or, they may say they will take the dog for a walk but always find an excuse not to.

Procrastinating partners are often frustrating to deal with. If you notice that your partner is consistently procrastinating, it may signify passive-aggressive behavior.

What To Do About It

If your partner is constantly procrastinating, getting them to do anything can be difficult. However, it might help to let them know how their behavior affects you. Try to be understanding and patient. You may need to give them some motivation or incentive to get them to do what you need.

4. Sarcasm And Irony

Another sign of passive-aggressive behavior is sarcasm and irony. A passive-aggressive person may use these tools to express their feelings indirectly. They may also use them to make you feel bad or put you down.

For example, your partner may say something sarcastic when you make a mistake. Or, they may use irony to express their anger or frustration.

If you notice that your partner is increasingly sarcastic and keeps making snide comments, it may signify passive-aggressive behavior.

What To Do About It

While sarcasm may initially seem harmless, it can be quite hurtful. If you notice that your partner is using sarcasm to put you down or make you feel bad, it is essential to communicate with them about it. Try to express how their words make you feel and ask them to stop.

5. Withdrawal/ Withholding

Another common sign of passive-aggressive behavior is withdrawal or withholding. This is when a person refuses to communicate or engage with you. They may give you the silent treatment or may avoid talking to you altogether.

For example, your partner may refuse to talk to you when angry. Or, they may withdraw from the relationship when they are feeling overwhelmed. It may signify passive-aggressive behavior if you notice that your partner is withdrawing or withholding from you.

What To Do About It

Withdrawal and withholding can be difficult to deal with. If your partner refuses to communicate with you, it is essential to try and reach out to them, even if it is just to talk about how their behavior affects you.

You may also need to give them some space if they feel overwhelmed. Let them know that you are there for them and support them.

6. Lateness

A passive-aggressive person may do this to annoy or frustrate you. They may also do it to try and control the situation. A partner who always shows up late is another sign of passive-aggressive behavior.

For example, your partner may show up late for dinner because they know it will make you angry. Or, they may be late for your date because they wanted to see if you would wait for them. Some may even start getting home late after nights out.

What To Do About It

It is essential to let your partner understand how their lateness is affecting you. Try to be understanding and patient. You may need to set limits with your partner if their delinquency is problematic.

You may also want to try and be more flexible yourself. If you are always running on time, your partner’s lateness may not bother you as much.

7. Dependency

A passive-aggressive person may do this to control or manipulate you. They may also do it to make you feel needed or wanted. A partner always dependent on you is another sign of passive-aggressive behavior.

For example, your partner may constantly ask you for favors or money. Or, they may always want you to help them with their work or chores.

What To Do About It

If your partner is always dependent on you, it is essential to try and set some boundaries. Try to be assertive and firm when you communicate with them. Let them know what you are and are not comfortable with.

It is also essential to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. You may feel resentful or used if you always give to your partner. Make sure to schedule time for yourself and do things that make you happy.

8. Ambiguity

Passive-aggressive people often communicate ambiguously. This is because they may be afraid of conflict or confrontation. They may also do it to manipulate or control the situation.

For example, your partner may tell you they are “fine” when you ask them how they feel. Or, they may say they “don’t know” when you ask them what they want to do for dinner.

What To Do About It

It is essential to try and communicate with your partner directly. This means that you should avoid using ambiguous language yourself. Instead, try to be clear and concise when you talk to them.

You may also want to ask your partner questions if you are unsure what they mean. This can help to clarify the situation and can help to avoid misunderstandings.

9. Sulking

Sulking is another common sign of passive-aggressive behavior. A passive-aggressive person may do this to try and control or manipulate the situation. They may also do it to get attention or sympathy from you.

For example, your partner may sulk if you don’t do what they want. Or, they may sulk if you try to talk to them about their behavior. The hostile environment their sulking creates will affect you too, and you might find yourself constantly unhappy.

What To Do About It

If your partner is sulking, it is essential to try and talk to them about it. Ask them why they are brooding and what you can do to help.

It is also essential to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. Sulking can be contagious, so it is vital to avoid getting sucked into their negativity.

Knowing the personality and behaviors of your partner is one way to show them you care. It’s vital for couples to find ways to get to know each other deeply to help them build a stronger relationship.

A passive-aggressive personality may be a threat to your relationship, but if you’re willing to work on each other, you can find ways to deal with it. But if ever you need expert advice on dating, relationships, and marriage, you can count on us. Send us a message and let’s talk.

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