10 Signs Of How To Recognize Passive Aggressive Behavior

We all have sarcastic and manipulative tendencies that emerge at some point in our lives, even if we aren't exactly proud of them. These negative behaviors are usually noticeable very quickly... except in passive-aggressive people. These particular individuals act in the shadows but are still very harmful and toxic, especially if you are friends with or even dating one. Discover our top 10 tips to spot this negative behavior and what you can do about it.

Whether at the office, in your circle of friends or even under your own roof, you have probably already come across this type of individual. Their problem? Passive-aggressivity. Their strategy? Pushing you to the limit, but in a subtle way. Their technique? Sarcastic remarks, or provocative look that push you over the edge.

A mixture of cowardice, provocation and resistance; passive aggressive behavior is considered a real personality disorder. It is not uncommon to come across them in your surroundings, but since they prefer to act in the shadows, these people aren’t always easy to identify. To help you build a healthier environment, here are 10 tips to help you identify a passive aggressive person.  


A passive aggressive person adopts a passive attitude that indirectly expresses a hatred that is not fully assumed or experienced.

passive aggressive

Resentment, childhood wounds, frustration, social discomfort... there are so many reasons that push these individuals to act both aggressively and subtly. Now that we know what we're looking for, open your eyes wide!

10 tips to identify a passive aggressive person

1. They’re the champion of half-done work

With this type of person, work is only ever half done. Coffee's hot, but it's not being served. The laundry is washed, but not folded. That's the subtlety of it. By leaving a task unfinished, the passive-aggressive forces you to take over. These people may even criticize your methods and make you feel guilty... And no one can blame him because he did the work anyway. Twisted but damn clever!

2. They are eternally dissatisfied

Nothing is ever good enough for them because they are incapable of knowing what they want, yet they love blaming other people. Whenever someone suggests something, they’ll automatically shout it down, simply because they don't know what they want. Passive aggressive people are immature and don’t know how to make themselves happy.

>>> Check out how to recognize you're in a toxic relationship

3. Their compliments are false

Normally, receiving a compliment pleases us and flatters our ego. But there's a difference between "Nice new glasses! and "Your glasses look great, they look just like mine." For passive aggressive people, paying a sincere compliment is like risking a tongue abrasion. Their competitive spirit pushes them to belittle others in order to put themselves forward, but in a masked way.

4. Their insults are true but disguised

If vulgar people are the most honest, then passive aggressive people are the worst kinds of scoundrel. There’s no constructive criticism where these people are concerned. They’re just trying to spit out their venom without assuming it. When they give their opinion, their interventions will always begin with "Not to be mean, but..." or "I don't mean to sound insensitive, but...". Afterwards, they will finish you off with the critical or insulting part.

5. Silence is their favorite strategy

Even the calmest of people would be hard pushed not to react when faced with a passive aggressive person. In those moments when they say NOTHING, the silence can be translated into something like: "I openly try to avoid conflict, but I provoke you, and I wait for you to break first. »

6. Puts the blame on you

"If you could be more demonstrative... But I suppose it's too much to ask..."

If someone makes this kind of guilt-ridden request to you, you are no doubt faced with a passive aggressive person. Their goal, of course, is to get an idea across and then immediately reject it - thus offloading the responsibility onto you.

7. Revenge seeker

Unfortunately for us, this type of individual has an excellent memory and shows a lot of imagination. If you think that movie villains are their main source of inspiration, a passive aggressive persona will never let anything go by. He wouldn't go so far as to tamper with the brakes of your car if you've upset him, but he'll be sure to get his revenge!

>>> Discover the 10 Signs Your Friendship Isn't Healthy

8. They never keep promises

The unexpected can be tolerated, but these people aren’t above letting you down regularly. Beware if a passive aggressive person offers to help you, because you’ll definitely be let down with a terrible excuse.

Did you know?

The term "passive aggressive" first appeared... during World War II. American psychiatrists called soldiers "passively resistant" to the authority of their superiors.

9. They always play the victim

The good thing about being passive aggressive is that you're always right and there's no time to second-guess yourself. Therefore, when something unpleasant happens, the passive-aggressive individual manages to turn the situation around to blame you. They can even go so far as to shed a little tear!

10. "No" is not in their vocabulary.

Although the word is simple to pronounce, it never leaves of the mouth of this alleged victim. Even if they don’t like what you're proposing, they’ll accept, yet as soon as your back is turned, they will invent a ploy to escape!

Our Psychiatrist’s advice: Don’t fall into the trap

According to psychiatrist and psychotherapist Stéphanie Hahusseau, one must not feel guilty when faced with a passive aggressive behavior and, above all, never fall into the trap of the triangulation they are setting: victim-executioner-savior. This triangle imagined by the psychologist Stephen Karpman starts from the principle that if an individual plays one of these 3 roles, then the person opposite will assume one of the 2 remaining roles.

If you are dealing with a passive aggressive person at work, Stéphanie Hahusseau advises you to leave. "Don't get caught up in the triangulation. Don't try to save them, don't attack them when they grumble, don't behave like a victim because they are never happy. It would be useless, and you would run the risk of entering an infernal circle. 

More content that you might enjoy:

Article presented by
Susan Taylor

Editor in Chief and Astrologist for MyAstroMag - I’ve always been completely fascinated by the world of Astrology and horoscopes. Writing for you and forecasting my exclusive predictions are my main passions.

Read our latest articles here:

4 Exercises That Will Help You Learn To Breathe Better

Breathing is something we do so naturally, so much so that we sometimes forget to do ...


Should I Tell My Friend She’s Being Cheated On?

One Saturday morning, my phone rang out of the blue. It was Chris, my friend Lauren’s...


Help! I’m Just Way Too Nice!

I've always been the nice girl. You know, the one who smiles at everyone even when no...


The Power Of Positive Communication In Relationships

A friend once told me that a relationship is like the inside of a snow globe; intimat...


Is Flirting Cheating?

Amongst the long list of things that rattle your brains, relationships and questions ...


Should I Come Clean About Cheating On My Partner?

Um, now this is definitely a very tricky subject. It sounds as though your desire and...