It is quite evidently said that a relationship is not a walk of flowers. It has its ups and downs. However, things turn out to be borderline toxic/problematic when one of the partners starts behaving unacceptably. This mostly happens when one of the two partners is passive-aggressive.
While it gets really difficult to manage a passive-aggressive person, it is not impossible to deal with them. Just like everything in this world has a solution to it, similarly, dealing with a passive-aggressive partner also has ways.
There are plenty of ways in which one partner can help the other partner overcome passive-aggressive behavior. Even if it does not go to the positive extent of overcoming, it can go to the extent of dealing with it to the level, where it is no more problematic for the relationship as a whole.
Signs to Identify a Passive-Aggressive Partner
There are numerous red flags in a relationship. One such red flag is one partner’s passive-aggressive behavior. Although, not everything that a passive-aggressive person does is problematic. But, there are innumerable problematic behaviors on their part that cannot go unnoticed.
Here is a list of signs that can help you identify their problematic behavior.
1. Victim card
Your partner will never accept their fault. They will always blame you for something undone. Additionally, give you a silent anger treatment if you say something that they do not like. This might get extremely irritating and annoying as nobody likes to tackle a person who plays the “victim card”.
Your partner tends to laze around and not doing their work regularly. They keep their things undone. Even after making a mind to do something, they cannot get themselves to do it. To get up and do the work at hand, seems like walking ten miles to them.
3.Denial of Anger
When you ask them if they are angry or upset about something, they will completely deny it. They do not like to accept the idea or emotion of anger and irritation to them. They deny it and act the opposite way, often irritating the other partners to their cores.
4. Outward and Inward- Different Behavior
Your passive-aggressive partner might show from the outside that he is alright in his mood and not upset about anything. However, from the inside, he will be bothered about something.
Therefore, many times it gets slightly clear in their outward actions that they do not mean the way they are pretending to be.
How to help them overcome this Behavior?
There are several ways in which a partner can help their better half to get out of the passive-aggressive phase. A certain amount of tips and tricks are required to help them monitor their behavior and consequently, get them out of the clutches of passive aggression.
Here are six ways listed down, that you can put to use to help your partner overcome his/her passive-aggressive behavior.
1. Recognizing the Behavior
It is of extreme importance, to recognize passive-aggressive behavior. Many a time, a person’s behavior in a certain situation is equated to his habits. However, that is far from reality.
You must recognize and understand when a person behaves in a passive-aggressive way and when his behavioral instincts are affecting your relationship. Address those behaviors in the very first place and tell your partner about them.
If necessary make pointers, about how to go about the talking part with your partners. Note down the examples of such behaviors, so that it becomes easy for you to point them out to your partner.
2. Good Communication and Talking
Passive-aggressive people love to avoid conversation or confrontation with someone. They either tend to act out on their anger by withdrawing into silence. Or, they express their dissatisfaction in covert ways.
As a partner, you need to assure them that whatever happens, you will listen to their concerns. Create a safe environment for them to talk it out with you. Once they start communicating with you, they will lean in more and more into a comfortable place. Consequently, they will drift away from their denial, passive-aggressive, and silent way of living.
You must let them know that you will want them to clear things out with you no matter what. Additionally, you must make them understand that you do not appreciate them indirectly expressing their anger.
3. Do not get Angry or Emotional
While talking or confronting your passive-aggressive partner, try to be as calm and composed as possible. If you get your tone to be angry or emotionally drained, then this might trigger your partner to further get shunned. They might feel attacked or threatened which will, in turn, make them go into their shells.
Use an empathetic approach to understand their problems and consistently ask them if their mental state is alright. Ultimately, they will understand what is bothering you and will open up their hearts.
4. Get Deeper into the Root- Cause
A typical passive-aggressive trait is a denial of anything wrong. A passive-aggressive person will always deny anger when his/her actions will portray the opposite. Therefore, do not just give up on your passive-aggressive partner in such a scenario.
Try to dig a little deep and know why they are behaving in this particular way. Attempt to know the root cause behind their passive aggression. Once you get to witness the reasons behind such a traumatizing behavior, you will be able to deal with them better.
Therefore, you can start working on the root cause to prevent your partner from engaging in any kind of problematic behavior in the future.
If you start to think, that things are going beyond your necessary control, consider therapy. Make your partner understand that to work on themselves better, they might need some professional help.
There are many instances when it has been seen that a person has seemingly shredded his passive-aggressive behavior after going to a therapist. With the inherent and recurrent stigmatization of mental health in society, it becomes extremely difficult to convince someone for therapy. Especially when it comes to people who naturally avoid confrontation and communication.
However, if it is the only thing that is left for your partner that can make them mend their ways, there is no other option left for you. Convince them to seek help so that their lives get better. And, consequently yours too.
6. Limits and Consequences
Your passive-aggressive partner often behaves in a certain way because it is his nature to take things for granted. They have taken everything to be forever there in their lives. However, reminding them that it might not be the case is equally important.
Tell them clearly and frankly (in a polite way) that the next time they behave in a certain way, they might have to go through consequences for the same. For suppose, if your partner never arrives for dates on time, tell them the next time they do not come on time, you will never go out with them again.
It is of supreme importance to call out for clear-cut boundaries and limits for your partner, so they understand their mistakes and try to act on their behavior themselves.
While a relationship might surround efforts, it does not require one to keep giving and the other just invalidating. A relationship is a two-way give & take process. However, giving up on your relationship or your partner easily is also not the answer.
A passive-aggressive person behaves in such a way because he/she has his reasons behind it. It can come out of childhood trauma, familial pressure, underlying expectations etcetera. There are a lot of reasons that come into play when a person behaves in a passive-aggressive way.
Therefore, the ideal thing to do in such a situation is to try and help your partner overcome this behavior. You just have to work on a little bit more to get your partner out of the jaws of problematic passive aggression. Once this is done, your relationship will certainly become a walk of flowers.