Passive-aggressiveness is a destructive pathological behavior that can hurt both the person with the disorder and those around him. Passive-aggressiveness is also a way of subtly manipulating others. This behavior hinders relationships, lowers productivity and prevents others from reaching their goals. It also brings about much negativity and depression.
Instead of being physically aggressive, many people use various types of seemingly non-aggressive measures to prevent others from succeeding. Examples of these methods are stubbornness, negativity and procrastination. People who exhibit these behaviors can make others miserable and thwart their plans. One example of this might be if a customer intended to trade an SUV for a pickup truck at a used-car dealership. The car salesman asks to have the keys to the SUV so he can examine the SUV while the customer is test-driving the pickup. The customer is not pleased with the pickup upon returning to the car lot and asks for his keys back. The car salesman pretends to have lost the keys and then asks one of the other salesmen to search for them while continuing to try to sell the customer the pickup. Therefore, the salesman conceals his hostile intentions (keeping the customer at the car lot to pitch him the car) behind an innocent mistake.
There is a long list of traits that identify someone who is exhibiting passive-aggressiveness. Such people blame others for their own mistakes, are very unreliable, frequently complain, avoid responsibility and binding agreements, and are often very sarcastic. Everything a passive-aggressive person does seems to prevent others from succeeding.
People who are passive-aggressive use these methods to earn sympathy from others. By subtly sabotaging everything that is going on around him, the passive-aggressive person creates a climate of failure in which she can avoid blame. Passive-aggressiveness is also a technique that can be used to subtly sabotage a competitor.
Passive-aggressive personality disorder is a condition in which an individual is persistently negative and resistant of the efforts of others. This personality disorder is more than just a behavior. Someone with this disorder must be habitually negative, and the negativity must be crippling.
People who are passive-aggressive are difficult to treat, since they are often unaware of their behaviors. Also, many individuals have a hard time grasping what passive-aggressiveness is. Psychologists are unsure of how to treat passive-aggressive personality disorder. Some recommend that passive-aggressive people be shown how they are angering and disappointing others. But since people with passive-aggressive disorder are defeatists by nature, they will often give up on the treatment.