Summary: A quick guide on how to handle passive-aggressive people.

Body: I have learned, from having a passive-aggressive father, that passive-aggression is something that can become very emotionally draining if you don't know how to handle it. If you have had friends, or even worse, had family members with passive-aggressive traits, you would know what I mean. So I have decided to write a guide, from years of experience with dealing with a passive-aggressive father, on how to deal with such people. I hope that it proves useful to you.

Note that this guide is for people who are, due to circumstances, forced to deal with passive-aggressive people on a daily basis. Should you have the power or opportunity to leave such people, please do so. There is no need to put up with them. But if you, like me, are forced to deal with them on a daily basis, this guide is for you.

What is passive aggression? It is the indirect expression of hostility, through indirect and usually underhanded means: sulking, "forgetting", procrastination, playing the victim, etc. Instead of voicing their concerns openly and respectfully, they choose to beat around the bush, preferring to sulk around and close off clear paths of communication.

Why should I care? Because passive-aggressive people are more common than you think, and they are exceptionally damaging in 2 places: when they are in the workplace and the family. I am willing to bet that everyone in his life has dealt with, or will deal with, a passive-aggressive person at some point in his life. As such, learning to deal with them is something of importance.

So what makes these people tick? In truth, passive-aggressive people are Blue Pillers who have taken their BP to a different level. They have learned that showing their toxicity and their negativity directly can lead to stratification and shunning by their peers. As such, they have learned to hide it under multiple guises.

The Martyr guise The most common guise. These people are BPs who have been unsuccessful in life and have their own way to hamster it away: playing the martyr (or the victim).

Common manifestations:

The 'nice' guy who is willing to sacrifice everything for his unicorn, and feels he is the 'superior' man for his 'gentlemanly' behaviour, while all the other 'assholes' don't 'deserve' her. This is not a problem. We all have seen these people time and time again, and we all know how things end for them.

The silent one. These are the deadly ones. In the workplace, they mysteriously "forget" to send an important email attachment. Or perhaps they refuse to communicate clearly, using ambiguous terms on purpose and never showing their true intentions. Maybe they turn up late to meetings due to mysterious reasons.

When confronted on their uncooperative behaviour, these people are quick to turn the tables. They will use common arguments such as "Just because I'm quiet doesn't mean I don't get work done" twisting their anti-social refusal to communicate into being a "hard-working and silent stoic". Perhaps when confronted on their consistent late-coming, they would refer to how "their son is going through a tough patch and they are working hard to provide support" and how you are so "unthoughtful for criticising them".

So how do you deal with them?

1) Be direct and be specific Never use words like 'always'. They are quick to point out that one time when they did this or that... Talk about specific instances, and always talk about the impact of their actions as a whole. Eg in the context of workplace: 'On (date), you did (action); perhaps it was not your intention to do so, but your actions caused adverse effects (list effects) for the team. Maybe you'd like to share your reasons for (action)?' PA people are quick to change subjects when they realise they can't cover their ass anymore. By being specific you are cutting off their little escape plan.

2) Use the gray rock method This is more for instances where the PA is in your family. When they revert to their usual sulking, cold-shoulder behaviour to try to make you feel guilty, imagine you are a rock. A rock that does not take in the BS from the PA. You don't need to respond. Remember, PA people love emotional responses. They are energy vampires who thrive on making other people feel bad. When you stop responding, they start to worry. They begin to wonder: "Why aren't my tactics working anymore? I thought giving the cold shoulder would guilt him into getting what I want." The hardest part is self-restraint. They love making you angry with subtle putdowns and backhanded compliments. Through it all, be a gray rock. Emotionless, uncaring. Reply with a simple 'ok'. I like to keep my sentences short and sweet, usually one-liners.

3) Never let them change to victim mode When you use words such as "You did this!", they know exactly what to do. They immediately switch to the victim role, and they love this. They come up with 101 reasons why they are always being "picked on all the time" although they are "going through so much" and "nobody cares for them/understands how they feel". Don't give them what they want. Try to avoid accusative tones as much as possible.

4) Leave Obviously the most preferable choice. Leave. Save yourself the emotional turmoil of having to deal with a grown-up child who hasn't matured past the age of sulking. For those who have family members with PA people, go out more often. Have a good social circle and a healthy group of friends to counter the negative mood of PAs. I for one am going to leave my toxic father as soon as possible, once I obtain financial autonomy. His negativity is taking its toll on my mother, as well as my grandmother and granddad, to the point where my mother may divorce him (good riddance if she does; all he does is put her down and sulk all day long).

Conclusion: I hope this guide proves useful in handling PA people. Additionally, I thank TRP for teaching me how to actually be a man. Being someone who was raised by a father who preferred to blame and sulk when faced with adversity, having TRP is like having the male role model I never had. This writeup is one of my ways of giving back, and I hope it is of use to you.