What is Passive Aggressive Behavior?
Passive aggressive behavior, also known as passive avoidance behavior, can be seen as a type of defense mechanism used to deal with negative emotions such as stress, frustration and anger. Conflict avoidance is a key trait, and instead of confronting and expressing these emotions openly, the passive aggressive individual will deal with these emotions indirectly, often in disruptive ways.
While the passive aggressive person will seldom display anger outbursts or confront emotional issues assertively, they are prone to other more subtle ways of expressing their emotions such as indirectly insulting someone with a joke, "accidentally" being late for an important meeting that they didn’t want to attend, or forgetting a loved one’s birthday or anniversary.
Passive aggressive behaviors include disappointing others, being unreasonably stubborn, disengaging emotionally, forgetting, making up excuses and frequently blaming others for one own mistakes or behaviors. If someone close to them hurts or wrongs them, they retaliate by sabotaging, deceiving or undermining their efforts, all the while making excuses and always protesting their innocence if their behavior is confronted.
What Causes Passive Aggressive Behavior?
These behaviors are often learned in childhood when the expression of negative emotion is punished, or seen as bad or selfish. As a result, negative emotions are often suppressed until the bottling up becomes unbearable and the emotions have to be expressed in some way.
For the most part, they are done unconsciously as the individual has little insight into what they are actually doing. While passive aggressive behavior is often subtle, it can be incredibly hurtful and damaging to relationships if it does not stop. Just as these behaviors are learned, they can also be un-learned, and with a little help and effort new ways of dealing with emotions can be adopted, and the conflict avoidant personality can be reshaped and fear of conflict can be managed.
Help for Passive Aggressive Behavior
There are a number of herbal and homeopathic ingredients which have been shown to greatly help with managing emotions such as anger. Nux vom. is one such ingredient and it is commonly recommended to people who are prone to irritability and anger and those with impatient tempers.
Another useful homeopathic ingredient is Chamomilla which is particularly effective when the emotional reaction seems out of proportion to the situation or event. This ingredient is wonderfully calming and can be used to soothe anger and irritability as well as any underlying anxiety. Finally, Lycopodium is especially useful for those who find it difficult to express their emotions and is highly recommended for someone with passive aggressive tendencies.