Dealing with Passive-Aggression
Instead of getting visibly angry, some people express their hostility in passive-aggressive ways designed to hurt and confuse their target. Most of us will have to deal with passive-aggression from people in our personal and professional lives at one time or another: for example, a roommate who leaves a sweet-yet-scolding note about the one cup that was left unwashed, or the report a colleague keeps "forgetting" to finish. Passive-aggressive behavior can be intensely frustrating for the target, because it’s hard to identify, difficult to prove, and may even be unintentional. Passive-aggression can lead to more conflict and intimacy issues, because we often find it impossible to have a direct and honest conversation about the issues. Nagging or getting angry only puts the passive-aggressive person on the defensive, so that they make excuses and deny any responsibility. Recent research shows some healthier ways to confront passive-aggression and handle relationship conflict.