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Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder Overview

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Even though psychiatrists no longer recognize passive-aggressive personality disorder as an official diagnosis, the fact is that the symptoms and behaviors of this condition still affect many. There are ways to help, including talk therapy and medication, and getting the proper help may be crucial in salvaging and creating important interpersonal relationships in one’s life.

The hallmark of passive-aggressive personality disorder is that the person afflicted with it will appear, outwardly, to comply with the demands of his or her home and family life, job, etc, but will inwardly resist. This resistance builds up as resentment and anger and the person becomes more hostile and agitated.

In general, there is a real resentment of responsibility in all forms, whether it is the responsibility of a home life, parenting, work or other duties. They use behavior, rather than being open and honest about it with their words, to express their resistance.

Things like lateness, forgetfulness, inefficiency, avoidance and procrastination top the list of resistant behaviors. Other common symptoms of passive-aggressive personality disorder include:

• Blaming others
• Complaining
• Feeling resentment
• Having a fear of authority
• Having unexpressed anger or hostility
• Procrastinating
• Resisting suggestions made by others
• Acting sullen
• Avoiding responsibility by claiming forgetfulness
• Being inefficient on purpose

In fact, a person with this disorder may appear to comply with another's wishes and may even demonstrate enthusiasm for those wishes. However, they:

• Perform the requested action too late to be helpful
• Perform it in a way that is useless
• Sabotage the action to show anger that they cannot express in words

People with passive-aggressive personality disorder think that actions tell the truth but words do not. Therefore they will show their true feelings through their actions but not through their words. This can severely damage trust and relationships, as people with passive-aggressive personality disorder may make it seem as though they are “on the same page” with you and agree with you in a conversation, but then act in a completely opposite way.

Rather than completing the task, however, he or she might express anger or resentment by missing deadlines, showing up late to meetings, making excuses or even working against the task.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Passive Aggressive Behavior?
Answer by Daniel K. Flavin MD. Mayo Clinic
Retrieved from the internet on December 13, 2011

Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder
health.NYtimes.com. Retrieved from the internet on December 13, 2011

Aimee Boyle is a regular contributor to EmpowHER

Reviewed December 16, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.