During childhood, most of us get scolded for the violent outbursts of anger, and are instructed to control this anger. We don't stop getting angry, but learn to hide and suppress the raging anger. 'Anger is bad', fits in our mind. But the anger has to manifest itself in some way or the other. And, in passive aggressive behavior, it manifests passively and unknowingly through actions and behavior. The seeds of passive behavior are sown in childhood, when the person gets a scolding for some bad habits; the imprints of which are left on the mind forever. Passive aggressive behavior in a person can prove catastrophic to his/her relationships. If you think you too may possess the characteristic traits, or know someone who does, read further on how you can stop it.
Passive aggressive persons are difficult to deal with. Their behavior is strange, unpredictable, and can annoy anyone. It is not exactly a personality disorder, but can be called one. It's not a disorder, because many people indulge in this kind of behavior unknowingly. This kind of behavior can be devastating for those who indulge it in every now then. And the personality is then characterized as 'passive-aggressive'.
Suppressing anger leads to this behavior, chiefly. It can also stem from lack of self-confidence. Environmental factors and family atmosphere can also lead to this type of behavior in a person. For some people, this is just for style and is innate.
You tend to do things in the exact reverse of what is expected of you. You promise and exude confidence to do something, but don't do it. You tend to procrastinate, but still believe that you have done a good job. You never take responsibility for your mistakes, and often put the blame on others for your poor performance. You like to be in control of people around you, and make every move to have them under your control. You are afraid of competition at the workplace, which affects your performance. People are annoyed at you, and blame you for poor performance. You often forget to do things, and your attitude at the workplace is often sullen and devastating.
Passive aggressive people lack emotional balance, and often feel insecure, and are afraid of rejection (though they do not show it). When in a relationship, these people don't like to be controlled by their partners, and can also indulge in cheating in the relationship. These people often get labeled as stubborn and manipulative. These people are always sarcastic, and if they feel annoyed, they use other means like emails and letters to express their loathing. They also express their anger non-verbally through various anger cues. They might be looking all nice and happy, but internally they are fuming with rage. This tendency hampers their work and relations.
How to Avoid Being Passive Aggressive
These people don't like to express their anger openly, and suppress the anger inside them. In these people, there is no loud and spontaneous expression of anger, and the anger is expressed through behavior and actions only.
Be Assertive: Always be assertive in your behavior. When in an argument, feel free to express your viewpoints, even if it means disagreeing with the other person. Lack of confidence and self-esteem is also a reason for passive aggressiveness, so take the effort to work on it. At first, you will find it difficult to alter your behavior and being assertive, but if you practice this behavior modification, it is possible.
Socialize: To give a boost to your self-confidence, join some social clubs. There, you would get to meet new people, and also get a chance to interact a lot. Learn to express your displeasure and anger in a positive way, and instead of bearing the anger in mind, let it flow in a positive way. Join some activity clubs, where you would be able to do some team work with less stress.
Meditate: Meditate to instill your new goals in mind. Use the power of your mind to help you. Ask yourself to remain calm, and imagine a better you. While meditating, remind yourself of your goals to express anger and being productive in a job.
Take Efforts: Make a resolution that you will take all the efforts possible to do things that you are supposed to do. Make it a point that you wouldn't procrastinate, and give your hundred percent. Take the help of your friends and relatives. Ask them to keep a check on your behavior, and to signal to you if you are doing any wrong. You are just like any other being, so don't think that you are unworthy.
Being passive aggressive is not a personality disorder, and most of us indulge in it unknowingly. But being passive aggressive all the time is not good, and can make things worse for yourself. Take the help of a psychologist or counselor if the behavior is hampering your day-to-day activities. The healing process will take some time, but with the use of therapies, it is possible. To deal with this manipulative behavior in children, the help of a child psychologist should be sought. If you take all the efforts to control behavior, it would no doubt help you live life in a happy and better way.