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Causes and Symptoms of Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder

Batul Nafisa Baxamusa Feb 20, 2019
Passive aggressive personality disorder is a clinical personality disorder. It is also known as negativistic personality disorder. Here is detailed information about this condition.
Have you met someone at your work place or within your friends and family circle, who complies with the needs and desires of others? The same person then tends to show a sudden sullen behavior, becomes forgetful or tends to delay the matter he or she was asked to do.
Such people have difficulty in saying what they really feel and cannot say that they are not happy doing what was asked of them. Such people suffer from a personality trait known as passive-aggressive personality disorder.
Passive aggressive personality disorder is a clinical personality disorder. It is recognized as Axis II personality disorder, in simple words, negativistic personality disorder.
A person with passive aggressive behavior tends to display behavior characteristics through passive resistance in performing tasks that he or she does not want to do.
A person with this disorder tends to suffer from a chronic condition, where they tend to comply with the wishes of others happily. However, they resist following the wishes passively, turning angry and unfriendly from within.
Passive-aggressive personality disorder is demonstrated as stubbornness, resentment, sullenness procrastination, helplessness, etc. The person may repeatedly or deliberately fail in accomplishing even a simple task they are responsible for. This is actually a form of defense mechanism and the person is usually partly conscious of his passive resistance.
Passive aggressive personality individuals tend to be rigid and inflexible. They follow a set pattern of behavior and acting. These individuals have real difficulty in getting along with people around them.
Their persistent behavior does not allow them to adapt well to changing situations and thus affecting their daily functioning.


The reasons of developing this personality trait maybe environmental, biological or genetic. It is believed biological changes in the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain that controls the way one acts in a social environment may lead to passive aggressive personality disorder.


There are quite a few passive aggressive personality disorder symptoms that an individual may exhibit. However, keep in mind if you or someone around you shows few of the following symptoms, does not mean you or the person is suffering from this condition. 
You need to speak to a qualified psychologist for a proper diagnosis. The following passive aggressive personality disorder symptoms are commonly seen in a negativistic personality include an individual that appears very happy and enthusiastic to help others or carry out the desires of people around them. 
When the time comes to execute the request, they tend to beat around the bush. They will take a long time to do it and show failure in accomplishing it. The other symptoms include:
  • Procrastination
  • Resisting suggestions given to them by others
  • These people will fight tooth and nail to pass the buck of their failure on to others.
  • They are always late and forgetful.
  • They are always complaining and tend to make hundred excuses and lies to hide their passive resistance.
  • They never express their hostility or anger to others.
  • They show resentment and sullenness.
  • These individuals have a fear of dependency, authority and intimacy.
  • They crate chaos around them and try to prove their inefficiency.
These people tend to have resentment towards every other person. They feel they are often cheated or under-appreciated by others. Thus, become highly cynical and skeptical. You will find their number of friends dwindle and they often stick to people who are less fortunate than they are.
When confronted, they will always fight a verbal duel and then end up apologizing for their behavior. They will seek sympathy and this becomes a repetitive pattern. In the end, the person becomes manipulative emotionally draining people close to them.

How Do You Know if Someone has a Passive-aggressive Behavior

Many times we come across individuals who seems to comply with all your needs and desires, but in the end you find them resisting passively. In such a situation you need to take a simple test, to see whether the individual is unconsciously suffering from a personality problem.
Instead of becoming an emotional wreck yourself, you need to take steps to help the individual and find a way to deal with the problem and make the relation work. Just ask yourself the following questions related to passive-aggressive personality disorder test and be sure if your partner or maybe you are suffering from this condition.
 Do you find your partner losing his/her cool over things that are out of your control? Does your partner blame and punish you for things that happen to him/ her even though you had no role in it?
✔ Do you find your partner getting sullen suddenly and seem depressed or angry about small insignificant events? Does he/she ignore the real issues that need attention and ignore them completely?

✔ Does your partner complain constantly of you not appreciating him/ her? If he or she never satisfied how much ever you try to please them?
✔ Does he or she often curse life or others as begin responsible for all their problems? Do you find that he/ she never takes up the responsibility of anything that happens to them?

✔ Do you find your partner creating a world of his/her and even if you show him/her a positive side of any matter, they tend to believe only what they perceive as 'truth'?
If you find you have answered at least 3 questions as YES, then you may be dealing with an individual with negativistic personality. There is nothing wrong with you and how much ever you try, you will never be able to gain their appreciation.
Such individuals have not learned to manage their anger and are emotionally unavailable. You need to accept them as they are and not blame yourself for your emotional troubles, if you are truly in love with an individual with passive aggressive personality disorder.
It is a life-long personality trait. You will always find these individuals having a 'poor me' mask on their face. Such individuals need to undergo counseling and cognitive behavior therapy to help identify their problem and change their behavior.
Group therapy helps them manage their hostility towards others and try to act in an appropriate manner in a social context. The doctors may advice certain medications to control their irritability, depression and other similar symptoms.
It is very important to learn to recognize its symptoms to help deal with the condition. With proper treatment you can control the negativism and help live a better and productive life. Acceptance and then trying to cope up with passive aggressive personality disorder in a positive way is very important.