Friday, 26 July 2013

The Smiling Assassin

Trust me, they walk amongst us and we ought to take heed and be careful. 

These people are calm and docile. They are not in-your-face aggressors. They are experts in knowing how to adopt a placid persona to carry out their under-handed aggressive attacks. A classic case of wolf-in-sheep's clothing. They have a way of channelling all their anger and frustration in a passive way. It all looks so good on the surface but underneath they are mere backstabbers looking to retaliate in the most subtle and cunning ways.  It's a kind of undercover abuse. They are called Passive Aggressives. 

Passive Aggressives procastrinate even if they have agreed to do something for you. You can remind them countless times but they'll find a way to either do it in their own time or maybe not at all.  They have intentional inefficiency - that's when you ask them to wash the dishes, and they do it with a smile but will deliberately leave food bits on the plates stating they did their best. Their mission was sabotage. Their smile is really a smirk that says 'I'll teach you a lesson'. They'll refuse to deal with arising problems and will allow things to escalate. 

Passive aggressives won't tell you you're wrong, they'll make subtle sarcastic comments hoping you won't pick up on it, and if you do, you may find it very difficult to pin-point the offensive comment whilst they go all wide-eyed and innocent saying 'what....me? Oh nooo, I didn't mean it that way'. And if you insist on challenging them, they can make you look as if you're the one causing the problem. 


Passive Aggressives, don't take responsibility or blame. They are masters at what they do and know how to manipulate others. You usually find out who they are by their behaviour. 

Does anybody know what I'm talking about?

Have you ever been the victim of Passive Aggressive tactics?
How would you deal with someone who is a Passive Aggressive?

I'd love to hear your comments, views, opinions or experiences.

75 comments:

  1. You said, "that's when you ask them to wash the dishes, and they do it with a smile but will deliberately leave food bits on the plates stating they did their best."

    You said that like it's a negative thing. So, no, I don't know what you're talking about.

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    1. Ha, ha ha Joel, you're too funny. I know you know how to keep those dishes clean :), so don't even try it. I think that special someone in your life should read this post! Thanks for the joke mate.

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    2. Thank you Rum-Punch Drunk, for your post! Very interesting and useful post! I had to read it to clarify to myself a lot of things. Thanks a lot again! (I met a lot of people like this, but you "deactivated" their harm by telling who and what they are! Thanks a lot!

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  2. Well deep down I think we all have a little passive aggressive inside of us. Perhaps because at some point, confrontation becomes boring, repetitive, even redundant at times. While I claim to be as much as a straight shooter as you do, and I proudly stand by that idea, I think there are times when beating around the bush or "teaching a lesson" becomes more fun, almost a breath of fresh air as opposed to the normal which could be blunt, forward, perhaps a little rude.
    BUT -- I live with one of the most passive aggressive people that I know, and he is all that you listed above. It's hilarious that you've brought that dish washing idea to my attention, because clearly... he has manipulated me into thinking that he and every man (except my father)is terrible at cleaning of any sorts. As a result, I now do the dishes regularly because if I don't, I'll be rewashing his job.
    Great article. Made me snicker.

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    1. I would say that there's a difference between someone teaching you a lesson once in a while because they are trying to show you something or make a point for you to understand and the Passive Aggressive who has this as their default 'modus operandi', and uses it as a tool to manipulate people.

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  3. I do know what you mean Rum Punch... I have worked with people like this, people see their calm exterior but beneath it they are trying to find subtle ways to get even with you... A couple that I do that tried to do this to me, didn't succeed as I am just me, regardless of how you treat me and I won't be pulled to their level :) Good post :)

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    1. That's right Launna. Don't take the bait - if you can see it coming, especially when you are aware of what type of person they are. Keep your guard up girl!

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  4. I have very little patience with folks like this and have worked with enough of them that when those shenanigans start to play out that I know what they are very early on. Good food for thought for us today~

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    1. True Shelly. When you're experienced in dealing with them, it's much easier for you to recognise certain behaviours very early on. That way, you can also counteract what they are trying to do, and also save yourself from getting involved, if possible.

      I'm hoping that through this discussion we can get some ideas how to tackle these tactics.

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  5. Have you ever worked as part of a Corporation?

    In that place you will find the best operatives of Passive Aggressive.

    They are the kind of people that prosper in that environment.

    And that is logical, if you go by the straight lane, you need a lot of knowledge, respect for others and companionship... Unfortunately, there is no time for that.

    You need to escalate the pyramid in the less time possible, there are many despicable things to do, so one cannot lose time in trivialities.

    Have you watched "The Apprentice", hosted by Donald John Trump Sr.? If you did, maybe you learned some more things about Passive Aggressive ways.

    There is only one thing that worries me: in the case I am commenting there is a reason for this behaviour.

    The cases you mention are just a kind of blind revenge against the world, and that is a terrible thing to foster as a human.

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    1. Man, I know exactly what you mean about Corporations. It's a 'dog eat dog' world out there with everyone fighting to get into the golden seat.

      I've not see 'The Apprentice' with Donald J Trump, but I've heard a lot about Mr Trump and his unscrupulous ways. About a week ago I saw a TV programme about him wanting to build a golf course in Scotland. I didn't like what I saw about him and how he treated the locals either.

      I see what you mean about the damage fostering these things within us can do to our humanity. You can't be toxic to others without, at the same time, poisoning yourself a little.

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  6. I' Canadian. We make passive aggressive an art form.

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    1. Ha, ha ha ha. Does it drive you mad Jamie? Or do Canadians wear it proudly, as a badge of honour along with the maple leaf?

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  7. You should live with one as your parent. Yeesh, what a conundrum there.

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    1. My word Dan. That's what you call a real nightmare. I wonder, did their tactics work in getting you to behave well?

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  8. I worked for a passive aggressive. She felt threatened by my ability to handle a function of her responsibilities I was also responsible for. Unfortunately, she was the person tasked with handing out the assignments and in doing so, gave me far less applications to complete than she was supposed to.

    The heavy breathers at the company thought I wasn't doing my job. I complained to the PA's supervisor but it was like complaining to a sponge. She soaked up the information and never released it. I guess you could say they were both passive aggressives. I was eventually fired and replaced by someone at a lower salary who also got fired.

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    1. Oh that's terrible Lauren. Thats' the thing. When PAs don't take responsibility, drag their feet and don't do what they are supposed to do in a timely manner, others can suffer the consequences. And the whole organisation can end up suffering.

      She obviously didn't want you there and must have been relived when you were fired. But the fact that the other person who took your position was also fired may have caused 'alarm bells' to ring for the ones higher up. I'm wondering how long this PA lasted!

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  9. Unfortunately, the 'passive aggressive' are a common species. But I believe they are nothing more than fakes at disquiet and unrest, contradicting themselves. That, however, doesn't reduce the pain of the victims.

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    1. Don't take me at my word, but I think many many years ago, PAs were deemed as having a mental illness but it's not classed as one today, but like I said, I'm not sure.

      Either way, and like you said. People will still suffer at their hands.

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  10. Don't you always have the urge to slap a real,passive aggressive?
    Batch slap

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    1. Oh John, don't get me started. In my minds eye, I can sometimes see myself taking a few steps backwards then running full force followed by a high kick. Afterwards, my response would be 'I was just swatting that fly off you'... But I know that would be assault and not worth the bother. Just saying, though :)

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  11. I dont think I want to be with this kind of person, but they are out there. Good thing that you write about them. Maybe they will read your post and wake up.

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    1. They might read my post, and more than likely want to teach me a lesson for revealing some of their traits! Ha, ha ha ha..

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  12. Do I know what you mean? You bet. Sadly, I have one in my family unit. I also refer to them as predators. They watch and manipulate too well, make comments that you're not sure they wanted you to hear or not. Scary people. Scary.

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    1. Yes they are Donna. Feel free to share any tips you can on how to deal with situations. That would be really good and a great help to all of us. Thanks in advance mate.

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  13. Sometimes an expert passive aggressive will have me wondering if I imagined the entire situation. I'm not even sure if I should apologize to them.
    Later I realize what was really going on.
    I told one of my relatives that it would be best for all involved if we just went our separate way.
    It just wasn't worth the effort to continue the relationship.

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    1. John, you've said something so important. The real professionals can have you chasing your own tail and you won't even know why. Going your separate ways, when it comes to certain people is a good option in my eyes. Even if it is family, sometimes you need to remove yourself from the constant situations or the end result could cause a lot of serious harm.

      That's where people end up burning their bridges. They might win that battle, but it's rare that someone gets away with it for long without others thinking back and realising.

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  14. Oh RPD, I can feel your frustration! I am in a relationship with such a person as we speak. Trickery abound. Not a fan of the behavior yet I continue in the relationship. Glutton for punishment? Great post!

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    1. Michelle. Is there a reason why you continue to have a relationship with this person even though you know they are a PA - if you don't mind me asking?

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  15. Today, I'm going to leave a shorter comment. Yes I know of, have met in the past, such people. They love to play psychological mind games. Did they mean that or did they mean that? Yes, they try to plants the seeds of doubt in your mind. They are subtle bullies who see the vulnerable as easy targets to detract away from their own insecurities.

    Such people nearly destroyed my life. Then I took back control of my life and no longer give them permission to let their backstabbing cause me to get into a stressed-out, paranoid state.

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    1. Wow Klahanie, seems like you used the experience to become firmer within yourself and your ideas. As they say, 'you fool me once, shame on you, but if you fool me twice, shame on me'
      I'm just so glad that you managed to pull your life back together again :) Not everyone has the opportunity or seizes the chance.

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  16. I have seen or rather I have met such people. Backstabbing is among the worse thing a person does to others.

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    1. Yes, you have to wonder why, if a person has a valid criticism to make about someone, they don't say it to their face.
      As far as I can see, it must be one of only two reasons - either they don't have the guts, or they know that what they're saying won't stand up to the truth.

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  17. They are also called full-blown Narcissists. You leave them, never to return.

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    1. I believe that there are different forms of Narcissism. Some people have all the traits and are full-on and others may exhibit just a few of them. So yes, I think you can find Passive Aggressive Narcissists.
      I know of a full-blown narcissist, and this person would wrap a PA around their finger and swallow 10 of them whole. It's just no joke when they are functioning. No joke at all.

      By the way, I mean Narcissist in the clinical sense of the word - not just a person who is vain and self-absorbed.

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  18. Oh yes, I've definitely had the misfortune of knowing quite a few of these folks. They're actually pretty fragile. They're best avoided (if possible) or just handled with firm objective limits. At work, they receive a set of expectations, and if they play games, they are called on it, just like anyone else. No excuses accepted!

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    1. I like it Helena. If everyone has a set of goals that need to be done and deadlines to keep, especially if you have a very specific role from anyone else, then it's very clear to see who isn't meeting their quota, who's responsible and where the blame lies. PAs will not be able to throw up excuse after excuse, especially in your line of work. :)

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  19. I do know what you're talking about. I have had some pretty negative experiences with PA types. Manipulation is downright dirty. But - much to my shame, I have only lately realized that a passive-agressive soul lurks in my own skin. I grew up in a household where we hinted, and pussy-footed around the real issues, which made for a hairy-scary and warped relationship style...I am now on a road of change, learning how to express my needs openly and honestly, and how to confront what is wrong or needs changing in a strong and firm but compassionate way. So - I see both sides. Not pretty - but there are some out there who won't even see yet that they are stuck on a path that long ago set them up for failure. Ignorance is NOT a happy city to live in...

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    1. It's good that you have recognised that you can become that way if you don't put yourself in check. It's so easy to point the finger at others without having self-awareness. And it's even better that you are making good changes so that you can deal with people more openly whilst challenging issues.

      I agree with you that ignorance most certainly is not bliss. Both for the ignorant person themselves and those that they deal with!

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  20. I agree with Melody that on some days I see a little bit of the PA sneak up on me. We all have to be mindful of being around them, and turning into them ourselves. Very well-written Rum-Punch.

    Julie

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    1. Ah, good point Julie. We have to be very careful because sometimes we tend to want revenge and will do exactly what the person did to us! That leads us open to becoming like them and before you know it, we get in the habit and we are Passive Aggressives. What a thought!

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  21. I really hate passive aggressive types, they leave me wondering why they act that way to me since they never tell me what the problem is in the first place.

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    1. And that's their job and aren't they good at it PB Scott?

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  22. I wish that I knew how to recognize them. I thought that I had come across a couple of them when I was younger, but did not give it a thought. In my own family I have declared that no one is going to let me feel bad by making remarks in undertones or in a way that I should feel bad and they come out clean. I tell every one that if there is a problem, talk and straight talk is the only way.

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    1. Well done for grasping the bull (or should I say bullies) by the horns! Just beware, though, as sometimes a skillful manipulator can try to twist a situation to make your straight talk look like aggression - only offering a friendly word of caution from experience.

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  23. I've encountered a few passive aggressive s...even in my own family. In my experience, they're generally nice folks until they feel they've been crossed. The one in my family will smile and agree with everyone in the room, but find a way to individually take sides. I'm a very nice person, I smile alot, but I'm very direct and up front. I don't have time to pussy-foot around issues. If I see that someone is, I respectfully confront them and if we can't amiably come to a resolution, we agreeably or disagreeably part ways.

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    1. Hope, that's a good way to tackle it. It stops matters progressing very quickly because you were direct and to the point. I'm sure they'll always try to get you back later, but then again, that's their problem and not yours.

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  24. Interesting post. I know quite a few people who fit this description to a tee. Over time, I've learned how to tolerate and deal with all kinds of people but passive aggresives still scare me a little - for all the reasons you described.

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    1. They can be very hard to deal with Nicole, and the worse thing is trying to pin point exactly what they are doing, otherwise the tables can be turned against you. This is the essence of their strategy, in my opinion. Hard work.

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  25. You are pointed and accurate, and I don't think you go too far in lambasting passive aggressive behavior. It is particularly hard to cope with in relationships. I have a slight inclination in that direction, and I hate it in myself. Being conscious of it helps me be more open about my feelings and let certain negative emotions go.

    Thanks for your insights. As a teacher (university English), passive aggressive students are the worst. Better if they come right out and say what they are upset about.

    Darin

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    1. The good thing is Darin, that you are dealing with your own PA tendencies in a positive way. In fact, that makes you the better person.

      I can just imagine how many students you have to deal with regarding this behaviour, so you must be an expert on it. Like they say 'practice makes perfect'... or perhaps I should say 'what doesn't kill, fattens' :)

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  26. What an interesting post RPD! Straight forward yet articulate. Yes, I know what you were talking about, and I did meet many of them through my life. I admit some of them drove me crazy. Maybe I should not, because my weakness is that I could never be able to avoid problems, while these people could, and do it with such an ease. Or do they really? I suspect that some of them may be learned to be robots, some of them are actually just afraid of problem too much to confront them, so they employed some simple "formula" to help them to get rid of trouble.

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    1. I've been thinking about your comment Yun Yi. I'm wondering that if the PA's are in great mental pain when they behave in that manner or if they are comfortable in their skins! Or did they start off uncomfortable but in a process of time, adopt this robot like mental attitude? In other-words, did they just go along with whatever their minds told them without thought. It's all so interesting.

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  27. I think if one feels belittled or undermined around anyone it's a good clue to avoid them or at least keep all interactions short. I'm not a big fan of labeling or judging other people's conduct. I think the essential thing is to be aware of one's own feelings in a given situation and then take the appropriate action to emotionally disengage oneself. Sometimes you can improve the situation by respectfully airing your concerns; but often you just have to keep quiet and remove yourself.

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    1. This is an important clue that can be applied to so many situations across the board, NP. If we are sensitive in listening to ourselves we may not always need to know the terminology or ins and outs of a person's behaviour but we can tell that we need to take measures to minimize the potential harm they can inflict on us.

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  28. Hum, RPD, the way you described a passive aggressive, it appears that you intimately know this kind.

    The person that best comes to my mind was a member of the last church I pastored. Man, she was good. Because I was the pastor and she wanted to appear respectful of me, she would put on this outward show of respect before the congregation, but she was as rebellious as one can be. She would say "Amen" to sound suggestions I made to the congregation, but she would not put a hand to the work. Whenever she could undermine the church on the outside, she would. And I had to conduct myself in a way that others expected a spritual leader to do.

    As I said, she was good. You could never tie her down. Oh, and did I mention whe was old enough to be my mom? I called her in and talked with her many times. Even called in her husband and told him to get his wife under control. He told me he had tried and he could not. I never got her to come clean with her act, but I just made sure she never accomplished her goal, which was to try and get me to explode before the congregation so as to make me appear to be the one with a problem. That way, I maintained the respect of the rest of the congregation. Thank God for His divine peace to endure.

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    1. I hope you don't mind but I did have to laugh reading about your situation here. Not to take away from how much stress and aggravation you were put through, you must admit it would make an excellent idea for a great movie. Especially the meeting with the husband!

      Well done on maintaining your dignity. I'm not sure how many would in the face of such provocation.

      I also hope you're recovering from your recent illness and giving yourself a chance to rest Frank.

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  29. Passive aggressive people can suck the life out of you---and I think that's exactly what they are intending to do. It has been my experience that most of these people are actually quite insecure and envious of others--they berate others in a sly way only to build themselves up. I have been around many, MANY passive-aggressive people and I finally reached an age where I realized it was time to cut them out of my life for good. I am a happier person now because of it.

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    1. An interesting insight into the motive that might drive people to behave this way. I certainly don't think such a way of treating others can come from a happy or whole place. I agree that if a person's concept of satisfaction comes from putting others down, they must be in some kind of a bad way to start with.

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  30. Hi dear RPD,
    we have a lot of common "friends" I see !!!
    I know very well the category, probably the worse.
    The picture you posted is just perfect as they are animals with cold blood...
    I'll have a couple of week of holidays and I wish you a nice August time ! ciao...
    ps: your blog is fantastic for the nature of the subject and quality of your post, always interesting.

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    1. Thanks, Massimo. It was either a snake or a vampire... and I don't like horrors. And thanks for the compliment.
      Se non ci sentiamo prima, ti auguro un buon ferragosto! :)

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  31. I am certainly familiar with people who are like this. Unfortunately, they also happen to be apart of my family. This makes holiday funcations/gatherings quite awkward at times. If you try to confront them on their behavior, they will look at you like you're mad and accuse you of misinterpreting their intentions. I've simply learned to keep my distance as often as possible.

    Great post, as always RPD!

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    1. Good to hear from you again Kyle. Sorry to hear about the family awkwardness. I think a lot of the comments have show that one of the hallmarks of PA behavior is how difficult it is to confront. But, if people really don't respond to you trying to deal with things openly and honestly, I sadly have to agree with you that the only remaining option is to minimize contact.

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  32. Yes, I have been their target, but I tend to let go of these matters. I try to stay away, but they can try to manipulate me. It is awful

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    1. Staying away is an option if you have exhausted all other avenues Julia. And yes, it is awful what they do.

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  33. RPD... Another great Post/Question:

    Hard one for me. Just really don't have a great answer for it. I would say I have been not exposed to it enough to contribute. But, your point is valid. They will 'bleed you to death.' Great comments above.

    Take care, Slu (sorry I'm late to your party)

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    1. Slu my man, you're one of the fortunate ones then. But after reading this post and all the comments, you'll know what to look for and how to deal with it in the future.
      Always, better late than never I say :)

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  34. I feel as if I's surrounded by them, lol! It's easy to ditch some friends along the way if you realize that they are more interested in passive aggression and being right all the time over true friendship. passive aggressive family - that's a tough one - especially when you've married into it, lol!

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    1. Oh my, you really have your work cut out if you're married into a PA family. I hope you've checked out the comments to give you ideas as to how to deal with them but when it comes to blood, things can get very nasty indeed. I feel for you Charlene.

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  35. Hi dear friend!
    Good to know that people we met at Bloggers remember us.
    Passive aggressive? Run, run, run away from them.
    Love,
    Ana

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    1. I always stop by your blog Ana, you have such interesting things to say on a humane level. Good to hear from you and hope you'll return.
      Keeping your distance from PA's is an option.

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  36. Yes, I know exactly what you are talking about. I try to avoid people like that.

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  37. Oh my God! I wonder why I could never write about them (because I came across many of them :p)
    Yes! As your picture here shows, trust me such people are venomous! They will drag your patience to hell and then I don't know how, but they very cleverly escape from taking blame on themselves.

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    1. Venomous is a good word Esabella. After the snake bites, the venom slowly goes through you and damages parts bit by bit. Even after the venom has gone, there is still damage. Thanks you so much for commenting mate.

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