If you’ve been through a few romantic relationships, you’ve probably had at least one passive-aggressive partner. Passive aggressive people are those who indirectly express their anger or hostility.
They might do things like give silent treatment, withhold information, or make sarcastic comments. While it can be difficult to deal with passive aggression, there are some ways to respond that can help to diffuse the situation. But, that’s not what we will be discussing here today.
Instead, we will help you recognize a passive-aggressive partner and spot this type of alarming behavior. It can be very helpful and relieving to get a confirmation that your partner has indeed been passive-aggressive. It stops you from doubting yourself, getting gaslighted, or even manipulated. So read on and find out more on how to recognize a passive-aggressive partner.
5 signs to recognize a passive-aggressive partner:
If you’re not sure whether your partner is passive-aggressive, here are some signs to look out for.
1- Your partner never confronts you directly about anything:
They may never directly express their anger or frustration, instead choosing to bottle it up until it explodes in a fit of irrational rage. Or, they may find more subtle ways to lash out, such as making snide comments or leaving you out of important decisions.
They might also constantly undermine your efforts or make you feel like you’re never quite good enough, but without saying it to your face. Their comments, remarks, and actions will be targeted at you and imply that you fell short in something. But, they still wouldn’t confront you or tell you to your face. In fact, they could even deny that they meant such things if you ask or confront them about it.
If this sounds familiar, then you may be dealing with a passive-aggressive partner. While it can be difficult to deal with this behavior, remember that you are not responsible for their actions. With patience and understanding, you can help to bring about change.
2- They talked bad about you behind your back, at least once:
A second sign that you may have a passive-aggressive partner is if they ever talked bad about you behind your back. This could also be because they are trying to make themselves feel better by putting you down and this is another type of toxic behavior. Or, it could be because they’re passive-aggressive and cannot face you with the stuff they don’t like about you, so they rather gossip about you to others.
In other words, they’re a hypocrite, but like a sophisticated passive-aggressive hypocrite. They might act like they’re your best friend when you’re around, but as soon as you leave, they start gossiping about you to anyone who will listen or to their close relatives or friends. If your partner did this even just once and you can confirm it, then it’s a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.
Many people count it as one of their ultimate dealbreakers, so do you really want to be with someone who cannot communicate with you? And, on top of that someone who adds insult to injury by running around and making you look like a fool, a bad person, or an idiot when they talk trash about you to others. This can be devastating and heartbreaking coming from the person you trust the most and share a bed with.
3- They do things that bother you on purpose:
Another key sign of a passive-aggressive partner is that they will do things that bother you on purpose and out of nowhere. They might make snide comments or do something to undermine you. Of course, it will be indirect! They might also ignore your needs or try to make you feel guilty for things you didn’t mean to do or say.
Passive-aggressive behavior can translate into a way of communicating indirectly. It’s often used as a way to avoid conflict or express feelings of anger, hurt, or frustration. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is passive-aggressive, it’s important to communicate directly and assertively. Otherwise, the relationship can become frustrating and dysfunctional.
This means that they may start doing things to get back at you for things you didn’t even mean or don’t even recall. As a result, you may find yourself wondering why your partner is acting so rude, evil, or resentful for no apparent reason. You will most likely also start feeling like they bother you on purpose and then act like it was an accident, because of how often this type of thing happens.
4- They speak in riddles:
A fourth key sign of a passive-aggressive partner on our list today is that they speak in riddles. They may avoid direct communication, instead opting to hint at what they’re thinking or feeling. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to have a serious conversation about something important. You may find yourself always trying to decipher their sentences.
Riddle-speakers are always frustrating. You never know what they’re talking about because they’re always being indirect. It’s like they’re playing a game where the point is to be as vague as possible. Most people that do this do it because they try to gauge a person’s reaction to what they’re trying to say before they say it directly. It’s perceived as a way to limit and avoid conflict but it can backfire and cause more trouble in most cases.
In the end, the only people who enjoy that game are the riddle-speakers themselves. Everyone else just ends up getting frustrated. The next time your partner tries to imply something and you cannot figure it out, just ask what they mean directly and walk away if they don’t give a straight answer.
If your partner constantly speaks in code, a more permanent solution could be to try to have a discussion about communication styles. Otherwise, you may find yourself forever guessing what they really mean.
5- They punish you indirectly when you fault:
One last key sign on our list to spot a passive-aggressive partner is that they punish you indirectly when you fault. They may do things like refuse to communicate with you, give you the silent treatment, or make snide comments. They might also withdraw affection or block you from doing things you enjoy by making silly excuses. This could be a reaction to something you’re not even aware of.
You could easily find yourself wondering what it is that you did that has caused this behavior. But, one thing is for sure they will not face you or confront you about a single thing they’ll just proceed to punish you for things they think you’ve done without warning you about it.
Passive aggressive behavior is often motivated by a desire to control or manipulate the other person. If your partner frequently displays these behaviors, it’s important to address the issue and try to resolve it. Otherwise, the relationship is likely to become increasingly dysfunctional, unhappy, or even beyond repair.