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Passive-aggressive personality disorder is a chronic condition in which a person accepts the desires and needs of others, but actually passively resists them, becoming increasingly hostile and angry.

Passive-aggressive personality disorder is a chronic psychological condition in which a person externally accepts the desires and needs of others but passively resists them, becoming increasingly hostile and angry.

This disorder affects almost all interpersonal or occupational situations. It is a method of dealing with stress or frustration, but it results in the person attacking other people in indirect ways. This disorder can manifest itself as resentment, stubbornness, procrastination, sullenness, or intentional failure at doing requested tasks. Though modern psychiatry no longer recognizes this condition as an official diagnosis [1], instead replacing it with a new disorder termed negativistic personality disorder, many of us have encountered it in person.

This behavior creates many problems in a person's work and social life. Unfortunately, passive-aggressive personality disorder lasts for life, and the patient needs frequent monitoring by a healthcare professional. There are no established risk factors for passive-aggressive personality disorder, but genetics may play a role.

Symptoms and Signs of Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder

People diagnosed with passive-aggressive personality disorder present responsibility passively rather than through open expression of their feelings. In most cases, procrastination, inefficiency, and forgetfulness are behaviors commonly used to avoid doing what they need to do. A person with this disorder may appear to (want to) comply with another's wishes. However, the requested action is either performed too late or carried out in a way that is intentionally substandard. [2]
Certain behaviors help identify passive-aggressive behavior in other people:

  • Obstructionism
  • Procrastination
  • Resentment
  • Resisting suggestions from others
  • Sullenness
  • Ambiguity
  • Avoiding responsibility by claiming forgetfulness
  • Blaming others
  • Chronic lateness and forgetfulness
  • Complaining
  • Not expressing hostility or anger openly
  • Fear of competition
  • Making excuses and lying
  • Fear of dependency
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Fear of authority
  • Fostering chaos
  • Intentional inefficiency
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