It happens in everyday life that we are subjected to attacks which are difficult to detect at once. These are always grumbling, dissatisfied, offended people, scolding everything from the weather to the government, and “well-wishers”, giving advice and showing “care”. Psychologists call this behaviour hidden, or passive aggression. It causes a natural internal protest, although on a logical level you often find it difficult to explain to yourself what happened and what exactly hurt you so much. 

You may encounter it not only in public places (parks, schools, offices, and casinos if you are in land-based, not virtual casinos such as, but also among people close to you. Let’s understand what passive-aggression is, where it comes from, where it hides, and what to do when you encounter it in everyday life.

How to recognize passive-aggressive behaviour

For example, on the bus, a kind-hearted grandmother begins to cry over a small child in front of his mother: “Oh, my child, why are you without a hat! It’s so cold outside. Why didn’t your mother put a hat on you?” And it seems like no aggression, but the mother is disturbed because her territory was invaded, her authority in the eyes of the child was undermined, and often the first reaction to such passive-aggressive behaviour can be complete confusion, and then anger. After all, this grandmother humiliated her by pointing out that even a stranger is better at taking care of her child than she is.

These are not all examples and manifestations, passive aggression can take many other forms, but the main sign will be your personal feelings. Most often in response, a person feels anger, which even at first, he cannot explain himself, so he is lost and does not know how to react. After all, there was no obvious attack, therefore it is very difficult to answer directly.

How to react to passive aggression

The most important thing in such situations is to keep self-control. The technique of five breaths and exhalations before the answer can help. It is important to remain in an adult position. For example, in the case of the grandmother, this would be a polite and firm answer: “This is my child, and I decide what is best for him or her. Thank you for caring.” And even if there is an attack next, don’t engage in conflict, don’t attack back, but hold firmly to the defence. Don’t get involved in the aggressor’s game. Such people unconsciously want to pour out on you the anger that has accumulated over the years and most often has nothing to do with you.

Ask direct questions. 

Spell out your feelings in a confident and firm tone from an adult position. For example, “I don’t like this kind of talk in my presence, and from now on, please wait until I leave”. 

Set clear boundaries. If you notice your passive aggression – for a long time you tolerate it, gloss over it and then pour it out (often not on the recipient, but someone weaker), grumble or feel jealous and want to get rid of it – you should learn to transfer your aggression from negative to positive, that is, to direct it into action. Set boundaries, speak your mind, and show anger. Certain training or work with a psychologist can help with this. Act in real life, don’t waste your life energy on envy, gossip, and anger and stay happy!

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