Passive Aggressive Men: How to Help Them Quit Playing Games

Passive aggressive men aren’t all passive. For someone who deals with it, it leaves them feeling helpless, frustrated, and aggressive.

Passive Aggressive Men

Passive aggression is a manipulation by someone pretending you could care less, don’t have an opinion in the world and letting someone take the lead, only to make them feel like shit when things don’t go the way they want or their way. Being passive aggressive is an art. And if you are with passive aggressive men, you know how difficult they can be.

Being aggressive while pretending to be passive is something that takes skill and practice. What it does in a relationship is create little cracks that make you feel crazy. Passive aggressive men make you want to pull your hair out,  question your decisions continually, and wonder if anything you do is worthwhile or correct.

What is passive aggression?

Passive aggression is a way people send mixed messages, making you wonder where you stand. Never saying what they really mean, they say anything to divert any responsibility and to make it seem like they don’t have a care in the world.

Passive aggressive people are the most controlling people you encounter. They use confusion and contradiction to get what they want and when they don’t get what they want, then there is hell to pay. [Read: 15 subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend]

7 ways to deal with passive aggressive men and maintain your sanity

Being passive aggressive is a personality style defined by a deliberate way of expressing anger in covert manners. The passive aggressive person has an underlying anger that gets lost in the communication they express.

But, somehow it is felt without explanation. So, instead of driving yourself crazy acquiescing to the passive aggressive personality in your life, confront it. The secret to dealing with a passive aggressive personality type is combating it. The best way to deal with men who behave with passive aggressive behavior is to employ the following tricks.

#1 Call the behavior out for what it is. There is a saying that Southerners use that I was not privy to being from the Midwest. Any time I did something embarrassing or appeared to be over my head what I would hear from those around me is “bless your heart.”

Bless your heart is one of the most passive aggressive comments you can make. Why? Because it sounds really, really nice. After all, they are blessing my heart. But what lies beneath the blessing is hostility manifested with a sugar coating.

The only way to call out passive aggressive behavior is to identify and recognize it is a power struggle that can only be won if you know who and what you fight. The next time someone makes a backhanded “supposed” complimentary or otherwise statement, don’t internalize it. Ask them exactly what they meant and make them admit what their underlying intention is. [Read: Emotional manipulation: 14 ways people mess with your mind]

#2 Set your limits. If you live with a passive aggressive person, you learn to set boundaries and stick to them. Passive aggressive people continue to push the limits.

They were the ones that the phrase “you give an inch, and they take a mile” was created about. If you want to survive in a relationship with someone who uses passive aggressive behavior as a means of manipulation, draw a line in the sand and stick to it. If you veer at all, they take advantage as much as possible.

#3 Don’t deal in abstract or general terms. When dealing with passive aggressive men, generalities are like their superpower and your kryptonite. If you have a problem, be specific and call it out for what it is. If you try to bring past behaviors into the conversation or argument, you will be dead in the water because they cover it with all sorts of distractions.

When dealing with a passive aggressive man say “you did x,” and address it with anything but generalities. Otherwise, you run the risk of the silent treatment, which is worse than any other behavior the passive aggressive personality offers. [Read: Manipulative behavior – 10 signs you should never ignore]

#4 Be assertive. Don’t let a passive aggressive man make you believe something you know isn’t true. Being manipulative, the minute you question them, you are likely to be plowed over. If you don’t speak your mind in no uncertain terms, you forever feel powerless and guilty. Say what you mean and mean what you say to protect your own sanity.

#5 Show them that confrontation is okay. Often someone exhibiting passive aggressive behavior learned that confrontation is bad and always ends up in a mess or fight. If you confront a passive aggressive man with openness and without overt aggression on your part, they may be more apt just to say what it is that they want or what is on their minds.

Confrontation is a way of getting what you want, and it doesn’t have to be ugly. [Read: How to get your man to start communicating with you]

#6 Show them that what they do is self-sabotaging. If you show a passive aggressive man that getting what they want would be much easier if they were just honest and upfront, they may start approaching situations with better manners. When someone engages in passive aggressive behaviors, they do something called self-sabotage.

Wanting something, they either say they don’t want what they do, or make sure they send mixed signals that only confuses those around them and ensures that they don’t get what they want. Make it clear if they simply say what would make them happy, you accommodate as best you can. [Read: 15 reasons why “nice guys” finish last all the time]

#7 Give them options to help them make decisions. Sometimes people act passive aggressively because they truly don’t know what they want, but do know when they get what they don’t. If you give a passive aggressive man options and allow them to choose, they are more likely to get what they want and not be left miserable, instead of making you miserable because you didn’t do something right.

Passive aggressive men are a rare and difficult breed. They say one thing when they mean another. They say they don’t care when they care greatly. They make you feel like you are going insane.

The only way to stop the behavior is to confront it. When called out, they can’t be covert anymore. But, be careful, when threatened, you could find a really aggressive man behind the calm exterior.

[Read: How to stand up for yourself – Get what you want and deserve]

When dealing with passive aggressive men, it is best to pick your battles and take a stand when it is important and results in a better outcome than just playing their game.

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Bethany Locke
Bethany was born and raised in Scotland and now resides in Brighton where she lives with her partner and rather disobedient cocker spaniel pup. And in her spare...
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