The Passive Aggressive Communicator: Highly Annoying and Difficult to Tolerate

Welcome to our Friday series for couples, filled with mouth-watering food pictures and insightful relationship tips, because we all know that after a while, it’s all about the food when it comes to long-term relationships.One of the most difficult personalities to work with or be in a relationship with is someone that has a passive-aggressive communication style. This means that the individual will appear passive or agreeable on the surface, but will sabotage or act out in anger or disapproval in a subtle and indirect manner. I’m pretty sure we all know someone like this. Messages will often sound unclear and confusing, the individual may use lies, sarcasm, teasing, ridiculing, false praise, insinuations and they will procrastinate. They will often agree to do something, but turn around and sabotage it or do it differently than instructed because they did not want to express their disagreement up front.When in a relationship with a passive-aggressive communicator, you may feel as if he or she is playing games, as if the person doesn’t mean what he or she says, and that there is always something more that you have to guess. It’s common for passive-aggressive individuals to leave clues around and wait to be caught in an affair, rather than tell the spouse directly that they are not happy in the relationship, or constantly find blame with their partner, just because it’s a lot easier than admitting that they are just not into the relationship anymore.The words of wisdom for this category are “say what you mean and mean what you say”. But this is not as easy as it sounds for someone that has been functioning like this for a very long time.Relationship and communication counseling can help when coupled with some good books, trustworthy friends or an intimate partner who is willing to practice these new skills. Have you ever had this experience? Or know someone that does? If you want to know more about your communication style, follow the series on Facebook and check out our free Marriage & Relationship Resource Center to learn how to communicate effectively with your spouse.ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, stress and anxiety management, and executive coaching. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier MarriageClick HERE to check out her free resources on effective communication, emotional unavailability, intimacy, and anxiety management or join her at for monthly blog posts.