This is one of the major issues in a relationship, and it can be very difficult to deal with. The passive-aggressive partner may act like everything’s fine on the surface by agreeing with you or go along with what you say, but then later they turn around and do the opposite. Their anger might get expressed through sarcasm and insults. This happens when the person you love, does not express their feelings clearly but instead tries to keep them bottled up inside, while acting aggressively or withholding affection. If you are in a relationship with someone who displays this type of behavior, read these 14 tips to learn how to handle it.

  1. Check in with them to see what they are feeling. Usually passive-aggressiveness happens when they are having difficulty expressing their true feelings and feeling fearful of creating conflicts.

2. Express your feelings in a direct way to model the behavior you want to see (assertive communication style) in your partner.

3. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into doing things that you do not feel comfortable with, because someone is acting passive-aggressive towards you.

4. Encourage you partner to open up by making feel them safe.

5. Be vulnerable with you feelings and let them know when you are feeling hurt.

6. Speak up in a firm and kind tone with clear expectations of your partner.

7. If they do not express their feelings in a way that is respectful, set healthy boundaries with them.

8. Be willing to listen and not react in a way that will escalate the situation.

9. Consider how you might be contributing to the situation. And take responsibility for your feelings and behaviors without blame or judgment.

10. Ask questions rather than state criticism or blame the person for their behavior.

11. Work on being more objective about what is happening rather than emotionally reacting.

12. Recognize and acknowledge when these behaviors are happening, in the moment.

13. Maintain a sense of humor and keep things in perspective.

14. Reach out for professional help if needed.

Once you have recognized some examples of how these behaviors are, you will likely be able to recognize them in the future. However, you should still try to talk about what is bothering your partner and how it makes them feel with some empathy for their situation.

If you want to know more about how to handle this type of relationship issue, please call us to make an appointment. We can help you to start dealing with this or any other relationship issue that may be causing problems for your relationship.

Liz Wee, LMFT, ATR

Do you want to learn more about how you can improve your relationship with your partner? Or are you an individual, who's working on self right now to have better relationships in the future? I would love to assist you!

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