Passive Aggressive Behaviors

Watch out for passive aggressive behaviors in your life and business. It will kill your clarity, momentum, and the truth is YOU are responsible as a Christian to guard your peace. If you can’t do that then you are going to make fear-based choices that will sabotage any vision you try and establish.

At the heart of permitted this behavior in your life is a lack of leadership or ability to ask the questions that will have to make controlling individuals recognize that they have violated your boundaries.  Typically people who are passive aggressive have grown up in homes where one parent was controlling or addictive, and the other parent was a passive/enabler.  This person is usually SATURATED with idolatry (idolatry is when we seek the comfort of anything other than the Holy Spirit. E.I. Alcohol, food, drugs, people pleasing)  and it won’t come down without you really being willing to stand through the tension.

Passive aggressive people expect to be disrespected or taken advantage of eventually, so they jump to conclusions when there is the least amount of miscommunication or mistakes made. They BELIEVE they are disrespected at the core of their identity and it’s become WHO THEY ARE IDENTITY WISE. They are also great at excuse making about their behavior which is why it takes so much energy and time to deal with these kinds of people. If this is in your response patterns, you have to get militant about addressing this as it has most of the time been in your family for generations. Most of the time if it’s addressed,  they not only deny it but turn it around so that you feel shamed or doubt you saw it.

Passive aggressive leaders surround themselves with enablers, so it’s classic crazy town banana pants feeling for anyone who attempts to address it. The challenge in business is time is money, so honestly, you have to evaluate if this is the kind of partnership you want in your life as it’s a massive financial leak to your profits and marketing.

So, how do you know you’re dealing with a leader or business owner who is passive aggressive? Here’re some characteristics:

They tell you they are going to take care of it but “forget” regularly. 

They triangulate to others in the family in team rather than directing their questions to the person who can change the situation.

They act like a victim of everything that happens that doesn’t go their way. 

Everything seems fine and then all the sudden they just email you about how disappointed they are with you or your performance.

They keep pushing the boundaries until you explode because they don’t want to be the one who initiated the conflict.

They ask you to deal with confrontation for them because they are too busy or you are “great” at being diplomatic.

They won’t deal with individuals one on one but rather address the offense in a group setting by alluding to the problem.

You will hear them always complain about how they are not respected, or they just keep getting taking advantage of over and over again.

They cut people off relationally, but then when they see them publicly in front of others they pretend all is well.

They show favorites depending on who is affirming them.

They can point out every little detail of how you failed but don’t take any ownership in how they failed to lead.

They always have an excuse for why they couldn’t finish a project or why it didn’t work out.

They are not interested from a business perspective in doing a better job. You will need to let them go when you begin to see these patterns. 

So how do you deal with these kinds of friends, business acquaintances, and family in your life? First of all, address their behavior as passive-aggressive but guard your heart and time with them! If you decide to confront them, have in mind the decision or action you will be taking ahead so that you get to put it in play. Most of the time, these individuals do not want to change or take ownership so distancing yourself is the only option.

Next, don’t second guess yourself. Passive aggressive people have a way of making you feel like it’s your fault when they are minimizing or manipulating you. If you think uh-oh feeling, most likely, you are right. Pray for them to receive the truth but again, don’t come under the fear they try to intimidate you with. Limit your time with them unless they acknowledge their issues.

Lastly, and this is the most important. You HAVE to set very clear boundaries with them without guilt. If they are attempting to control you, just let them know up front precisely what actions you will be taking and then EXECUTE every time. If you don’t, you have taught them that you are negotiable.

Remember, boldness means you can’t back up when there is tension. Hold your ground, establish your authority and stay focused on your mission. Don’t let passive aggressive people distract you from accomplishing the work that God has put you here for!

Have you considered becoming a Christian coach or speaker? Sign up for my START NOW package where I pray with you, give you some thoughts on how you can get started and yes, I have resources if you decide to move forward!

Faith Forward! Bec:)

6 thoughts on “Passive Aggressive Behaviors”

  1. This is so relative for me today as I spoke with my mom last night then noted it in my journal this morning to God. I am doing my best to honor her, although I am not doing a good job, yet. But, I find humor in the fact that the original post was actually on her birthday. Now, THAT seems like a Godly confirmation. Thank you for addressing this extremely important issue that absolutely absorbs enormous amounts of time, energy, and money. Thank you most for clarity.

  2. Hi Becky,
    Thank you for your article. God is right on time. I have a roommate that shows passive-aggressive behavior and on top of that she uses the Bible to condemn me and is self-righteous.

    I have a problem with my temper and she doesn’t think I am saved because if I was I would have the Fruit of the Spirit in me. I don’t believe that we automatically have the fruit and that God works in each of us His own way. Every time I point out something she may or may not be doing she accuses me of judging her even when it is Scriptural. But she is judging me and she says she is judging by the Fruit of the Spirit.

    There is a lot more I could say but want to keep this short. I would appreciate any input that you could give me.

    1. Becky Harmon

      Pat, your welcome! That sounds like a tense situation for sure. As you know we all have to work on ourselves first but here’s what I suggest first. Next time your in prayer, get clear on what exactly your angry about. Is there a boundary she has crossed? If so, when things are calm, begin to address the frustration and set the expectation with her that this is solvable. Do get clear on what you would like to see happen relationally with her and what exactly you both can do to work together. Without specifics, I am just making general boundary statements but I often see when there is anger it’s because someone’s boundaries have been crossed. Hope that helps! Bec:)

      1. Hi Becky,
        Thanks for the advice. Yes I am angry about the fact she has crossed boundaries a lot and it has been building up. I will be praying for this situation and about our relationship.
        Thanks again

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