Passive-aggressive behavior



A pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them.


In people who display passive-aggressive behavior, there's a disconnect between what they say and what they do. For example, they might appear to agree with another person's request. But rather than fulfilling the request, they might express anger or resentment by failing to follow through or missing deadlines.


Passive-aggressive behavior often includes resentment and resistance to the demands of others, especially those in authority. It may involve a lack of cooperation, procrastination and intentional mistakes. People who display this behavior may have a cynical, sullen or hostile attitude and complain often about feeling underappreciated or cheated.


Although passive-aggressive behavior can be a feature of some mental health conditions, it isn't considered a mental illness on its own. But passive-aggressive behavior can disrupt relationships and cause problems on the job. For some people, working with a therapist may help.