“That’s just the way I am” – “I say what I think” – “I’m only joking with you” – “I’m really surprised you’re upset” – “Don’t be so sensitive” – “You’re overreacting”
If you recognise any of the above – chances are you have experienced or are experiencing veiled insults from a person with passive aggressive behaviour.
People with passive aggressive behaviours are often referred to as wasps. They offer what is initially a compliment and then inject their sting.
Examples “Lovely dress – shame the colour isn’t really you”; “What great jeans, well done – short people can’t usually wear jeans ”; “Fabulous trousers – of course you can get away with them with your skinny little legs”
The passive aggressive person is often covertly expressing anger with these barely socially acceptable ‘compliments’. They can appear very plausible and it is easy to believe that they have your best interest at heart. However the passive aggressive person will take pleasure in your anguish and feign surprise at your discomfort or anger.
One way to deal with this kind of unwanted attention is to ask the person to repeat what they have said and then to just laugh if you can. If you refuse to rise to their nastiness they will soon become bored.
Please do remember that those who exhibit passive aggressive behaviour are usually deeply unhappy and often hold a lot of anger within themselves. They need to make themselves feel better by trying to belittle others.
If you are the victim, or indeed know that you are the perpetrator of this sort of behaviour, perhaps exploring your own journey at a deeper level might help.