A Damaging Pattern…
Surprisingly, though passive-aggressiveness is designed to avoid provoking anger in others, the opposite occurs. Behaviors ranging from the meekly non-assertive to the outright hostile surreptitiously give hidden anger a voice, inciting those on the receiving end to react with frustration, anger, and resentment. With repeated occurrences, relationships erode and often are ultimately destroyed.
Rarely is passive-aggressiveness a conscious or deliberate choice, but rather it is a complex mechanism that derives from childhood experiences, causing great suffering to those in its grip. We need to have as much empathy for the perpetrators as for the confused and angry partners who are injured (romantic partner, friend, co-worker, boss, employee, parent, adult child, or sibling—any substantial relationship), until the perpetrators understand their problematic behavior and bring an end to its reign over their lives.
Awareness of how the behavior is in play is half the battle in making a better choice.