How to Successfully Deal with Passive Aggressive Behavior

Empaths can read people really well due to their sensitivity. Yet, there is a personality type that continues to baffle you and yes sometimes even me. You know the type, a seemingly agreeable person who smiles and acts kind yet speaks with cutting remarks, misplaces or forgets important items or consistently arrives late. Passive aggressive behavior causes chaos in relationships and is an energy drain for everyone, not only empaths, due to their denial, procrastination, pouting, silent treatments and lack of responsibility for one’s emotions and behaviors.

The psychology behind this

This person is not evil, just scared. She or he has not learned how to express anger in healthy ways and most likely was shamed or threatened for any outward expression of this feeling as a child. There is a feeling of powerlessness, which is why this person seeks to have power in indirect ways. In order to feel safe, this person denies and represses the feeling. As the saying goes, what gets repressed gets expressed in one form or another. That is why the underhanded comments slip out, the tasks go unfinished or appointments are missed.

What can you do?

Step 1: Trust your instincts. When interacting with this type of person, it is difficult to put their resistant behavior into words. You know that there is a disconnection between what a person says and what a person does. You feel their hidden hostility, yet when you confront this person on their behavior she or he will deny it to the hills.

Step 2: Recognize the pattern. Many empaths go the avoidance route because you don’t know what to do. You will leave the situation politely but feel confused and exhausted. A part of my job is to teach you how to maintain your energy despite outside influences. Avoidance can be a good start although I would like to help you choose your behaviors from a place of power.

For those that get stuck in a dance of frustration or freeze because of an inability to detach from energy; begin to become aware of what is happening even if it is after the situation is over. Learn to see the patterns and refuse to participate in them. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting a different result. You are the one who needs to change because they won’t.

Step 3:  Become like Spock. Remind yourself that their behavior is not personal. Do not react even though every fiber of your being wants to. Take a breather, walk away and practice relaxation techniques. Once you emotionally disengage and detach from the situation, identify that this person is angry and not you.

Step 4: Flood them with light and love. This is for the light workers and enlightened ones out there. The dynamics of a relationship can change from one person detaching. I have witnessed miracles in my own and my client’s lives when they are able to send blessings to those that trigger them.

Two ways to do this is imagine them surrounded in white light and pray for them. Don’t forget to give yourself the same kindness and compassion. This is not easy to do, if you are struggling with this one take heart that most people do not get to this level of being around difficult people.

Step 5: Learn assertiveness skills. For those relationships that are close to you such as family and friends you will want to come to a sense of peace and empowerment. A gentle but direct approach that focuses on the behavior is what works because these people fear confrontation and anger. If they suspect any type of perceived challenge or threat they will avoid and deny. In the end, you may handle the situation with the utmost tact and diplomacy and still the person denies their behavior.

Lisa Hutchison LMHC works specifically with sensitive healers who want to recharge and refuel their energies from challenging relationships such as these through phone counseling and angel card readings. I will address your specific situation and we will come up with a step by step plan to empower you for a future interaction. The more you step into your power, you will deal more successfully with this type of relationship dynamic without getting drained.

To break free from the chaos of relationship dynamics go to and help yourself to 8 Simple Things that Release Chaos from your Life Now!


34 thoughts on “How to Successfully Deal with Passive Aggressive Behavior

  1. This came to me at exactly the time I needed it! Just yesterday I thought to myself, “Oh, this is passive aggressiveness” in relation to a new member in a business group. My impulse is to usually run for the hills but this time I will try flooding her with love and light. Thank you for your insight. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your ideas around the psychology of this type of behavior. It makes so much sense. Thank you, Lisa. It is so much easier to extend compassion when you have a better understanding of where it comes from.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for these tips Lisa. With loved ones who do this to me, I am much more direct. I even say “Your behavior is passive aggressive right now. If you are unhappy with something, please use your words & tell me.” I know that most passive aggressive hate confrontation, but I can’t stand leaving things unsaid & swept under the rug. Sometimes it helps & the person apologizes. Other times they just roll their eyes at me (passive aggressively!) 🙂

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  4. Thank you for this. I have a subordinate who displays this type of behavior and I was trying to figure out how to combat it without allowing myself to become negative.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Lisa. We have some historic patterns of passive aggression and codependency in our family, which I have had to release over the course of my lifetime. Now, when certain people exhibit these behaviors, my reaction is not to respond or engage, but simply to shut them out. I’m working on compassionate boundaries but it’s hard not to simply say, “I don’t want this energy in my life anymore” – especially when the person has no interest in learning a new way of communicating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are welcome Bryna! It is very difficult to make changes when others do not respond in kind, especially when it is a family member. Detachment in this type of situation can be a long process and is best supported with an empathic therapist, it is worth it.❤ xx


  6. As a Master Teacher/Master Intuitive Energy Healer and Behavioral Specialist, I see patterns as mega blocks to what our lives can be. One can passively agressively block their own desired life. It is nice to see that there are simple notions to help identify as such. Divine is simple, ego is complex. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • The subconscious mind can block us in many ways. That is why I recommend going to a healer/therapist that you trust to help you navigate through these patterns. We all deserve to live a life that we love! Thanks for your comments Natasha and keep up the good work helping others. xx


  7. This is a subject that used to get under my skin. Passive aggressive behavior is easy to identify when you know the signs. I try to be patient but prefer to distance myself from people who make this a habit. It’s quite exhausting to deal with and the energy pattern is not a frequency I choose to engage with unless it is unavoidable. I used to react, now I respond flooding them with love and light! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Reba. I find the transference of feelings onto another an interesting phenomena. It is an important point for empaths to remember and to not take on the feelings of others as their own.


  8. Lisa!! Thank you so much for writing this. I’m definitely what one would consider an empath. I mean I practically inhale the emotions I’m exposed to. Passive aggression has always been one of my biggest pet peeves. I couldn’t appreciate your advice any more than I do. I never know how to deal with passive aggressive people. This helps a lot 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. One of my best friends was consistently late. Very late.
    And when she arrives, there is always this little “cute” notice-me wave, a small hello type of smiley way to get out of being in trouble for being late. Most of us have realized it best to ignore her arrivals. Or even to frown, slightly.
    She has been wounded, for sure, and we do like her.
    However, I have noticed that when I confronted her, gently and privately, about it, telling her it is rude and interruptive (late arrivals to short meetings!) she began improving, admitting her fault, and promising to try more to care about our feelings. And when I privately told her I’d noticed her improvements (only five minutes late, most of the time) she seemed to do even better.
    Now her beloved husband (and one of her life pains, sadly) has died.
    And her lateness had really relapsed.
    Would you mention it or give her a year or so to recover from this loss, first? I know she is using mourning as a cover for several rude behaviors, such as now-days not even showing up, and yet not calling, when she knows we love and worry about her long drive into the city and her widowed state. Should I mention that I notice what she is doing, or should I just let it slide for now? Which would be best FOR HER?

    Oh, and I am in a casual authority position to her.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Katharine, we all slip back into old patterns of behavior when facing loss and grief, that is not unusual. I would recommend that you use your intuition as to whether you gently confront her privately about this or wait. If you are unsure, err on the side of caution until the answer becomes clear to you. In the mean time try some of the less direct approaches in the blog. If you require more assistance feel free to contact me for an appointment.

      Liked by 1 person

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