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11 Telltale Signs You’re Being Passive Aggressive—Without Even Realizing It

You procrastinate

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Putting off tasks, making excuses, and being unreliable are also telltale signs of passive-aggressive behavior. “They are master procrastinators,” says Whitson. “While all of us like to put off unpleasant tasks from time to time, people with passive-aggressive personalities rely on procrastination as a way of frustrating others and/or getting out of certain chores without having to directly refuse them.” Stop procrastinating for good with these tricks.

You stir up trouble

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According to Whitson, “passive-aggressive people are masters at remaining calm and feigning shock while others, worn down by his or her indirect hostility, blow up in anger.” Even worse, this person can take pleasure out of setting others up to go off-the-handle and then comment on why they are overreacting.

You give off mixed messages

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A passive-aggressive comment is one that feels like a knife but is difficult to respond to directly, says Charlotte Howard, PhD, a psychologist in a private practice in Austin, Texas. “This may be because it is either buried in a nice tone or some other large seemingly nice point. It also might be because the comment is so indirect that if you express you’re hurt, you may seem too sensitive.” Alternatively, passive-aggressive comments may be true statements that bring to light an unflattering angle on a person or situation. “Therefore, it’s difficult to argue with the statement, but it still stings because of what it implies about you,” she explains.

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