The Passive-Aggressive Style Of Communication | Assertiveness Basics

  • Mixed Style of Communication. The person activates both passive and aggressive elements. The displayed, observable passive elements are meant to hide aggressive intentions and goals.


  • They think they should maintain a good social image and do not take responsibility for the aggressive attitudes and intentions they entertain.
  • They want the effects of the anger they feel toward someone or something, but they make a choice of avoiding the possible negative outcome by not expressing that anger, dissatisfaction or resentment directly.


  • They express their opinions, desires, and needs in a way that projects passive attitudes, but which is meant to hide the aggressive source of their message.
  • They do offer feedback, but most of the time in a modified manner, aimed at hiding the underlying aggressive attitude. 
  • They usually avoid conflict by not expressing their true feelings or opinions.


  • Predominantly Passive-Aggressive people pursue their own goals, but at the same time try to undermine the goal achievement of other people.
  • They usually feign or do a poor job in helping others to achieve their goals.


  • Primarily the emotions related to the passive and aggressive styles.
  • Anxiety, thinking that their true intentions might be discovered.
  • Guilt and shame, sometimes, when being discovered.

Because it relies on two rather ineffective communication styles, the Passive-Aggressive Style is also, most of the time, inefficient in regulating one’s relationships and inner dynamic.

Read More: The Five Styles of Communication and Behavior.