Communicating Concepts
Hosted by
San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Passive-Aggressive Personality

      There are many times that you may be part of relationships that involve the dynamics existing between the following groups:
  • parents and children;
  • student and teacher;
  • athlete and coach;
  • athlete and other team members;
  • between members of a synchronized or Theater-On-Ice team;
  • judges and coaches;
  • judges and skaters;
  • a dance or pair skater with their partner;
  • a dance or pair skater with their partner's parents;
  • judges and parents, clubs and its members;  etc.
       In everyday interaction in groups, you may be required to deal with individuals who exhibit multiple symptoms of the Passive-Aggessive Traits that are listed below:

Fear of Dependency, by Dr. Scott Wetzler. pages 35-37.

       The passive-aggressive individual is unsure of his/her autonomy & afraid of being alone, he/she fights dependency needs - usually by trying to control you. 
  • Fear of Intimacy - Guarded & often mistrustful, The individual is reluctant to show his/her emotional fragility.  He/she is often out of touch with his/her feelings, reflexively denying feelings he/she thinks will "trap" them into revealing previously very private thoughts.  He/she may pick fights to create distance and provide separation from other individuals.

  • Fear of  Competition - This individual's feeling of inadequacy means he/she is unable to compete with co-workers of either sex at work and in their personal lives in matters of love.  He/she may either self sabotages relationships with a pattern of failure, or be the tyrant, setting himself or herself up as unassailable and perfect in an attempt to eliminate any threat to his/her power.

  • Obstructionism - Just tell a passive-aggressive individual what you want, no matter how small, and he/she may promise to get it for you.  But he/she won't say when, and if he/she will actually start working on the fulfilling the promise. In many cases he/she will deliberately proceed slowly just to frustrate you.  Maybe he/she won't comply at all. He/she will usually block any real progress to slow you down until you become completely discouraged and stop pursuing their objective.

  • Fostering Chaos - The passive-aggressive individual prefers to leave the puzzle incomplete, the job undone. Procrastination is a major tool in these person's arsenal of obstruction.

  • Feeling Victimized - The passive-aggressive individual protests that he/she is unfairly accused of multiple misdeeds rather than owning up to his/or unsupportive conduct.  To remain above reproach, the passive-aggressive individual sets himself up as the apparently hapless, innocent victim of everyone else's excessive demands and tirades.

  • Making Excuses and Lying - The passive-aggressive individual reaches as far as he/she can to fabricate excuses for not fulfilling promises.  As a way of withholding information, and an affirmation or love is to gain power over others. The passive-aggressive individual may choose to fabricate a story rather than give you a truthful, honest answer.

  • Procrastination - The passive-aggressive individual has an odd sense of time - he/she believes that deadlines don't exist for him/her.

  • Chronic Lateness and Forgetfulness - One of the most infuriating & inconsiderate of all passive-aggressive individual traits is the inability to arrive on time. By keeping you waiting, he/she sets the ground rules of the relationship. He/she will use selective forgetfulness to avoid an obligation.

  • Ambiguity - He/she is master of mixed messages and sitting on fences.  When you are told something, you may still walk away wondering if he or she actually said an empathetic yes or no answer.

  • Sulking -  The passive-aggressive individual is rarely able to live up to his/her promises or obligations.  The passive-aggressive individual retreats from pressures around him/her and sulks, pouts, and withdraws from interactions with others to avoid explaining his/she failure to complete a project or deliver on a promise.


Passive-Agressive Personality Disorder (PAPD)
(sometimes referred to as a Negativistic Personality Disorder) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM 4th Edition
Published by the American Psychiatric Association

    People with Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder (PAPD) are characterized by covert obstructionism, procrastination, stubbornness, and inefficiency.  Such behavior is a manifestation of passively expressed underlying aggression.  In the DSM-IV the disorder is also called negativistic Personality Disorder (PD).

Clinical Features
    PAPD patients characteristically procrastinate, resist demands for adequate performance, find excuses for delays, and find fault with those on whom they depend; yet they refuse to extricate themselves from the dependent relationships.  They usually lack assertiveness and are not direct about their own needs and wishes.  They fail to ask needed questions about what is expected of them and may become anxious when forced to succeed or when their usual defense of turning anger against themselves is removed.

    In interpersonal relationships, this type of individual may attempt to position themselves into a position of dependence, but others often experience this passive, self detrimental behavior as punitive and manipulative.  People with this disorder expect others to do their errands and to carry out their routine responsibilities. 

    Friends and clinicians may sometimes try to reduce the patients' claims of unjust treatment.  The close relationships of people with PAPD, however, are rarely tranquil or happy. Because they are bound to their resentment more closely than to their satisfaction, they may never even formulate goals for finding enjoyment in life.  People with this disorder lack self-confidence and are typically pessimistic about the future.

    PAPD must be differentiated from histrionic and borderline PD. Patients with PAPD, however, are less flamboyant, dramatic, affective and openly aggressive than those with histrionic and borderline Personality Disorder (PD).

    PAPD patients who receive supportive psychotherapy have the prospect of a good outcome, but psychotherapy for these patients also has many pitfalls. To fulfill their demands is often to support their pathology, the refusal to agree to their demands is generally viewed as a rejection by the patient. 

    Therapy sessions can, thus, become a battleground on which the patient expresses feelings of resentment against the therapist on whom the patient wishes to become dependent.  With these patients, clinicians must treat suicide gestures as any covert expression of anger, and not as object loss in major depressive disorder.  Therapists should point out the probable consequences of PA behaviors as they occur.  Such confrontations may be more helpful than a correct interpretation on changing patients' behavior.

       The essential feature of a person with passive-aggressive personality (PAPD) disorder is a pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in social and occupational situations that begins by early adulthood. These individuals routinely resent, oppose, and resist demands to function at the level expected by others. 

       This opposition occurs most frequently in work situations but can also be evident in social interactions.  The resistance is expressed by procrastination, forgetfulness, stubbornness, and intentional  inefficiency, especially in response to tasks assigned by authority figures.  

       The PAPD individual obstructs the efforts of others by failing to do their share of the work. A frequent excuse is that vital information was not communicated, materials were misplaced or misfiled. As a result there is insufficient time to do the work.  

       These individuals feel cheated, unappreciated, misunderstood, and chronically complain to others.  When difficulties appear, they blame their failures on the behaviors of others. They may be sullen, irritable, impatient, argumentative, cynical, skeptical and contrary. 

       Any authority figure (e.g., a manager at work, a teacher at school, a parent, or a spouse who acts the role of a parent) become the focus of the PAPD's discontent. Because of their negativism and tendency to externalize blame, these individuals often criticize and voice hostility toward authority figures with minimal provocation. 

       They display envy and resentment towards peers who succeed or who are viewed by others as positive authority figures.  The PAPD individual often complains about their personal misfortunes.  They have a negative view of the future and may waver between expressing hostile defiance toward those they view as causing their problems and attempting to mollify these persons by asking forgiveness or promising to perform better in the future.

       The PAPD individual is often overtly ambivalent, wavering indecisively from one course of action to its opposite.  They may follow an erratic path that causes endless wrangles with others and disappointments for themselves.  An intense conflict between dependence on others and the desire for self-assertion is characteristic of these individuals.  Their self-confidence is often poor despite a superficial bravado.  They foresee the worst possible outcome for most situations, even those that are going well.  This defeatist outlook can evoke hostile and negative responses from others who are subjected to the complaints of these individuals.   This pattern of behavior often occurs in individuals with  Borderline, Histrionic, Paranoid, Dependent, Antisocial, or Avoidant Personality Disorders.

       People with passive-aggressive behaviors are frequently encountered in authoritarian situations (e.g., work, military, prison) that do not tolerate other forms of assertiveness. Only when these passive- aggressive personality traits are inflexible, non-adaptive, and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress do they constitute a disorder in these environments.    

       PAPD individuals can be superficially submissive; however, they like to control others without taking responsibility for actions, or anger, denies/refuses open statements of resistance/maintains own "good intentions."

       Intentional but unconscious passivity hides aggression, represents a denial and confusion over his/her role in conflict, gives mixed signals hostile defiance alternating with contrition. An PAPD will be overly critical and making constant "left-handed" compliments, subtle attacks, blames, insults, and a litany of complains about others critical of everyone in authority or in a position with power/control over him/her. They use their fault-finding and unnecessarily prolonged argumentativeness as defense against intimacy/ commitment,   


    Defend yourself from Passive Aggressive behaviors!   March 4, 2009. At first glance, a passive aggressive individual doesn't come across as too angry or acting with a hidden agenda. They appear quite friendly, unassuming and benevolent. If you have to deal with a person who has a passive Aggressive Personality, you need to know what is at stake and that your whole life can suffer if you are not aware of the impact on your mental health.
  • Out of the FOG - Passive Aggressive Behavior  Dec 29, 2010 Personality Disorders - Description, Definition & Examples of Passive Aggressive Behavior.Passive Aggressive behavior is the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive, passive way (such as through procrastination and stubbornness). It is common for a person to express passive-aggressive behavior when they are in a position of low influence or control over a person with whom they are angry. People who feel powerless, inferior or afraid of a person with whom they are angry will frequently resort to a passive-aggressive style.

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

ll materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

Athlete Concerns     Collection of Related Ideas    Skating Articles    Related Topics      

Ice Skating Rink Index    Topic Index    Site Index   Home Page