Conflict situations with an angry person are characterised by noticeable contact in the form of friction or even collision. The angry person’s point of view and wants are generally obvious whether they are unrealistic or not. This is very different when dealing with passive aggressive behaviours. Like pathological anger, passive aggressiveness is caused by a person’s inability to express anger healthily.
The anger could be repressed or suppressed to such extend that the passive aggressive person is not even aware of his/her anger. When confronted with being called angry, the passive aggressive person may be convinced the other person has most certainly got the wrong end of the stick.
Because passive aggressiveness is such an ‘underground movement’, it can easily drive others to the point of giving up. If a person has little or no insight into their feelings, needs, and causes for their behaviour, conflict resolution or negotiation of a more successful relationship style is very hard to achieve. How do you know you or a person you know is passive aggressive? Here are some pointers:
They not following through with what they say they would, don’t meet deadlines, ‘forgetting’ important dates or arrangements, don’t take responsibility but blame others or circumstances, don’t take a stand about anything important, rarely express anger, agree with other people's wishes but don’t follow through with what they agree to, don’t like to be alone, strong need to control others, don’t trust others, are withdrawn in relationships, punish by withholding affection.
In conclusion, we can say that the passive aggressive person expresses his/her hostility in a covert way by withholding and not doing what others perceive he/she was prepared to do, while blaming the lack of his/her action on circumstances or third parties. They seem to thrive on resisting the expectations of others. Most painful, however, is that the passive aggressive person is unable to initiate, establish, and maintain a loving, caring, intimate relationship.