Passive-aggressive personality disorder is a personality disorder wherein a person tends to display a pattern of negative attitudes and passive resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations. It was listed as an Axis II personality disorder in the DSM-IIIR, but was moved in the DSM-IV to Appendix B ("Criteria Sets and Axes Provided for Further Study") because of controversy. Sometimes a method of dealing with stress or frustration, it results in the person attacking other people in subtle, indirect, and seemingly passive ways. It can manifest itself as resentment, stubbornness, procrastination, sullenness, or intentional failure at doing requested tasks. For example, someone who is passive-aggressive might take so long to get ready for a party they don't wish to attend that the party is nearly over by the time they arrive.
Someone who is passive-aggressive will typically not confront others directly about problems, but instead will attempt to undermine their confidence or their success through comments and actions which, if challenged, can be explained away innocently so as not to place blame on the passive-aggressive person.
Passive-aggressive disorder may be a result of society's conditioning of individuals; direct confrontation can lead to harmful consequences. For example, confronting one's manager may lead to the loss of opportunities, such as being passed over for a promotion or even losing one's job. The term "passive-aggressive" arose in the U.S. military during World War II, when officers noted that some soldiers shirked duties by adopting passive-aggressive type behaviors. What looks like a personality disorder to an officer may be a perfectly rational survival strategy for a 'grunt' on the front line.
Often passive-aggressive behavior manifests itself in individuals who view themselves as "peaceful". These individuals feel that expressing their anger through passive-aggressive behavior is morally favorable to direct confrontation.
The lack of repercussions resulting from passive-aggressive behavior ultimately leads to an unchecked continual attack, albeit passive, on one's acquaintances.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder".