1. Dating & Relationships

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

How to Kiss Like in

Video:Signs of Passive Aggressive Behavior in a Spouse

with Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

Passive-aggressive behavior can manifest itself in a myriad of ways. Get tips on how to recognize passive aggressive behavior in a spouse in this how-to video from About.com.See Transcript

Transcript:Signs of Passive Aggressive Behavior in a Spouse

Hi, I'm Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist based in New York City. I'm here for About.com to talk about passive-aggressive relationships. 

Passive-Aggressive Does Not Mean Physically-Aggressive

Typically when we think of aggression, we think of physical acts of violence, but passive-aggressive behavior is not that at all. It's a much more subtle type of aggression. When we're looking for passive-aggressive behavior in a spouse, we want to look for a spouse who doesn't have the capacity to process anger in a healthy way. We also look for a spouse who doesn't have the capacity to assume responsibility for their actions.

How Passive-Aggressiveness Manifests Itself

Typically this manifests itself in a lot of excuses, so they become very forgetful.  Other signs for a spouse who is passive-aggressive is their fear of dependency, that they basically keep pushing you away, and with this is this fear of intimacy.  So the pushing you away comes from their incapacity to handle intimacy and vulnerability that comes in a relationship.

There's also this disconnect between what they say and what they do. So they could say that they love you very much, yet they forget significant events in your life. They forget your birthday, they forget your anniversary.

Procrastination and Passive-Aggressiveness

Another thing we want to look for in a spouse who is passive-aggressive is this constant procrastination, where they say they're going to do something and it never happens.

So you keep on asking them to do a chore around the house, and they say, “Oh, I'll do it,” but then it never gets done. So it's this constant procrastination where they're controlling the situation, they're taking out their hostility, they're taking out their anger, by not giving you what you're asking for. So that's where the passive aggression comes in. It's this very covert, very convoluted way of taking out their anger and their hostility toward you. 

For more information about passive-aggressive behavior in a spouse, please visit About.com.




About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.