When Passive Aggressive Conflict Spirals
If you have ever become embroiled in a conflict with a passive aggressive person, you know firsthand how abruptly intense your own emotional response can be. The Passive Aggressive Conflict Cycle explains how rational, straightforward, assertive adults can momentarily and unexpectedly depart from their typical personas and take on inappropriate, childlike, and unprofessional behaviors (Long, Long & Whitson, 2008). It describes and predicts the endless, repetitive cycles of conflict that occur when a passive aggressive individual succeeds in getting someone else to act out their anger for them.
In this article I recently posted on Psychology Today, I explain the psychology of the Passive Aggressive Conflict Cycle, so that adults disengage from destructive conflicts and choose relationship-building responses.