How To Deal With Adult Passive-Aggressive Bullying

Did you think petty bullying would be over when you graduated high school? Think again. According to a survey from the American Osteopathic Association, 31% of American adults have been bullied. And to make matters worse, 43% claimed that bullying has only become more accepted in the past year.

Adults who are bullied are victims of repeated behavior intended to cause them harm or make them fearful. While this bullying can be aggressive (e.g., yelling or violence), it can also be much more subtle yet equally problematic, if not worse.

Passive-aggressive bullying is becoming all too common in the workplace. Here's what you can do to deal with it.

What is Passive-Aggressive Bullying?

Passive-aggressive behavior occurs when someone is indirectly expressing negative feelings towards another person. It can be expressed in many different ways, including lateness, avoidance, weaponized kindness, sarcasm, subtle digs, and weaponized incompetence.

While this doesn't seem as bad as harsh upfront bullying, the reality is that passive-aggressive bullying can have even worse effects. Victims of passive-aggressive bullying experience constant stress regarding recognizing the aggression and knowing how to respond to it.

Victims also suffer major blows to their self-esteem. They often conclude that they have done something to merit the bully's passive-aggressive behavior. As a result, they continue to accept the bully's treatment which only makes things worse.

Passive-aggressive bullying is quite common in corporate or business environments. Those environments can already take a major toll on one's mental health for various reasons. To prevent breakdowns, dealing with bullying in the passive-aggressive form is a must.

Dealing With Passive-Aggressive Bullying

While passive-aggressive bullying can take a toll on mental health, it doesn't have to. There are numerous ways one can go about dealing with passive-aggressive bullies.

For one thing, understand that no matter what you've done, you don't deserve to be treated like garbage. Don't just assume you are in the wrong. Even if you have areas where you need to improve, constructive criticism should never come in the form of bullying.

You also need to be willing to address the matter with the person bullying you. While this tends to be hard for bullying victims, the bully needs to be held accountable for their actions. Be assertive and patient in addressing this issue. And above all, be the bigger person. Don't lose your cool or hold everything in until it erupts like a volcano. Be frank when dealing with your bully, but don't sacrifice your dignity in the process.

Get the Mental Health Care You Need

If you have been a victim of passive-aggressive bullying as an adult, these tips will prove helpful to you. However, following them is easier said than done, and you may already be dealing with mental health trauma from workplace bullying.If you're in that position, Balance Treatment Center is here to help. We will get to the root of your mental illness. We will diagnose the issue and offer you the tools you need.

Visit one of our locations or call us toll-free.