I might be totally barking up the wrong tree here, but it occurs to me that this pattern of passive aggressive communication, at some point was triggered or repeatedly triggered by a family member or someone living in the home who has a “reactive” personality. Another way of saying it is “emotionally labile.” It’s hard to be direct with such individuals, if they have a history of emotional outbursts when something occurs or has been said that they don’t like.
Therefore, those who are around this person are “walking on eggs,” in order to keep the peace and avoid difficult confrontations. These communication patterns become so habitual that they become part of personality, and are carried forward into the world, putting a person at a professional and social disadvantage.
Another possibility is that this passive aggressive behavior has been handed down through the generations. In that case, the person who initiated the behavior might have been a great great-great-grandparent. The one or more individuals who convinced the family that passive aggressive behavior was their only safe emotional outlet, in all likelihood, became volatile as a result of trauma, abuse, low self-esteem, injustice, or any other number of negative experiences.
I am bringing this up for two reasons. The first is that perhaps by considering that the behavior is the result of some kind of suffering, it will be easier to forgive. The second reason is that it may be possible to help this person become more tolerant. That is of course if the original source of the problem is still alive.
Often, such troubled individuals need to have someone who will listen to them with genuine care. Listening to a person, and not backing away, even if they’re throwing a tantrum, and letting them vent until it out of their system, at least temporarily, while remaining calm and interested in what this person is ranting about, can cause a surprising shift in the person. I have seen this approach work hundreds of times.
I can’t say for sure if such an approach will work in your case, but perhaps some variation of it will.
I just had a flash in my mind about the Dog Whisperer talking about being “calm and assertive.” It is certainly something that takes practice. However, people usually end up respecting you for being that way.