I hate my passive agressive family

I hate the passive agressive traits all my family has, My parents, bro and sisters all talk in code.
I’ve spent my live trying to break free of this

I love them and are here for them but i hate every time I talk to them…!

I wish they all could just say what they mean instead I have to decode what they are really trying to say…
what they trully mean,

I dont them to talk in code language… {talking code is what I have called it}

It sucks… crappy way to communicate instead of just saying this is what I want/Need/ or just saying

this sucks


It really does suck! I doubt there is much you can do besides setting at example. I think it would be a good thing, if you could spend time with people who are more straightforward.

My approach is to continue asking questions until they feel compelled to say what they really mean. You could also deliberately misunderstand what they are saying until they speak plainly.

When families communicate with fuzzy inferences, cryptic ambiguity, and “beat around the bush,” as far as I can see, there is an omnipresent atmosphere of tension.


Hey @tobias_koos,

Indeed, that really sucks and is incredibly frustrating. For some people, being passive-aggressive is a way to communicate and preserve their own emotional safety. But when you are more straightforward and don’t like to take unecessary detours, it becomes very irritating. In my family, important conversations rarely happened as well. My mom especially has this tendency of being passive-aggressive too. I’ve always been the annoying person of the family, who’d constantly remind people to speak instead of pretending nothing’s going on, because I couldn’t help but seeing it as an incredibly waste of time and energy… and also such a damaging way to function when people need support from others. I feel for you, friend.

Wings really hit the nail on the head: asking questions, not adopting the same attitude, is definitely a good way to break that type of unhealthy cycle. Being passive-aggressive relies on a fear of adressing issues directly. But once someone steps in a little more and actually name things as they are, there’s rarely any way out for the people who don’t want to face what’s going on. It’s frustrating, because oftentimes the one who steps in is often perceived as a disturbance… so you also need a tight skin and be prepared to be criticized. But there is also comfort in knowing that, at least, you behave according to your values and what you believe in, not what others try to force you to be part of.

I hope your family could see in you an example of different ways to communicate. A way to see that issues can be adressed without ending up in arguments that are damaging for everyone. A problem can be resolved in a mature and calm way, as long as everyone is willing to do their part and ready to face a bit of discomfort. Sometimes, that’s what it takes for the sake of a relationship, and it’s actually less consuming than pretending that nothing’s going on.

It’s very frustrating to be in this kind of position. But somehow there might be comfort to find in being an actor of change. And even if your family wouldn’t be ready to change themselves, then you can still stand in your own values and beliefs, regardless of their own habits.

Hold fast, friend.


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.


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.

Totally seconding this. As you explained, there’s often a history of traumas/specific patterns of communication behind that can be observed through generations. Kindness and composure can be very unsettling for someone who’s not used to it, but in a positive way. It might create some discomfort and rejection, but in the long run it could create a positive outcome, just for setting an example of something different that is actually possible, and not only a foreign dream. All in all, it has to be worth the try for most situations. Although sometimes we can’t have the emotional distance that is necessary, which is okay too.

Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, Wings.

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For people who don’t have official training… and just going off of experience of talking with people… you peeps have a very sound approach or thinking.

being very reactive… emotional outbursts… I did not mention this but very much describes the situation.

Thank you for this platform and giving a positive lense to see through… gives me hope


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