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Psychology/Passive-Aggressive Behavior in Women

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Question
I'm on deadline for Glamour Magazine, looking for experts who can speak about passive aggression in women ages 18-40. I'm hoping you might be able to fill in my argument a bit - is there evidence that women are more passive aggressive than men? Are there ways to combat those tendencies? And what is the best way to deal with someone who is being passive aggressive?

My deadline is at 6 PM EST today, so please get back to me as soon as you can if you feel you can answer this question. Thanks!

All best,
Ellie

Answer
Hi Ellie,

Thank you for contacting me here at AllExperts for your Glamour Magazine article. Most often, it is reported that men are more passive aggressive than women, however, it has been found that neither gender has the market cornered on these relationship disrupting behaviors. Passive aggressive behaviors can occur in virtually any relationship and are often used as a way to control the situation. The classic example for women is to withhold sex rather than telling her partner that she is angry with something he or she did. Other examples include providing short, terse responses such as "Fine" or "Whatever you want;" "Let me try to make it better for you" or "I thought you knew." Responses such as these are not expressing the anger that the speaker is feeling and may actually be packaged in an overly sweet tone and demeanor. All the while, the person is becoming increasingly angry with their partner.

Women may engage in these behaviors because they are trying to be "good wives/partners" but ultimately these behaviors can breakdown the relationship stability and trust.

Psychology Today published an article on managing passive aggressive behaviors (Four Strategies to Effectively Control Passive Aggressive Behavior in a Relationship, 7/25/11). In this article, the following steps are made to address these tendencies, please see the link  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201107/4-strategi

Hope this helps!

Dr. Luna

Psychology

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Kristina Luna

Expertise

I specialize in clinical psychology with particular experience in clinical hypnosis, borderline personality disorder, LGBTQ, and aging. I have not worked with children for several years and would not feel comfortable answering child and adolescent based questions. My interests in adult psychology are fairly diverse, so please, sent me a question and lets see if I can help.

Experience

I have been working in the field of psychology, to some degree, since 1998. Initially, my work was more behaviorally based, but through my educational and training experiences, I have expanded to a more eclectic viewpoint. I have taught introductory psychology and have worked in college counseling. I have also studied hypnosis for several years, completing my dissertation on basic research in hypnosis. Finally, I completed my internship and residency in a transitional treatment program for young adults (18 - 16) with difficulty transitioning from home.

Education/Credentials
Doctor of Psychology 2009 Indiana University of Pennsylvania Indiana, Pennsylvania Master of Arts in Psychology 2002 MCP Hahnemann/Drexel University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Bachelor of Arts in Psychology 1997 Keuka College Keuka Park, New York

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