Someone with passive aggressive personality disorder (PAPD) may appear to go along with the desires of other people while in reality, they are passively resisting orders and instructions. He or she may avoid responsibility, respond negatively to suggestions, and appear easily offended. People with this disorder may also develop a resentful attitude towards family members, romantic partners, and authority figures over time.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV describes PAPD as a pervasive pattern of negative, resentful attitudes and passive resistance. The signs of PAPD may be evident in early adulthood and may continue throughout the rest of the person's life. These symptoms include an avoidance of responsibility, resentment towards loved ones and authority figures, stubbornness, and general inefficiency. People struggling with PAPD may sulk and appear angry, hostile, and offended at inappropriate times. People with other types of personality disorders may display similar negative attitudes and behavior.
Someone struggling with PAPD will often respond negatively to suggestions, instructions, or orders from another person. If he or she must complete a task, the person with PAPD may deliberately avoid hearing the instructions or procrastinate while attempting to complete the task. In some cases, the person may bungle the task intentionally as an expression of resentment against the person issuing the order. Passive-aggressive behavior may simply be the person's outlet for expressing general hostility and anger.
According to the five-factor model for personality, people with Passive aggressive personality disorder display highly neurotic, extroverted, and conscientious tendencies. The PAPD psychological profile also indicates that people are not very open and agreeable with others, at times appearing paranoid or overly cynical. Despite a high level of intelligence, people displaying the symptoms of PAPD may struggle with relationships and career development.
Passive aggressive personality disorder is diagnosed by a psychologist. The psychologist analyzes the patient's behavior, taking note of drug use, survival skills, and psychosocial history. Some of the symptoms of PAPD may also be identified under other types of personality disorder, such as borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. An extreme and continuous display of passive-aggressive behavior may lead the psychologist to diagnose the patient with PAPD.
There is no treatment for patients with passive aggressive personality disorder. Patients may struggle with other issues with exacerbate their negative behavior, however, such as anxiety, depression, and any other drug or alcohol-related problems. People with other problems in addition to PAPD can take medication for anxiety and depression and seek counseling for addiction and behavioral issues. Cognitive-behavioral and group therapy might be very beneficial for the patient. Group therapy can help the individual address his behavior within the context of a group setting and possibly improve relational issues.