Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder
The Disease Perspective
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994, pp. 634-635), for research purposes, describes Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and passive resistance to demands for adequate performance, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
- passively resists fulfilling routine social and occupational tasks;
- complains of being misunderstood and unappreciated by others;
- is sullen and argumentative;
- unreasonably criticizes and scorns authority;
- expresses envy and resentment toward those apparently more fortunate;
- voices exaggerated and persistent complaints of personal misfortune;
- alternates between hostile defiance and contrition.
The disorder does not occur exclusively during Major Depressive Episodes and is not better accounted for by Dysthymic Disorder.
The Dimensional Perspective
Here is a hypothetical profile, in terms of the five-factor model of personality, for Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder (speculatively constructed from McCrae, 1994, pg. 306):
The Behavior Perspective
The Life Story Perspective
Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder is the typological representation of a particular pathological value system ( see The Stoic account of why people behave badly). The passions listed below (derived mostly from Beck, Freeman, and associates, pp. 45-46) have as their objects those indifferent things which the passive-aggressive personality typically and incorrectly judges to be good and bad. I would look to Evolutionary Psychology and Behavior Genetics for the scientific explanation of the origin of these impulses.
Basic Belief: I could be stepped on. Strategy: Resistance (Beck, Freeman & associates, pg. 26).
In Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders, Aaron T. Beck, Arthur Freeman, and associates list typical beliefs associated with each specific personality disorder. Here are some of the typical beliefs that they have listed (pg. 360) for Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder:
- The only way I can preserve my self-respect is by asserting myself indirectly--for example, by not carrying out instructions exactly.
- I like to be attached to people but I am unwilling to pay the price of being dominated.
- Authority figures tend to be intrusive, demanding, interfering, and controlling.
- I have to resist the domination of authorities but at the same time maintain their approval and acceptance.
- Making deadlines, complying with demands, and conforming are direct blows to my pride and self-sufficiency.
- It is best not to express my anger directly but to show my displeasure by not conforming.
- I know what's best for me and other people shouldn't tell me what to do.
Beck's Cognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders
A Preliminary Study of Stoicism as Psychotherapy
American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. 4th ed. Washington: Author.
American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. 4th ed., text revision. Washington: Author.
Beck, Aaron T. and Freeman, Arthur M. and Associates (1990). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders. New York : Guilford Press.
Gunderson, John G. and Philips, Katherine A. (1995). Personality Disorders. Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry/VI, Vol. 2. Eds. Harold I. Kaplan and Benjamin J. Sadock. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.
McCrae, Robert R. (1994). "A Reformulation of Axis II: Personality and Personality-Related Problems." Costa, Paul T., Jr., Widiger, Thomas A., editors. Personality Disorders and the Five-Factor Model of Personality. Washington, D.C.: The American Psychological Association.
Perry, J. Christopher (1989). Personality Disorders: Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder. Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, Vol. 3. American Psychiatric Association. Task Force on Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. Washington, DC : American Psychiatric Association.
Styron, William (1990). Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. New York: Random House
The Leisurely personality type is a nonpathological representation of this category.
Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder: links
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