How can a passive- aggressive personality reflect an individual's shame?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The passive- aggressive personality is intricate, and extends into many different domains.  Shame can be a part of this personality.  Perhaps, the shame, or embarassment, at not being successful at something comes out in a passive- aggressive form.  Rather than appropriating the supposed weakness and seeking to make a productive end out of it, the shame of failure can be a motivating factor behind the passive- aggressive personality.  This personality type is one that features a pattern of behavior whereby "indirect resistance to others" is exhibited through "covert" means.  The "resistance" element might be sparked by a perceived insufficiency or failure.  The result of this is to adopt a persona where approaches are taken that reflect an inability to find a balance between "dependence and independence."  It is here where shame might be able to find a home, and is reflected through a personal that is "critical of others" perhaps to conceal one's own self- critical nature.  It is difficult to see if shame is a motivating factor behind passive aggressiveness or if shame is a result of passive aggressiveness.  The end result is that the behavior of passive aggressiveness can contain some element of shame within its configuration.