Ok, I've heard this word thrown around a lot both in rl and here and yet I rarely hear people define it. I think that they assume that the term itself must be the definition. I suppose these same people might also think that butterflies are floating sticks of margarine.
passive-aggressive as defined by the American Heritage dictionary: Of, relating to, or having a personality disorder characterized by habitual passive resistance to demands for adequate performance in occupational or social situations, as by procrastination, stubbornness, sullenness, and inefficiency.
And, according to that fount of (mis)information, wikipedia: Passive-aggressive behavior is passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following through with expectations in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.
As far as I can understand the general public has, in fact, limited the definition of passive aggressive to this: A tendency to avoid conflict or unpleasant confrontation. As far as I can tell those who also use the term often have elevated it to the status of a four-letter insult.
My question then holds: what about avoiding conflict or unpleasant confrontation is so offensive? And what is the opposite of that, and why is it better and less damaging? Or, wait, does damage even come into the equation?
So, as an MBTI type that's been accused of being passive aggressive I'd like to discuss this. Let's discuss passive aggression? What is it really? Who has a right to claim others have it? Who should accept that they do consistently exhibit unhealthy aggressive behavior, similar but opposed to those who exhibit bullying or rage (for the record we're counting losing your temper often and purposefully intimidating, openly manipulating, and insulting other people as also being unhealthy aggressive behavior), do about it?