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Hurtful attitude/passive aggression from a family member

Community Member
I have one close family member who I've increasingly been feeling some passive aggression from after every interaction. I don't understand why and it leaves me feeling deflated and disappointed each time. I do feel it's stemming from within them and it's their own issues or insecurities coming out in this way towards me, but it's not nice and I don't understand it. We haven't had any sort of rift or conflict between us, it's just the passive aggressive attitude that is hard to deal with, and also surprises me every time, feels like they're trying to hurt me in very subtle ways. Has anyone been in this situation and may have some advice on how to deal with it? It's not obvious and not to anyone else either so it doesn't feel right to ask them why they have this attitude towards me. Trying to remind myself that it's not to do with me, to continue always being kind and thoughtful towards them, and I need to focus on myself and living my life and staying happy rather than ruminate on this.
4 Replies 4

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

We get this enquiry often here in this forum from those with a mental disorder suffering stigma issues. Such members I usually point towards a survival thread that might help you


beyondnlue topic fortress of survival (also part 2)

but there is another that is a counter attack method that might suit

beyondblue topic wit, the only answer to torment

In that thread the less said the better but what you do say make sure it hits home

In a previous relationship I was ready for my partner to criticise my expenses associated with model airplanes

she said “how much money have you spent on model airplanes in the last 7 years”

me “$11,000”

”are you proud of that”? She asked

I replied “more proud than spending $35,000 on cigarettes”

boom boom

She smoked a carton a week.

So that thread spells it out fully.

Your options is using such wit, ignoring (which can create issues), being civil for the first 30 seconds then avoid or breaking off the relationship altogether. The last option is common with us here including this bipolar guy because toxic people have a stronger adverse effect with the likes of me who is ultra sensitive.

If you like you can provide some quotes he makes so I can suggest some come back replies


Community Member

Hey Abbie,

I have heated run ins with a family member of mine too regularly.

By not reciprocating the passive aggression when responding to this family member is a great start.

If it’s effecting you but you don’t want to mention it, maybe regularly check up on the person to understand things that could be resulting in some sadness or anger that your family member is experiencing. To recognise YOU ARE NOT THE PROBLEM!

Good Luck 🙂

Thanks Tony! Yes it has an impact on me as I am extra sensitive too. It’s not so much mean quotes, but more an underlying pass/ag attitude, difficult to explain.. like they might pretend they don’t hear/read a question of mine, etc, I think ignoring that and rising above it is probably the best way to go, and creating a few boundaries around our relationship to protect my well-being is best.

Thank you! 🙂 Yes, I know I should respond with understanding and care, it is difficult sometimes when it feels like it’s pushing me away. I do think it’s about their hidden sadness and anger though, exactly.