17 Aggressive Behaviors That Aren’t Physical

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’ is just a song heard on playgrounds. However, non-physical aggression can take many forms and can be just as harmful as physical aggression. People can feel uncomfortable confronting non-physical aggression for fear of being labeled weak. These 17 behaviors are absolutely aggressive, and you are not alone in disliking them.

Sarcasm intended to hurt

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Using irony to mock or convey contempt can be a covert way of insulting or belittling someone. This form of sarcasm leaves the victim feeling disrespected, as if their feelings and ideas don’t matter. Psychology Today says, “When sarcasm is especially biting and pervasive, it undermines trust and promotes disconnection.”

Gossiping and spreading rumors

couple woman happy drink
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Sharing unverified information about someone can damage their reputation. Gossip and rumors can lead to the social exclusion of the person being gossiped about. Often, spreading misinformation leads to misunderstandings and causes its victims emotional distress.

Humiliating someone in front of others

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

‘Criticize in private and praise in public’ is the mantra of healthy relationships. Publicly shaming or mocking someone causes immediate and public embarrassment for the victim. This behavior can damage the victim’s self-worth and social standing and can lead to feelings of social anxiety and long-lasting depression.

Critiquing others behind their backs

Photo Credit: Nomad Soul/Shutterstock.

Discussing someone’s flaws without their knowledge undermines trust within a group or community. The victim can often not understand why people feel a certain way about them because it is never brought to their attention directly. This can be damaging to self-esteem as well as cause people to lose networking, work, or other opportunities in their lives.


Photo Credit: pathdoc/Shutterstock.

People often associate bullying with school-age children, but bullying does continue into adulthood. Repeatedly targeting someone to undermine their well-being can lead to long-term psychological trauma. Bullying often isolates the victim from their peers. It may also impede the victim’s ability to perform in various aspects of life.

Ostracizing or excluding others

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Defeat the Label teaches that “social exclusion is now recognized as a subgroup of bullying.” Intentionally leaving someone out of social situations creates feelings of loneliness and rejection in the victim. It may lead to depression, social anxiety, and other mental issues.

Turning people against each other

Photo Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

Manipulating relationships to create conflict can lead to widespread mistrust within a group. It causes unnecessary stress and tension that can destroy friendships and create toxic social environments.

Dismissing or belittling opinions

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Invalidating someone’s thoughts or feelings can make the victim feel undervalued and ignored. This may discourage the victim from participating in future discussions and often leads to a lack of diversity in ideas and perspectives.

Giving someone the “silent treatment”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Verywell Health explains, “The silent treatment can be emotional abuse when someone is using it to manipulate you. It’s not uncommon to feel like you need ‘a break’ from talking to someone that you’re upset with.” This breakdown in communication leaves the victim feeling invisible and unimportant, which may lead to confusion. When it goes on for a long period, it becomes a form of emotional abuse.

“Stealing” a friend or partner

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Intentionally disrupting someone’s relationship causes emotional pain and may lead to the end of a relationship. This often creates animosity and resentment, along with feelings of betrayal for the victim.

Threatening to end a relationship

Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.

Using the fear of loss to control someone creates an imbalance of power in the relationship. It can lead to the victim feeling trapped, which even further creates emotional dependency and insecurity in the relationship. An even more extreme aggressive control tactic in relationships is threatening self-harm if the other person leaves.

Flirting with others to provoke jealousy

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Flirting can be a natural way of communicating for some people, and this is not always aggressive or even harmful to every relationship. However, disruptions can occur when the intent is to make the other person jealous and use others to elicit a reaction. This can cause emotional distress and insecurity for the victim, lead to trust issues, and often result in unnecessary conflict.

Verbal threats

Photo Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Using words to intimidate or scare someone should be an obvious act of aggression. Threats can cause the victim to feel unsafe and anxious. Because verbal threats often escalate to more severe forms of aggression, it may lead to the victim taking drastic measures to protect themselves.

Passive-aggressive behavior

Photo Credit: BearFotos/Shutterstock.

Psychology Today says, “Sarcasm is often considered a passive-aggressive form of anger that might typically be used by an individual who experiences intense discomfort with a more direct expression of anger or the feelings behind it.” Passive-aggressive people will often claim they were only kidding when confronted with their comments, though they meant what they said. This leads to resentment and a lack of clear communication.

Manipulating situations

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Altering circumstances to disadvantage someone leaves victims feeling powerless. When someone intentionally works to create a situation that will embarrass or cause them to experience failure, it can undermine the victim’s trust in themselves and others.


Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.

According to the NIH, cyberbullying involves “a repeated activity conducted via electronic means with an intent to cause psychological torment.” Using digital platforms to harass or demean someone became prevalent in 2004 and can lead to widespread public shaming and humiliation. Often, this leaves the victim feeling vulnerable and exposed and results in the victim experiencing anxiety and depression.

Withholding affection

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Denying emotional support as punishment can make the victim feel unloved and unworthy. This may lead to emotional detachment in relationships and result in the victim feeling isolated and alone. This also makes affection a punishment and reward system in a relationship instead of something given freely out of desire.

Read More: 17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

Gen Z, our digital-native, trendsetting generation, is making waves in the cultural sea, steering the ship of societal norms in fresh and unexpected directions. As they charter new territories, there are certain practices they’d rather we say goodbye to. Curious? Let’s take a look at 17 things the rest of us can no longer do because Gen Z said so.

17 Things Society Can No Longer Do Because Gen Z Said So

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

Photo Credit: Blue Titan/Shutterstock.

Losing a spouse is one of life’s most tragic experiences, and when we’re overwhelmed by grief, we might make some decisions that we’ll later regret. Here are 19 mistakes people make after losing their spouse.

19 Big Mistakes People Make After Losing a Spouse

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back

Photo Credit: Zoran Zeremski/Shutterstock.

Our grandparents had a far simpler life. There was no such thing as social media. Instead, there was more walking and meals were always fresh and homemade. With so many things keeping us busy nowadays, sometimes life would seem much easier if we lived the way our grandparents did.

20 Time-Honored Practices Our Grandparents Followed That We Should Bring Back

19 Common Behaviors of Highly Intelligent People

Photo Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.

Intelligent individuals often display a range of behaviors and qualities that set them apart from others. When exploring these characteristics, it’s crucial to comprehend that intelligence is a multifaceted attribute. Here are 19 essential behaviors and qualities frequently observed in highly intelligent people.

19 Common Behaviors of Highly Intelligent People

17 Things We Were Taught in High School That We Now Know Aren’t True

Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.

Well, this one may depend on when you went to high school, but for this millennial, these are the things we were taught in high school that have been proven not to be true. Personally, I still want to go back and correct every teacher who told me I wouldn’t always have a calculator in my pocket; the joke is on them.

17 Things We Were Taught in High School That We Now Know Aren’t True