The behavior I'm hoping to find an English word for is characterized by a person saying something bitingly aggressive/hurtful/manipulative, but is then followed by something like "I hope you didn't take that seriously" or "I was only joking", but is in fact supposed to be taken as a serious statement/threat.

Given this example dialog, what word best describes the behavior of Person A:

> Person A: You know you can come to me for anything, I'm here for you. I know you want to take over the team.

> Person B: Thank you! I appreciate that, it seems that management finds that I'm a nice fit for the role.

> Person A: Well you know that I'm in charge, and that if you want to take this new position, you'll have to go through me. I don't like outsiders telling me what to do, and you're nothing special. I'd do anything to get you fired.

> Person B: *confused and shocked look*

> Person A: I'm only kidding! Don't take things so seriously! Jeeze some people are so sensitive...

  • The person is being a jerk? ;) I think you're going to have to clarify exactly which part of the exchange you're looking to have addressed. – Jason Bassford Jun 6 '18 at 15:42

Jokeyness in this way is indeed "Passive Agressiveness".

"9. "I was only joking" Like backhanded compliments, sarcasm is a common tool of a passive aggressive person who expresses hostility aloud, but in socially acceptable, indirect ways. If you show that you are offended by biting, passive aggressive sarcasm, the hostile joke teller plays up his or her role as victim, asking, "Can't you take a joke?""

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.