“Beware the Covert-Aggressive Personality” Comments, Page 4

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112 Comments (35 Discussion Threads) on “Beware the Covert-Aggressive Personality”

  1. “It’s very difficult to identify whether my partner’s behaviour is covert aggression or simply a result of the pressure of our current situation.”

    The above words speak the to the most fundamental and repeated doubts that the partner experiences, even though that voice inside our heads is telling us – something is just not right with this situation.

    Looking back, the high pressure correlated to any current situation continued to elicit the same type of responses over time. I have to wonder if these behaviors are exacerbated in proportion to the high pressure situations and an overall lack of real coping skills – and that perhaps the covert aggressive behaviors are in fact “their” coping skills.

    Still, the question continues to penetrate the heart and mind – Why would someone We Love go out of their way to torment us, relentlessly infuse self doubt, incite, and overall treat us with such insidious contempt.

    I believe it may remain beyond our psychic grasp to acknowledge, let alone accept, that Our Love For Them is not, will not, cannot, be reciprocal ?

    Yet many of these guys leave the home only to remarry or re-partner (and often “upgrade”) shortly there after. His life goes on quite easily. While the wife (or partner) is still trying to grasp what happened to her life; and she, along with relatives and friends and colleagues, wonder what she did that was so egregious as to make such a nice guy leave her.

    1. Grazce,
      In my case I think the combination of many factors (starting with my husband’s agressive personality)destroyed the relatisonship. But that is what hurts the most,seeing him now so calm and happy with his new “single” life and I am here just 2 days from my court hiring asking myself if this is really what I want to do (after all he did to me). All this just dont make sense.

  2. Hi Grazce!

    Still, the question continues to penetrate the heart and mind – Why would someone We Love go out of their way to torment us, relentlessly infuse self doubt, incite, and overall treat us with such insidious contempt.

    I believe it may remain beyond our psychic grasp to acknowledge, let alone accept, that Our Love For Them is not, will not, cannot, be reciprocal ?

    You are so very eloquent Grazce! That is why you showed up here to gain understanding of an abusive relationship. As you identified here within your words the exact character disturbed factors of your X’s. It is not your fault that he is the way he is. Remember that OK? How long were you with him?

    What others think or understand will vary but the most important person is you right now. Learn to appreciate who you are inside as your life has been lived with someone who did not nourish you but was rather toxic to be with for you. His insidious nature and actions have hurt you and you can and will heal from it as you gain your own understanding of it all. I can tell by your words that love is a value you carry and its important for you to honor that.

    Peace, Love and Joy,

  3. Hi, All. I’ve been following the discussion with great interest because there have been so many poignant comments. A few thoughts:

    All the aggressive personalities are actually quite easy to understand. Their ways of thinking and preferred modi operandi are simple, straightforward, and consistent. There are primarily two reasons most of us get blindsided. First is that in knowing ourselves (our own ways of thinking, motivations, concerns, ways of relating to others, etc.) it’s impossible for us to think that someone could be that radically different in character from us and most of the others we know. Second, the lasting but damaging legacy of traditional psychological notions about what makes people do the things they do (e.g. “coping” the best way they know how, struggling with fears and insecurities just like us, responding as best they know how to the stresses of their environment, etc.) prompt us to constantly second-guess (and often misinterpret) their intentions and motivations as opposed to simply judging the pattern of their actions. No matter what you’ve read or been taught, not everyone is the same. People don’t always act out of fear or ignorance about how better to cope. People don’t just hurt others when they’re hurting themselves. And people don’t aggress only when their angry, attacked, or in pain. Some people simply want what they want and will do what they have to get it. When they’ve done away with what they don’t want anymore and have moved on to something else they think they want, they’re satisfied for awhile. It’s sublimely simple – just hard to fathom because there’s more to most of us that simply being a ravenous, walking, impulse.

    I’m glad this post has spurred such a robust discussion and that some have found it helpful. It’s important, however to view this post in the context of the other posts on the various personality types, the aggressive personalities, the thinking patterns and manipulation tactics of disordered characters, and the differences between “neurotics” and disturbed characters.

    1. THANK YOU. This info is profoundly helpful to me in dealing with a teaching coworker of one year. I was constantly analyzing her and neurotically doubting myself. Now I know that my response is typical. I will focus strictly on her actions. Simple and profound.
      …We were dressed down by the admin team and told we have to get along. I saw it as my job to fix her in order to meet that directive. Instead, now I will set boundaries by telling her specifically what I need, and I will take care of myself. No anger, blame, or emotion. I will detach, be an observer of her behavior instead of a neurotic participant. I feel like a load has been lifted and I am so grateful to you, Dr. Simon.

    2. Hello Dr. Simon,
      Your work has truly blessed my family and myself.
      Have you ever considered including “Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals” in your list of tactics of agressives?
      We have certainly experienced them from the covert/overt agressive in our family.


    3. Thanks for the comment, DW. I’ve been asked about the Alinsky tactics before. Suffice it to say that experienced covert-aggressives have a vast arsenal of weapons at their disposal. In the book, I focused on only the most common ones used in troubled relationships. But in light of the increased awareness about these things, I’m planning on expanding the list quite dramatically when the 20-year anniversary of the book hits the stands in a couple of years.

  4. “Some people simply want what they want and will do what they have to get it. When they’ve done away with what they don’t want anymore ………..”

    On an purely intellectual basis, I get it.

    On a purely emotional basis, I am not yet able to fully accept the fact that 27 years of my adult life has served to fulfill the need to be the someone who believed an apparent countless number of lies/manipulations of various degrees of convenience and complexity. A deceit so pervasive that in acknowledging it, I find the pain close to overwhelming my neurotic soul.

    1. Hi Grazce,

      The truth often hurts us it seems then it free’s us of the pain ultimately. Why hold onto something that does not serve your own and the others you love well being? Gosh I am so sorry really about all of this which does not align to healthy people. And again feels like one more painful process to be a part of
      but that will change too. Abuse really sucks!

      Peace, Love and Joy,

    2. A present for Grazce!

      . .and all she wants to do is,
      dance, dance, dance . . .

      Did you know that it’s Beautiful Women Month?
      Well, it is and that means you !!!
      I’m supposed to send this to FIVE BEAUTIFULWOMEN,
      and you are one of them !!!
      Below is a wonderful poem Audrey Hepburn wrote
      when asked to share her “beauty tips.”
      It was read at her funeral years later.

      For attractive lips, speak words of kindness…
      For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
      For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
      For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
      For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone…
      People, even more than things, have to be restored,
      renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
      never throw out anyone.
      Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
      you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
      As you grow older,you will discover that you have two hands;
      one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.
      If you share this with another woman,
      something good will happen.
      You will boost another woman’s self esteem,
      and she will know that you care about her.

      It’s BEAUTIFUL Women Month
      TAG YOU’RE IT!
      Dance On!!!

      PS…everyday is this….OK?


  5. I have been with my husband for 20 years of marriage, and known him since 1983. The last 5 years have been the worst. He has seemingly turned into everything discussed on this site. Cold, stonewalling, manipulative, lying. He meets women on the internet and plans outings without me and my son. He pretends he invited me when he didn’t. He refused to cooperate on any home improvement and then claims I am too demanding and impossible to work with. I have done 99 percent of all indoor and outdoor home chores. I put in a new bath and kitchen with no help from him and I mean none. I managed contractors, moved and boxed, etc. I have asked him to leave and he refuses. He knows for me to force him will cost dearly and spend our son’s college money. I don’t want my son caught in the middle of a battle. My husband claims he is staying for my son, but his actions show it is himself first. His mother has similar character flaws, I wonder if it is genetic. I just want this man out of my house, he has me trapped and won’t let me start over.

    1. Hi Shalini and Rachel!

      I have asked him to leave and he refuses.

      I just want this man out of my house, he has me trapped and won’t let me start over.

      When I read your post these stand out at me as your true goals and needs right now. You have already been living “alone” by what you have told us here.
      There is no good time for a seperation/divorce. I so understand your wanting your son not to be affected or in the middle and with these types they usually are and will not be anything else than that until you decide and plan an exit for yourself if that is were you are now.

      It to me describes a stailmate…an impasse and its obvious you will have to be the one to initiate the ending of this relationship because it will just get worse for you every year. One thing is you may deteriate if you stay with him in this way. I have been married for 27 years and these passed 4 years have been the worse for me. This is because I too had the exact same needs as you. I just wanted him to leave and he refused and living trapped causes a weight and drains us eventually as we need to take actions because we are with a PD/narcissist/loser/aggressive/etc. and now we are aware of it. I just signed my divorce papers and may I say I really wish I could of done years ago and not held out any false hopes or done things because of my sons as well. Because in the end of each day it became progressively worse for all of us. My son is a senior right now and my “excuse” for not getting out (Besides fear of being killed or them) was I wanted my sons high school years to be the best for him. In the end it took its toll on me of course and him because in my relationship we all pay dearly due to my husbands actions and my inactions. That is how I see it now at least. Abuse sucks! Narcissists do not care about anyone but their selves. Keep reading here and get clear on those needs and make a exit plan. Even if it takes you awhile work on it because it will never “be the right time” there endless excuses for not dealing with what needs to be done and to get you free of abuse.

      Wishing you the best of luck and wisdom in your actions as you get yourself educated on what is happening in your relationship and figure out what you are willing to do about it. You seem strong enough right now to so deal with it all so don’t wait because that may change and then it will be harder for you to do it.

  6. Oh Dear Shalini, I kind of know what you mean. I’m hoping that we are just going through a bad spot. But it would also ‘cost me dearly’ to leave at this time. I have decided to accept I cannot change my recalcitrant husbands behaviour (absolutley no help, responsibility or interest in anything family, household or much in our children). So am just managing my life as if I were a single mum – but with a petulant and irresponsible teenage border. Rather than get upset that he does nothing, just pretend you are already single and start doing it all and living your life as if you were. He is obviously acting this way already – so join the club. Obviously, you can decide how civil your relationship stays when you start this new attitude. But realising you cannot rely on him and acting accordingly without expectation will at least free you emotionally from the behavior.

    1. Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for the support. I am wondering how widespread this problem is? Are there many suffering women out there? Also, what brought this on–was you husband always like this?


    2. Hi Rachel!
      He is obviously acting this way already – so join the club.
      I view her writing that she already has that attitude and its not working at all. There is no new attitude in remaining in the club. Just excuses and lies you can tell yourself…to remain in a abnormal relationship and stay adjusting to abuse. You can not manage an abuser! Or fix it! Or have what you really need in your life as a woman, a mother, a friend, etc. Its remaining in a unhealthy enviroment for you and your son. The more awareness you have of it…the more the need will grow to have a better life for you and your son.

      Peace, Love and Joy,

      PS sorry Rachel if I seem harsh or have adifferent view than you.

      I guess I finally get that goodness just does not align with PD types at all and it can damage those that believe they can handle it…in some way and acually stay and be healthy at all in it. My expereinces are that it actually corrupts many parts of all other relationships you have because of the marriage with a PD person. It causes disortions and your actions show it as well each moment and day are full of them because you can not lead a life to the fullest within its abusive dynamic. Its just not a possibility or truth. That is if truth is important to you? Lies and deceptions start happening inside of you too…because you are around one who is that in their being. It is just not a good thing at all.

      Peace, Love and Joy,

      PS It costs you dearly to stay!

  7. Hi Diane,

    No that’s fine – I actually agree with all you say. I am hoping our relationship can improve still. So I am trying to change my behavior to assist this. And it has actually freed me from quite a bit of resentment and frustration. So a similar attitude may at least work in the short term for someone in a similar situation, until they work out how or what their next step is.


    1. Hi Rachel!


      How long have you been in this relationship?

      I know still working in the bettering your life in your relationship and managing it the best you can hoping ” it can get better if you change the way you look at it and respond to it” work towards acceptance. Good luck!

      Peace, Love and Joy,

      PS being alone in that “Stand” sucks!

  8. Hi Diane,

    I am wondering how you finally got your husband to agree to the divorce and if you have any advice. I don’t know how to convince my husband to talk with me and create an agreement that we can act on, and how to get him to stick to his commitment. He had become an expert at avoidance and stonewalling.



    1. Hi Shalini,

      He has not agreed to any of it…and I stopped trying to even work towards agreements as he can not be trusted because of his actions. I spent years trying to work for agreement in ending our life together but it never got me anywhere or like you getting things done in our home and family, etc. The abuse increased though. He is just about to be served with the divorce papers and hopefully a restraining order to ensure my own safety and our kids. That is the thing with PD…power over abusive people…narcissists…they work not in agreements/equallity they work to undermine agreements made.

  9. Hello everyone. I discovered, just last week, the name for this syndrome I have been living with (and allowed myself to live) for the past 16 years (with my husband).
    As I have been searching for more information, what is troubling me is what I’ve read about people’s reactions as to how to deal with the PA in their relationship. The overwhelming response is to either choose to divorce or encourage others to in an attempt to “find themselves” (likely through divorce).
    I admit that in my weakest moments I, too, thought of divorce simply because I saw no other way out and was just drained mentally. However, what I didn’t take into account was God’s ability to change any situation, no matter how desperate.
    I am thoroughly convinced that God has not allowed two people to join by accident. While we make poor choices, both to act aggressive and accept aggression, God can use this any all situations for good.
    I have no idea where this journey will take me. I know that a weight has been lifted from me now that I know I am not going crazy. I was a phone call away from getting an anti-depressant since I was convinced *I* had serious problems. While I know that I need to do some serious examination as to why I allowed it to get this far, I also now have a better understanding of my husband’s role in this as well- something he may never admit to.
    I guess my point is that I would encourage anyone reading this to do this BEFORE they do anything- including reading any type of book on the subject- PRAY! God has shown me His incredible love and it was in His incredible timing that he allowed me to come across the information (which, by the way, came as a form of devotion dealing with passive-aggressiveness in my inbox).
    There is hope. I am not a religious fanatic, I am simply someone who has personally witnessed the awesome love of God. I am thankful to people like Dr Simon who have given people like us a forum to learn and heal.

    1. Hi Valerie!

      Glad to here your enthusiam and your devotion to God and his many ways he can help in your life and does by giving you good information so you know you are not crazy. But believe me I have prayed my entire marriage and have been answered in many ways. I understand your shock that many times detachment is the only way to save your own self from the very real side effects of being in a relationship with a PA or PD as you mentioned a anti-depressant which comes with the territory of this type of relationship. I wish you the best of luck as you investigate and gain knowledge in what is truly happening in your marriage. I hope you are one of the “few” that get your miracle healing in it! Though it is highly unlikely in most cases of abuse miracles happen everyday! And I agree with you Dr. Simon is a Godsend!

      Peace, Love and Joy,

    2. Hi, Valerie, Diane. Thank you both for such nice comments.

      The fact that some of us have the capacity to be deceived is not necessarily evidence of a defect in our own character, though it can be. Conscientious people find it hard to even imagine that there are individuals who are radically different in the core of their character from ourselves. Add to that all of the horrendous misinformation that we’ve taken as “gospel” for so many years about human nature and what makes people do the things they do, and just about any of us are vulnerable to the tactics of disturbed characters.

      Let me indulge in some spiritual metaphors for a bit. As the proverbial saga goes, Satan has been God’s adversary since the beginning of time. That’s because at his “core” Lucifer (literally the bringer of light or illumination) is a liar who makes himself out to be of equal stature as opposed to humble servant of the creative force behind the universe. In each of us there are two great instinctual energies constantly at work – our life-sustaining drive and our pleasure-seeking drive. One of these has always been meant to be subordinate to the other. But most of us “sinners” actually live our lives on the pleasure principle, giving it dominion over us it was never meant to have, and for the most part doing what stimulates us and avoiding pain. And some of us are so aligned with the pleasure principle that we become antagonists of the creative life force within us. Of all the creatures that exist, man and man alone has the power to freely choose serving the Lord of Life and transcending the pleasure principle. Getting to that point in one’s character development is most often quite a painful ordeal. But you have to be careful what you pray for. You’re likely to get it! : )

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