Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics

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Bloomie

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Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics
« on: March 05, 2020, 11:02:08 AM »
When I encounter slippery covert disordered behaviors  - you know the kind that leave us scratching our head and doubting ourselves - where someone is actively oppositional while appearing to cooperate all at the same time, I struggle.

I continue to find responding to covertly aggressive behaviors a slow and squeaky process for my head/heart. I find myself often playing catch up and revisiting the situation with growing frustration with myself for not having responded well in the moment.

Let's just say I want to learn to quickly recognize the behaviors/words for what they are - actually aggressive even if cloaked as sickeningly sweet, helpful, or concerned and be able to think on my feet and respond appropriately and then let it go.

I find myself reminding myself of common covert tactics and the tools I can use when I encounter them regularly to sharpen my senses and skills. I hope you find this article as helpful as I did.

Love this bit from the linked article:
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Simply put: covert aggressives want to be bad while looking good.
To all aggressives, life is a competition — and they despise losing. But the covert aggressive is in some ways the most dangerous type because they don’t look aggressive. The teddy bear has claws.
Eric Barker

https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2018/06/passive-aggressive-people/

And also appreciate the reminder of the distinction between Passive Aggressive behaviors and Covertly Aggressive behaviors from the work of Dr. George Simon here:

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Covert and passive-aggression are both indirect ways to aggress but they’re most definitely not the same thing. Passive-aggression is, as the term implies, aggressing though passivity. Examples of passive-aggression are playing the game of emotional “get-back” with someone by resisting cooperation with them, giving them the “silent treatment,” pouting or whining, not so accidentally “forgetting” something they wanted you to do because you’re angry and didn’t really feel like obliging them, etc. In contrast, covert aggression is very active, albeit veiled, aggression.

When someone is being covertly aggressive, they’re using calculating, underhanded means to get what they want or manipulate the response of others while keeping their aggressive intentions under cover.
Simply put: covert aggressives want to be bad while looking good.


*note: not endorsing the affiliate link to this author's book that is included at the top, just sharing the article.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2020, 11:18:40 AM by Bloomie »

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Pepin

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Re: Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2020, 01:08:31 PM »
All of this sums up PDmil.  My biggest mistake to date has been "playing nice" in order for her to be nice.  I gave her too much to work with and she trampled me to get to DH who has been either oblivious or in denial about her behavior. 

DH often describes PDmil as a cute little old lady...and I'm like,  :aaauuugh:.  She is in no way innocent nor does she have anyone's best interests in mind other than her own.  She is a master wolf in sheep's clothing. 

Shame on me for behaving the way I did with her in the past.  Now that I have set boundaries, the relationship has changed and she works hard to come up with strategies to get DH to visit her and help with her To Do list -- the end goal being to keep DH away from his wife and children. 

The downside when dealing with covert aggression is that it forces one to live in a state of vigilance.  I dread weekends because that is generally the time for PDmil to need DH.  Rather than us regrouping as a family, our weekend is interrupted by PDmil and her calculated demands.  She spends M-Fri thinking of ways to snare DH.  There is literally nothing I can do to block her.  There is nothing I can do either to stop DH because he has been wired to jump to her beck and call for DECADES.  And even if he does know what is going on, what can he reasonably do about it?  For sure he would be embarrassed to admit being abused by her....I don't know if he would EVER admit that to me until after she is gone.  He has easily admitted that her shortcomings bother him but he generally fills in an excuse on her behalf to soften the reality... :blink:
NPD F (overt) NC
DPD MIL (covert) VLC
FALLEN GC SIB
GC#2 SIB (covert) LC headed to NC

No PD is going to tell me what to do.

People who don't bring joy, let them go.

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GettingOOTF

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Re: Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2020, 02:48:20 PM »
This was a great article. Parts of it made me really angry which I’ve come to see is my reaction when I read about something that was done to me.

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Remember: anger is an involuntary emotional response. If you see it suddenly switch on or off without good reason (especially after a previous tactic failed), that’s not a sincere feeling — it’s a gambit. They’re trying to intimidate and put you on the defensive.

So many quotable moments from the article but this really stood out for me.

I think this article could be helpful to many of us. Thanks for posting Bloomie.

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Bloomie

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Re: Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2020, 12:34:50 PM »
Adding another great resource to this thread for covert abuse that I have found very validating and helpful:

https://themendproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Original-Abuse.pdf

An excerpt that gives the underlying premise of how damaging covert abuse is to us:

Quote from: Annette Oltmans
Even a single covert behavior in a repeated pattern is enough to be destructive to an individual or relationship, but multiple patterns are exponentially harmful to a victim in terms of their ability to understand what is happening: the victim becomes unable to identify their experience, find support, confront the abuser, or free themselves of these insidious manipulations. Even worse, prolonged confusion and stress states not only compromise the victim’s ability to think and function but have greater consequences to their physical health through adrenaline and stress hormone spikes and a severely weakened immune system, both of which make them much more vulnerable to disease and collapse.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2020, 12:37:10 PM by Bloomie »

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Free2Bme

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Re: Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2020, 04:40:51 AM »
Dear ones,

Great resources, many thanks!  I will be re-reading these, still trying to come to terms with my experiences with a covert. 

I don't intend to trivialize covert abuse by any means, but as I was reading a song popped into my head. (I used to sing it with my children when they were young).
I think it is from Disney's Peter Pan, in light of covert narcissistic abuse, it takes on a different meaning....

Never Smile at a Crocodile
Frank Churchill, Jack Lawrence

Never smile at a crocodile
No, you can't get friendly with a crocodile
Don't be taken in by his welcome grin
He's imagining how well you'd fit within his skin
Never smile at a crocodile
Never tip your hat and stop to talk awhile
Never run, walk away, say good-night, not good-day
Clear the aisle but never smile at Mister Crocodile
You may very well be well bred
Lots of etiquette in your head
But there's always some special case, time or place
To forget etiquette
For instance
Never smile at a crocodile
No, you can't get friendly with a crocodile
Don't be taken in by his welcome grin
He's imagining how well you'd fit within his skin
Never smile at a crocodile
Never dip your hat and stop to talk awhile
Never run, walk away, say good-night, not good-day
Clear the aisle but never smile at Mister Crocodile


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Bloomie

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Re: Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2020, 12:04:07 PM »
Free2Bme - that song is a perfect fit! LOVE that you shared this with us!

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all4peace

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Re: Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2020, 06:02:27 PM »
I work with someone who has been a nonstop boundary violator. It used to be in a sexual way until I found a really good boundary plan and acted on it. This week, it has been all about women in the workplace, out of their place in the home, expecting equal pay as men, tons of racism, etc. When I start asking clarifying questions I get an immediate "Don't get all offended!!" My DH was witness to all of it but could not see the aggression behind it. It's that kind of slimy interaction which I feel totally charged with fear and anger, yet is sneaky enough to be really slippery. Like I said, I simply asked clarifying questions and got a lot of instant actual verbal aggression.

I have a lot more to say, and want to read this thread more closely, but this has been the style of aggression I have most often dealt with. I nicknamed one of my SIL's "Shark SIL" because of these tactics. They are challenging. Anyway, I wanted to post quickly now, more later. Thanks for the topic, Bloomie!

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Psuedonym

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Re: Great Article on Covert Aggressive Tactics
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2020, 04:36:43 PM »
Both great articles! Thanks!