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P-A Manipulation Tactics
It’s very important to be clear about covert fighting in order to avoid being victimized by any character (personality) disordered manipulator – in this case the Passive Aggressive.
A person’s habitual style of relating is dysfunctional or disordered if it is:
• Severe – when their natural tendencies become so overbearing & intense they go way beyond what their culture considers normal (Sadly, our society actually encourages & rewards many manipulative behaviors)
• Inflexible – they don’t seem able to willingly soften their responses or use alternative coping strategies
• Resistant – they won’t modify their way of relating, even if those are negative or have dire consequence
• Defective – their sense of right & wrong is strikingly weak,
immature, or missing (MORE….)
Neurotics have a very powerful, over-developed conscience (superego), with an intense sense of right & wrong. They often set themselves standards that are difficult – if not impossible – to meet, judging themselves harshly when they don’t feel they’ve done enough.
On the other hand, the disordered character’s conscience (little voice that guides most people to do what’s ‘right’) is severely underdeveloped & impaired, & in the worst cases, is absent altogether. This makes it easy for them to hurt people often & severely – without considering the other’s feelings.
And if they do hear that inner voice, they can easily silence it, so they don’t have a reason to “push” themselves to take responsibility. They are shallow, lack empathy & exploit, use & abuse others, often without a second thought.
P-A ‘fighting’ style
SO – when you confront a character-impaired (P-A) person about something they’ve neglected or done wrong, they will fight dirty to divert attention from the real issue. People who either place themselves above (NPDs) or are at war with (P-As) the principles that build integrity into a person’s character (honesty, fairness, kindness, respect….), will use just about any behavior or tactic possible to manipulate. (MORE….)
They ‘sneak-fight’, doing 3 things at once:
1. Fight you for a position of advantage in your relationship (try to back you into a corner to get you to back-off or back-down)
2. Fight to maintain an undeserved positive image
3. Fight against accepting whatever principle they know you’d like them to accept
(EXP: that trust in relationships is based on being honest)
Unfortunately, when a P-A is tap-dancing to defend themselves, as opposed to just fighting for their point of view, you’re bound to lose. This tells you the behaviors will inevitably recur, because they can’t do both at the same time – fight against a principle & accept it at the same time. (MORE….)
The P-A CONFLICT CYCLE – see it coming & get out of the way!
Stage 1 – As they grow up, P-As come to believe that any direct expression of anger is dangerous & has to be avoided at all cost. They solve the dilemma of what to do with their anger by developing P-A behaviors
Stage 2 – A stressful situation triggers irrational thoughts in the P-A, based on early life experiences.
EXP: A teacher asks a student to pass out a worksheet, but instead of feeling honored by being able to help, she/he will be resentful because the request triggers a family history of always being asked to do things without ever being appreciated for it
Stage 3 – The P-A denies their anger, which can lead to projecting it onto others, making up ‘stories’ & feeling resentful, even paranoid
Stage 4 – P-As actively display their denied anger, using one or more tactics listed in the post “Symptoms of Passive-Aggressive Anger – in us” (upcoming post)
Stage 5 – Reactions of others, usually negative. This is often what the P-A is hoping for, as it relieves their inner tension, & makes others the ‘bad guy’. Those reactions only reinforces the negative behavior, continuing the cycle. (MORE….)
The rest of the article offers ways to identify P-A behaviors & how to overcome them
NEXT: P-A ‘Nice People”‘, #4