Covert Abuse (AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

Passive Aggressive/Covert Abuse
Covert Abuse(AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

Covert Abuse (AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

We’ve all used passive behavior at some point. We have all used the tactics of pouting, guilt, or given the silent treatment on occasion. When we feel hurt or angry, the child inside us comes out. Families in which honest expression is not permitted ultimately teach their children to deny their true feelings. The children learn to resort to passive aggressive behavior to express pain and frustration.

However, you may have encountered someone in your life who regularly  resorts to passive-aggressive behavior. They have very few skills at healthy communication or dealing with conflict. Every hurt or angry feeling is handled covertly.

 Passive Aggressive behavior is a form of what is called covert abuse. Many narcissists use covert abuse or passive aggressive abuse. Covert abuse is disguised abuse, or abuse that is not readily seen by others. When someone pushes you or hits you, you know that you’ve been abused. It is obvious and easily identified. You can draw a line between physical abuse and normal, loving behavior. Covert abuse is less obvious. It is disguised by actions that appear to be normal, at times even loving and caring. Passive aggressive people are using covert abuse.

Passive aggressive behavior stems from an inability to express anger in a normal, healthy way. A person’s feelings may be so hidden that they don’t even realize they are angry or feeling resentment. They often cannot see the problem and simply feel that others  misunderstand them.

Common Passive Aggressive Behaviors:

    • Making excuses for lack of follow-through or poor performance, blaming others.
    • Creating drama or chaotic situations. These behaviors can quickly ruin your good time without it looking intentional.
    • Procrastinating at the expense of others, especially if the other person is one that has “wronged” the aggressor. (ie. my ex would take extra time getting ready to go somewhere he didn’t want to go with me. When leaving the house for a safer location (a family member’s house) during a tornado watch, he intentionally packed up what he “needed” V-E-R-Y  s–l–o–w–l–y).
    • Being chronically late or forgetting things in order to control or punish. They often think they are more important than others. (See narcissistic personality disorder)
  • Avoiding intimacy. Passive aggressives often avoid intimacy by witholding sex, affection, and attention. He/she may purposely sleep facing away from you to show that he is upset, though he may or may not talk about his/her reasons why he/she is upset or even may deny being upset.
  • Using guilt or sulking to punish or gain attention. See above.
  • Being argumentative, critical, or resentful to punish or get one’s own way.
  • Creating intentional obstructions to punish or get one’s own way.
  • Being unresponsive or non-communicative to avoid discomfort or conflict.
  • Withholding kindness, love, or actions (such as sex or favors) to punish.
  • Sabotaging the efforts or relationships of others, either obviously or insidiously.
  • Forgetfulness: The passive aggressive avoids responsibility by “forgetting.” For example, he/she may forget an anniversary or special event that his/her partner wants to attend. Forgetting is of course only a passive aggressive weapon if it is intentionally used to cause pain in another person.
  • Ambiguity: The best gauge of how a passive aggressive feels about an issue is how they act. Normally they don’t act until after they’ve caused some kind of stress by their ambiguous actions. For example, my ex-husband would often start an argument about my parents in the car on the way to my parents for Christmas, Easter, etc. and would often end up turning around and driving back home if I didn’t agree 100% with his.
  • Blaming: Covert aggressive people are never responsible for their actions. If you aren’t to blame then it is something that happened at work, the drive home, or a co-worker or family member that caused it. The passive aggressive has no faults, it is everyone around him/her who has faults and they must be punished for those faults.
  • Lack of Anger: He/she may never express anger. There are some people who are happy with whatever you want, at least on the outside. The passive aggressive person may have been taught, as a child, that anger is unacceptable. Hence they go through life ignoring their anger, appearing to not care, then sticking it to you in another secretive way when you do what he/she had said was okay.
  • Fear of Dependency: He/she struggles with dependency issues. He/she feels dependent on you but these feelings often scare him. Therefore, he tries to control you.
  • Fear of Intimacy: The passive aggressive often has trust issues. Therefore, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone. A passive aggressive will have sex with you but they rarely make love to you. If they feel themselves becoming attached, they may punish you by withholding sex.
  • Obstruction: He/she will try to appear to be giving you what you asked for while, in reality, they have no intentions of giving it. He/she wants you to think that what you are asking is too much.
  • Victimization: The passive aggressive feels they are treated unfairly. He/she is always the innocent victim of your unreasonable expectations, a slow driver on the highway, or the the secretary at work.
  • Procrastination: The passive aggressive person believes that deadlines are for everyone but them, especially if they are trying to get back at you for something.

Dealing with the Passive Aggressive:
The passive aggressive desires, at least sub-consciously, a relationship with someone who can be the object of his or her hostility. They need someone whose expectations and demands he/she can resist. The person who displays passive-aggressive tendencies often is drawn to co-dependents, those with low self-esteem and those who find it easy to make excuses for others.

The biggest frustration in being with a passive aggressive is that they never follow through on agreements and promises. He/she will shirk responsibility for anything in the relationship while at the same time making it look as if he/she is pulling his/her own weight and is a very loving partner. The sad thing is, you may believe that you are loved and adored by a person who is completely unable to form an emotional connection with anyone.

passive aggression
The Passive Aggressive Relationship

The passive aggressive ignores problems in the relationship, at least the ones that YOU bring up. He/she sees things through their own warped sense of reality and, if forced to deal with problems, they will completely withdraw from you. They will deny any evidence of wrong doing, distort what you know to be real, minimize their behaviors or lie so that their view of what is real seems more logical to you. Divorcing the passive-aggressive leads to a high conflict situation with long-term negative consequences for all involved. See also divorcing a narcissist, as many of these traits overlap.Covert Abuse (AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

The passive aggressive will often say one thing but do another. Then, he/she will deny ever saying the first thing. They don’t communicate their needs in a clear manner, expecting their significant other to read their mind and meet their needs. They expect their spouse to just naturally know what they needed or want.

Some pointers for dealing with passive aggressive behavior:

  • Recognize and understand passive-aggressive behavior when you see it. Sometimes it is so insidious that you can feel confused or at fault, especially when you are blamed by the aggressor, but once you recognize a pattern of this behavior, accept that you are not to blame.
  • Create healthy boundaries for yourself so you aren’t manipulated by a passive-aggressive person. If you notice disrespect, do not allow it to continue.
  • Brush up on your own communication skills so that you can respond to passive-aggressive behavior with maturity and honesty.
  • Calmly communicate your need for truthful behavior and ask your partner to work on a new way of dealing with conflict.
  • Be understanding of the circumstances that created the passive-aggressive behavior. Most of it is based in emotional pain and misplaced anger, but do not let that excuse the behavior.

Confronting the Passive Aggressive:

Beware, if you confront the passive aggressive, it will most likely not be well received. He/she will most likely pout, withdraw, give you the silent treatment, or completely walk away.

There are two theoretical reasons for confronting the passive aggressive. One, if done correctly you may be able to help him/her gain insight into the negative consequences of their behaviors. Two, even if that doesn't happen, it will at least give you the opportunity to talk to him/her about how his/her behavior affects you. However, if your passive aggressive is a narcissist, you will most likely get nowhere. In this case, it is probably best to NOT confront the issue and get out if you still can. If you think you are dating someone with narcissistic personality disorder, read as much as you can on how to deal with him/her. See also my list of resources on the right side of my web page.

Inside the Passive Aggressive:

The passive aggressive has a real desire to have an emotional connection with you, but their fear of that connection causes them to engage in self-destructive behaviors. He/she will be secretive in his actions and it will only move him/her further from his/her desired relationship with you.

The passive aggressive never looks internally to examine his role in a relationship problem. They live in denial of their self-destructive behaviors, the consequences of those behaviors and the choices they make that cause others so much pain.

The passive aggressive objectifies the person of their desires to be used as a means to an end. Your only purpose is to feed his/her own emotional needs. You are not a person with feelings and needs but as an extension of him/her. When you no longer fulfill their needs, you are likely to be discarded, especially if you are involved with someone with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder).

The passive aggressive wants the attention and attachment that comes with loving someone but fears losing his/her independence and sense of self to you. You have to be kept at arms length and if there is an emotional attachment it is sporadic. With my ex, he'd claim we would have a love that songs were written about, be over-the-top in his affections toward me, then completely withdraw all affection for weeks on end over a small disagreement. It was very perplexing.

The only hope for change in the way they deal with relationship issues is if they will acknowledge their mistakes and contributions to the marital problems. Facing childhood wounds, looking internally instead of externally to find the cause of problems in their life will help them form deeper emotional attachments with a higher sense of emotional safety. If the person is willing and able to see his/her faults, he/she may be able/willing to change. If not, don't walk. RUN!!!

The information from this article was taken from : It is a very informative website that you may want to check out.


Covert Abuse (AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

Covert Abuse (AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

Covert Abuse (AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

Covert Abuse (AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

Wizard of Oz-The Man Behind the Curtain

Narcissism Parallels The Wizard of Oz
Narcissists seem to see themselves as great and powerful.

“I am Oz! The great and powerful!”

When I was married to my husband, more particularly when things got increasingly rougher, I felt like Dorothea Gale in the land of Oz. Things didn’t make sense, as if I was living in a dream, or nightmare, rather. My daughter was “Toto”. I kept her close-by for her protection. I rarely left her alone with him. He rarely ever wanted me to.

Remember in The Wizard of Oz when the wizard is exposed by Toto, who pulls the curtain back, showing the wizard at the controls of his microphone/projector? I often felt like saying “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” when he’d throw one of his fits and expose his true nature. I didn’t of course. That wouldn’t have gone over well.

Narcissists love to be admired and feared. Would we fear the wizard without the booming voice, the giant projected head and the thunder? It reminds me that the narcissist is just a little man hiding behind a curtain projecting a different (in their eyes, “better” version) of themselves to others. They want to be seen in a light of authority, of esteem, of wisdom. They want to know all, or been seen as knowing  all. They are, of course, just the man behind the curtain, but they do anything they can to not let others see that, no matter who gets hurt in the process. I’m not entirely sure they even realize consciously that they are doing it. I remember my ex saying to our marriage counselor that he didn’t know how I could just apologize so easily. I’m not sure if he was admitting a fault or keeping up an “I’m trying” image.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” Narcissists like to distract from the truth.

He, of course, was the wicked witch of the story in my eyes; though, unlike the witch, whose intentions were never kept secret, his were insidious. He tried to look like a good guy while doing bad things. He justified his bad behavior. I always said he could justify anything: a $10,000 purchase for the house when we had very, very little money, for example. More relevantly, he justified his actions because I “made him have to act that way. If you hadn’t done X, I wouldn’t have had to do Y.” (ie. If you had thought of making my favorite meal for dinner, I wouldn’t have had to yell at you and degrade you.”

Being involved with a narcissist is like living in the land of Oz… bizarre.

On getting out:  As the wizard says, “You, my friend, (to the cowardly lion) are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom.” This is a good thing for many of us to consider, I think. I felt guilty for leaving, especially in the way that I did. I didn’t announce it on the way out the door. I couldn’t have gotten out

narcissists and sociopaths
Divorcing a Narcissist or Sociopath is much like navigating the creepy forest of Oz.

with our daughter if I had and I wasn’t going to leave her with an unstable man, whose wife had just left him. I had already been held hostage in my own home and had just regained a little bit of freedom. The cards were stacked in my favor that day and I’m SO glad I got out when I did. I can’t go into details of how I got out, as I wish to remain as anonymous as possible for my family’s privacy and safety.

And “if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” The narcissist, or any socio- or psychopath, can make it difficult to hold on to your self-worth and life ambitions. It’s easy to feel beaten-down. Remember that they can’t MAKE you feel this way. Always hold on to yourself. It know what it’s like to walk on eggshells with someone, to give up your plans for theirs, to sacrifice yourself for their happiness so that you can then be happy. I know what it’s like to put yourself last. But remember, YOU are Oz, the great and powerful! You control your life.

My Husband is a Jerk

Help! My husband is a jerk. I’m sure you can relate:

Never in a million years did I think I’d be getting a divorce. I’m sure most of you can relate. For years, I knew that my husband was a jerk. Our relationship progressed rather rapidly, as many in this situation do. Having been acquaintances before, I quickly moved in with him after a few months of a long-distance relationship. I had just
broken up with someone I’d been with for 3 years. Within just a few months of living together, he asked me to marry him, (which is another bizarre story in and of itself) I said yes, though I had my doubts already. We were married a year later, only a year and 3 months after really getting to know each other. I had my doubts, as I stated before, but we had already bought a house together and had combined all of our money (another sign, in retrospect). He had agreed to move back to be closer to my family. (I had just broken up with a man who had been unwilling to move away from his family so that I could be close to mine, which is understandable; however, my now-ex used this knowledge of my weakness as part of his plan to snag me. He knew I was so happy he was willing to move wherever I wanted to go, that I’d be more willing to accept some of his bad traits. And I was. He was very loving to me, at times. Other times, he was a jerk, but it started out so slowly that I learned to accept his bad times. He always put on a good front to others and I was isolated in a state 350 miles from my family and friends. Though I had made friends down there, they were all mutual friends, actually, they were all friends of his first, so it was hard to confide in anyone without fear that it would get back to my fiancé at the time. I had a neighbor that was bold enough to suggest that he get a job, and ask “is he even looking for a job?” I however, took up for him with the phrase that he told me, that he was helping me get my business started. He wasn’t, however, I wasn’t really working much yet either, so I didn’t feel I had the right to judge. Looking back, I think that neighbor, had I confided in her, could have been a valuable asset. She was a strong woman and put up with emotional abuse at home. Her husband was a jerk too, only more obviously so. He didn’t try to hide it. He was also an alcoholic. He’d drink 24 beers a night some nights (or ever night?)  It didn’t seem to shake her but looking back, I’m sure it did.

Difficult marriage help, narcissists, sociopath
10 Lifesaving principles for women in difficult marriages

It was during this time that I started to see things, especially while he was drinking. He had drunk heavily in the past, even bragged about it to me. He drank moderately to heavy at times while we were together, barely any toward the end. But, in the beginning, it seemed that when he was drunk, he’d let his guard down a little and “things” would slip out. For instance, one of the first fights we had, shortly after I had moved down, he got offended because while the two of us were cleaning the house (yes, he did this in the beginning) I wore headphones and listened to my music. He thought that it was rude that I was listening to music that HE couldn’t hear and wasn’t talking to him. Ok, this, in-and-of-itself is not such a big issue. Couples have issues like this all the time. The issue came in the manner in which it was handled. When he brought it up, he was clearly angry. His reaction was out-of-proportion to the “crime” committed. He was yelling about how inconsiderate I was and how he didn’t see “how

marriage, narcissism, boundaries
Create healthy boundaries in marriage

anyone wouldn’t see that this was offensive!” and “How could you be so selfish as to think that this was right?!” and on and on. I apologized. I hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings, as I clearly had. However, the apology got me nowhere. He went on and on about it. He withdrew his affection and attention from me for days. This seemed like very strange behavior. He was “different”, not the loving, doting man that I had known. However, after a few days, he seemed to forget about it. I was so confused about what had happened. In fact, that’s a phrase that I found myself repeating for the next several years. “What just happened?” There were more incidents. One involved me “not being ready to go when I said I was ready.” I used the bathroom (#1) before leaving the house. It was a quick trip. I didn’t stop to do my hair or anything. I’d say 1-2 minutes, tops. He was already in the car and came storming back in irate because I had “taken so long after I said I was ready.” He then refused to go wherever we had planned to go and was miserable for days. What the …?! But, a few days later, he was back to his “old” self. These types of incidents happened more and more often. I’m sure all of you reading this have some similar stories.

Save you marriage before it starts

But most times were good. He’d cuddle with me on the couch at night, play in my hair, which always put me to sleep, and even build me up at times. Even toward the end, we often had nice nights of cuddling. It was so relaxing and comfortable. Then, he was the man that I married. Of course, as many of you in this situation are, I was scared of his temper, of his anger. I don’t know how I stumbled on the subject of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I think it was from a podcast I heard a few years before our divorce. From the moment I learned about NPD, I realized that, as I had suspected, our marriage wasn’t salvageable. Still, it took me years to get out. I know I knew it !) From this definition, I went from thinking “my husband is a jerk” to realizing there was an actual personality disorder, more specifically narcissism, going on. If you are also thinking “my husband is a jerk”, it would be wise for you to look into narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD, and arm yourself with information. Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is not deemed to be very successful. If you must leave, which you most likely will, you will need all the information you can get about how to safely leave, your children’s safety while leaving, and the court battle ahead. Divorcing a narcissist can be daunting. Family courts often don’t recognize narcissistic

Boundaries in marriage

parents and can often overlook the problem. Gather information that may help you, including your important paperwork, even if you have to sneak it out of the house one-by-one to copy. Get your bank information. If you are not an authorized user on the account (I wasn’t), start your own bank account to save money for when you leave. (I didn’t/couldn’t), or give money to a trusted friend/family member for safe-keeping. I DID do that. It was the easiest method and hardest to track. It wasn’t much, as I wasn’t making much at the time, but it helped. If you are worried about being fair, don’t. If he’s a narcissist, he’s not, and if you’re with him, it’s likely that he’s preyed on your sensitivity as mine did to me. And, most importantly, document everything your spouse says/does that shows his instability, whether it be emails, texts, conversations, etc. Also keep a list of witnesses to any encounters, or witnesses that knew who had the kids when. The narcissist will likely use them to get back at you and may try to get custody of the children in order to hurt you (and/or because they need them for narcissistic supple). In retrospect, I know I’m not perfect. I know I have flaws. However, I didn’t deserve the treatment I got. My husband is an asshole! If you’re reading this, it’s very likely that yours is too.

Not all jerks are narcissists, some are just miserable people. However, I’d say that the majority of jerks are narcissists. (See “Is He a Narcissist” to find out if your jerk is a narcissist) If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to first get out safely, if necessary, then to heal from the narcissistic abuse. Healing from narcissistic abuse is no picnic. Neither is getting a divorce. If you have been together for a long time, there are strong bonds to the narcissist. If you have children together, your ride is going to be considerably rougher as this person will likely always be in your life through your child and your jerk is likely going to use your child/children as a pawn while going through a divorce and often after.

For a while, I just thought “my husband is a jerk!” Now I know that there was more to it. I hope that through this website and others like it, that you may find the strength to stand up to the jerk, or at least stand up for yourself as you get out of the toxic relationship and heal and move on. It is taking me a while to heal from the narcissistic covert abuse, as it was in my case (yours may be more blatant), but healing from anything takes time. I wish you strength as you heal what needs to be healed. You should not have to suffer from someone, especially a supposed loved one, degrading you or playing mind games. Trying to decide when to divorce your husband is a very hard decision and should not be made lightly. You should read up on how to divorce your husband before you leave if you can do so safely. Getting a divorce is no easy task, especially when a narcissist is involved. You will likely find that you don’t  need a husband to be happy. In fact, an unhappy marriage in which you’ve tried everything you can to make it work can make you terribly unhappy, but sometimes counseling can do wonders if two people are willing to admit their mistakes and are willing to change.

Best of luck!my husband is a jerk to me my husband is a jerk quotes my husband is a jerk to me quiz