Covert Abuse (AKA:Passive Aggressive Abuse)

Passive Aggressive/Covert Abuse

Verbal Abuse-Survivors Speak Out

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)

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.



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