Terry Martin Ph.D
July 20, 2018 We’ve all had to deal with subtle manipulations. People angling to get what they want, but acting like little angels to make you feel like you’re the problem or you’re crazy. You can never quite prove it.
We read about dealing with passive-aggressiveness but it doesn’t seem to help. Why? Because we can’t solve a problem we haven’t properly diagnosed.
True passive-aggression usually takes the form of non-compliance. Does that sound like “manipulation” or endless, deliberate head games? No, because what we tend to call “passive-aggressive” isn’t passive-aggressive at all. The proper term is “covert aggression.”
Covert and passive-aggression are indirect ways to attack, but they are different.
Passive-aggressive people express anger in a way that makes you argue; fight back. For example, they play an emotional game of ‘getting-back’ by not cooperating or giving the silent treatment, pouting or whining. They may intentionally forget something you want them to do because they’re angry and don’t feel like obliging.
Covert-aggressive people put you on the defensive. They make you doubt yourself. Their aggression is active, but veiled. They use calculated, underhanded means to get what they want. They manipulate the response of others while keeping their aggressive intentions under cover. Simply put: coverts want to be bad while looking good.
To all aggressive people, life is a competition and they despise losing. They are the most dangerous because they’re not overtly aggressive. What are they up to and what can you do to stop them?
We all behave aggressively now and then. If a person tells a lie, why jump to conclusions and think they are pathological? Refrain from diagnosing people as pure evil because they dodge blame for something.
People who feign innocence, ignorance or confusion are playing dumb because they’ve done something awful and it’s called to their attention. That tactic is meant to make you question your judgment, even your sanity.
Other tactics you may encounter include diversion and evasion,never giving a straight answer to a straight question; changing the subject when cornered; lying about something––but lies are usually not black and white, straight-up lies. Those are too easy to catch. People lie by omission or distortion. They try to use charm and anger. Why respond to an accusation when you can distract your way out of it with flattery and humor? If cornered, they may turn to anger.
Remember: anger is an involuntary emotional response.
Next week – Part Two: More examples and the Covert’s Playbook!
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PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE PEOPLE
July 20, 2018 Change of pace this week, a story from my book Nothing Major as told by Ben Wright, the former CBS-TV golf analyst.
It happened in the early hours on Saturday at the Western Open in Chicago. I got up to relieve myself. I had a dry cough at the time and started to cough as I flushed the toilet. My upper bridge left me––my teeth swirled and disappeared. I dived after them but the suction was so strong that I was glad to get my arm back.
So now I’m trying to practice a tight-lipped delivery in front of the bathroom mirror. But I was lisping and spitting.
I phoned the maintenance man and told him my situation.
He said, “Are you honestly suggesting that I should go down into that area? And, if I did find them, you’d wear them?” With that, he hung up.
I called our executive producer-director Frank Chirkinian and said, “Flank, I flussed my teef down the john.”
He said, “You drunken Limey swine, what bar are you in? We’ll send a boy to pick you up.”
I said, “Flank, I’m not in a bar, I’m down the collidor flom you.”
He said, “Meet me in the lobby in fifteen minutes.”
When we met in the lobby I gave him a big smile with my teeth missing and he said, “Gee whiz, you have a problem.”
I told him I wanted to go in search of teeth.
He told me I’d never find teeth on a Saturday morning.”
When I arrived at the television compound I asked if anybody knew a dentist. Our associate producer, said, “I have a 10:00AM appointment, you can have it.”
I dashed to the dentist, Dr. Russell Fu. A 26-year-old Chinese gentleman answered the door. He asked, “What appears to be the problem?’
I said, “The ploblem, Dr. Fu, is I’ve got no teeth.”
He cancelled all appointments and took impressions of my upper jaw. Four hours later, at noon, he delivered a set of false teeth that fit perfectly and said, “No charge!”
I went out to tape my spiel to the camera, really pleased: I’m Ben Wright I’ll be reporting play from the seventeenth hole, a dogleg left, 456-yards, all that stuff.
Then they played it back, as a courtesy. When they did there was a set of clockwork clackers anchored a foot from the flagstick and the teeth were perfectly synchronized with my voice.
Why is That?