This blog has primarily been about psychopathic/narcissistic personalities although recently I have been concerned not so much about the pathology but the way in which people manipulate.
Dr George Simon talks about the Aggressive pattern in his new book Character Disturbance. These aggressive types are split into a number of different patterns – The Unbridled Aggressive, The Channelled Aggressive, the Sadistic, the Predatory aggressive, The Mistrusting (Paranoid), and the Covert aggressive.
For the purpose of this article I shall be talking about the Covert Aggressive. Dr George Simon describes these types are the archetypal manipulators. They are not open in their aggressive intentions and do their best to keep the behaviour hidden under a mask. He describes their tactics as accomplishing two objectives
- The tactics effectively play on the sensitivities, vulnerabilities and conscientiousness of others (especially neurotic individuals). The other persons then go unconsciously on the defensive (i.e. retreating mode) This quashes all potential resistance.
- The tactics conceal obvious aggressive intent. The other persons have little objective evidence that the covert-aggressive is intending to take advantage of them. Instead of trusting their “gut” instincts, the other persons question themselves and get hoodwinked.
Dr George Simon describes the world according to the aggressive characters as only having four possible outcomes.
- I win, you Lose
- You win, I lose
- I win, You win
- I lose, you lose
Since their sole modus operandi is to ensure that they always win choosing option 1 is their first choice, if they do happen to lose they wont go down without a fight. If they see someone else who appears to be “winning” they may try to take you out at the earliest convenience. Alternatively, if by some chance they lose and get taken down they will ensure they take you down with them. It’s also one of the reasons why they see others who wish to win as a threat.
As I have mentioned earlier Psychopaths display any or all of the above aggressive patterns, it’s often one of the reasons why psychopaths stalk victims long after the relationship is over as a way of getting one over on their victims. Its their way of saying “You may think you have won but not until I have finished with you”.
Aggressive personalities and psychopaths also have a way of being able to spot neurotics weaknesses extremely easily.
Often neurotics do not trust our gut instincts and recently I had the misfortune of dealing with what can only be described as a covert-aggressive.
Its worth mentioning that just because we have got rid of a psychopath or narcissist in our lives it doesn’t necessarily mean we wont ever bump into another disordered character again either in relationship or in the workplace. Armed with better knowledge in educating ourselves how to spot them before they spot us, we also need to learn how to better deal with them in the future if we are put in a situation where me may possibly get victimized.
Prior to the recent run in with the covert aggressive personality which prompted this article, when I first met them my immediate reaction was to put my guard up to protect myself. However as time went on, over a period of months I started to think that maybe I was judged them too harshly and let my guard down a little. It goes back to the old adage that neurotics want to see the good in everyone but occasionally we still get blinded by their façade. As Dr Robert Hare commented in I am Fishhead often it can take months for people’s true character to be exposed and even so-called experts still get find themselves being manipulated.
Without going into detail about what happened, I was left in a no win situation and had to choose whether or not it was worth fighting or end up being victimized. Needless to say my gut instincts proved to be spot on or I wouldn’t be writing this article.
Dr George Simon talks about different ways of handling these people in the workplace in this article . Unlike aggressive personalities I tend to be the one that always backs down but this time although I stood my ground and not wanting to be victimized I chose to “Accept the risk, and if necessary, be prepared to leave “
I may have “lost” in their eyes but for my own emotional well-being I felt I made exactly the right decision. It might have been a risky decision for me but I was fortunate enough to not have to rely on one particular income. Sometimes we have to realize that no matter what we do others will stop at nothing in order to win. If protecting my emotional wellbeing, and not getting victimized again makes me a loser then I I’d rather be a loser anyday
As Dr Simon says “If you’re prepared to deal with the risks involved, you might just find that seeking a new opportunity is the best move you ever made.”
For anyone who has ever been out with a psychopath or narcissist the best thing we can ever do is leave them, and avoid all contact. The same applies to dealing with those displaying covert aggressive behaviour. Often what appears to be the hardest choices at the time are sometimes the best. In this case backing down and leaving is almost certainly the best thing I could have done. Not only do I have peace of mind without all the head-games anymore I now have more free time on my hands to start working on my new book, details coming soon.