by Supplement View Staff
man looking confused and mad

You may feel really angry and frustrated with someone and not really know why. You may find yourself wondering why you stay around this person even though you don’t feel good around them. This article will discuss the tactics of a covertly aggressive person. If you’ve ever had a school project and had one person bail on all the meetings, do no work or do it wrong, and then act like they did tons of work when you and the rest of your panicky group deserve the A, you may have encountered a covertly aggressive person. This person actively controls others in a subtle way that can be hard to pinpoint but very easy to feel. They will use denial, charm, and lies that may frustrate you to no end, including the following nine behaviors.


The covertly aggressive person is the king or queen of manipulation. They will flatter you with compliments, gifts, and other things that capitalize on your need to be liked and receive approval. Their charm can be pleasant and suffocating and you may see them turn it up or down depending on how much someone else has what they want. Their ultimate goal is not to make you feel good but to get what they want. If you are around someone who makes you feel good and bad at the same time, you may be around a covertly aggressive person whose ultimate goal is to control everyone around them, including you.


woman covering ears with index fingers and smirking refuse to listenThis person will adamantly deny you said or did something, in order to convince you to doubt yourself. If you have been around someone and told them to meet you at 1 pm on Saturday and they don’t show up, you would rightly feel mad. But, when you see this person the next time, they may say you never said this.


A covertly aggressive person lies a lot. They may be vague, present the truth incorrectly, and when needed, tell blatant lies. They swing ever conversation in their favor by highlighting the parts of the event that support their worldview and makes them look like a good person. They have great difficulty answering direct questions as their goal is to confuse you and steer the conversation or events in their direction. This is to control you, their environment, and everyone’s perception of them.


This extremely frustrating behavior comes up when someone ignores your e-mails, requests, and phone calls. Though they may say the didn’t receive the e-mail or didn’t hear you, they are intentionally ignoring you. This dismissive behavior may be used to make you feel small in comparison to them and feel like you have done something wrong. In order to keep you with them, they must make you feel like you need them.


You may feel intense guilt when around this person because they are manipulating your conscience in an effort to control you through manipulation. You may want to be a good person and the covert aggressor knows this. They may accuse you of the things you had nothing to do with, all to get you to do what they want. They know that your sense of guilt will keep in and you’ll do just about anything to remedy the situation.


The king or queen of changing the subject, you’ll never be able to have a real conversation about anything with this person. As soon as you call them on their behavior they’ll change the subject to try and confuse you. With this person, you must remember to keep to the subject and not move on until you get a satisfactory answer. A covert aggressor is very secretive and vague because by them knowing things and you not knowing, they maintain the upper hand because they have the knowledge.


Again, playing on your kind heart, this person will exaggerate all complaints to make your fee bad for them. While some of these complaints may be true, this person will push them so far out of reality that you’ll wonder when you fell into a soap opera. A slight at work will become the biggest thing in the world, a slight bump of the knee will become debilitating. This behavior may lead to you running around to meet their every need because you want this person to be happy. But, the truth is, this person isn’t interested in your happiness, they are only interested in what you can do for them. This person has little ability to match the proportions of a situation with its needed reaction. All molehills become mountains and you will not be able to convince this person that it isn’t.


man being angry and aggressive towards woman bowing her headA constant barrage of put-downs, sarcasm, and critical comments of everything you do spews from this person’s mouth. You cant breath without them saying you’re disrupting them by breathing too loudly. This is designed to get them what they want by making you feel inadequate. When you feel small and like you aren’t good enough, not only can they feel big in comparison but this may lead to you doing things to get their elusive, and fake, approval.


Designed to make you doubt yourself, the covertly aggressive person will act stupid, as if they have no idea what you’re saying. This will make you reconsider holding them accountable for their actions because you are unsure if they understand the problem. This person is intentionally throwing you off balance because they don’t want to be held accountable and they want you to continue letting them off the hook. When you give them a pass, they have free rein to exert control. Which they will.

If you notice these behaviors in someone, confront them directly. Do not let them change the subject or feign ignorance. When you have discussed these behaviors, and after some time you see they are repeating them no matter what, it is best to remove this toxic person from your life. They will only harm you through their manipulation and need for control.

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