The covert-aggressive personality employs a potent one-two punch: the covert-aggressive conceals aggressive intent to ensure you never really see what’s coming; and he or she exploits your normal sensitivities, conscientiousness and other vulnerabilities to manipulate you into succumbing.
Covert-Aggressive Personalities are the archetypal wolves in sheep’s clothing that I introduced in my first book, In Sheep’s Clothing. These individuals are not openly aggressive in their interpersonal style. In fact, they do their best to keep their aggressive intentions and behaviors carefully masked. They can often appear quite charming and amiable, but underneath their civil faÃ§ade they are just as ruthless as any other aggressive personality. They are devious, underhanded, and subtle in the ways they abuse and exploit others. They have usually amassed an arsenal of interpersonal maneuvers and tactics that have enabled them to effectively manipulate and control those in relationships with them. The tactics they use are effective because they simultaneously accomplish two objectives very effectively:
- The tactics conceal obvious aggressive intent. When the covert-aggressive is using the tactics, the other person has little objective reason to suspect that he is simply attempting to gain advantage over them.
- The tactics covert-aggressive personalities use effectively play on the sensitivity, conscientiousness, and other vulnerabilities of most persons — especially neurotic individuals — and therefore effectively quash any resistance another person might have to giving-in to the demands of the aggressor.