Therapists who treat passive-aggressive personalities know this kind of scenario well. Their client will pelt them with pleas for assistance. But when the therapist recommends a course of action, the client will come up with ten reasons why he or she can’t do what the therapist prescribes. When the therapist throws up his or her hands in exasperation, the client will wail and complain that nobody cares. It’s a horribly self-defeating vicious circle of ambivalence.
As you can see, covert-aggressive personalities are very different from passive-aggressive personalities, and they are anything but passive. They are very actively aggressive personalities who know how to keep their aggressive agendas carefully cloaked. Dealing with them is like getting whiplash. You don’t know how badly you’ve been taken advantage of until long after the damage is done. They are, perhaps, the most manipulative of all personalities with the possible exception of the psychopathic (alt: sociopathic) personality — the subject of an upcoming post.