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Microaggression & Narcissists

Everyone knows about aggressive forms of abuse, such as hitting others.  There is another form that is much lesser known called microaggression.  Microaggression is a term that originally referred to subtle actions done or words said to convey hostility, anger or some type of negativity towards others in particular those of other races or sexual orientations.  I believe that narcissists use microaggressions as well, & not always towards people of other ethnicities or orientations.

Covert narcissists in particular prefer subtle ways to abuse their victims rather than relying on the “in your face” style of overt narcissists, so it’s no wonder they enjoy microaggressive behaviors.  These behaviors are hard to detect, so those employing such behaviors easily can fly under the radar.  As an example, if someone says, “You’re fat!” it’s obvious that is an insult.  However, if someone says, “Do you really want that second cookie?” it can appear as an innocent question.  After all, the person asking the question didn’t say “you’re fat” so it isn’t necessarily an insult.  It could be an implied one, however, depending on the person who asked the question & his or her relationship with the one expected to answer the question.  In this situation, an outsider may think the person who feels insulted is overreacting or reading into an innocent question.  While that can be true of course, when narcissists are involved, that is rarely the case. 

Such ambiguous statements aren’t the only form microaggressions can take.  A narcissist can “accidentally” forget things such as to invite their victim to a party that many other mutual acquaintances are invited to or forget their victim’s birthday as a way to let their victim know they aren’t important enough for the narcissist to remember. 

They also ignore their victim or even give them the silent treatment to tell their victim that they aren’t worth the narcissist’s time or attention. 

They may insult their victim for doing the exact same thing they brag about someone else accomplishing.  This is to let the victim know they’ll never be good enough in the narcissist’s eyes. 

They also like to give backhanded complements, which are an insult wrapped in a complement.  An example could be, “You look so much better since you lost weight!”  or, “Wow, I can’t believe you actually passed that test!  Congratulations!” 

Invalidation can be another form of microaggression, such as when you tell a narcissist about a problem, & they act as if you said nothing or change the subject as their way to communicate to you that your problem means nothing to them. 

Offensive jokes are another way for narcissists to hurt their victim in a subtle way.

In these situations, if a victim says something to the narcissist about their behavior, the narcissist won’t apologize.  Instead, they blame the victim for being upset because they are too sensitive, read into things too much, can’t take a joke or other similar statements designed to shame the victim into tolerating the abuse quietly. 

They also deny meaning anything offensive.  My ex husband was clearly disgusted by my weight, even when I was very thin, but not once did he ever call me “fat.”  It was implied, & if I said anything to him about it, he denied calling me fat.  He was right, he didn’t say that word, & I felt ashamed of myself for being oversensitive. 

Microaggression is incredibly passive/aggressive, so it should be treated the same way you treat someone exhibiting any passive/aggressive behaviors. 

Educate yourself on what behaviors the narcissist exhibits that demonstrate microaggression so you understand what is happening.

Pretend not to notice their behavior.  Ignore their games as if you noticed nothing out of the ordinary in their behavior. 

Refuse to be manipulated.  Whatever the behavior is trying to accomplish, don’t do it!  If it’s supposed to get you angry, then show no anger at all.  Hurt?  Don’t shed one tear.  Naturally it’s best to deal with your emotions, but do so later once you’re away from the narcissist.

Never ask the narcissist why he or she said or did that.  That only opens an ugly door for you to be insulted, shamed & otherwise treated badly by the narcissist.

If you’re struggling in this area in any way, never forget to ask God to give you wisdom.  He will do so & gladly.  Let Him help you!

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Some Passive/Aggressive Ways Narcissists Abuse

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A Passive/Aggressive Way Narcissists Use To Abuse

One passive/aggressive tactic narcissists use to abuse victims is to be sure they know they aren’t good enough.

A common way narcissists do this is to make sure you know that no matter how good you are at something, someone is better than you at it.  Let’s say you own your own interior designing business & the narcissist knows this.  Most people would be impressed by that.  Narcissists are too, just not when it comes to YOUR business.  They may say something like, “Did you know that Sally owns her own interior designing firm?  She is so smart & talented!  She works so hard!  Never takes a day off!”

While the words aren’t said, the message is still clear: “Sally has real talent!  You aren’t as hard working, talented or business savvy as she is!  You aren’t worthy of my admiration like Sally is!”

Another variation on this is when a narcissist says, “Interior decorating is so easy.  Seems like anyone can do it.  Anyone can put up a sign saying they’re an interior designer these days.  I can’t imagine why anyone would pay someone to do something so easy…”  Again, the words may not be said but the message is crystal clear – “You’re nothing special.  Any idiot can do what you do.”

A different tactic is used mostly by narcissistic spouses but also by parents.  They never tell you how attractive you are & they know you’re insecure about your appearance, but they freely complement others.  As an example, a narcissistic husband may fuss over a famous model’s beautiful figure to his pregnant wife who is about to give birth to their child, & who feels fat.  Parents can do this too, though.  My mother never told me I was pretty as a child.  In fact she used to brag that once she told me she thought I was “kinda pretty”, even though I don’t remember that happening.  Yet, when I was young, she’d fuss over how pretty other little girls were.  When I would be upset, she’d tell me I was wrong & shouldn’t feel as I did.

There are some big bonuses for narcissists in treating victims this way.  If you confront him or her, the narcissist knows their comment hurt you.  If you’re angry, all the better for the narcissist, because the narcissist can use your anger to prove how unreasonable & crazy you are.  They’ll say things like, “Don’t be so sensitive!”  “I don’t know how you got that out of what I said!”  “You read too much into things!”  If you’re unaware of what is happening, you easily can feel like the narcissist is right.  You’re crazy, oversensitive, etc.  Believing those lies will make you feel shame & be easier for the narcissist to control.  The narcissist may even use it as an excuse to discard you.

These tactics are attempts for narcissists to diminish anyone they envy, compete with or see as a threat in some way.  They knock a person down a bit by making them feel unimportant, bringing them closer to the narcissists level which also builds up the narcissist.

If the narcissist in your life treats you this way, remember what they are doing.  They’re using a passive/aggressive tactic to try to destroy your self esteem so they can control you.  Chances are, they don’t even mean the cruel things they say.  They’re actually envious of you for being prettier, more talented, more successful or whatever than they think they are.  Rather than try to better themselves, narcissists would rather tear someone else down.  So if the narcissist in your life treats you this way, don’t forget that.  What they say isn’t what they truly feel.  What they feel is the exact opposite.

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Passive/Aggressive Behavior

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About Passive/Aggressive Behavior

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