When one talks about passive-aggressive, one caters to the definition, ‘ a feeling of indirect hostility or anger towards other, along with avoidance of confrontation.’ However, many times it has come to people’s eyes that passive-aggressive behavior has its hidden relation to narcissism as well.
The roots of passive aggression are somewhere or the other linked with covert/inherent narcissism in a person. A covert narcissistic person can be defined as a person who exhibits self-centeredness in all his behavioral antics. They possess a sense of entitlement, lack empathetic gestures, and are in constant need of attention. However, all of this is rather in an indirect way than a direct way.
A lot of these traits are also out-rightly visible in the day-to-day actions of a passive-aggressive person. Therefore, it is not wrong to state that passive aggression and covert narcissism are inter-connected behaviors.
How to Identify a Covertly Narcissistic Person?
Well, understanding the behavior of an overtly narcissistic person is easy. They generically show signs of self-obsession. They always want a said topic or people to revolve around their world, and when they do not get attention, it becomes very upsetting for them.
However, if we talk about somebody who is covertly narcissistic, then it might get difficult to analyze them. This happens so because they do not directly show this self-obsessed side of their behavior and tend to do it in ways unknown to the common eye.
Therefore, here are a few signs listed to get to identify a person who is showcasing covert narcissism in their behavior.
1.Putting Themselves Down
People who show signs of covert narcissism, always crave attention and admiration. They have a huge void in their self-esteem balance and hence try to get validation from others to boost up their esteem issues.
Therefore, covert narcissists always put themselves down in front of others or talk modestly too, to get compliments/admiration from people.
Those who go through covert narcissism, always try to remain socially excluded. This arises from their deep inherent feelings of insecurity. They do not share their extreme feelings of inferiority complex with anyone as this tends to shatter their mind-built sense of superiority.
To avoid getting their true insecure selves exposed, they remain closed in their own shells.
Covert narcissists often envy those who get something that they feel they deserved in the first place. It can range from anything and everything, be it money, power, social status, social admiration etcetera.
Although, they do not show these signs of jealousy outwardly in the first place. But, they do express their hidden emotions of envy and bitterness indirectly.
4.Sensitive to Criticism
Who does not mind criticism? Everyone in one way or the other does not want to get criticism for their work or personal choices. The same happens with covert narcissists.
However, the difference lies in the reactions to criticisms. While people tend to take criticisms positively and accept them, things are not the same with covert narcissists. They reply with a sarcastic remark to their criticism or try to show that they are much above those lines of criticism. However, in reality, they experience deep hurt and pain.
All of these signs are also somewhere or the other visible in people with passive aggression, Passive aggressors are averse to criticism, think highly of themselves, and indirectly show certain behaviors. Therefore, the relation between passive aggressors and covert narcissists can be drawn easily.
Let us look at a few joining dots/ways that make passive aggression and covert narcissism parallel to each other. One is incomplete without the other.
Ways to Understand the Relation between Passive Aggression and Covert Narcissism?
While both passive aggression and covert narcissism go hand in hand, people often wonder how to recognize someone who possesses both of these traits. Therefore, here are a few ways listed that can help you strike a chord between these two behavioral issues and make you understand why we call one bread than the other is butter.
Passive aggressors do not like the idea of gelling with others well. They always have an intrinsic sense of competitiveness in everything to prove that they are better than the rest. Similarly, covert narcissists possess extreme self-esteem issues. Therefore, by being rude to others they get to relive their aura of superiority.
In both of these cases, a constant feeling of hostility towards others is visible. A sense of making one feel better by putting down others.
When passive aggressors see something not happening according to the way they wanted it to be, they are quick to blame others. They do not dive in deep to see the possible reason behind it, but just to avoid confrontation and accountability, they indulge in such behavior.
Similarly, covert narcissists blame others sometimes for their actions of irresponsibility because they feel good when they see others seeping into a state of guilt trip. The way they feel about themselves, dwelling in inferiority complex when they see someone feeling incapable, they get to enjoy their false sense of superiority.
3. Delaying Work
Passive-aggressive people are masters in procrastination and delaying work for later. Or, many times it does happen they do it purposely so that other people cannot complete their work on time. They hold a very negative sense of competitiveness.
This is exactly visible in covert narcissists too. It can be witnessed that covert narcissists keep certain information to themselves and do not pass the information ahead. They do so either to keep themselves ahead of everyone else or out of jealousy and envy.
4.Rigidity and Stubbornness
Repeated resistance to other people’s requests, not compromising even one bit for others, and being stubborn about one’s thinking and opinions, is typical passive-aggressive behavior. In the very same way, covert narcissists also remain rigid in their ways.
The possible intention behind this can either be negative indirect validation or a sense of power position over the other. The feeling that somebody else had to compromise for them and they had to do nothing, acts as a sign of self-accomplishment for them.
Passive-aggressive people and covert narcissistic people are both excellent in giving invisible treatment. Whenever they get angry/upset over something/someone, they never show it on the face. They instead believe in giving an off treatment with the intention of guilt-baiting.
Both of these exhibiting personalities come into play because the passive aggressors and covert narcissists cannot show their anger outwardly. In the case of the former, a scare of confrontation is present after an anger outburst. And, in the case of the latter, a fear to get their inner complex feelings of insecurity to come in front of everybody.
Though a link of connection is successfully drawn between passive-aggressive behavior and covert narcissism. But, one must keep in mind that not all passive aggressors are covert narcissists. However, Covert narcissists do show signs of passive aggression in their behavior in some way or the other.
There is a very thin line of distinction between both these behavioral traits. If one is nineteen, then the other is twenty. The difference is very minimal. However, not negligible. One must never use these terms irreplaceably for each other because if we analyze intricately, a full list of differences can come out.