Passion Aggression

Take the word passion. Split it up, add a handful of letters, and you get passive aggression!

Coincidence? I think not!

Narcissists have to feel like you think they’re supremely and exquisitely perfect, all of the time. (If you fail in making them feel that way, the problem is with you, not them.) They also need to punish you for slights such as wanting them to be honest and direct with you, and they devalue you so that you don’t threaten them with intimacy and healthy expectations. One wouldn’t think they could accomplish both being perfect and being punishing and devaluing at the same time, but they’re damn well going to try. What ensues is passive aggression.

Narcissists love passive aggression because they get to be cruel, sadistic and punishing without having it overtly look that way. They can pull nasty stunts and have it look like an accident or like the responsibility of someone else, most likely you. They love being “late” for dates and appointments with you. They love telling you they’ll do something and then saying later that you misunderstood. They really love sniveling little digs like, “Last night with you was fun. You were hardly critical or nagging at all.”

The most prevalent passion you’re going to get from the narcissist, far more than romantic passion and even more yet than passion for life, is passive aggression. Narcissists throw great energy and practice into their passive aggression. As a result they’re good at it, though not usually very subtle.

His favorite passive aggressive move will be ignoring you. Days without word from him, if you’re dating; days without touching you or talking to you in complete sentences, if you’re living with him.

If something is important to you or hard for you, he’ll minimize it and turn your attention to himself. If your mother is terminally ill or you just found out you can’t have children, he’ll manage to be away from you for long periods of time and when he’s with you he’ll talk about the biggest issue in his own life, usually something like his ingrown toenail or how his boss snubbed him that day.

If you’re laying in bed weak with the flu and have four or five kids galloping around needing parenting, he’ll go ahead and knock off work early on Friday and go on a four-hour kayaking trip with a couple (predominantly female) friends. Then he’ll call you from the parking lot on the way home and ask if he can pick you up some soda crackers or something, and expect to be showered with appreciation and await your tears of joy at having someone so deeply considerate as he. When you fail to do so, it will be YOU and your COLD, unloving self that is responsible for any ensuing tension.

And tension there will be, if you persist in your irrational assaults of pointing out his behavior. PLAY ALONG, DAMMIT!! He’ll be giving you a chance to make up for your lack of appreciation, your attacks on his very being, your being sick in the first place; APOLOGIZE! Then the passive aggression can eventually subside.

People with extended exposure to narcissists need intensive therapy. They’re often on anti-depressant medication and have health problems like migraines and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. They’ve forgotten their purpose in life and they feel numb. They can have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Prolonged Duress Stress Disorder.


I think not.


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8 Responses to Passion Aggression

  1. This is so spot on. I’m a teacher and when I told my N “friend” that I had just learned that one of my students was being sexually abused by her father (a student he also knew), his first response was, “I hope that’s not going to get in the way of our project.” If you stay with one long enough, you become trained to not share anything of meaning with them because they’ll just shoot it down with their disinterest.

    • Clair

      Don’t forget the ol’, “what ever you disclose to me about your weaknesses, or whatever you share with me in confidence, I will use against you whenever I feel like it. Also, thank you for telling me how much you love flowers, now you won’t get them.” Ultimately, we learn to discuss the weather, food, and do the egg shell dance, and share very little about anything that has meaning for us, as well, you know..My first recycle came when after this demon was living with me 7 days a week for 6 months, I’d asked him to participate with some living expenses. He was shocked as his contribution was the dinners he paid for when we went out? Huh? I paid for alotta those too? So, asking him to participate, even if just a gesture, toppled me off my forced podium, and the 1st discard commenced. Yuck!!! Ty, Clair

  2. Molly

    Spot on again… I think you’re describing my exN. Were we with the same guy? All day kayaking trip with female friends whilst I’m in bed with morning sickness, heartbroken because he told me he didn’t want me to keep our baby.

    I’ve been thinking back to all the good times, but now you mention these things- I’m remembering how horrible it actually was to be with him. Uggghh!!! Thanks Aunt Alex!! :)

  3. Trish

    Love your site! My N was verbally and emotinally abusive – yelling swearing, controlling, abandonment. Looking back I can’t even believe I kept going back. I wanted to believe the words and promises.Don’t ever believe the words from an N. I left in August for good after many attempts during the last 3 years. I am seeing a therapist every week which has been extremely helpful and I am finallyl getting back to me. Next week it will be 3 months with No Contact. He sent me a happy birthday txt and one email but I didn’t respond. My N was very cyclical. On 3 months off 2 or more. It’s all about me now. The first month was the worst. Now I’m feeling better, stronger, and more peaceful everyday. Hang there ladies.

  4. Zex

    Love your articles. They are my lights on my way back to sanity. Thank you

  5. Anne

    Wow, just stumbled upon these articles. I am deep in the pit, trying to climb out after 2 years with N. I moved out one year ago after one year of living w him. I couldnt touch a thing in his house, my possesions were graciously given a closet, a shelf and a 5 X 5 adjacent area of un used basement space. My creativity, enthusiam, sensuality and the rest of me were deemed “crazy”. He immediately began to withhold intimacy, didnt like to kiss etc. Weekends were not for lovers but for me to shut up and watch him watch TV. His name calling and witholding sex short-circuited my entire brain I ws so cofused. I got fired from a good job because I would e mail him from work and the etreme insults he barraged back drove me to distraction.
    He belittled and berated me daily if I required sweetness from him.
    Oh yeah, also he doesnt cook or keep food in the house cause it makes a mess. Fun huh? I had to ask or negotiate any home made food.
    Anyway I got my own apt a year ago. I am 50 years old. I still hung on to him for most of this year. Finallly just five weeks ago he did me a favor and blocked my calls. I am feeling slightly very slightly better.

    • Helen

      Dear Anne,
      I can completely relate to what you’re saying. I have been with such a man for almost two years, if I can really call it “being with” him. He has gone out of my life for long periods of time (up to two months) with no word, then he’ll get back in touch and act like nothing has happened. He won’t explain or discuss anything, never seems to have any discomfort about anything. His personal life is a series of compulsions that determine most of his actions. What I can’t understand is why I keep getting back together with him, why I feel like I am crazy in love with a man who does little besides make me feel small, crazy, or humiliated. I am on the brink of self-destructing. I feel like my brain can see the truth about him, but my heart can’t let go. I want his validation so much. It’s embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. I am beside myself, wondering how to get out of the black depression I feel when he’s gone and get him out of my life forever. More accurately, how do I survive when he leaves me for good, which I’m sure he inevitably will? Helen

  6. Lookingforsunshine

    I feel for you. I have about four months before I am discarded. This has been going on for 3 years. He pops back in with an email that starts with Hi sweetie thinking of you. I go back every time even though he belittles and makes fun of all my ideas, plans and goals. He knowingly passed on an std. I am in the middle of a discard right now but have found out he is dating a friend of mine….triple yuck.

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