You usually hear about the forceful narcissists that come in and control everything with their mind games and manipulations, anger and verbal abuse. There is another category of narcissist that is just as difficult to deal with, but somewhat more difficult to identify. The passive-aggressive narcissist uses an entirely different method to victimize his prey.
How Come Everyone Is Out to Get Me?
The passive-aggressive narcissist is the eternal pessimist. Nothing ever works out for him, everyone from his co-worker to the guy at the bank sabotages his every attempt to achieve his dreams. He experiences difficulty after difficulty. Every time it seems like something is going to work out for him somehow it falls through. It is never his fault but always the fault of others. In fact, he is usually so very good at it that it seems like he is a magnet for bad luck.
No one Understands Me
The passive-aggressive narcissist will complain that no one “gets” him. No one understands his troubles, the depth of his angst, or the sensitivity of his soul. Where the “regular” narcissist will get angry and demand his way the passive-aggressive narcissist will take a different approach.
He will manipulate your emotions to guilt you into doing what he wants. You’ll feel sorry for him, want to protect him, or even feel that you need to fix his situation. He’ll tell you that you are the only one who understands him and the only one in the world that values him.
At least you’ll be on the “nice” list until you do something he doesn’t like. At that point he will begin to manipulate your emotions.
You’re just like everyone else.
You’ve never loved me.
You don’t care about me.
You don’t respect me.
Well, I guess I was wrong about you.
Procrastination Is Control
Another tool that the passive-aggressive narcissist uses is procrastination. It is one way of punishing you by keeping you off balance. It is his way of showing you that he’ll do it his way. If you say something he may tell you that he forgot.
Or, he may simply fail to show up for some important event where he promised to be. You can be sure that there will be a great excuse for why he didn’t show. He didn’t have gas money (but he had money for something else), his dog ran away, or some other excuse – he always has one.
He Has No Preferences – Until You Make a Decision
You’ve decided to go out to eat at a restaurant. You ask the passive aggressive narc where he’d like to eat and her shrugs and says he doesn’t care. You head to your favorite Italian place and are seated. He looks at the menu and sighs.
“I’m not in the mood for Italian.”
The rest of the meal is quiet and uncomfortable with him sulking and you feeling like you’ve done something terribly wrong.
Hint: you haven’t.
When we moved into our house it was painted in the most awful colors. I asked my not-yet-ex what color he wanted in the bedroom. He told me he didn’t care and that I should just pick something. I asked if rose was OK. He said it was.
I bought wallpaper border with roses and then matched the paint to the roses in the border. I brought the paint home and…
You guessed it.
“This is not rose, it’ pink”
It was rose, a very pretty rose, and I was furious because everyone knows rose is a pink color! To this day my room is yellow – very pretty with the border but not the rose I wanted.
The Eeyore Effect
You know who Eeyore is, right? The sad little donkey in Winnie the Pooh never has anything go right. In many ways he is a cute, cartoon version of a passive aggressive narcissist. He will exaggerate his problems and you can bet that no matter how bad your day has been his has been infinitely worse. He’ll whine and complain about the people he works with, his family, your family, and everything else.
He’s like a little rain cloud just waiting for a parade.
I am a writer and a communicator. If there is a problem I need to talk it out and I need to have it resolved before I go on to the next thing. Nothing in my life is right while there is a disagreement.
Stonewalling is when the narcissist makes light of what you’re saying, changes the subject, or walks away. He has decided not to deal with the problem and let it disappear on its own. It is probably the most frustrating thing that a passive aggressive narcissist does.
He’ll tell you to stop harassing him, call you a nag, or whatever but he won’t listen. He may even pretend to listen just to shut you up. Over time, as you get more and more frustrated, you learn to respond to his stonewalling by following him and continuing the conversation. You want a response but more than likely you won’t get one.
Be Honest and Share Your Feelings
When you are in a relationship with a narcissist you learn to keep your emotions on lockdown. You learn that sharing them gives the narcissist a view into your vulnerable areas. If you are going to survive the narcissistic onslaught from the relationship then you need to begin to share your feelings again.
By doing so you acknowledge that you have feelings, that you deserve honor, and that you are willing to stand up for yourself. It’s not going to change the narcissist but it will change your attitude about yourself.
Confront, Confront, Confront
Begin to call him out on his lies and exaggerations. If he thinks he is getting away with a lie he will continue to lie, it’s that simple. Calling him on it lets him know that you can see the real him whether anyone else can or not.
That’s one thing you can do to keep him off balance for a change!
Refuse to Help Him
No matter what is going on it’s a good idea to refuse to help the passive-aggressive narcissist. That may sound cruel but helping a narcissist is the equivalent of putting someone on life support. At some point you are going to have to stop it and that’s emotionally difficult. A passive-aggressive narcissist is perfectly happy to live on someone else’s dime while they feign weakness of some sort.
Just say no.
A narcissist doesn’t change. They may get good at hiding who they are but eventually it will come out. When you are dealing with a narcissist you need the support of others who have been there. Join First Wives World today and get the support you need to move on with your life.
Lead Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User:h.koppdelaney