Toxic Help , Backhanded Compliments: Negging, Passive-aggressive Devaluation

Uploaded 2/23/2024, approx. 8 minute read

Passive narcissists are passive-aggressive and people with NPD, which is not included regrettably and wrongly in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, but people with this suggested personality disorder are also by definition passive-aggressive.

Aggression is the externalization of aggression, directing aggression at others in ways which are difficult to prove, subtle, under the radar, subterranean, surreptitious, hidden.

This is by far the most pernicious form of aggression.

Aggression is a signal to the environment. You have bridged my boundaries. I would like you to modify your behavior.

Anger, for example, is a form of aggression. A lot of aggression is ritualized. Aggression is sublimated, expressed in socially acceptable ways. We can cope with all these forms of aggression because they are overt. They are clear. Sometimes they are ostentatious and conspicuous. We don't need to second-guess. We don't need to be on the alert, hypervigilant, walking on actions.

But passive aggression is ambient. It's in the atmosphere. You can't put your finger on it. You can't pinpoint it or pin it down. It is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

And this is why it's very, very toxic. It's a little like air pollution. You don't see it. It's not visible, but it's definitely there affecting your ability to breathe, the long-term health of your lungs and your longevity.

Passive aggression is the tool, the instrument of the weak, where they don't feel confident enough to express overt aggression or in circumstances where society frowns upon open aggression.

Then people who are weak and meek, somehow inferior, disenfranchised, usually resort to passive aggression.

Because here's the rule. Aggression must out. One way or another, aggression has to be expressed. There is no way to not express aggression. That's a common myth.

When people tell you, you should control your anger, anger management. This is nonsense. Anger management is not nonsense in the sense that it can redirect your aggression. It can mold it and shape shift it and form it in ways which would be condoned by society and accepted by it.

Yeah, other people would feel a lot more comfortable if you were to learn how to manage your anger. But anger has to be expressed and will be expressed, all forms of aggression.

And aggression transmogrifies. It wears many guises. Brutal honesty is aggression. Many forms of humor, especially dark humor. This is aggression.

So we are being aggressive. We act aggressively, even when we are not aware that we are.

Because society has afforded us numerous channels, transmission mechanisms and camouflages that let us go on with life, with other people, coexist, collaborate with them without rocking the boat to the point of drowning, capsizing and drowning.

So aggression is all around us. I would venture to say that aggression is the most dominant and most widespread and ubiquitous effect. I think it's by far the most common expression of our internal world. And yet passive aggression is when you hide this, when you pretend that you are not being aggressive, when you project your aggression and you blame the other party for being aggressive, even though they are merely being reactive to your passive aggression.

So it's really bad. It's really bad because it involves dishonesty, deception, sometimes self-deception and an inability to interact honestly and openly with other people.

And again, this is the weapon of the weak and the collapsed and the hateful and the envious. This is their weapon.

Now, one of the main instruments of aggression is known as negation, N-E-G-G-I-N-G. It's short for negation, negating someone. And one of the ways to negate someone, I mean, you can negate someone by simply telling them, you know, your bad, your evil, your stupid, your ugly, or this and that. You can negate someone by resonating very powerfully with their own bad object. They suspect that they're ugly and you confirm it to them. They think they may be stupid and you inform them that they are.

This is a way of resonating with their internal bad object, with the voices inside them that keep informing them that they are bad, unworthy, inadequate, failures, losers, stupid, ugly and so on.

So that's another way of neging, neging openly, neging by resonating with a bad object.

But there is a third way of negating and it's really, it takes a lot in my view, a lot of inner viciousness, wickedness. And I'm talking about backhanded compliments and what I call toxic help or sadistic help.

Backhanded complements are repeated and escalating insults and personal attacks disguised as complements or even as flattery. Backhanded complements complement what you do, but at the same time attack you for who you are.

Remember this formula. When you get a compliment, when you receive a compliment, and this compliment applies to something you're doing, some choice you've made, decision, action, something you've done. And at the same time, it criticizes you, puts you down, negates you, humiliates you, shames you.

That's a backhanded compliment. They compliment what you do, but they attack who you are.

Backhanded complements are meant to leverage your vulnerabilities, to push your buttons, to get a reaction and arise out of you. Backhanded complements can and often do incorporate public shaming. They adversely affect self-esteem. In extreme cases, with long-term exposure to backhanded complements, this can create mini trauma.

Now, toxic or sadistic help is succor or advice that comes replete with extreme devaluation disguised as tough love.

So this is not constructive criticism. This is destructive criticism. This is not advice. This is a way to trip you up, to set you up for failure. This is not succor. This is manipulation and taking you over.

So there's extreme devaluation somewhere at the core of toxic help. And it is often disguised as tough love.

If you were to confront the purveyor and the source of toxic help, they're going to indignantly throw it back at you and say, "What's wrong with you? Don't you see I'm the only one you can rely on for brutal honesty? Don't you see you can trust only me? I love you. I'm being tough with you. I'm being critical with you. I'm being harsh with you precisely because I love you. It's for your own good. Someone needs to do this." Both backhanded complements and toxic help involve brutal, disempathic honesty.

Honesty, yes, but it's aggressive. It's cruel. It's destructive. It's aimed to devastate.

There's no empathy there. There's no empathy there.

The person who is being honest with you doesn't ask himself or herself, "What would be the effects of my honesty?" They don't ask themselves, "How would I have felt if someone told me this?" They don't have empathy. They're dark personalities. This kind of honesty is a form of passive aggression.

In both backhanded complements and toxic help are forms of intermittent reinforcement because you are getting a mixed signal, a dual message.

Part of it is very good, perfect, idealized. Part of it is very bad, devalued, and inferior.

This is the same sentence. In the very same sentence this creates total disorientation, confusion. It's positive reinforcement, intermittent reinforcement.

I'm sorry, hot and cold, black and white. Half of it is positive reinforcement. Half of it is negative.

Unfavorably comparing it to other people and insults disguised as collective criticism, they are actually forms of passive aggression.

Criticizing you, not your actions, it's a form of passive aggression.

Let me give you a few examples.

Well, you look fabulous. I would have never had the courage to wear this dress. That's a backhanded compliment. I'm so proud of you that you quit smoking. Too bad it already stained your teeth.

That's a backhanded compliment. Congratulations for winning the competition or passing the exam. Maybe one day you will give a real sport some try. What you're doing is not serious.

Another kind of sentence. Don't worry about being overweight. In some countries being overweight is considered very attractive. Another one. People are attracted to intelligence, not necessarily to good looks. So don't worry about your looks. You're intelligent.

Translation. You are obese and ugly.


2. Many of these passive aggressive techniques leverage your narcissism and paranoia.

Everyone has narcissistic defenses, even healthy people. And everyone to some extent is wary and cautious. You don't have to be hypervigilant to be on your toes.

And so they leverage this. They leverage this and they play you for a fool. They manipulate you.

As I said, they push your buttons. Let me give you an example of non-constructive humiliating criticism disguised as advice or succor or help or assistance.

Let me fix this for you. You've never been good with your hands. Or being a good parent is not everything in life. It's overrated. Or don't try to do this. You're not good at it. Or having a boyfriend or a girlfriend is not the end all and be all. Being alone is sometimes good. Failing to find a boyfriend or a girlfriend doesn't mean that something's wrong with you.

Emphasizing your failures. And then pretending to give you succor and assistance and compassion and affection all the time. Emphasizing, repeating, reminding you of your failures that hurt.

Or I don't mind the costs of being with you. It's not easy. You're a difficult person, but that's what friends are for. Or this dress would look fabulous on you once you had lost some weight. I think you got the point.

And so be wary and careful around such people. They don't seek, they don't have your interests at heart. They don't seek your welfare and well-being. They're not benevolent. They're malevolent. They penetrate your defenses by pretending to be friends. But pretending to love you or to care for yourself. This gives them entry.

And once they're inside like a Trojan horse, they offload, they offload the insults, the devastation and the destruction, the pain, the hurt. They introduce you to your own shortcomings and failures. They remind you that you're constitutionally a loser and worthy and lovable.

These are enemies, not friends. Stay away from them.

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Passive Aggressive Or Covert Narcissist?

Covert narcissists and passive-aggressive individuals share some traits, but there are key differences between them. Covert narcissism involves hidden grandiosity, while passive aggression is about internalizing negative emotions and expressing them indirectly. Both can be emotionally invested in failure and have a negative impact on others. However, passive-aggressive individuals focus more on frustrating and undermining others, while covert narcissists are more invested in their own grandiosity.

Old-age Narcissist

Narcissists age without grace, unable to accept their fallibility and mortality. They suffer from mental progeria, aging prematurely and finding themselves in a time warp. The longer they live, the more average they become, and the wider the gulf between their pretensions and accomplishments. Few narcissists save for rainy days, and those who succeed in their vocation end up bitterly alone, having squandered the love of family, offspring, and mates.

Narcissists and Negativistic (Passive-Aggressive) Personality Disorder

The negativistic, passive-aggressive personality disorder is not yet recognized by the committee that is cobbling together the diagnostic and statistical manual. People diagnosed with a negativistic passive-aggressive personality disorder resemble narcissists in some important respects. Despite the obstructive role they play, passive-aggressives feel unappreciated, underpaid, cheated, discriminated against, and misunderstood. Passive-aggressives may be sullen, irritable, impatient, argumentative, cynical, skeptical, and contrarian.

Raging Narcissist: Merely Pissed-off?

Narcissistic rage is a phenomenon that occurs when a narcissist is frustrated in their pursuit of narcissistic supply, causing narcissistic injury. The narcissist then projects a bad object onto the source of their frustration and rages against a perceived evil entity that has injured and frustrated them. Narcissistic rage is not the same as normal anger and has two forms: explosive and pernicious or passive-aggressive. People with personality disorders are in a constant state of anger, which is effectively suppressed most of the time, and they are afraid to show that they are angry to meaningful others because they are afraid to lose them.

Narcissist's Constant Midlife Crisis

The midlife crisis is a much-discussed but little understood phenomenon. There is no link between physiological and hormonal developments and the mythical midlife crisis. The narcissist is best equipped to tackle this problem as they suffer from mental progeria and are in a constant mid-life crisis. The narcissist's personality is rigid, but their life is not. It is changeable, mutable, and tumultuous. The narcissist does not go through a midlife crisis because they are forever the child, forever dreaming and fantasizing, forever enamored with themselves.

Narcissist: Destructive Envy and Romantic Jealousy

Envy is a compounded emotion brought on by the realization of some lack or deficiency in oneself. Narcissists cope with their pathological envy by either subsuming the object of envy via imitation or destroying it. The most dangerous species of narcissists are those who derive contentment from their own humiliation and end up driving the objects of their own devotion and accumulation to destruction and decrepititude. Romantic jealousy is a narcissistic defense that reflects the narcissistic traits and behaviors of possessiveness, objectification, and treating the spouse as an extension of oneself.

Narcissist's Routines

Narcissists have a series of routines that are developed through rote learning and repetitive patterns of experience. These routines are used to reduce anxiety and transform the world into a manageable and controllable one. The narcissist is a creature of habit and finds change unsettling. The narcissist's routines are often broken down when they are breached or can no longer be defended, leading to a narcissistic injury.

Narcissist Hates Happy People and Holidays

Holidays and birthdays are a difficult time for narcissists, as they provoke a stream of pathological envy. The narcissist is jealous of others for having a family, being able to celebrate lavishly, or being in the right mood. They hate humans because they are unable to be one and want to spoil it for those who can enjoy. Holidays remind the narcissist of their childhood, the supportive and loving family they never had, and what could have been.

Depressive Narcissist

Pathological narcissism is often considered a form of depressive illness, with the life of a typical narcissist punctuated with recurrent bouts of dysphoria, sadness, hopelessness, anhedonia, loss of the ability to feel pleasure, and clinical forms of depression. Narcissists react with depression not only to life crises but to fluctuations in narcissistic supply and to the internal dynamics that these fluctuations generate. There are several types of dysphoria and depression in pathological narcissism, including loss-induced dysphoria, deficiency-induced dysphoria, self-worth dysregulation dysphoria, grandiosity gap dysphoria, and self-punishing dysphoria. Many narcissists end up delusional, schizoid, or paranoid to avoid agonizing and knowing depression.

Anxiety, Depression, and Narcissism

Depression is a form of aggression that is directed at the depressed person rather than at their environment. This regime of repressed and mutated aggression is a characteristic of both narcissism and depression. Narcissism is sometimes described as a form of low-intensity depression. Depression is how this kind of patient experiences their overflowing reservoir of aggression.

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