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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.


Next.


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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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?

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Narcissist's Constant Midlife Crisis

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Narcissist: Destructive Envy and Romantic Jealousy

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Narcissist's Routines

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Depressive Narcissist

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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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