Understanding Relational Aggression

November 10, 2017
Dr. George Simon


aggressionRelational Aggression

Relational aggression (or relational violence) generally refers to all the forceful ways a person might try to assert power or dominance in a relationship. But these days, many use the term to describe attempts to damage someone’s social standing or wreck a good relationship they enjoy. In any case, this kind of behavior destroys. It serves only to bring its perpetrator a sense of power or importance. And it stems from the aggressor’s lack of empathy.


covert aggressionTwo Main Types of Aggression

Aggression can be of two main types: overt or covert. Someone is overtly aggressive when they make no bones about what they’re doing. Maybe they simply want to hurt you. But they might also want to get something from you. Perhaps they want to take advantage or have power over you. Whatever the case, they mean to aggress and don’t try to hide it.

Covert-aggressors operate differently. They don’t want to be seen for who they are or what they’re doing. The relational aggression they engage in is subtle, underhanded, or even concealed. So, you barely realize what they’ve been up to until the damage is already done. This is the kind of aggression that underlies most interpersonal manipulation. Moreover, it occurs quite frequently. So, many years ago I felt compelled to write a book about it.


passive-aggressiveCovert Aggression in the Social Arena

In our times, relational aggression has taken on some interesting new dimensions. Covert aggressors can damage your social standing or your relationships in some very sneaky ways. They can put out false information about you on the internet. They can spread nasty rumors and lies. Or they might defame you on social media. A skilled covert operator can even use surrogates to do their dirty work. That way, they leave no “fingerprints” and can convincingly deny their evildoing. Young persons are particularly vulnerable to this kind of behavior. But no one is immune.

Why do these relational aggressors do what they do? We used to think that they came from a fearful, insecure place. But we’ve learned better. Some folks simply lack empathy. They care only about themselves. Sometimes, all they want is a sense of power. Other times, they might merely be seeking amusement – at your expense. And in the coming weeks I’ll be saying more about why these behaviors are so prevalent nowadays.


character disturbanceCharacter Matters

Character Disturbance has entered its third major printing. As always, thanks for your support and recommendation of my books.


Visit Dr. Simon’s blog: drgeorgesimon.com


 

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Knowledge is the best guard against manipulation.

Manipulation

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Requirements for
successful manipulation

According to Dr. George K. Simon, successful psychological manipulation primarily involves the manipulator:

• Concealing aggressive intentions and behaviors.

• Knowing the psychological vulnerabilities of the victim to determine what tactics are likely to be the most effective.

• Having a sufficient level of ruthlessness to have no qualms about causing harm to the victim.

Consequently, the manipulation is likely to be covert; relational aggressive or passive-aggressive.

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More manipulation tactics


Covert Psychological Murder

Inflicted Suicide As A Result of Abuse


It goes unrecognized but it exists. It exists on an extremely covert level. It happens behind the scenes without anyone even being aware of what the problem is; the real problem. No evidence of it is left behind and no-one has ever been convicted of it, yet in reality, what I will label “covert psychological murder” is very real and remains dangerous and unrecognized—virtually undiscovered.

Read the article…

Psychopathy: Antisocial, Criminal, and Violent Behavior

By the author:
Psychopathy: Antisocial, Criminal, and Violent Behavior

eBook available at Lulu.com:
Know Your Enemy: Reflections Of NPD

See also:
Letters From Those Abused and Afraid  disruptedphysician.com


14 Psychopathic Tactics

 

Learn to identify their tactics!

wolf_in_sheep_clothing_1_-400x253 In Sheep’s Clothing

Dr. George Simon, author of In Sheep’s Clothing—Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People, presents this list of 14 tactics that manipulators use to get you to do what they want. He points out the importance of recognizing that these tactics are offensive moves employed by the covert-aggressive to either maintain a position of power, gain power, or remove an obstacle from getting what he wants. You’ll be better equipped to deal with manipulators if you are familiar with this list of tactics and able to identify them when you encounter them:

    1. Denial – playing innocent, refusing to admit they have done something harmful.
    2. Selective inattention – playing dumb, or acting oblivious; refusing to pay attention to anything that might divert them from achieving their goal.
    3. Rationalization – making excuses or justifying their behavior, often in very convincing ways.
    4. Diversion – changing the subject, dodging the issue, distracting us from the real problem.
    5. Lying – deliberately telling untruths, concealing the truth, lying by omission.
    6. Covert Intimidation – intimidation through veiled threats.
    7. Guilt-tripping – using the conscientiousness of their victim against them to keep them self-doubting and anxious.
    8. Shaming – using subtle sarcasm and put-downs to make the victim feel inadequate, unworthy, and anxious.
    9. Playing the Victim role – playing the innocent victim to elicit compassion.
    10. Vilifying the Victim – making the victim the “bad guy”; pretending he’s only defending himself.
    11. Playing the servant role – disguising their personal agendas as service to a nobler cause.
    12. Seduction – flattering and overtly supporting others to get them to lower their defenses and be trusting.
    13. Projecting the blame (blaming others) – shifting the blame, scapegoating.
    14. Minimization – a combination of denial and rationalization, “making a molehill out of a mountain”.

Playing the Victim (film)

Playing the Victim

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