This behaviour often results from the fear that exists within our culture of being openly aggressive. Indirect aggression is often seen as the softer option, but in fact its effort can be just as devastating, involving the manipulation of others, through guilt and emotional blackmail.
Whereas being the victim of open regression can be linked to being attacked by a bulldozer. Suffering indirect aggression is like being fired at by a sniper: the weapon hits home just as hard, but there is no trace of the attacker. It is harder to identify this type of aggression because of its subtlety: it is also more difficult to challenge: when it is confronted, there is always denial. Never risking a direct expression of our thoughts and feelings, we create instead an undercurrent of guilty unease, the aim of which is to manipulate others doing what we want.
Responses to this vary from bewilderment to frustration. As with open aggression, our self-esteem is low, boosted by the success of our manipulation and the avoidance of any direct expression of our feelings it can be very difficult to acknowledge when we are being indirectly aggressive.
Yours in good health – Anthony Wilson.