Equipping Kingdom Women to Occupy

In the journey of life, we often encounter people who subtly shape our decisions and feelings, often leaving us questioning our own perceptions. This covert control, coupled with passive-aggressive behavior, can be particularly challenging to identify and address. Today, we’re unmasking these behaviors to help you recognize the signs and reclaim your peace of mind.

Covert control is an insidious form of manipulation that operates under the radar. Unlike overt control, which is straightforward and easily identifiable, covert control is subtle and often goes unnoticed until the damage is done. The person exercising covert control might not be aware of their behavior, but it can have profound effects on those around them.

Passive-aggressive behavior is a key component of covert control. This behavior includes indirect resistance to demands, avoidance of direct communication, and expressions of negativity or resentment in a subtle, non-confrontational manner. It’s like a hidden current beneath the surface of a calm sea—unseen but powerful.

Manifestations of Covert Control and Passive-Aggressive Behavior

  1. Subtle Undermining: Covert controllers often undermine others in ways that are difficult to pinpoint. They might make backhanded compliments or offer “helpful” suggestions that are actually critical. For example, a friend might say, “You’re so brave to wear that dress, not everyone could pull it off.”
  2. Emotional Withholding: They may withhold affection, support, or approval as a way to control. When you need them most, they might become distant or unavailable, leaving you feeling unsupported and insecure.
  3. Gossip and Triangulation: Proverbs 16:28 tells us, “A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.” Covert controllers often use gossip to create conflict and division. They might share private information or spread rumors to manipulate relationships and keep others off-balance.
  4. Inconsistent Behavior: Their behavior can be erratic, swinging from warm and friendly to cold and distant without explanation. This inconsistency keeps you guessing and often leads to self-doubt.
  5. Passive-Aggressive Communication: Instead of addressing issues directly, they use sarcasm, silence, or subtle digs. For instance, when asked to help with a task, they might agree but then do it poorly or slowly to express their reluctance.

Recognizing These Behaviors in Your Life

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario: Sarah has a friend, Emily, who often mimics her behavior, opinions, and even style choices. At first, Sarah finds it flattering, but soon she notices a pattern. Whenever Sarah shares an achievement, Emily downplays it or subtly suggests it’s not a big deal. Emily often shares personal details about Sarah with others, framed as concern, but it feels more like gossip.

Sarah begins to feel anxious around Emily, doubting her own worth and questioning her achievements. This is a classic example of covert control and passive-aggressive behavior. Emily’s actions, though subtle, are designed to undermine Sarah’s confidence and keep her in a state of dependency and doubt.

Moving Forward

Recognizing covert control and passive-aggressive behavior is the first step towards reclaiming your peace and confidence. It’s important to remember that your worth is not determined by others’ opinions or actions. Seek wisdom and guidance through prayer and scripture, and surround yourself with supportive, positive influences.

As you reflect on these signs, consider how they might be present in your life. Are there relationships where you feel constantly undermined or doubted? Take this opportunity to set healthy boundaries and focus on your spiritual and emotional well-being.

Proverbs 16:28 reminds us of the destructive power of gossip and conflict. By identifying and addressing covert control, we can foster healthier, more supportive relationships grounded in love and respect.

Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll dive deep into the psychology behind why some people copy others and how to navigate these dynamics with grace and wisdom. Remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and your journey towards wholeness and peace is worth every step.

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