The Passive-Aggressive Narcissist

Are Narcissists Passive-Aggressive? How would a passive-aggressive narcissist behave? How to spot them and deal with them efficiently? Let us find out further.

Being passive-aggressive means displaying anger but in an indirect manner and narcissists are the masters of this art. Passive aggression not only involves anger but also negative feelings of annoyance, irritation, and frustration.

Narcissists may display all such negative emotions through indirect or accidental and unconscious behavioral tactics like silent treatment, ghosting, complaining, or any form of hostility. Thus they can be put under the category of passive-aggressive beings.

What is the Passive-Aggressive Narcissist?

A person who may possess narcissistic traits has an inflated sense of self-importance, a constant need for admiration and praise, fantasizes about power, exploits other people for their personal gains, and always feels entitled to special treatment.

A passive-aggressive person might act overtly but express their anger covertly. This means they might not display directly that they are angry, but their aggression might take an indirect form, which may include giving you a cold shoulder, obstructing your work or what you want, treating you with a silent treatment, being a prick whenever you badly need their help, and making you furious by acting indifferently indirectly.

Your fury might be caused by them, yet they would shamelessly and calmly ask you questions like, “What is wrong with you?” or “Why do you seem so furious?” or “Why are you provoking me?”. Whereas in reality, they might be the reason provoking you constantly brushing you with anger.

A narcissistic person might often seem cool, calm, and charming on the outside or in public but they may be reflecting some passive-aggressive traits and getting on your nerves which only you might realize. They might appear guiltless publically, but they might be torturing you with indirect patterns of hostility or malice.

A passive-aggressive is equally or even more abusive, but they might not allow you to realize this. They may strategize their behavioral patterns so wisely that even others might blame you for provoking them. Whereas in reality they are the culprit and making you hostile all the way. Such narcissists create conflicts on a loop and lack intimacy, making the relationship toxic and unpredictable in a bad way.

All about Covert passive-aggressive narcissists

People with covert narcissism do not display any symptoms openly or with a loud reaction or action in general but are closely associated with mental health issues in terms of anxiety and depression. It is the complete opposite of overt narcissism. It is also referred to as vulnerable narcissism or closet narcissism.

Narcissists are recognized for their loud and noticeable behaviors in general, but that is not the case with Covert Narcissism. Some peculiar traits of covert narcissists include association with childhood trauma, they are introverted and shy, having low self-esteem, and being repulsive to criticism.

Thus a passive-aggressive covert narcissist has the same core personality traits and characteristics of a covert narcissist; which include disregarding others, indulging only in something that relates to them, and much more, yet they present them in different ways. Feelings or negative emotions are common, but with a covert narcissist, the display of the emotions is different.

What is the root cause of passive-aggressive behavior?

Passive aggressive narcissists are basically equivalent to or are co-dependents as they have lower self-worth, suffer from pain and shame, and their self-esteem is almost nil. Such passive-aggressive individuals have a need to please others to control them.

Causes of passive aggression might include,

  • Personality Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Substance Abuse
  • Depression
  • Trauma

Signs of a Passive-Aggressive Narcissist

The most difficult part of dealing with a passive-aggressive narcissist is recognizing them in one go. So let us know some signs to recognize the passive-aggressive narcissist,

Hostile Sense of Humor

Passive aggressive individuals tend to have a sense of humor that could hurt others. They might willingly say something hurtful but in a humorous manner knowing that the other person could get hurt. They might add a “Just Kidding” or “Simply Joking” after they have said something damaging. Their jokes often include insults regarding the appearance, personality, life choices, race, etc. of whom they are insulting.


Passive aggressive individuals have this practice of withholding information just to feel powerful. Thus they might make excuses and withhold from sharing important information. They might also practice stonewalling just to gain that importance.

Lack of Appreciation

Such people hardly appreciate something that others might have done for them. They are unable to process other people’s success and thus they would be the last to applaud or compliment them.

Resistance to Everything

Passive aggressive beings have constant power struggles, which means that they will sabotage plans. If someone else’s tasks or plan is being promoted they might do things to complicate that for no reason.

They are self-absorbed

Someone who is passive-aggressive, might not want to actually know you, they might just pretend to be interested in knowing others as they are self-absorbed beings.

Need for attention

Being with a passive-aggressive being makes you realize that they take up all your attention whenever they are around. They might want your complete attention, but would hardly provide you any.


Such people are experts at blame-shifting and gaslighting you into believing something that you are not or have not committed and would make you feel that you are the culprit.

Negative Chatter

People who are passive-aggressive like to indulge in devaluing, intimidating, and invalidating others. They often criticize others to gain importance. They will belittle everyone around them.


Passive Aggressive beings show some sadistic tendencies including no hesitation in humiliating others publically, controlling others until they lose their identities, seeking pleasure in harming people, seeking satisfaction by inflicting pain upon others, having no mercy when their ego is hurt, and lacking compassion and remorse. They make people suffer on purpose. Such people draw pleasure by deriving a sense of control, manipulation, emotional harm, psychological harm, or even physical harm.

Blame Game

Passive aggressive beings play this dirty game, where they would never accept their fault eventually blaming others for their mistakes.

How to deal with a passive-aggressive narcissist?

The most difficult part of dealing with a passive-aggressive narcissist is recognizing them in one go. Even though recognizing may be sorted, the next difficulty is finding ways to deal with them.

A passive-aggressive narcissist would be indirect thus making it difficult to recognize what actually is going on in their grimy minds. Thus the dealing part is crucial to minimize your suffering because of the indirect torment they give you,

Do not react impulsively

No reaction is the best way to deal with such an individual. Your nagging, scolding, anger, or any such reaction is actually a chance for them to be more problematic. Giving an active reaction might escalate the circumstances. Do not give an impulsive reaction, and avoid the conflict altogether.

Avoid blaming

Blaming is never going to bring any solution especially when you are dealing with a passive-aggressive narcissist, instead being direct and open about the things you do not like or the behavior that you find unpleasant may bring some changes in the relationship. Bringing a solution rather than blaming is a better way of improving the relationship.

Recognizing the Patterns

Passive-aggressive narcissists have pervasive behavioral patterns that they use to traumatize their victims. Take note of those patterns and do not involve yourself in such toxic matters.

Understanding that you are being abused by the abuser needs some time as you would realize it sooner or later depending on the abuser’s treatment.

Be assertive in your approach

Nor being passive or aggressive can save you from getting involved in conflicts. Save energy but distance yourselves when a conflict takes place or just be assertive of all your reactions and replies.

Passive-aggressive narcissist silent treatment

The silent treatment tends to represent some sort of anger but with actions and no words. It is usually used to convey sort of negative emotions to the victim of the silent treatment in the form of ignorance or non-verbal communication or action.

An example of the passive-aggressive Narcissist’s silent treatment can be, when there is a misunderstanding or any sort of despair between two partners or two people supposedly husband and wife, then rather than discussing it, the partner who feels hurt(the narcissist) just tends to display something is not right between them, or something displeasing has taken place for one partner but yet they would not speak about it frankly to the other partner.

This brutal action of giving silent treatment may deeply affect you as their partner and the narcissist knows that. You may get deeply affected by their silent treatment and would hastily give in to their abusive treatment.

Ego-driven passive-aggressive narcissist

Passive-aggressive narcissist have a false sense of identity and overestimate their capabilities.

Narcissists have superficial relationships even with their partners. Relationships with passive-aggressive beings often nurture a false sense of self and might lead to building false hopes.

Passive aggressive beings who are ego-driven are rigid. They are unable to adapt to circumstances and situations. Thus their personalities are brittle and prone to break rather than bending.

Final Thoughts

The most difficult part of dealing with a passive-aggressive narcissist is recognizing them in one go. Even though recognizing may be sorted, the next difficulty is finding ways to deal with them.

Thus having the right approach with passive-aggressive narcissists, seeking help from therapists, friends, and family, and knowing their intent makes it easier to deal with them.

A passive-aggressive narcissist would be indirect thus making it difficult to recognize what actually is going on in their grimy minds. Thus the dealing part is crucial to minimize your suffering because of the indirect torment they give you.

Ella Carrillo

Ella Carrillo

Hey Reader, I am Ella, an Online and Offline Therapist holding an experience of 6 years in this field. From Relationship, Depression, and Personality Disorder to Narcissistic problems, I have helped a lot of people find their solutions. Upon gathering a number of common problems that people face, I decided to put the information on this blog so that anyone can get their answers easily.

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