And it usually takes no time at all before a person who’s become involved with such a character begins getting abused in some way. Unbridled aggressives are also like parasites in relationships, letting the more responsible party pay all the bills, carry all the burdens, etc. And when things don’t go to their satisfaction, they can never accept the idea it might be at least partly their fault, so they readily blame and take their frustration and hostility out on everyone else. While they’re a big societal problem to be sure, and while many of them even know this at some level, everyone else somehow pays the price.
It’s far more understandable to me how someone might fall prey to a slightly different variant of the “antisocial” type: the disturbed character and aggressive personality sub-type I call the “channeled aggressive” personality.
Not to be mistaken for assertive personalities, channeled aggressives run roughshod over others while generally keeping their aggression within legal limits and channeling it into socially acceptable endeavors. They modulate their overt aggression so as not to invite social or legal sanction but they are very different from healthy, assertive personalities in that they don’t really discipline themselves out of respect for the rights and needs of others (or as the result of a mature conscience). So they will cross boundaries, violate limits, and even transgress major norms if they feel confident they can get away with it.
These individuals are often tyrants in their own homes, capable of immense cruelty whenever their dominance is challenged. Because on first impression they can appear as persons who are merely strong, determined, and geared for success, they can seem the ideal partner early on in a relationship. Only when it becomes clear that daily life with them is a “my way or the highway” proposition does their abusive nature become more evident.
While there’s usually little trouble when all the troops know their place and fall into line when someone fails to heed one of their dictates or worse, challenges their dominance, there will generally be some kind of hell to pay. While these folks know how to rule the roost without crossing the major lines that might invite social sanction, when they sense their grip slipping, or when they think they can successfully avoid adverse consequences, they can easily become more openly brutal.
Originally appeared on Manipulative People
Republished here with permission