Covert-aggression is a particularly insidious type of fighting. That’s because victims of it can have a lot of understandable difficulty recognizing it in the first place and then defending themselves against it once they sense it. Being the victim of covert-aggression can make you feel crazy. In your gut, you think someone’s trying to get the better of you or abuse you in some way, but you can’t point to anything clear and obvious to back up your hunch. And it’s also like getting whiplash: You don’t really realize what’s happened to you until after damage has already been done.
Anger is there to get us all pumped up and prompt us to take action to redress an injustice or deal with a threat to our well-being. But the kind of action we take when we’re angry is where all the trouble can come in.
Some of the most commonly accepted perspectives on human behavior actually set people up for victimization in their relationships.