In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George K. Simon, Jr.
About the Author
The author, George K. Simon, Jr., has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Texas Tech University.
The Covert-Aggressive Personality
The book is mainly about a character disorder called covert-aggressive personality. These are people who are self-aggrandizing, but hide their aggression under a façade of charm and good manners. The author calls these people manipulators.
Tactics of the Covert-Aggressive Personality
- Evasion: vague answers to direct questions
- Changing the subject
- Veiled threats
- Making the victim feel guilty or ashamed
Those who believe that all human beings are basically the same inside are vulnerable to manipulators. You need to be able to assess the character of others. Be aware of your vulnerabilities. Recognize the tactics employed by manipulators.
Manipulators vs. Neurotics
Manipulators don’t care if they do something wrong. Neurotics are their opposite; neurotics worry excessively about the possibility of making a mistake. Many neurotics, those with a perfectionist bent, carry an extra burden in our society, making up for the manipulators by contributing more than their fair share.
Distinction from Passive-Aggressive
The covert-aggressive personality is distinct from the passive-aggressive personality:
- Covert-Aggressive: Veiled Offense
- Passive-Aggressive: Veiled Defense
The covert-aggressive personality tries to control others, without being openly hostile. The passive-aggressive personality resists being controlled, without being openly defiant. For example, instead of refusing to obey his boss’s request to come in to work on the weekend, he agrees to come into work on the weekend, but at the last minute he calls and makes the excuse that his child is sick.
Manipulators often cloak their self-serving behavior and ambition by pretending to be devoted to a noble cause. They don’t genuinely care about those who suffer. Many of those in religious and charitable endeavors have a hidden agenda to advance their careers by appearing to be humanitarians.