How To React When They’re Playing Innocent

How To React When They’re Playing Innocent

We’re talking about playing innocent. Does your loved one ever do that? We’ll get into the details, and I do believe you’ll be able to relate. It’s so common, and knowing how to handle this is essential.

Last week we defined what it means to be covertly aggressive. And today, I’m going to cover the first sign of covert aggression. So, if you have not read last week’s post, I would suggest you start there.

And if you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, boring! Covert aggression? What is that? Sounds too technical. Not interested.”

I hear you and I’ve got you covered. I promise you a couple of things: Number one, this is going to be short, sweet, and to the point. Number two, it will not be boring. You’ll be sitting there going, “Oh, that sounds like me.” And number three, of course, it will be encouraging because there is nothing on this earth I love more than to encourage. I mean, I love my husband and I love my kids and I love my friends, but I really, really love encouraging you.

So, let’s dive into the first sign of covert aggression.

Are you ready? I kind of teased you last week with it. Here we go. It’s playing innocent, pretending to be ignorant, or pretending to be confused. This is covert aggression.

It’s playing dumb when something is awful, or when something awful they did is called to their attention.

An example of this that pertains to someone suffering from addiction is when they act surprised that their behavior was inappropriate. Or surprised that they had too much to drink.

For example, if they committed to going to a party with you, but then they back out at the last minute, because they want to stay home. And we all know that they want to stay home so they can get drunk or high, right?  

A covertly aggressive reaction would be them acting surprised that you really wanted them to go.

They would say something like, “I had no idea how much it meant to you.” Or, “I didn’t realize how badly you wanted me to join.” When in fact you had made it super clear to them many times that you were excited or that it was important to you.

Another common example is when our loved ones act surprised when we find their stash of drugs, alcohol, or porn. They might say they had no idea it was there, tell us they forgot about it, or the only reason they had to hide it from us was because we overreact if they leave it around the house.

Here’s the truth, they know their addiction is out of control.

You don’t need to remind them or try to prove that they have a problem. And you don’t need to search for a label or get an expert to diagnose them.

You don’t need to drag them to get help. You can make suggestions, and you can volunteer to help when and if they take you up on it. But, their healing is their choice. Their sobriety is their responsibility. And your healing and recovery is yours. Stay in your own lane. And let’s get to work on your happiness, if they get sober or not.

Here’s another sign: when someone who is very smart suddenly acts oblivious. Or when someone with a great memory becomes conveniently forgetful, this is a tactic. The playing dumb, the ignorance, the acting confused, or the challenging of the details, you all know that trick, right? These are all a sign of covert aggression.

This tactic, the playing innocent and all, it’s used to make you question your judgment and possibly even your sanity.

So if you’ve ever felt like you’re going crazy, this is why. It’s them being covertly aggressive towards you. And it makes us feel like we are going insane, right? You guys know this, I hear all the time how we all feel like we’re going crazy.

So, now that you know this tactic or trick, you can name it the next time it’s happening. Just to yourself, remember, just to yourself. And handle the situation differently, because you’re wiser now.

This is your homework this week: start to notice if your loved one plays innocent, or pretends to be ignorant, or pretends to be confused. And then lovingly and kindly tell yourself, “I am not crazy, I am sane and I am sober. It’s not my job to straighten them out. They are not innocent or confused, they know what they did and they know it’s not okay. I am just going to keep focusing on me, putting my love and attention towards myself.” That’s what healthy people do. And I know that you can do that.

Next week, we’re going to talk about the second example of covert aggression, and it’s a good one.

That’s the only hint you’re going to get from me.

And I also wanted to mention, you guys know how I’m a bit of an introvert and I don’t have, or in the past haven’t had much interaction on social media. Well, my team kind of had a little bit of an intervention with me, and said, “Michelle, you’ve got to get out there.”

So, this is me, very embarrassingly, asking if you would want to follow me on Instagram. Follow me at Love Over Addiction.

I’m going to be posting personal pictures.

I posted one of myself hiding in the bathroom at a party just recently, because of the introvert thing and hiding in the bathroom is what I need to do to cope sometimes at parties. I don’t know if you guys can relate. But it will also have inspirational quotes and pictures of my family. I just want to connect with you. That’s the part of Instagram that I’m really looking forward to, is hearing from you guys.

So I’m going to be on there every day. I love you, come follow me and join me and be my friend over there. I really will be your friend. Because if I’m going to do this, I’m going to be real about it. I’m not going to be fake about it because I don’t like that.

I love you guys, I am cheering you on. You’ve got this, you can do this. We’re learning together as we go and I am your biggest, ginormous fan.

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used her experience to create powerful resources for women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.

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