Serial provoking is yet another regularly used tool by narcissists and sociopaths. They continually provoke their targets with covert jabs, minimization, veiled humor and patronization. The target will attempt to avoid conflict by remaining pleasant, choosing to forgive and excuse this behavior in favor of maintaining peace. But the narcissist/sociopath will continue with the serial provoking in an attempt to aggravate the target until they finally snap. Once this occurs, the narcissist/sociopath will sit back, feign surprise and unjustly accuse the target of being angry, volatile and mentally unstable. The provoker is essentially shaming the target for rightfully defending themselves. The target may feel remorse however the narcissist/sociopath is incapable of remorse and feels entitled to do whatever they please.
Below I’ve listed an example of serial provoking done by my ex via email. We do our custody exchanges Sunday afternoons and I apparently forgot to include my son’s homework books on Sunday 9/15. However, my ex chose not to inform me until Thursday (the day all of the homework is due). He passive aggressively wrote a note to my son’s teacher informing her that I kept the books but failed to inform me of the error. Any normal person would’ve simply notified the other parent of the error thus allowing it to be corrected so the child could finish the assignments due. However narcissists/sociopaths can’t function on any level of normalcy. Thus despite what’s in the best interest of the child, the narcissist/sociopath will invoke serial provoking, abuse, passive aggressive behavior or aggressive behavior in order to elicit an emotional response from the victim.
Here’s the example of serial provoking escalating into abuse in an attempt to elicit an emotional response:
Thorne Rivers Sep 19 (3 days ago)
You need to send M’s homework books with him. He again could not complete his homework because you sent the wrong pages! And it was unfair of him to have to try and play catch up the night before its all due. Just send his homework books.
From Me Sep 19 (3 days ago)
I could’ve given them to you that Sunday 9/15 had you informed me then.
Thorne Rivers Sep 20 (2 days ago)
I shouldn’t have to ask for their homework. Just send it every week.
From Me Sep 20 (2 days ago)
I wasn’t aware you didn’t have it. Communication is key.
Thorne Rivers Sep 21 (1 day ago)
Lol. If communication is the key, why do you keep sending my girlfriend messages asking for me not to email you, you crazy psycho. Leave her alone unless it has something to do with my kids.
And you knew on Wednesday you had the books and should ve sent them but instead you chose to just send the wrong pages. M not only had to catch up on a weeks worth of homework in one night because of you but then could not complete it because you wouldn’t send the books.
Again, just send the books OK.