Passive Aggressive character types: 
Non-perfectionistic types

From: "NPA Theory of Personality"
© 2008 A.M. Benis

 Non-compliant type, NA−
Compliant type, NA=

        Passive Aggressive types are those who have the A trait of aggression, but it is partially inhibited by genetic and/or environmental factors. Non-compliant Passive Aggressive types are those in whom the A trait is partially, but not profoundly, inhibited (notation A−). Compliant Passive Aggressive types are those in whom the A trait is profoundly, inhibited (notation A=). 

In non-compliant types the trait A is partially suppressed, but depending on the circumstances they can exhibit aggressive behavior in social situations. These individuals tend to be non-confrontational. They can exhibit the aggressive “A rage”, but this is unusual. The sanguine N trait may be expressed as "narcissism", but this is very variable. Low-temperament individuals tend to be introverted. Higher temperament individuals can be "nervous extroverts", often with speech hesitancy or tremor.

In compliant types the trait A is profoundly suppressed, so that whatever the circumstances they tend not exhibit aggressive behavior in social situations. They can exhibit the aggressive “A rage”, but this is rare. Compliant types tend to be introverted and may seek a life style involving little responsibility and much protection. Sexually promiscuous individuals are vulnerable to abusive relationships and may have a tendency to masochistic behavior.

The NA− and NA= types distinguish themselves from their close cousins, the NPA− and NPA= types, in lacking the P trait of perfectionism. The trait A is partially suppressed, but depending on the circumstances, NA− individuals can exhibit aggressive behavior in competitive social situations. Since the P trait is lacking in the NA− and NA= types, the N trait may be overtly and flamboyantly expressed as “unbridled narcissism”, as if these individuals were introverted, submissive or nervous N or NA types.

Rage: “N rage”, “A rage” or combined “NA rage”. Especially in NA= types, the aggressive A rage is rarely seen.

Also known as: "Narcissistic" or “N like” Passive Aggressive types. 

Complexion: Tending toward sanguine or flushed in individuals of light skin color. Blush very easily.

Smile: Warm smile when at ease. Otherwise nervous smile.
Photograph: Uncomfortable before camera in unfamiliar settings. Mugs for camera.

Voice: Nervous voice pattern with speech hesitation.

Gestures: More expressive than in perfectionistic Passive Aggressive types.

Handwriting: Non-perfectionistic.

Sexuality: Tendency to promiscuity and to LGBT in sexual orientation: high (higher than in the perfectionistic Passive Aggressive types).

Color preference: Preference for bright and multicolors, akin to the Dominant non-perfectionistic N and NA types.

Population genetics: Similar to the perfectionistic Passive Aggressive types, NPA= and NPA−. 

Susceptibilities: Similarities with the perfectionistic Passive Aggressive types. Bipolar, borderline personality disorder. Attention deficit disorders: ADD/ADHD. Asperger syndrome. Shyness. Public speaking phobia. Social phobia. Speech hesitation, tremor, stuttering. Panic disorder. Eating disorders. Reactive depression. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD, in dominant role). Sadomasochistic “morbid dependency” as either the dominant or dependent partner. 

Pitfalls: Depending on temperament and other factors, NA= and NA− individuals can superficially resemble the N or NA Dominant types, the NPA= and NPA− Passive Aggressive types, or Borderline types. 
Character caricature.

From Chapter 6: Character caricatures

        We now turn to the NA− type, keeping in mind the three basic attributes that rule his life: unbridled narcissism, non-perfectionism, and submission. In fact, the two traits of unbridled narcissism and submission seem to be continually acting in antagonism in this personage, so that sometimes he appears as an affable extrovert, and sometimes as a submissive introvert. In addition, lack of the behavioral complex of perfectionism often gives his character structure a labile, fragile quality.

Once the character structure of this personage is recognized, one can predict his general behavior, almost as if it were a foregone conclusion. In real life he appears as an affable, sanguine-complexioned, somewhat subdued individual who, despite his generally submissive nature, is ever ready to respond to the call of the limelight. If his life situation supports him so that his unbridled narcissism comes to the fore, then he may be somewhat expansive or even charismatic. He tends to adorn himself or “dress up” — sometimes strikingly — to a much greater extent than his NPA− cousin, and indeed this is often the most obvious superficial difference between these two types. He may, in short, display any of the attributes that we have come to associate with the charming, but often flighty, N character type. 

        If he trends toward being a compliant Submissive type, he is exactly that — however much he would like to ignore or deny this facet of his personality. His tendency to be sympathetic and agreeable pervades his daily life, and his acquaintances will invariably consider him to be a “nice person”. However, having a remnant of the trait of aggression, he reveals himself to be a “player of the game” of dominance and submission in stressful situations, being susceptible not only to red-faced narcissistic rages but also — albeit rarely — to the aggressive-vindictive rage.

In competitive society his submissive trait sooner or later becomes evident. When challenged, he is easily intimidated, and others will say that “he can't seem to get it all together”, or will accuse him of “bumbling” or of “histrionics”. If he comes to power on the basis of his narcissistic charisma, at the highest level of society, then he requires much support from his entourage in his attempts to achieve his grandiose visions of unbridled glory. Hence, he is easily subjugated, and indeed, hovering in the wings there is often seen a protective, perfectionist “power behind the throne”, always ready to ensure that everything will progress with the precision of a well-oiled machine.

In adolescence, the NA− type is an active but reserved individual who will often describe himself as being “on the shy side”. Nevertheless, his unbridled narcissism is continually seeking to overcome his submissive shyness, and he may be attracted to expansive, soaring projects, again reminiscent of the activities of the self-flaunting N character type. He may, in fact, be attracted to public speaking, to a career in modeling, to the stage, or to the dance. 

If he aspires to be an actor, he may be highly successful in his portrayal of the affable, kind-hearted — but perennially abused hero or heroine. Often, however, he is only moderately successful, since his generally submissive nature continually intrudes into his desire to be the forceful personality of his dreams...  

Like his cousin the NPA− type, the NA− personage may lead a successful, relatively calm existence if his life situation is well supportive. If it is not, then this labile personality is prone to transient masochistic love affairs, hypochondria, phobias, fugues, panic attacks, agitated reactive depressions, as well as episodes of euphoria and hysteria.

Finally, we note that Passive Aggressive individuals having the N trait tend to have, even more than their Dominant cousins, a sanguine or flushed complexion.


Benis A.M. (1985, 2nd edition 2008: NPA Theory of Personality): Chaps. 5 & 6, in Toward Self & Sanity: On the genetic origins of the human character. Psychological Dimensions, New York, pp. 59, 125-126.  

Benis A.M. (2017). Caricatures of the NPA Personality Types, KDP/Amazon.