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Passive Aggressive Relationships

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Debs posted 6/2/2010 19:32 PM

Wow this is striking such a big chord with me.

A typical set of scenarios for us is me wanting to do something new will say

"how about we do such and such" Immediate answer from WS "No"

but if I say instead "I am going to do such and such (exactly the same thing)" Response from WS is "Oh you don't want me to do that with you"

I'm left totally pissed off and confused.

I am set up to make major decision for us because if they don't work.. he has someone to blame. He puts off making major decision around work in his own life because he is so scared of making the wrong one but is jealous of me.

Why am I staying with this.. maybe I am co-dependant now. I never used to be

Oh hell ..the journey starts again.

Debs posted 6/11/2010 21:01 PM

Shameless bump

boarder151 posted 6/11/2010 23:19 PM

Wow, that fits my WH and I to a T. He was PA even when we were dating but I was too young/naive to recognize it at the time. Good post! Great info!

tammyjean100 posted 6/12/2010 14:27 PM

A dear friend I met here on SI suggested this thread. I have read several pages and will read the rest.

I am unable to stop the chills and goosebumps I am experiencing. This, as so many others have said in the past year, fit this 33 year marriage/relationship, or lack thereof, PERFECTLY.
The feeling like I am crazy. The uncertainty when I am around him, but the certainty and peace I can fleetingly feel when he's not around. The WH had his A for at least 3.5 years. WH also did not stop A, even after I found the texts, and figured out where they were, and caught them at motel. WH used his PA on the OW (whom I incredibly weirdly like in many ways) to supposedly get her to cut it off. No evidence that happened, of course.

All the questions that go unanswered. Silence. Changing the subject to something safe. He recognizes he does that. The telling me, asking me something (the latest was to go to marital boot camp!!! when the A hasn't been dealt with, with me getting no help with healing, even from the IC). Then the anger when I do not agree.

The walking out on me, to see our son, or do something else, leaving me alone.

The anger all these years when he has to spend several hours doing work around the house. Likes the outside work, but he hates inside work.

The jealousy shown when my attention was on our son as a baby.

The insisting on going to spend time with him, an equal amount of time to what I did, or more.

Holy Shit.

As an IFNJ, this thread, this info, is such a revelation I can hardly find the right words. All the confusion I have felt. And now I know why. I will read the rest of the past year's thread, and go to library today before it closes to look for the books mentioned.

This could be liberating. Perhaps I will share with WH some info one last time. But I feel closer somehow to LS and damn soon.

Thanks for this -


Finesse026 posted 6/12/2010 20:54 PM

Do any of you have recomendations on books that deal with passive aggressiveness? My H also fits this to a tee and I want to not only better understand but learn how to deal with him more affectively.


UnbearablySadd posted 6/13/2010 19:14 PM

At start of this thread, a poster mentioned the "boomerang relationship" I'd never heard of it, but am in my second marriage to a PA man. I thought this link might be helpful to folks:

tammyjean100 posted 6/13/2010 21:01 PM

I am reading Living With The Passive Aggressive Man, by Scott Wetzler.

I keep saying things like "OMG" and "Holy Shit" constantly. I now recognize that my DS is also this way. Both WH and DS are master compartmentalizers also.

As a recovering doormat, I have my own PA issues, having a really tough time standing up for myself. It wil take work and vigilance for me to improve it for myself.

Maybe that's a new thread - the Recovering Doormat!!!

I can easily recognize the blameshifting, the twisting of words and actions. But I am really, really bad at responding in a way that does not give him the upper hand. I need a book of just examples of how to respond.

It's all about control. These PA men are control freaks. I hate what this does to me, yet feel powerless most of the time when WH is around.

Example: I tripped over a bean bag chair, fell against the table, and screwed up my shoulder. I have nerve problems - my arm and hand hurt like hell, and stayed numb for a long time. WH does the wood floors, moving things about. But he does not finish the job. By time the floors are dry, that's it. I asked (again) that he put things back, find a way to remember to do it. Wh stated that is is up to both of us to put things back where they belong, and blame cannot be assigned. I left the room. Later, When I wanted to say something, the response was "well, I will talk with you as long as it's not about that. WE need to be able to let go of things." So now he's doing his usual, watching t.v.

WH then suggested he make cappicino (sp) for us. I said, no thanks. He asked me if this was because I was holding things against him. Was I wrong to respond I really didn't need to give him a reason I didn't want that? I did not tell him I'd had enough coffee for one day...

better move on now - it's getting late. Tell me what you all think. Am I nuts???


Llanden posted 6/24/2010 23:58 PM

I actually have a friend that is like this TO THE T !!!! We have always, ALWAYS had a long distance friendship. If one of us needed the other we just called and talked. Everything was in the open and we know just about everything there is to know about each other. We were 100% honest.

He has recently had some bad issues come up in his marriage and is now gong through a rather painful separation with his wife. We have become very close these last few months (his separation was way before we started getting close). I don't mean like sexually close but just closer as best friends.

But lately ..... I feel like I am going crazy. For some reason before we could express ourselves without fear of the other taking something the wrong way ... but now ....

Man everything I say gets turned around or taken wrong or something gets SO taken out of context that it gets flipped and turned and screwed up so badly I have no idea wtf it even is we are talking about ....

I was flipping through the "I can relate" boards and started reading this and was like ... That is TOTALLY him to the letter!!!

SO I found a great article on the explanation of a "Passive-aggressive man"

Taken from (not sure if I can link if not I am totally sorry)

Passive Aggressive behavior is a form of covert abuse. When someone hits you or yells at you, you know that you've been abused. It is obvious and easily identified. Covert abuse is subtle and veiled or disguised by actions that appear to be normal, at times loving and caring. The passive aggressive person is a master at covert abuse.

Passive aggressive behavior stems from an inability to express anger in a healthy way. A person's feelings may be so repressed that they don't even realize they are angry or feeling resentment. A passive aggressive can drive people around him/her crazy and seem sincerely dismayed when confronted with their behavior. Due to their own lack of insight into their feelings the passive aggressive often feels that others misunderstand them or, are holding them to unreasonable standards if they are confronted about their behavior.

Common Passive Aggressive Behaviors:

* Ambiguity: I think of the proverb, "Actions speak louder than words" when it comes to the passive aggressive and how ambiguous they can be. They rarely mean what they say or say what they mean. The best judge of how a passive aggressive feels about an issue is how they act. Normally they don't act until after they've caused some kind of stress by their ambiguous way of communicating.

* Forgetfulness: The passive aggressive avoids responsibility by "forgetting." How convenient is that? There is no easier way to punish someone than forgetting that lunch date or your birthday or, better yet, an anniversary.

* Blaming: They are never responsible for their actions. If you aren't to blame then it is something that happened at work, the traffic on the way home or the slow clerk at the convenience store. The passive aggressive has no faults, it is everyone around him/her who has faults and they must be punished for those faults.

* Lack of Anger: He/she may never express anger. There are some who are happy with whatever you want. On the outside anyway! The passive aggressive may have been taught, as a child, that anger is unacceptable. Hence they go through life stuffing their anger, being accommodating and then sticking it to you in an under-handed way.

* Fear of Dependency: From Scott Wetlzer, author of Living With The Passive Aggressive Man. "Unsure of his autonomy and afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs, usually by trying to control you. He wants you to think he doesn't depend on you, but he binds himself closer than he cares to admit. Relationships can become battle grounds, where he can only claim victory if he denies his need for your support."

* Fear of Intimacy: The passive aggressive often can't trust. Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone. A passive aggressive will have sex with you but they rarely make love to you. If they feel themselves becoming attached, they may punish you by withholding sex.

* Obstructionism: Do you want something from your passive aggressive spouse? If so, get ready to wait for it or maybe even never get it. It is important to him/her that you don,t get your way. He/she will act as if giving you what you want is important to them but, rarely will he/she follow through with giving it. It is very confusing to have someone appear to want to give to you but never follow through. You can begin to feel as if you are asking too much which is exactly what he/she wants to you to feel.

* Victimization: The passive aggressive feels they are treated unfairly. If you get upset because he or she is constantly late, they take offense because; in their mind, it was someone else's fault that they were late. He/she is always the innocent victim of your unreasonable expectations, an over-bearing boss or that slow clerk at the convenience store.

* Procrastination: The passive aggressive person believes that deadlines are for everyone but them. They do things on their own time schedule and be damned anyone who expects differently from them.

The Passive Aggressive and You:

The passive aggressive needs to have a relationship with someone who can be the object of his or her hostility. They need someone whose expectations and demands he/she can resist. A passive aggressive is usually attracted to co-dependents, people with low self-esteem and those who find it easy to make excuses for other's bad behaviors.

The biggest frustration in being with a passive aggressive is that they never follow through on agreements and promises. He/she will dodge responsibility for anything in the relationship while at the same time making it look as if he/she is pulling his/her own weight and is a very loving partner. The sad thing is, you can be made to believe that you are loved and adored by a person who is completely unable to form an emotional connection with anyone.

The passive aggressive ignores problems in the relationship, sees things through their own skewed sense of reality and if forced to deal with the problems will completely withdraw from the relationship and you. They will deny evidence of wrong doing, distort what you know to be real to fit their own agenda, minimize or lie so that their version of what is real seems more logical.

The passive aggressive will say one thing, do another, and then deny ever saying the first thing. They don't communicate their needs and wishes in a clear manner, expecting their spouse to read their mind and meet their needs. After all, if their spouse truly loved them he/she would just naturally know what they needed or wanted. The passive aggressive withholds information about how he/she feels, their ego is fragile and can't take the slightest criticism so why let you know what they are thinking or feeling? God forbid they disclose that information and you criticize them.

Confronting the Passive Aggressive:

Beware, if you confront the passive aggressive he/she will most likely sulk, give you the silent treatment or completely walk away leaving you standing there to deal with the problem alone. There are two reasons for confronting the passive aggressive. One, if done correctly you may be able to help him/her gain insight into the negative consequences of their behaviors. Two, even if that doesn't happen, it will at least give you the opportunity to talk to him/her in a frank way about how his/her behavior affects you. If nothing else you can get a few things "off your chest." Below are some ways you might approach your passive aggressive:

* Make your feelings the subject of the conversation and not his/her bad behaviors.

* Don't attack his/her character.

* Make sure you have privacy.

* Confront him/her about one behavior at a time, don't bring up everything at once.

* If he/she needs to retreat from the conversation allow them to do it with dignity.

* Have a time limit, confrontation should not stretch on indefinitely.

* If he/she tries to turn the table on you, do not defend your need to have an adult conversation about your feelings.

* Be sure he/she understands that you care about what happens to them, that you love them and that you are not trying to control them. You are only trying to get to the bottom of your disagreements and make the relationship better.

Inside the Passive Aggressive:

The passive aggressive has a real desire to connect with you emotionally but their fear of such a connection causes them to be obstructive and engage in self-destructive habits. He/she will be covert in their actions and it will only move him/her further from his/her desired relationship with you.

The passive aggressive never looks internally and examines their role in a relationship problem. They have to externalize it and blame others for having shortcomings. To accept that he/she has flaws would be tantamount to emotional self-destruction. They live in denial of their self-destructive behaviors, the consequences of those behaviors and the choices they make that cause others so much pain.

The passive aggressive objectifies the object of their desire. You are to be used as a means to an end. Your only value is to feed his/her own emotional needs. You are not seen as a person with feelings and needs but as an extension of him/her. They care for you the way they care for a favorite chair. You are there for their comfort and pleasure and are of use as long as you fill their needs.

The passive aggressive wants the attention and attachment that comes with loving someone but fears losing his/her independence and sense of self to his/her spouse. They want love and attention but avoid it out of fear of it destroying them. You have to be kept at arms length and if there is an emotional attachment it is tenuous at best.

The only hope for change in the way they deal with relationship issues is if they are able to acknowledge their shortcomings and contributions to the marital problems. Facing childhood wounds, looking internally instead of externally to find the cause of problems in their life will help them form deeper emotional attachments with a higher sense of emotional safety.

Hope this helps some.

MelisssaZZZ posted 7/6/2010 09:03 AM

Posting a link which describes me to a letter.. Maybe it will help you guys too?

Star727 posted 7/9/2010 15:56 PM

Wow! I've spent quit a few hours reading up on PA behavior and I'm pretty sure my WH is a classic example. Thats bad news for me because I know he WILL NOT do the work it will take to cure him of this behavior.

He thinks he has done nothing wrong.

He claims his 10 year EA with a fellow coworker was just a friendship and no sex.

Four (4) times he swore to never talk to her again and I found out he never stopped talking to her.

I have found three (3) prepaid cell phones with the last 2 years.

He says he talks to her because I don't listen to him. The two of us talk constantly, everyday, all the time. I was so confused when he said that and I didnt understand what it was that I was not listening to. I was so puzzled.

Ask what he wants for dinner and he answers with "I don't know, it doesnt matter", then I cook what I want to eat and he says he doesnt want that or isnt hungry anymore or he goes out and gets fast food.

I make a decision, the task gets done, then he tells me another way I should have done it. I asked him why didnt he tell me that before I did it and he says "well, I just let you handle it".

First time I found a secret prepaid phone, he dropped it on the floor, I confronted him, he swore it was his "legal" phone. He actually got loud with me and laid his legal phone on the table telling that was the phone I saw. I calmly kept saying, "no it isnt the phone, I know what I saw". I said it so much he finally had to admit it was the secret phone I saw.

He called OW when he was in the hospital on an emergency. His secret phone was at home (2nd one). I saw our legal detailed cell bill and saw that he called her twice for 30-40 mins calls. I confronted him, he swore he didnt call her, I showed him the bill, then he can't remember.

We had separate bank accounts and he paid his personal credit card bills from his account. He stopped paying, got horribly behind, even stopped paying his carnote which was also in my name. I took over payment of the carnote because I didnt want my credit damaged. He got pissed every month when I made him give me $600 for the payment.

Speaking of the car, he knew our daughter was going away to college and most of the expense would be on us. What does he do, he had to buy a Lincoln Towncar (60 month payments) a couple of years before she left for school. That meant he would not have much money to contribute towards her education. I was too pissed with him.

Now I see why there is lack of affection between us. He's pissed that I broke up his little relationship with OW so this is his way of punishing me because I had been complaining about the lack of affection. So he refuses to give me what I feel I need in this marriage.

I have to go, but there's so much more I have to say...

heartbroken_kk posted 8/9/2010 11:05 AM

He thinks he has done nothing wrong.

He claims his 10 year EA with a fellow coworker was just a friendship and no sex.

Four (4) times he swore to never talk to her again and I found out he never stopped talking to her.

Now I see why there is lack of affection between us. He's pissed that I broke up his little relationship with OW so this is his way of punishing me because I had been complaining about the lack of affection. So he refuses to give me what I feel I need in this marriage.

Yep. Deny there is a problem. Say you'll stop the behavior. Fail in stopping behavior. Get angry at spouse for failure. Blame spouse. Push spouse away. Punish spouse, secretly, by resuming problematic behavior until caught. When caught, blameshift again. Complain about how his needs are not being met. Make the conversation all about him. Demand you apologize for your faults, especially, you being hard to connect with emotionally.

lostcause111 posted 8/9/2010 13:46 PM

I am in this dynamic and if not for children i would be insane as she is to stay.

onanewpath posted 9/3/2010 08:04 AM

I can't believe what I am reading. It is my BS to a T. He had all these behaviors that I didn't understand and thought were not connected, until I came here.
I tried so hard to please him for so many years, only to have it not be good enough. He even withdrew sexually to avoid intimacy or me feeling 'needed'. During conflict, we would come to what I though was a compromise, then he would go and do whatever he wanted anyway. When confronted with it, he 'forgot'.
It trickles into every aspect of our relationship. He can't even buy me a birthday gift unless I tell him exactly what to get. That way he is not responsible if I don't like it. He can't even admit when he is angry, yet he will stomp around the house for days... and it goes on and on.
Since my D-Day of my A, things have gotten worse, with some aggressive-aggressive behavior thrown in. It's exhausting. I wantto say and do the right things to help him heal, but with him being PA, I don't even know what that is!

heartnotwhole posted 9/8/2010 08:37 AM

My WH is definitely PA, not only to me but also our kids. If we do something that doesn't please him, he will withhold affection or material things that he has said we could have or that he has already purchased for us. My 18 year old lately has even said he was fed up with the "mind f***" game from him.

realitybites posted 9/11/2010 08:30 AM

It was quite an eye opener to me too when I saw how P/A my H was...I think it is a constent battle though, it never really goes away.

Couple of weird things still that he will do:

1. Can NEVER make a decision about where to go to dinner, what to have for dinner unless I catch him on it or question him and then he will throw something out there. But sometimes actually gets very ANGRY at me when I mention it.

2. Lately always wants to know where I am...even in the house. If I want to step out of the room he will right away say "where are you going?" "you don't want to stay in the room with me?" and then will laugh like it was funny...but does it ALL the time.

3. This is going to sound weird I know, but he always wants to grab me and give me a kiss or hug me when we are out in not the normal little peck or cute, but like on purpose to almost embarrass us, then will turn to me and say "you see, you don't like to be hugged or kissed" and I will just look at him like, Huh?!

Just sorta some ranblings lately...its like it gets bad again or weird.

Hearthache again posted 9/14/2010 01:59 AM

I have known my H is Passive aggressive for a very long time. He learned from the Queen of P/A behavior his mother. She is currently in a 1 months silent treatment stand off with him because he told his sister she couldn't take our kids out for ice cream. She has gone so far as to not buy our kids birthday presents because we don't go over there enough, but gets tons of stuff for the other grand kids.

My problem with this is since I have such a strong personality and just get frustrated with him, others see him as the victim in our relationship.

I have pointed this out to him and even let things go and given him more responsibility and say in the relationship, but still nothing. I hate the mind games

EasyDoesIt posted 10/12/2010 19:09 PM

This is an absolutely AWESOME thread. Awesome.

EasyDoesIt posted 10/12/2010 19:13 PM

Wow. I'm going to repeat to myself out loud this statement, "I am not going to be the object of your hostility."

hurtinky posted 10/19/2010 14:33 PM

My stbxwh is PA and living with that for over 20 years has left me feeling completely worn out and destroyed.

He's perfect, you know, and I am the reason anything ever went wrong and OF COURSE, I am the reason he had to have affairs.

All I can say at this point is that I am positive that being on the receiving end of everything that a PA person can dish out is nothing short of abuse.

I'm not sure I'll ever recover.

The surest sign that I've been to hell and back, and been abused, is that I still MOURN and grieve that my marriage to this man ended. That HE decided to run like a chicken shit when I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY stood up and said, "Enough is enough. I deserve better than this."

Everyone but me knows and feels that I've lost nothing and that I've gained everything. I guess I know this intellectually, but I feel that I have lost everything, and some days, I wish I'd just left well enough alone. We'd still be together, and he'd still be telling me how much he loved me, life would go on as usual, and he would have his little affairs. It was painful, but I'm not sure it was anymore painful than THIS, this nightmare of knowing that you lost two decades of your life to that madness. I think I prefer the sad state of ignorance.

alura5 posted 10/26/2010 14:58 PM

Question: IS there any hope? I know I am co-dependent thanks to my upbringing, and find it hard to even recognize when some of this is going on. I felt so bad the other night when a friend told me she felt bad about her "relationship" with a guy she's trying to no see anymore because he verbally abuses her, calling her a stupid b!tch and a stupid "c". I had nothing to say... because I get called things like that about once a month...

I've read the PA profiles, and know that's him - painfully so... Which basically means, I guess that unless there is a way to turn it around, or make things somehow better, I either need to give up on any hopes I have for our future, or I need to leave.

Has anyone seen any improvement in their PA spouse/SO? Even his mom has said it looks like he abuses me, she doesn't know how I've stayed so long.

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