Return to Forum List

Return to I Can Relate® > I Can Relate

You are not logged in. Login here or register.

Passive Aggressive Relationships

Pages: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10 · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15 · 16 · 17 · 18 · 19 · 20 · 21 · 22 · 23 · 24 · 25

oceanwaves posted 3/20/2011 11:06 AM

Hi Lisa and All,

Our stories are very similar.

Last year I kinda bottomed out with some bad family news. My H and I had been together for 4 years(at that point) and we both brought our bad parent/child dynamic issues in. Right away there were signs that he was procrastinating and not in an appropriate place financially. I thought that I could help and he would change. Of course he didn't change and I tried everything I could think of to "help" including shaming, blaming and straight up yelling. I was confused and because of my FOO- I just didn't get what was happening. All I knew what that I hated it.

In some ways I wonder what would have happened if he would have changed, would I have loved it- or found something else to be critical of and to fix- back then nothing ever felt like enough to me and I felt that my god given role in the world was to help people.

Anyways, In January I found out my mom was homeless from her long term drinking issues. We were estranged, but it affected me deeply. In Feb. my H couldn't "afford" Valentines day or rent a few times over. I was just at my wits end. I told his that I was done trying to get him to change and my life was falling apart and I need to live apart from him for a few months to find some clarity.

In April I left and started a 12 step program, deciding that I was done with codependency and that I wanted to heal my past, my PTSD and move forward with life.

My H lived close by- but only accessible by a 2 hour ferry trip. On his own he because very depressed, he became very angry at me (because of his secret resentments over the years). He didn't reach out for help, instead turned to sugar, anger and depression.

As he saw me take my focus off of him and get healthier and so so happy- he got even more angry that I "left him, after everything he put aside in his life for me" and fell right into the town tramp who had been pursuing him ever since she met me when I came to visit. I refused to judge things in his life and when I started- I stopped and told him that I trusted him to direct his life and finances.

I was putting myself completely back together and his A very much blew me all apart again- right into PTSD and my issues. It was like all of my limbs were cut off. I was totally vulnerable to him again and could give no more.

The only reason why I have stayed is because this A blew him open too. He turned to himself and admitted his childhood sexual abuse, PA and his selfishness and cruelty. He started therapy and a 12 step group and is starting a sexual abuse group next month. Since I was down and out- I could not work, or be a support to him at all.... in a weird way it really turned thing over to him to fix and although it is still a struggle- he is more honest and forthcoming.

One of my deep troubles is the way he completely sabotaged my progress- although in the long run it has deepened it and I have healed more.

But anyways- it is still a struggle and I never want to live in the PA/coda dynamic again.

LisaBrandNew posted 3/20/2011 19:52 PM

oceanwaves - you are very strong. The A is brutal, but if it is a catalyst for change and healing, then for many it can be overcome. You sound very clear about your role. I think real, vulnerable intimacy scares me. Yes, my WH has major issues, but I chose him for a reason. I'm am healing myself but the D is just the beginning. Not being drawn to another PA or emotionally unavailable man will be my goal. I hope to be brave enough to maintain my sense of self separately and independently while being open and, when right, vulnerable. It will be a whole new journey. I am just realizing how much my own fears of intimacy contributed to the dynamic in my marriage.

sadandtrying posted 4/5/2011 12:49 PM

Okay, I have been following your posts lisabrandnew, because you understand the PA dynamic so are a great resource - thank you.

My H is PA, and I am beginning to recognize the part I play in the PA relationship.

But I need "strategies" for actively changing the dynamic.

For example, one of our sons is getting married this summer, and I think it's the right thing to do (and my H agrees) for him to call our future daughter-in-laws father to congratulate him and begin to talk about wedding/reception plans. (I met with future daughter-in-laws mother and had a great time with her!)
My H is dragging his feet, and won't make the contact (typical for him).
I feel this reflects poorly on "us" "me" and our son -
I have not mentioned it in a week now, have "let it go" that he's not making contact - won't "nag" him....
but is there anything else can I do?

I'm stumped.....

LisaBrandNew posted 4/13/2011 22:00 PM

S&T - Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I haven't checked this post in a while because I am no longer in a PA relationship (getting D. Sad, but life is definitely more peaceful). First what not to do IMHO - don't tell him what to do(you are not his mother)and don't do it for him. You can tell him how you feel, that you understand that he may feel awkward or uncomfortable, but that it would mean so much to everyone involved,especially your son. If he continues to avoid making contact with future DIL's father, then I would tell him your feelings again, that his lack of action is hurtful and disrespectful to you, your son, and his future DIL's family and then walk away. You can't intervene or fix this. Otherwise you will be the focus of his resentment, anger, bitterness. Remember, he is an angry child that has to play grown up and doesn't want to. He cannot look inward. He must blame an external source, usually the spouse, for his discontent, discomfort, and inadequacy. He has to receive the consequences of his behavior to come close to getting it. His son will be disgusted. The future DIL, her family will think he has no class. It is not a reflection on you. You did your part well. Let him sit with it. Don't get hooked in with his distance and avoidance. If these suggestions sound uncomfortable for you, get used to it or move on. This is life with a PA that is not in treatment and acknowledging his serious issues. Some great guidelines and info are on this website about Boomerang Relationships.

An excerpt - "Encourage him to make decisions--accept whatever you can during this time of building his confidence about committing himself on small matters. Whenever possible be noncritical of his actions. When you must criticize, be critical of his behavior, not him. Wild recriminations and threats only make him retreat more to his cave of isolation and anger.

When he doesn't follow through and says, ‘I can't,' remind him that it means he won't because he doesn't feel like doing what is asked. Ask him to be more honest and say that he doesn't want to do what you asked. Point out the lack of effort when he is unwilling to do something boring or disagreeable. Make fewer demands on him and only ask for what you absolutely need.

Point out how he distorts the truth and discounts problems that he creates. Use gentle, direct confrontation. Don't humor, placate or make excuses for his behavior. Challenge double messages and ambiguous plans. Point out his indirect, non answers and sitting on the fence statements. Pin him down on his confusing the issue to save his skin. When he says, ‘You know how I say things I don't mean.' Confront him with ‘How do I know which half? When you give me mixed messages I get so confused that I don't feel loving and close to you.'"

I cannot emphasize the importance of being strong and addressing the PA in marriage counseling and individual counseling. Living with a PA is hell. If he is not acknowledging his PA, then he has no motivation to change his behavior or how he views intimacy and control issues in his marriage. He will project and blame you somehow no matter how astute you become at changing your reaction to his PA. It will change the dynamic somewhat, but probably not at a level for a mutually loving, healthy relationship. At least through MC, you can address the specific behaviors with a therapist. It may be a more subtle way to approach his distorted perceptions and actions. Best of luck. If ever I don't respond quickly enough, please PM me to check out a post. I am always happy to help in any way.

[This message edited by LisaBrandNew at 10:01 PM, April 13th (Wednesday)]

mostlymine posted 4/20/2011 12:27 PM

In my relationship with Wh we are to some extent BOTH passive aggressive. Wh came from a family of an alcoholic abusive father. I came from a family that as long as I didn't make waves I was ignored and I hated for anyone to be upset. I was the peace maker and read emotions well. If someone was going to "reject" me I would do it too or first. Has anyone's relationship been like this? What steps did you take to work on it?

southsidecali posted 4/20/2011 13:25 PM

Dealing with a PA, yes eventually you do pick up and end up doing things that are in part PA as well.

You become conflict avoidant just like them, you end up assuming and taking on the responsibility and in turn resenting it in the end.

The thing is that the PA is so pervasive and deep that they are like chameleons- if they even get a sense of YOU got what You wanted..oh you better watch out because what used to work..the gentle "suggestions" the lowering your expectations.. drop even further.

If you are willing to accept to stay in the relationship, you will literally have to have NO expectations from your spouse. To be honest, even with you lowering your expectations, they will always find ways to subterfuge.

Unless they get help, it would be best to walk away, because you need to realize that their goal in life is to use YOU as their punching bag. They have so much hidden anger/rage and they will take it out on the ones closest to them.

Sorry doesn't sound like much help, but it is emotional suicide to involve yourself with a PA who refuses to get help.

realitybites posted 4/22/2011 13:26 PM

If you are willing to accept to stay in the relationship, you will literally have to have NO expectations from your spouse. To be honest, even with you lowering your expectations, they will always find ways to subterfuge.

Unless they get help, it would be best to walk away, because you need to realize that their goal in life is to use YOU as their punching bag. They have so much hidden anger/rage and they will take it out on the ones closest to them.

Sorry doesn't sound like much help, but it is emotional suicide to involve yourself with a PA who refuses to get help.

This is the scary part for me. I have stayed in a relationship with a P/A. I am 6 years past the A, but the stuff that gets dug up after the A can be almost more painful to deal with then the A. Sadly at some point this post may be true.

MissesJai posted 4/28/2011 17:17 PM

FWW with a P/A BH....I've only read like 3 pages of this thread and OMG.....I'm not crazy....

realitybites posted 6/5/2011 14:52 PM

I realize this thread does not stay up very often. I guess I am just venting here and just don't know where else to do it right now.

We have been R for the last 6 years. Tough going as I know I have a P/A personality. There are just so many things I could say or write here but they are all these little things, things that would seem to other people to be not that big a deal, but when you live with a P/A person it is like nails on a chalk board, and they seem to be OK for awhile and then it starts back up again.

I have had surgery, been on the mend for the last couple of months and lately just starting to feel better. BTW, had a hysterectomy. Been starting to exercise more, back on my work schedule, life in the bedroom is back...yet now he starts in with the complaints...I don't dress the right way lately I guess. He likes to point it out. Like he looks like a model or something? (sarcasm). Back to pushing things off on me to decide...I don't know, its just so maddening sometimes I just want to scream at him "GET OUT!" I need this like I need a hole in my head.

2 of his friends around him have broken up with their either girlfriends or SO's. Everyone is in the late 40's or 50's and I just look at all of them like my God, what the heck are you people doing with your lives?

I am in a really pissy bad place that just does not have one iota of patience for this tick, tick, water torture.

Why do I do this? What am I hear for? I so wish for someone who takes control, makes decisions, buys his wife gifts, plans vacations, pays the bills....he will be good for awhile and then it goes right back. When I had surgery he was really great, truly. He has been working in the yard on the landscaping, he goes to work. But he is so critical of me, finds fault. So sick of it and really don't want to play this game on many days.

Just venting...thanks for listening.

realitybites posted 6/6/2011 08:48 AM

Rescuer - where we continually rescue and protect others from themselves because somewhere deep inside we deem them incapable of helping themselves. Everything will be Ok when left in our capable hands. We often lie here to keep others from interferring with our perfect plan.

Persecutor - where P-A comes in as we punish the ones we rescue because they are not as thankful as we think they should be. Resentments build and we act out selfishly.

Victim - why does this always happen to me? No one appreciates what I do for them. Some even dislike me for having tried to rescue them.

I hope the mods don't mind, I pulled this from another forum, but it was so true of my H I just had to highlight it here.

This last week seems to be ramped up for some reason, he seems very agitated, will walk up to me when I am pouring a cup of coffee and say to me "here let me do it" and I will just look at him like, huh?! why are you asking to do something for me that I am in the process of doing? He will do that alot with the smallest of things, and then get mad at me and say he was just trying to help. Weird stuff.

We got into a discussion yesterday as he once again wants to go out and "do" something, he is bored, but won't make a decision where to go or what to do.

He is working on the landscaping, which is great don't get me wrong, but he gets mad when I don't sit out there and talk to him or keep him company. I work from home quite a bit and he just hates it when he is home (he will say otherwise) and I am working in my office.

Like I said, my radar should be up because he is ramping up this behaviors and it is maddening to live with.

Oh..and another thing, I did not ask for anything on Mothers Day, just a card and out to dinner, did not want to cook. He is already saying he wants an expensive certain gift for Fathers Day and when I don't say anything or figure out how to get it for him he gets mad.

He is going out of town for a couple of days and quite frankly I am ready for him to be out of my space. ITs exhausting!

dreamlife posted 6/20/2011 03:05 AM

Hi all~

Verbal Abuse...that comes right out of the blue.

How do you handle this?

dreamlife posted 6/22/2011 16:39 PM


wontdefineme posted 6/23/2011 00:56 AM

It is so strange to read your life through someone else's eyes. I belong here, who knew I was in a PA relationship. It all makes so much sense now.

sadandtrying posted 7/1/2011 09:18 AM

I am trying to address our P/A's SO tough...

I realize I have my role in it, and it's all tangled up and crazy.

We go along okay, sometimes good, as long as it's surface stuff we talk about or if we're having sex, or enjoying the company of our visiting kids, but whenever we're just hanging out, and I bring up a sensitive issue my emotionally immature H goes silent, starts getting agitated, shuts down, or yawns.....and then I stop trying to communicate with him....
I can't seem to break this cycle..if I stop trying to communicate with him, it's good with him - it's what he's used to, is dysfunctionally comfortable with, and thinks of as "all's well".....

Faith2011 posted 8/4/2011 23:17 PM


Agate posted 8/7/2011 21:34 PM

Today my PAH was suggesting D, and I said but you need me. He just looked at me with the coldest eyes and after about a minute, said, "I need you for what?".

suspicious247 posted 8/8/2011 14:35 PM

Add me to the list of people who are in a Passive Aggressive relationship and had no clue til reading this thread. It makes me feel less hopeful about the future of my R.

So many posts here sound like they are coming out of my mouth ,or like they are with the same man. Mine always says he is bored and wants to do something but never comes up with a plan. Never has any suggestions on what to do. Never wants to pick a place for dinner. It's all "whatever you want babay". Then I suggest somethng and he shoots it down. It's maddening. I haven't known about this site for long, but man has it opened my eyes.

realitybites posted 8/11/2011 12:49 PM

suspicious247 - Its maddening isn't it? One simple question becomes a HUGE argument. All you want is for your SO just to give an opinion? Or just say where they would like to go? And when you press them for an answer they get mad at YOU!

Mine will say "You know I am happy with whatever we do or whatever we eat, I like everything!" And I look at him like, huh?!

Yet they complain that they are bored or want to go "do something" yet seem to think we are the cruise directors of their life.

Agate posted 8/12/2011 18:21 PM

Passive Aggression is considered a form of aggressive narcissism which is half of the Hare psychopathic scale.

The other half involves pathological lying and criminal type behavior.

This is a very rigid cluster of behaviors, so it makes sense that everyone's experience would be relatively the same.

Miss Saigon posted 8/13/2011 04:02 AM

i also belong here, my WH is PA and I am absolutely co dependent.
thank you so much for all the inputs.
simply great to live again:)

heartbroken_kk posted 8/13/2011 20:10 PM


tell us more about what you know about the aggressive narcissism stuff. Because I am really worried my WH is on the way to becoming psychopathic with the IC he's been getting putting him on this complete selfishness bent lately.


Pages: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10 · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15 · 16 · 17 · 18 · 19 · 20 · 21 · 22 · 23 · 24 · 25

Return to Forum List

Return to I Can Relate

© 2002-2015 ®. All Rights Reserved.