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Passive Aggressive Relationships

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heartbroken_kk posted 5/10/2009 18:49 PM

Beach has bumped a great thread in the Wayward Forum on Co-Dependency here:

I would love to hear from the WS's out there that are dealing with either PA or CD behaviors.


LOL_NOT posted 5/11/2009 09:23 AM

Thank you heartbroken_kk for the info link on terms AND for the suggestions on where to start on forums. It is greatly appreciated

hurtbs posted 5/12/2009 12:36 PM

Hi all

I"m so glad for this thread. I have posted many times about my FWH's PA/CA behaviors. It's a nightmare to deal with many times.

Right now, we're struggling with what on the surface looks like a stupid issue - what we're going to do with the dogs *if* he has to go out of town on an event. You see, I have a business trip that I've had scheduled for a while. A couple of weeks ago, he heard that he *might* be going out of town on a business trip - keyword, *might*. This is less than three weeks away. He still doesn't know if he's going. I keep telling him "You need to figure out what you're doing - whether or not you're going." I keep getting "I was swamped, I didn't have time, blah blah fuckity blah." Heck, I don't even know if I have a ride to the airport that weekend! Today, we got into an argument because yet again, he was 'too busy' to figure out what was going on that weekend. I said "Look, I need to figure out what we're going to do with the dogs." His response "We'll figure it out." Of course, he 'doesn't know anyone who can watch them' or he 'wouldn't feel comfortable asking so and so' and he 'doesn't know any kennels and gee they're pricy'.

Honestly, at this point, I think I'm not going to ask him about it again and just let him figure out what to do with the dogs. Maybe I'll just go ahead and book a ride to the airport while I"m at it.

IF anyone else has any suggestions, I'd appreciate it - his only answer will be 'we'll figure it out' and he isn't going to find out anytime in the near future what's going on with his business trip. If we kennel them, I have to get their bordatella vaccination like *right now* so that they're fully protected. Grrr.

See, it sounds completely stupid, but I just need to get this situation sorted and he won't give me any information and then gets angry at me if I ask about it.

down4now posted 5/13/2009 03:53 AM

The phrases I usually get are:

"Something will turn up", or "It will sort itself out."

which usually means I sort it out...

down4now posted 5/13/2009 03:55 AM

Has anyone read:

Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man: Coping with Personality Syndrome of Hidden Aggression: from the Bedroom to the Boardroom
by Scott Wetzler?

I've just ordered a copy in a vain attempt to 'understand' my H better and was wondering if it was any good?

hurtbs posted 5/13/2009 09:13 AM


I read the book but didn't find it particularly helpful - I know that some people have.

I get those phrases too. Although right now it's *we'll* work it out, which means that I'll do it.

heartbroken_kk posted 5/14/2009 13:45 PM

One of the things that is coming up for us is that he uses passivity or inaction as a way of avoiding taking responsibility and thus being held accountable.

Also, when he wants me to take the lead on things, he is putting me in a position of being in control and him in a position of being controlled, and if he doesn't like the outcome he is victimized by my controlling.

I told him I want to stop falling into a Parent-Child kind of relationship and can't step out of the "Parent" role if he will not step up and take on his full share of responsibilities willingly and without threats or anger and frustration finally pushing him there.

I told him that when I say "I do not want to be responsible for this" I mean now, as well as later. I do not want to be forced by his inaction to be responsible at the last minute.

Has anyone had any luck using the "Would you please take ownership of this" approach?


down4now posted 5/15/2009 02:35 AM


I've been trying this approach as well. it amazes me now that I'd never considered or thought of passive-aggression as an explanation of my H behaviour, but better late than never.

He constantly defers to me - What do you think? What should I do? You decide; I'm not bothered (when he is) and so on. My stock answer now is - "I don't want the responsibility of deciding what's best for you...that's your department, I'm not your mother."

He sighs and nods and gets on with it for the most part (old habits die hard, especially procrastination).

I will, on ocassion, offer my opinion but make it quite clear that the final decision is his. Early days yet but seems to be working.

realitybites posted 5/17/2009 08:50 AM

Me: What do you want for dinner?

H: I don't care, you pick.(this is always his answer, will never commit)

Me: No really, I don't care either so you pick.

H: Getting mad now...I told you I don't care, just pick.

Me: I don't want to pick I want you to pick it.

On and on we go. Finally he will pick the most rediculous OK I will go to McDonalds (not bashing McD's,) I will finally say fine. And he will get MAD that I agreed to it!

I will beg him to do the bills, he will do them for 1 day and then put them to the side. Our T told us to just let the bills go then, told me to stop doing them....but then our credit gets ruined! He will be all nice and say OK I will do them I promise....and then same thing over and over.

P-A man is still stuck in a childish relationship and it is unleashed anger. I have always said my H will be super great for about 4-5 years and then he just has to totally screw up his life somehow...and then blame it on everyone else. Whether it is his career, a new hobby, our marriage, spending too much on something and not telling me....whatever.

When we finally separated for awhile it was really clear how bad it was. I felt a huge load off my shoulders and my H went slowly crazy while out of the house. He had no one to blame anything on. It was the one thing that really showed a small iota of change. It is not easy.

PiQue posted 5/17/2009 09:18 AM

After reading the posts in this thread, I think I belong here...

I can so relate to the-
"What do you want for dinner: Choice A, Choice B, Choice C."
"I don't care, whatever you're fixing."

And no matter what I make for dinner, it is the wrong choice!

I told him about a month ago - "It really makes me feel special when you call me >pet name<." (A pet name he had called me for years.)

He hasn't called me that since. I recently pointed that out to him and he just stared at me for a bit, then said, "But, I call you other pet names now..." And guaranteed if I say I like them, he will quit!

I made the mistake (unknowingly) of making suggestions as to how he could improve his relationship with our teenaged DDs. He is now practically NC with them. They feel like they have no father.

He resists anything that vaguely resembles me being in 'control', yet allows the OW to lead him around by the nose. WTF

heartbroken_kk posted 5/17/2009 15:47 PM

He resists anything that vaguely resembles me being in 'control',

Oh, yeah. Passive-resistance. Stubbornness.

Last week, our MC suggested that what I needed was comfort and caring gestures. That when I get upset and he changes the subject or leaves the room he is basically abandoning me because my feelings make him feel uncomfortable.

Has he done anything like what she suggested? NO.

For my WH, he cannot handle any criticism. If I tell him something he did mad me feel unhappy, or uncomfortable or anxious, he says he feels "blamed".

Dude, yes, I'm blaming you. Grow a frigging spine, man up, and take responsibility.


roccodom posted 5/17/2009 19:12 PM

What is with that blaming crap. My H says the same damn thing. It's exhausting. So in no way can you say anything to them or "I feel like you're blaming me"


brokenapart posted 5/17/2009 20:25 PM

This was my life. I spent years frustrated, angry, controlled through his inaction, feeling guilty for being upset, and resentful.

I don't know how one deals with this successfully - I know that I never did.

down4now posted 5/18/2009 08:14 AM

What is with that blaming crap? My H says the same damn thing. It's exhausting. So in no way can you say anything to them or "I feel like you're blaming me"

Itís like some sort of defence mechanism - he doesn't actually hear what I'm saying, just takes out the bits that might be slighting him and runs with them. The other day he asked me how I was feeling so I told him about how it was so difficult to trust anyone now that my best friend (him) the man I had loved and trusted with my heart and soul had done such a terrible thing. I made the mistake of referring to FWH as 'him' rather than 'You'.
What did I get as a huffy answer, "Oh, so I'm in the third person now am I?"
The mind boggles!

After I'd calmed down (about an hour later) I pointed out how he had handled the answer to his "How are you?" question and he was extremely apologetic - but aren't they always when it suits? This is going to be a very difficult road.

NeedingGodsHelp posted 5/18/2009 08:29 AM

He resists anything that vaguely resembles me being in 'control', yet allows the OW to lead him around by the nose.

My WH is the same ay. He refused marraige couseling, because it was MY idea. It is impossible to coparent with him! It is so frustrating!!!

And he has labeled me as a control freak... I heard it again the other day, because I was trying to talk to him and ask him to apologize to DD13 and talk to him about teenage girls and self-esteem. Ridiculous!!

For my WH, he cannot handle any criticism. If I tell him something he did mad me feel unhappy, or uncomfortable or anxious, he says he feels "blamed".

Same here. Has been this way for years. Except now I am blamed for everything that was ever wrong with our marriage and for his affair!

heartbroken_kk posted 5/22/2009 22:23 PM

This is a little bit of a puzzler for the rest of you. Has your partner, who you believe is Passive-Aggressive, told you that he or she thinks YOU are Passive-Aggressive?

Happened to me this morning. I send WH the link to the Boomerang Relationship page on AngriesOut and he said a lot of the stuff in there applied to me more than him.

I'm not saying he's wrong, I'm just a bit surprised as I haven't heard of this and when I read it didn't think of myself immediately. I have suffered from depression on and off for years, and of course the A has put me into a deep deep funk, so many times I end up in a "paralysis" of inaction.

Curious if others have heard this.


down4now posted 5/23/2009 10:22 AM

I remember reading somewhere that if you live with a P-A long enough their behaviour can rub off on you - but it could just be your P-A partner behaving in a P-A manner and making you question yourself?!

roccodom posted 5/23/2009 10:52 AM

What did I get as a huffy answer, "Oh, so I'm in the third person now am I?"

This happens to me all the time. I tell him he getting off subject (deflecting) and concentrating on the semantics instead of the content. I think it's a way to get out of facing the feelings.

I pointed out how he had handled the answer to his "How are you?" question and he was extremely apologetic - but aren't they always when it suits?

Yep - got that here too. It makes it extremely difficult to get your needs met. They deflect the conflict so it never gets resolved - then apologize later and don't deal with it.


olixa posted 5/23/2009 11:01 AM

My WH is a scorpio as well as P-A. Yes they think they are perfect, will subconsciously hurt us by constant blaming and underlying criticism. I just ignore his whining and his blaming now - it is like "whatever". if it was raining during a soccer game he would somehow blame me. so that is just him. I just ignore it now and think to myself "poor bastard".

my WH has finally asked to come home after now being separated for 2 months. i actually love my freedom and i am nervous of him coming back home cuz of his P-A behaviour. NO one else understands why i could be nervous but i know you on SI unnderstand.

Can i brush it off anymore? i can i just ignore him again? i hope so. it is a character flaw that i can not fix. if he does not take responsibility such as packing to go somewhere or arranging for the dogs or bringing snacks then he will have to learn from his mistakes (just like a child) has to all over again.

i have refused to jump in and rescue him anymore and no longer will take his blaming personally. just a personality disorder. he he

but i do hate it when he tries to undermine me or laughs at me saying that i am the crazy one or my feelings are crazy. but then, i will just dismiss it and say "gotcha" cuz his laughing is actually a deflector cuz i hit the nail on the head and he is trying to divert the truth elsewhere.

so i am nervous cuz it can really get to me sometimes. yikes.....

ps. is it me or is it more men than women that suffer from this personality disorder? anyone else married to a scorpio as well?

down4now posted 5/23/2009 11:04 AM

mines a Scorpio as well - is this a trend??!!

alreadygone posted 5/23/2009 11:20 AM

I am 3 years divorced.

I remember a time when I would read the Living with a PA man book, and hide it, bc I knew if x (then h) would find it, it would upset him and then he would use his favorite anger technique, the silent treatment.

Good grief.

I believe there is hope for every pa person who can take responsibility for his (generic he) actions.

But if he does not, there is probably no hope.

I look back over the 20 years I knew my best friend/husband. I look at who I used to be. I look at the behaviors that we fell into.

I went from stating directly how I felt about something he did or did not do, and then, years later, how I would absent myself from a situation to cry in private bc of something he did or did not do. I had to cry in private bc I had already learned that it must have been my fault to be upset bc of something he did or did not do, bc he never did anything wrong, and my being upset at him was then, of course, my fault, and my problem.

Yep. Crazymaking at its exquisite best.

It was a terrible terrible way to live.

I am still recovering.

Good luck to us all as we try to reclaim ourselves.

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