Iv been in a relationship for 3 years and 8 months ago we had a baby girl. Prior to getting pregnant our relationship was great and a major part of my attraction to my OH was how he was happy to let me do what I wanted and he was so relaxed.
When I got pregnant there started the changes. If he did not like something I would not get spoken to. If I asked a direct question while he was having one if his "moods" I would get snapped at. If I ask what is wrong, or why he was upset then I would be told nothing was wrong and I had the problem cause I was asking him.
After I had our daughter the behaviour got worse. It's really hard to describe and when I do I feel stupid but he basically picks at everything I do. But often not openly he will just sigh or mutter under his breath and then bang things around. I get the silent treatment and told I'm causing a fight if I ask what is wrong. If I ask him to help with our daughter he will be all nice and act like he is happy to. But then when the time comes he will stop talking to me or when I get back he will act like he has done me some huge favour and he is so put upon. The things I ask is normally for him to get up once a month to her so I can sleep and extra hour or for him to watch her so I can have an hour to myself once a week.
Sometimes when I ask for him to do little things he will completely overreact and makes feel like I'm asking him to do the impossible. But if I don't ask and do things myself he gets angry because I did not ask him. He often gets angry at me and treats me like I'm stupid because I do not understand something he is talking about. When I say I don't know he tells me that it is obvious and I should know what he meant.
It feels like the more I threaten to leave or try and fix things the worse he gets. Lately it feels like he is trying to stop me from doing anything other than sitting at home with her and doing what he wants.
I don't know maybe I'm just being silly. I doubt myself all the time. He just tells me that he isn't doing anything and that I'm overly sensitive and the one with the problem. I just feel like I can't take anymore of it.
Sorry for the wall of text. It's hard to write something that is so intangible in your head. When I read this it's hard to believe I wrote it.
Edit: for the parts where I say "he gets angry" I mean he gets short with me and ignores me, or he will patronise me. That sort of behaviour.
[This message edited by Surren33 at 11:22 PM, August 10th (Sunday)]
I found it was very helpful for me to start naming his behaviors
- that's blameshifting
- that's putting me down to make me defensive
- that's an inappropriate outburst
- that's acting like a victim
- that's failing to be responsible
- that's not doing something you agreed to
- that's dumping a task on me he can do himself
- that's expecting me to pick up his mess
- that is a lie (words)
- that is a trick (actions that deceive)
[This message edited by heartbroken_kk at 9:25 PM, August 17th (Sunday)]
Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.
People who haven't lived with a P/A will never truly understand how much they crush our self worth, whilst we appear to be the strong controlling ones.
Softcentre, you really nailed it.
And yes, it is maddening. Crazy making. A normal healthy person who ends up in a relationship with a P/A person can end up utterly crushed by the experience. It has taken me years to recover my sense of self. I've been in weekly therapy and have worked so hard to try to get back to who I was.
I graduated from an Ivy-league university with honors. I busted my ass to earn that. And for two years after D-day #6 and the end of false-R I could barely function, barely get out of bed.
I'm better now. But I went through hell with his psychological abuse.
It WAS abuse.
"Power, Lincoln, real power comes not from hate, but from truth."
I was unable to understand what was happening and why I reacted like that. I thought I was a horrible,terrible, shouty person. I 'knew' how nice he was, how he hardly ever got angry. I felt awful for keeping on asking him to do things that he'd promised.
Pre-dday, we hardly ever argued, but when we did all my anger fear would come out and it would go on for hours, mainly because although he'd sometimes admit to the surface incident, he'd refuse to talk about the deeper and ongoing patterns. He'd say sorry, but deflect the conversation and we'd go around in circles for ages. Me getting more and more frustrated because he seemed to think that if he said sorry, the conversation was over. If I kept going, somehow i became the 'bad unforgiving spouse who couldn't accept his apology. I could, but me (being codep), i wanted us to work on the deeper issue and he just...kept trying to make it slip away, like jello. So the awful dance kept going on...and he resented me more and more.
Throughout our M I worked so hard on improving myself so that I could live up to my 'wonderful nice guy' husband. No matter how STBXH would like to paint out M. I thought we were happy (he let me think we were) and that it was only my own insecurities and issues that caused any friction. So I worked on them.
I KNOW that I became a healthier person the further our M went on. But STBXH painted me (both in his head and to others) as worse and worse as time went on. Can you imagine living like that? And then when he started flirting with a friend of mine via email ( ) it got worse. But he hid it from me. The he met Fat Bottomed Girl and he stopped hiding his contempt for me, so much.
I STILL didn't understand what was happening. I had no idea this was passive aggression and no idea how to deal with it. My self esteem had sunk. I assumed that the anger i saw in him was caused by me. So I started doing this thing called 'assume love'. You basically assume that your H loves you, no matter what. That if you think they're angry etc, it's you just projecting your own issues. You act lovingly and they're supposed to respond. The more I did it, the worse he got and the more he plunged himself into the A. You see, he didn't want that from me. He WANTED my anger and did worse things to try and provoke it. And I still blamed myself for it all.
So when dday happened. I was a trembling devastated mess. I had zero self esteem. I begged him to stay. He was openly unremorseful for 4 months. Then he pretended for another 4 months of false R. And I let him treat me like sh*t. He never stopped blameshifting.
Even after he left, for months I kept hoping he'd come back,trying to start deep and meaningful conversations with him. Trying to fix it all by myself.
When I told people about his A (after he left). No-one could believe it because he's "such a nice man". And then i started finding out how he'd been making me look bad to people for years...because it made him look better. His p/a, by the time he left (whether conscious or not) had left me quite isolated. He'd dissuaded me from keeping in contact with any of my old friends.Tried to turn me against my family and his, with just small comments and looks, pretending he was looking out for me. He had full control of the finances. I genuinely didn't know how I could survive as a single mum.
I wasn't like this when we were married. I had a lot of flaws, but I had very good self esteem. I was a go-getter. nothing could phase me. Living with him for 14 years changed all of that. I own my own codep & am working on that. But part of it was that his p/a abuse happened so slowly and gradually that I didn't realise.
Now I know. Now I'm getting myself informed. Now I'm working on myself & learning to let go of who he is (he's unremorseful & refuses to admit he's p/a despite being diagnosed by our MC). i wish I'd known about p/a years ago and had the tools to deal with it. and,if it wasn't for our children, I wish I'd known the warning signals so i would never have married him. But that's mostly because of his lack of remorse and denial about p/a.
Nez - You've taken 2 huge steps that my STBXH won't. You're facing your A. You're admitting your p/a....If your BS is willing to work with you, then I hope you make it and I admire your courage to face what you've done and who you are. I wish more people could do the same.
But even with that knowledge, I still wanted him back.
I'd been trained to be codependent by him, right from our first 'date' when he stood me up to be KISA to another woman. He managed to talk me out of dumping him by pretending he just lost track of time and had told people (we were going out in a group so I could meet his friends) to let me know what was happening & that they must not have told me the full message...he also implied that one of his friends fancied me & tried to sabotage things by not telling me everything.
Now I realise that he was testing me out to see if he could treat me badly, but act like a nice guy and talk me round. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE ( incl his friends, his family, the lot) fell for his p/a nice guy act. We all thought he was genuinely the nicest person we knew, someone to live up to. Truth is, if he'd been honest, he would have been just a normal guy, and probably a fairly nice one. Instead, he's spent his life lying about who he really is, about how angry he gets, about what he really wants...and blames everyone else for that...and then justifies being a jerk behind our backs.
However,he's also groomed those around him to believe him. We're used to trusting him, that's our default. It takes a long time for that to fade. Mainly because we want to see the best in people.
Reading the book "Codependent No More" has been really helpful with that.
I have a question that I think I know the answer but would like to confirm it with you.
Do any of you have a parenting plan in place with your XWS? If so, how did you get him to agree to one being Passive-Aggressive?
Some vital things I included
- Each parent is responsible for keeping themselves informed about school and children's activities/events, and is to give their email address and other contact details to the school/activity organiser....This means I don't have to wait for his input on parent's evenings/meetings etc (he was using that stuff to manipulate/frustrate me...now that issue has disappeared).
- Each parent is the decision maker during their contact time with the children, but will consult with the other parent over any issues that will affect the other parent's contact time. (Can't remember the exact phrasing,but it was about making sure each parent could agree or not to party invites on their time - I just text him the details and text the person who invited, letting them know it's his decision)
- In the case of a stalemate, I am the final decision maker for all things except medical,where that will fall to the decision off the medical practitioner.
These three things have already saved me a lot of grief.
I was also going to include right of first refusal, but he used it to try and control me (refusing to answer quickly/within agreed time, wanting to know if the children spent ANY time with anyone else) so I ditched that idea. Instead, I do ask if he wants to look after them, if I can't, but always have a back-up plan in place. He never asks me to look after them.
Also bear in mind that you can't expect a p/a unremorseful WS to keep to anything they have agreed unless they know there are consequences that you can and will follow through on. But they WILL expect you to keep fully to your agreement. Being faithful, loyal, truthful types, we do want to keep our word...but that can lead to a very lopsided agreement, where you keep it,they don't, and there's nothing you can do about it. Be VERY careful only to agree to things that both of you will actually do and/or that you can enforce.
Thanks for chiming in