SurvivingInfidelity.com® > I Can Relate
Passive Aggressive Relationships
I'm a first time poster here at this forum. I've been reading through the threads and I think I need to be here - I need advice as I don't know how to handle or deal with this on going issue that is definitely having a huge impact on my marriage. It's taken me a while to understand really how passive aggressive my fwh really is. I don't think I can condense it enough to give a real picture...first, let me say, thank you to anyone that can read this novel, digest it and give me sound, level advice..It's really long and I apologize in advance for this. I feel like I'm ready to jump off (pushed) the Golden Gate head first...this whole saga has been brewing for 27 yrs...I need help. I believe it's residual from my fwh messed up, emotionally bankrupt childhood, all the things that led and allowed him to have an A.
I'll start this with the fact that I am a LTA survivor - it's been over 4 yrs since d-day...I'm past it, I have healed (as much as one can heal from this traumatic painful hammer to the head and heart)...my fwh has done everything to help me heal, for us to heal and to go forward...for that, I'm grateful. My marriage is good - he shows it in every way and everyday...except when it comes to his family.
I understand why and how the A started and continued for almost 8 yrs...I get it and accept it (not condoning it)...I get it was not me, and certainly not her (the Slut Monkey that she is)..but I get it...I get it was his dysfunctional childhood, his abandonment issues, his lack of love and touch from his father, his stepmother (since he was 3 yrs old) and always being the 'odd' kid out that allowed him the permission to feel better about himself and have an A.... I get that he realized the OW could destroy his world, she manipulated and blackmailed him (she admitted this) and was not a big enough person to call it off out of fear, I get the coward part and the P/A...I totally get it...we've worked hard on us, our marriage and our communication..it's all good...except...............
His family...this is my biggest problem. It's been my biggest problem and I fear for the future of our marriage.
For my fwh's entire life, he has jumped up and down, waving his arms and screamed "here I am, I've done GREAT, I'm educated, I made it, I've achieved the ultimate dream, I have succeeded" (none have them have achieved anything other than making more dysfunctional kids)...my husb (no more "FWH", he's my faithful, loyal husb) has for his entire life, since he found out his real mother abandoned him at 9 mo old (due to infidelity and threats of physical harm from his bio father), has only wanted his bio father to recognize him, love him and show it...Not once while I have been married has his family, particularly his dad, ever recognized my husb for anything...not even being his son. My husb has done everything he can do to shout over the silence and dysfunction.... nothing works...I get this, however, my husb does not..and keeps working and trying to be the son of all sons.It's all happening at my expense. It makes me so sad and sick to realize this situation. It makes me sick to hear my husb tell his father via phone "I love you" and his father doesn't respond. I see the sadness this brings my husb.
Not once in my husbs life has he heard from any family member, "I love you" or anything other term of endearment, no recognition, no conversation about feelings, wants or needs. Every problem is pushed under the rug and ignored. The entire family is emotionally retarded. FIL was a cheater, Grandfather and uncles were cheaters, Aunt was a cheater(her BS committed suicide after learning that 4 of his 8 children weren't his), his brother is a cheater. His sister is a 40 yr old never been married alcoholic that's 250 pounds overweight - she's a miserable hateful person. No matter what you say, she says opposite - rude comments fly out of her mouth continuously. Her attitude is that she is better than everyone else, knows more than anyone else. If you're not blood family, you're nothing but a piece of shit and she's quite clear about this with her behavior and her words.
MIL is quiet - but talks behind your back. She is unable to carry on a conversation about anything other than the weather. Her actions speak louder than any words - she is mean and spiteful. Not once in my 27 yr marriage has she picked up the phone to chat with me (I've tried but got the cold one word answers -that was 25 yrs ago, I've never called her again). She's never recognized our son (the first grandchild born). On birthday's she sends money to each person - $20 and a card - on my birthday, she sends me $10. Not once has she been hospitable towards me. Example: a group of 6 of us were on the deck and she offered to make coffee - she asked out the window who would like a cup? - all 6 of us wanted some, including me. I offered to come and help her, she said she was okay. When she brought out the tray with the coffee and cups, she poured a cup for each person in the group, except me - there wasn't even a cup for me to pour my own. My passive husb just sat there and never said or did a thing.
Before D-day, my husb moved me to his hometown..a small Midwestern, in the middle of no place town...where his family lives (pop 900). I bought a business, worked 19 hrs a day, tried to be part of his family...did everything I could do for my husb..I didn't know he was in the midst of an 8 yr A but I knew something was wrong with him and I was willing do to anything to make him happy...Our goal was to make the business work, have him retire there and build our dream home and live a peaceful quiet life in the country....I never knew that he was actually running and trying to hide from the Slut Monkey...and trying to keep Slut Monkey from finding me...(that's another story).
For 27 yrs, I have tried to be part of his family. I've done everything possible to get on and love the family that I married into.(my own parents died when I was young).. it's been useless. His step mother has zero emotions, his father says NOTHING, his younger sister (by 9 yrs) is nothing but a raging, bitter, 40 yr old spinster and a drunk..his two brothers have dysfunctional (one cheated big time) marriages.
While I lived there in this small town, after moving from a major metropolis (LA, CA) to a town where I couldn't purchase a loaf of wheat bread without driving 125 miles through blizzards, wind or rain.....running a business alone (my husb was still in CA and commuting back and forth every 2 weeks), that was the hub of a public gathering place.. I was in a place that was totally foreign to me..the weather, the language, the lifestyle, the food, everything....I never once had his family to lean on..not once while I lived there did they acknowledge that I was there, except that I heard my MIL was saying horrible things about me behind my back. I was alone completely to deal with life in a small, rural, gossip filled town, where I didn't know anyone, except my own employees. Not once did my MIL call me, invite me, or acknowledge me. After I moved there, I only heard gossip from the locals about the nasty things my MIL said about me, our bad decision to move there, our business we bought, and our attempt to relocate 2000 miles from what we knew as home. We made this move for my husb to be near his family that he really sees as a wonderful loving family.
All these yrs, my husb has tried in vain to be acknowledged..his family is without emotion, without words, without feelings, without anything.... I see it, I get it...
I've never been treated so horrible by anybody, much less by family - my husb is treated the same way, however, he doesn't see their actions as hurtful, instead, he makes excuses for them and their behavior.
The following are just examples of a few of the things they've done in the last 27 yrs:
No acknowledgement of any gifts, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, birthdays, - nothing. I"m still not sure they ever received them.
Thanksgiving - we traveled with a small child 2100 miles to attend Thanksgiving at their home - we left home at 3am - got stuck in a blizzard in MPLS, finally arrived at the closest airport (125 miles), rented a car, arrived at their home after 16 hrs of travel...no welcome, no offer of a meal, nothing for our young son ( 8 yrs old), no place in the town to eat, - I ended up going to a gas station and buying cheese sticks for our son as he was hungrey. On Thanksgiving, everyone had a chair, except me..I ended up on the basement steps, alone and without food - (MIL cooked a 13 pound turkey for 19 people)...by the time the platter went around..I was standing without food...this after 2 days of no food and no offer of food...that was 1996 - it's only gotten worse since then.
It's like my MIL does anything and everything she can to stab me and hurt me without words...so does my SIL....my problem, my husb dismisses their actions because he wants so desperately to be recognized by them and believe they are a loving normal family.
I lived there, on my own, waiting for my husb to join me during 04 and 05 which is when he confessed to the A and him running and hiding from it and the fact that he tried to hide me from the Slut Monkey...Not once in the time I lived there (I lived across the street from the Inlaws) did they even acknowledge that I was there, much less owned a business in town, was part of the community, was there alone, was lonely...nothing from them.
While I was there, I needed emergency surgery. The Dr. at the small clinic called my MIL at 7pm to advise her that they ordered an emergency medi-flight to take me to the closest major city for emergency surgery (450 miles). I was there alone and in pain. My MIL worked at the clinic and had for 30 yrs. The Dr. asked her to accompany me and help communicate with my husb who was at the time in AZ for business. Her response was that she likes to go to bed at 10pm, so therefore, she couldn't go. This woman is only 62 yrs old, not like she's 80. The Dr. called one of my employees to go with me. Not sure which hurt worse, the pain or my MIL's lack of care. My husb was mad, but never said anything to her about it.
In 27 yrs these people have NEVER acknowledged my existance, our son's existence...he doesn't get it. My husb blameshifts their behavior on to me like it's my fault. Or his solution is that I should not have gone with him when he visits...I disagree..I should be able to go anyplace he goes, especially on vacation. While my husb has earned my trust back and our marriage is once again solid, I still have fear about infidelity, and especially with him in his hometown, lots of alcohol flowing and the fact that I know which women, both single and married in town have no problem hitting on married men..it's rampant there. I know and trust my husb would not go that route again, however, I'm uncomfortable with him going alone. I shouldn't have to stay home while he goes on vacation. We still own properties there, I have a right to go there and with him.
We were there 14 months ago.., my SIL treated me like shit, she antagonized me, criticized me, slammed me, controlled my conversations with other relatives in a social setting... it was all bad. My MIL said nothing, sat back and never made a comment, even though I am sure she saw the whole picture.....my husb on the other hand, I told him, brought it to light with him what was happening.... he ignored it all. On the way home, mind you a 4 hr drive to the airport, 2 layovers because of connections, and a long flight..blamed me...told me that I should not have gone on vacation with him and the whole situation was a big mess.
There's so much more...27 yrs of abuse by his family and his need and desire to be the "good son"...we're supposed to go there in 3 weeks for his fathers big 75th birthday and 300 relatives in attendance...Not sure how I am going to cope...I'm having huge triggers, crying daily at the thought of going and seeing this family. My husb was very hurt when I told him that I didn't think I could go and why. He said he would stop his sister and mom and take them aside and confront them as soon as they misbehave again...he has said that before, but instead, I was blamed. His history shows that he is not going to stand up for me.
While I lived there,.. I learned of his father's infidelities which is why my husb was abandoned as a baby by his bio mom. I found out a ton of family info about this family I no longer want to even know...In fact, I want to take back my maiden name because I don't want to be associated with this family.
Nothing I say, or do has an effect on my husb..when I make a mention of how they have treated me, us and our son, he gets defensive, and a fight erupts..A huge one at that. I'm so at the end of my rope...I am so dreading this 4 days I have to spend with this dysfunctional hurtful family...and yet my husb doesn't see any of it..he defends them. He won't stand up for me, our son or our marriage..even though he says he will...he doesn't.
What am I going to do? .... this ongoing problem is having a HUGE impact on my marriage, our relationship and my ability to work this forward...how in hell do I deal with this, how do I get and allow my husb to see that his family is not "Leave it to Beaver" and they are all messed up and hurtful to his wife and family?
Only in the last couple of yrs, since d-day has he stood up for me with others that have been out of line, but not with his family. He called his mother on the carpet about a couple of things, such as the Thanksgiving we were there and she didn't set a place for me - apparently his mother told his vile sister that my husb talked to his mom and she threw it in our face and said that my husb hurt his moms feelings...WTF? My feelings have never mattered with these people.
It's so apparent and in your face with their behavior that our 23 yr old son refuses to ever visit or speak to them again. He was disgusted with them the last time he was there - that's another story as how they treated him..lets just say, it wasn't nice at all.
There's so much more about this family and the yrs of abuse from them. I truly and wholeheartedly believe they are the reason he had an A. Deep dark hurt from his childhood, lack of emotional love, confusion and survival as a child led him down the dark path when things in his adult life were stressful, especially his job. He never learned to communicate.
Today, our marriage is good, his communication is on top...he's done everything right, except this problem with his family. I realize he can't change them, but I do believe it's his job to protect me from them and stand up to them.
I guess what I want him to say is "if you can't treat my wife with respect, then I won't be coming here again". He won't do that. When I said this to him, the look of horror on his face told me that he would never say anything like this to them. I truly believe he would pick his family over his wife and son..yet, in every other area of his life, I am top priority as is our son.. I just can't understand all of this...I'd never let my family treat him with such hurt and disrespect, why does he allow this?
If you've made it this far - thanks. I'm desperate for sound advice. I need to know how to draw a line in the sand and not allow them to cross it anymore and be disrespected by this family and yet not cause any more problems in my marriage.
Thoughts, advice, comments??
Again, sorry it's so long.
I seems that his family is a "closed unit" and are unwilling to let you into the unit. My daughters inlaws are also a closed unit, but fortunately she has been included, however I have not. They will plan holidays and exclude my FWH and I from the activities unless my daughter presses the issue. But, they are not welcoming when we are allowed to join.
The only suggestion I might make is for your husband to get counseling for his issues. He has to deal with things before he can give you the support you need. He might not think he has a problem, so couples counseling might be the best choice for you. Good luck.
I can only repeate hollow promises advice - Ic for him is a must (it's already having an effect on my p/A husband), and MC for both of you - you need a 'referee' to get your feelings across without being shouted down and blamed - that was a great help to us as well (the MC very calmly said to my H after he launched into defensive mode - 'Can you just be quiet and let your W speak and see what she has to say about how she feels?').
best of luck
My P-A WH has finally "gotten it" about blame shifting. I am pretty shocked that he is actually owning this behavior, and MC has a lot to do with that. Our MC has worked hard with him to get him to do "active listening" so that he can repeat back what I'm saying about how I feel. It helps a lot.
The other day we were on a walk about the neighborhood talking about some interactions we had had recently where I was objecting to something that he has been doing that really bothers me. And he got all defense and started in on defending, rationalizing, explaining, and then, of course, finding a way to make me the cause of it all (if you would just do XX, then I wouldn't do YY, and you wouldn't feel that way). And I said, wait a minute. We were talking about how I feel about this thing YY that you do. Now you've changed the subject and in the process of you defending your habit of doing YY, you've blamed me for it. You're blame shifting. Let's stay on the topic of how I feel when you do your behavior YY. Do you remember what I even said about how I feel?
And low and behold, he couldn't remember. He was so busy building his defense, rationalizing what he does so that he's not at fault, that he never even heard me.
So I repeated, I feel insecure and angry when you do YY. I have asked you not to do YY before and yet even though you agreed that you would stop doing YY you are still doing it. This feels like you are disrespecting me and are lying about your true intentions. If you would truly stop doing YY I could feel more secure in our relationship and less anxious that you are letting your boundaries slip and are making yourself susceptible to the flirtatious advances of this W. Then I could see that you are taking responsibility for your role in repairing our M, instead of shrugging it off and making it my fault that I'm feeling insecure.
Zolotas, your IL family sounds absolutely pathological. You have every right to stay as far away from them as you can. Your WH may never have the strength to disown them, and your request that he stand up to them may feel like that is what you are asking him to do. Because he can't do that, he just tries to find middle ground and that isn't even acceptible to you.
It's hard to feel compassion towards the P-A WS sometimes because they make you so angry, but damn. He didn't choose his family. He has no control over them. Standing up to them won't make them change. Asking him to disown them when he's spent his whole life trying to get them to love him may not be reasonable. I would recommend trying to find a MC who can help you navigate the issues around holidays and other times when you can't avoid family so that you can have peace and not be slammed by their rudeness.
Thanks for the responses..and a place to vent.
Heartbroken KK, you are spot on with the defensive attitudes. I could have written the same examples out as you have...everything used to be my fault, no matter what it was. Those days are pretty much gone for me...just a bit here and there, a gentle reminder and he once again gets on with getting it. It's truly a learning process for both of us.
I realize that for him to stand up to them won't make them change. I also realize how much it must bother him when I complain about their behavior, thus, he makes excuses for them. I guess I wish he would just validate me and agree and tell me that he realizes how they are and that he can't change them, but that he will help me get through a 3 day visit with them. I need to know that he has my back in this horrible situation that I have endured for many many yrs of them beating me up emotionally and hurting my feelings.
Last night we actually had a conversation about their behavior, and more specifically, his sister. For once it was not a blow out fight. I can honestly say that this is really the only thing we have ever fought about past and present..I so hate to bring this with us into our future. We've worked so hard to get to the bottom of why he did what he did..he gets that completely and owns it all. He's worked endlessly to fix his wrongs...except this ugly issue of his family.
Our conversation last night and he actually initiated it, which is a first, was about his sister and her nastiness. He speculates that it's because she is 40+, extremely overweight, no boyfriends, no husband, no career..she's unhappy with her own life and bitter. Ok, I get that..now he does too and he got it on his own....one huge step in the right direction is that he actually see his sister as nasty and bitter towards others and we didn't have a fight about.
Suggestion of MC is good - I truly want to go..he does not as his career has him traveling a lot, his time at home he believes is better spent with me. We went to a family therapist right after d-day when I was close to the edge, almost suicidal. This therapist after a few visits pretty much told me to "get over it" and "it was only an affair"...we both agreed at that point to never return..it left a terrible taste for both of us...Geesh, he even knew that those answers were wrong.
I'm going to explore MC again.. we've made so much progress, this is our last real hurdle..it's major.
I'm thankful I only have to deal with this family twice a yr. Maybe with MC he'll be able to see and understand that his family is how they are and by disagreeing with them and supporting his wife, doesn't make him the bad son.
I see that I have a long road yet..
I'm going to stick around, lurk here at this forum. I've gained a lot and calmed internally knowing that I'm not on this journey alone. I never really knew what P/A meant or that my husb was P/A.
Thanks for all the responses..
I appreciate all of you.
I have just started reading through this thread, and it's heartbreaking and eye-opening.
Zolotas, your ILs sound a lot like mine, including the drunk 40 yr old spinster SIL!
So, my big question is: how to get the p/a into therapy? Mine believes that there is nothing wrong with him.
WOW!!!! Where do I begin. This thread describes my FWH on sooo many levels it is scary. Did not know I was in such a toxic relationship until now. Reading all of these posts has helped me become very aware of what our underlying problem is. And to think it all started with his mother (who i NEVER liked)
Get your angries out.com described his relationship with her to a T. He has been angry at her since his emotionally devoid childhood.
Thanks everyone out there who posted on this thread, you all just may have saved my sanity and my M!!!
So, my big question is: how to get the p/a into therapy? Mine believes that there is nothing wrong with him.
If anyone figures this one out, let me know..LOL
I thought is was me that was insane or impaired...well, I am impaired from dealing with my p/a husb and his toxic, emotionally bankrupt family.
Dana, you have a clone of my SIL? LOL..want another?
Forgive me if this has been covered already -- I have read through only the last few pages of this thread.
Wow. So I'm reading through the posts here, and I start thinking that I have many of these characteristics. Not all, and most definitely not from a family with any control or alcoholic issues.
I also see these traits in my FWH. Again, only a few -- but most certainly some of the same ones as me.
This has actually been a major breakthrough for me as we heal and get through MC. I love my FWH and want only to continue to move forward in this amazing marriage we have built.
Has anyone else realized that it's not necessarily the WS with the PA issues, but us, too?
Has anyone else realized that it's not necessarily the WS with the PA issues, but us, too?
yes, I've known that I had PA tendencies, due to my FOO issues.
the difference between me and WS though, is that I have acknowledged my PA shit, and worked on me to learn better ways of dealing with stuff.
P-A behaviors can be exhibited by anyone, BS or WS.
My WS thinks I am sometimes P-A with him, and he might be right.
Consider the two words however, Passive or passivity, and aggressive, or aggression.
Passive-Aggressive behavior is different from simple passivity, where you are in a mode where you don't resist, don't lead, just let stuff happen, don't complain, etc. Being passive, not taking action when you don't have to, isn't necessarily the same as being P-A where you are hiding your true intent, your dissatisfaction, your lack of agreement, etc. You appear passive initially, but later it comes out that you were non-reactive as way of coping with something that was actually making you angry in some way but you couldn't deal with it right then, straight on. That's were the aggression comes in. P-A involves an underlying hostility, anger, stubbornness, where there is a big element of non-cooperation, non-agreement, etc.
Saying "whatever you want for dinner is fine with me" when you really don't care and really will be happy with whatever is put in front of you, and you'll just be grateful you didn't have to decide, and you'll say thanks and give a peck on the cheek when your served is passivity.
Saying "whatever you want for dinner is fine with me" when what you're really thinking is that your input won't be considered, whatever you say will only get shot down, that you really want a home cooked meal instead of going out, that you are afraid you can't afford the restaurant your partner is choosing, or you hate the whimpy thin crust pizzas she likes so much, and when your partner makes the decision you harbor resentment about the choice, eat in stony silence, drop your fork in a clatter, etc., then that is being Passive-Aggressive. You had hostility and you hid it by being passive, to avoid confrontation at that moment, but let it come out later in subtle ways that are indirect, and also, that make your partner angry with you, because you said whatever you want is fine but you didn't really mean it. And now it's not fine and your partner feels yanked around and frustrated that you're not happy when you indicated you would be. So, your partner expresses that anger when your fork hits the plate, feeling like she can't make you happy, that you're impossible to deal with, etc.
Wow. This sounds familiar...
Sucking the life out of him
My cheating spouse says he doesn't know who he is any more since being with me, and of course blames me for being controlling as well.
I have read heartbrokenkk's posts... that really hits home:
By putting himself in the submissive role, he puts me in the dominant role. He puts me in a position where I have to manage him, I "control" him. Then he can lash out at me for being controlling, he can be angry at me for it. So he substitutes anger for a variety of underlying emotional states such as shame and low self image. The anger can be directed at ME, instead of shame being an emotion directed internally.
I find this fascinating. This could be the root of our problems... but how to get him to consider it? He has a hate on for the counsellors (all 3 -- his IC, my IC, and our MC, in a group session) who all agreed they couldn't help us any more unless he opened up, let down his defenses and looked within. He insists there is nothing more to look for, he is what he is. :(
This is a response from my very intelligent P-A partner. I thought some of you would find it interesting. I, on the other hand, have been hearing a version of this same story for years. Sometimes it is delivered with tears and sometimes delivered with anger. However I can never get a answer about "Why" and of course no behavior ever changes...so it's hard to see that my partner will ever change. Here is what was written:
I am going through a lot of emotions here. Mostly sadness. It is amazing how many times I can start to deflect when I sit in silence. Drives me nuts, but I keep bringing myself back. I am also finding solace in doing things in the yard and the house. I still fight the procrastination, but that is getting better. I am making a list of things that I see if I cannot do it right then. I find that I get sidetracked very, very easily (physically and emotionally), so to stay on track, the list helps, keeps me focused.
The emotional stuff is something else. I go through such a range in a very short time. I realize that I do not want to admit that I am angry. Even now, writing that down, I want to put in no, it's not anger, I am sad or depressed, whatever. Just not angry. Guess because I know that anger is a cover for other emotions, but in order to get to those I need to acknowledge that I am angry. Thus, the passive-aggressive behavior. Because I have not been willing to admit the anger to myself, it comes out in other ways. I have worked so hard not to be angry and it comes to this. Something I need to go deeper into--is the anger still seated in my childhood or is it stuff that has come up since? Probably both. I know that I felt helpless as a child, no control except my thoughts which is what saved me. As an adult, I know that being at the county has brought up a lot of those same feelings of helplessness, because someone else had the power of where I was going in that arena. Scary, as I know, truly know, that I am the only one who is in control of how I deal with things. You do not have any hold over WHAT I feel, no matter what is said. I have to take my power back and that is where the deflection comes from. Do I want to be responsible for myself? YOU BET!! Am I? YES, but I believe my actions and my words have shown otherwise. When I think about it, this is where the "victim" comes in, because I shut down, tune out and get small. All stuff that worked for quite awhile, but no longer does. I am not a victim, but my actions say that I am.
I worked really, really hard to be invisible, stay small and out of the way. That continued well into adulthood and when I wanted that to stop, with you, I want to be seen in this relationship, I did not know how to switch it up and it comes out as being defensive. Instead of speaking my truth, I defend myself. Then, when that creates dischord, I want to disappear again, Actually, I do disappear and this creates a vicious cycle for me. Show myself, get defensive if I am questioned or feel that I am being questioned, disappear and look like a victim. Ugly, but true.
Big, big project for me--breaking this cycle. Not sure how yet, but I will find a way. I want to be seen and there are times when I am, those are the times when everything is firing on all cylinders and I am totally present. I feel on top of the world in those times. To stay there for the bulk of time, that is when I said I need to be centered and grounded, knowing that whatever is said, I am still okay and that I can deal with it as an adult, and not get defensive or feel helpless.
Articulate yes...but no change in over 15 years. I don't believe, at this point, that a passive-aggressive person can change this deep seeded personality disorder. Just thought some of you might find the insight of interest.
wow! Lightbulb moment for me... thank you 'on the rocks' This has been my whole 21 year marriage. My husband blames everything on me! he can't be without a woman, he is leaving me for someone 20 years younger. I guess I was getting too hard to control, or wasn't buying into the PA behavior anymore. I had started to withdraw just to stay out of the long and winding and mindbending conversations/fights we had. Too emotionally draining. and then he says he is having an affair because I was withdrawn, I made him unhappy, I ruined his relationships with his children, I held back his career choices, I etc etc.. I do not believe that I am responsible for everything. but, boy sometimes after these twisted conversations with him my confidence falters and I really wonder if I am at fault. It is a horrible way to live. He is now asking me to let him live in the house with me, while he has the affair so that we don't have to tell our son who is away playing football in another province. My cheating husband tells me if I really loved my son I would not tell my son that we are splitting up and that my husband is having an affair! He says I should do this out of love for my son and to 'protect' my son! really! and he thinks that I should just ignore that fact that he is seeing another woman. What????
Your FWH describes my STBXH's outward behaviors to a tee.
I wish I could say that was his only problem, bU I still believe he is a sociopath.
Zolotas: The family dinamic you describe is much like my STBX's.
I have alwyas sought the good in people. Ididn't care that his family was trashy and awful. I Believed his victim play. That's what Sociopaths use to get to you.
How his mom and stepdad were awful, unsupportive, demeaning, degrading. How he was sodomized, how his Bio-dad was a dead-beat, alcholoc abusive, how his first wife and 4 successive GF's cheated on HIM.
Geez the man was married once before me and tried to hold them all...was engaged at least 2.ce more.
P-A big and small
So WH is owning his blameshifting behavior for little things, our spats about daily living, my triggers and insecurity with some of his actions, etc. For me, this is now "small stuff" and I almost don't even care any more.
We have been having some "big stuff" talks. About my ticking clock, desire to have a child, etc. WH is fundamentally opposed to change. The core of his being wants everything to be stable, predictable, as it is. Changing course is not what he wants, it doesn't matter how bad things suck at least he knows what his life is now and how to deal with it.
WH's approach to this is to dig in his heels and refuse to engage in a "what if" talk. What if we had a child? How would we work it out? Nope. Can't go there. He's "not ready". Sees all the obstacles.
I am much more comfortable with change. I can visualize a different future, can set my mind to overcoming barriers. I can change my life.
He won't have anything to do with it.
To me, this is the ultimate P-A shit and it may be the thing that kills our marriage. To refuse to engage in discussion something I very much want, to refuse to even look at possibilities, puts me in a position of being a bulldozer and running over the top of him, while he is the victim of my destruction of his life.
Instead of partnering with me in an attempt to solve the problem I have (aging ovaries), instead of looking at each challenge with me and trying to find away to meet it head on, he throws every possible reason why I can't solve the problem on top of all the others. Heaps and heaps of barriers, problems, reasons to fail.
We work too many hours. We can't afford it. He can't handle additional stress. Our marriage is in such disarray he sees no reason to bring a child into it. etc. etc. Not now. (which I know means not ever, because all he has to do is create a fight with me once a month to keep our marriage in disarray, and to keep piling work on so he's overwork and overstressed, and voila! barriers will never be removed).
Obstruction of life goals is Passive-Aggressive at its worst.
My WH, who has well established P-A behaviors, has been "typed" by someone very experienced with the Enneagram, as a type Nine, the "Peacemaker" or the "Mediator".
My WS got typed as a Nine too. He even admitted that it was accurate, that he thought he was a Nine from the description. Yet he's not willing to admit he's P/A.
Double MC session: 110 minutes.
My post today is a reflection on the benefits of having an extra long amount of time to work through an issue with my P-A WH.
He has so many defenses. Every justification. Every rationalization. Every nuance in how things are my fault and he's not responsible. All the blameshifting. We get started on a topic in MC and before we know it we've spent 45 minutes going round and round with working through each of his defenses and then finally, in the last 10 minutes, we start to get somewhere, peel off a few layers to reveal what is REALLY GOING ON INSIDE HIM, WHY he has these defenses. What feelings and fears are motivating him to dig in his heels, etc.
And then we have to end our session because our sessions are only supposed to be 50 minutes long.
Finally I realized what was happening, and asked MC about double sessions.
They have been SO successful it blows me away. We have time to work through his defenses and then actually TALK about the underlying concerns. We can resolve things during session instead of having to drive 2 miles down the road and pull over to talk for another 30 minutes, without the benefit of MC in the room.
So we now see MC 3 times a month. 2 times for regular session, 1 time for double session, and 1 week off.
I'm getting excited about his progress and feeling like our MC is a miracle worker.
For those of you out there trying to work through the P-A challenges in MC, please consider this, especially if you have a big issue to deal with. For us, it's been about bringing a child into our lives. HUGE issue. And he's talking about it, FINALLY.
Wow, fabulous resource I found that describes the "Passive-Aggressive Pattern"
Excerpts from this page:
Tries to please and fails
Aggression comes out in indirect ways
Sometimes agrees to do things for others and then doesnít follow through
Often feels pressure to perform, and has expectation and fear of failure, procrastination
Also passive-aggressively defeats his own inner critic, so canít discipline self
Sometimes acts out annoying behavior while not consciously knowing its impact on others.
A passive-aggressive person often makes others very frustrated while feeling bad about himself for doing this. He will often not give his partner what she wants.
hope this helps others. Please click on the link, there is a lot more there.
What I need to do is figure out how to respond to WS when I realize he's being p/a. it's such an ingrained pattern in our marriage that we start dancing the dance without even realizing it. I need to stop that. I need to come up with some phrases or answers that put the responsibility back on WS instead of me turning into crazy person.