How to Deal With a Passive Aggressive Husband?
FIRST, THERE IS DISCOVERY: There is a steady progression in the process of realizing the main cause of some spousal behaviors.
In this progression, you go slowly discovering what’s is wrong in your marriage. First you feel that something is odd, because you have some feelings of hurt that don’t correspond with the objective situation…you are happily married, and then some response from your spouse makes the whole perception shake, and you are not so sure who you are.
As one woman at the end of her rope described this constant passive aggression as a situation where she would receive either punishment or love, in a sequence without any logic.
Mental torture followed by a bit of love, then disappointment then promises and apologies then heartache again, in an endless roller coaster. She never was sure of his affection and began doubting herself.
THEN THERE IS LEARNING HOW TO DEAL WITH THE SITUATION:
Let’s look at a situation that you yourself know by heart: This is a posting at our “ASKNORA” section:
“Then his PA/emotionally abusive behavior started out of the blue. My therapist thinks it’s related to the death of his mother. It all started shortly after his mom died. I believe this must be correct. What keeps me hanging in there is my children and the hope that my sweet, understanding husband will return someday. But for now, I have no idea how he’s going to react or handle things. It’s extremely unpredictable. I never know what will set him off, it’s usually something as simple as me asking him “what are you doing today?” this can send him into a rage. We could be talking and laughing like normal one minute and fighting like cats & dogs for no reason the next minute. I have retaliated with some passive behavior of my own. Not to get back at him but simply to avoid confrontation with him.
So I find that not talking to him much reduces his explosive episodes, and it’s my wall of protection. I am the one that doesn’t want to have sex, not to get back at him, I just don’t want to. How can I have sex with someone I can’t even have a rational conversation with???? His outbursts are not exactly a turn-on.
He recently said to me “you have no room in your life for me…” That’s because I work two jobs, take care of the house, kids, and all the finances. I do the books and all the paperwork for his business (he’s self-employed). When my day is over, I can barely keep my eyes open. I’m mentally and physically exhausted, it’s that simple. I’ve been telling him for years that it’s all too much for me, I’m overwhelmed and I need help. He says he’s gonna help but he always has an excuse why he can’t. He puts everything on me so when something goes wrong of course it’s all my fault because I didn’t do it right.”
Of course, she feels trapped in a no-win situation! If she takes over the home responsibilities in order to avoid him procrastinating and abandoning necessary tasks, she does the work of two people and has no energy for herself. If she decides to drop responsibilities and ask him to do them, then her second (or third job) will be to watch over him catch him in the act of dropping tasks, spending effort in correcting the consequences of him not delivering in time what he promised to do…etc. She calls her not talking with him too much, her “wall of protection”
THEN THERE IS DECISION-MAKING TIME
How to Deal With a Passive Aggressive Husband?
What we need to understand is that a passive aggressive personality has been many years in the making, and is part of the very core of this person’s ability to relate. It is NOT a response to her behavior; it’s his “normal response” to everything that happens in his world, his marriage included…Without entering into the psychological elements of what makes this person behave in such a defensive way, what is important to see is that this is a way of being, structurally organized, and nobody can change it from the outside.
Only the person who has learned to react in this way can realize the damage it causes to any relationship and make a plan to modify his own responses. He does that after realizing that his behavior is only a mechanical repetition of the attachment developed in infancy with his caretaker or mother. People who had a rough time when born and growing up with an avoidant, rejecting mother will find themselves needing and hurting the object of his love, at the same time…We have here offered lots of information about attachment consequences on adult relationships.
The only role a wife can have is to be a witness, and let him know what is the impact of his behavior on people around him, and on the relationships he says he needs. By denouncing as hurtful some of his responses, she is helping him recognize how inappropriate his answers are…and then hope that her words will motivate him to do otherwise. Perhaps he really knows how much he needs her and the family; perhaps it’s time for him to outgrow the limitations of childhood attachment…whatever the reason, the main impulse to change passive aggression has to be a deep conviction for him that now, he needs to grow up.
In the words of the same wife:
“If there’s one thing that I’ve really learned, it is that a passive-aggressive person must find his own truth. We can talk to them about it, give them pamphlets on it, download articles off of the Internet, suggest counseling, etc., but until they choose to look at themselves without their rose-filtered glasses on and see the hurt inside of them, they have no reason to change. In my opinion, passive aggressive behavior is not something that can be cured, but managed.”
You can continue the conversation with a comment; leave your question at “AskNora” or get more information from this kindle book about how to deal with a passive aggressive husband:
Turning Conflicts into True Love