When is the right moment to leave a passive aggressive man?

When do you leave a passive aggressive man?

 leave a passive aggressive man

Some time ago, among the many letters from readers, a reader under the name “Kitten” wrote:

“I have read the information in this blog. The “changes” in the men seem to be because they “see the light” of their horrid ways.  How many times does that actually happen in real life?  I have one where no matter what, its all about him, and never (yes I know those are extreme words, but its true) about me.  I have gone to therapy for years, and apparently the problems are not all my fault, as he led me to believe. He would never, in a million years, take any book I give him and read it, so frankly, I don’t see how this method could ever work.”

and “Dory” responded: 

“Some see the light, others do not. Some see it ONLY when they realize they WILL lose their wife, aka “mommy” (ie. they no longer have control over her). So until some wives are ready to follow their words with action (divorce), they will not see results. Some, when they take that action will see a man who is ready to change, others will find a man who refuses to change. Regardless, that woman is “free” from the abuses of PA either in a changed man, or in a divorced man. Truth is, he divorced her in his heart LONG, LONG ago. She would just be putting to paper the “truth” of their marriage status. Sometimes the truth will set you free. Sometimes it also sets HIM free to realize his need to change. There are no guarantees, only second chances at life.”

What is the lesson here? 

I’m very humbled at these two women…in a nutshell, they get to the core of the question: when is the right time to leave? and their answer is:

  • When leaving is the last resort; when you have done ALL what you could, and got no meaningful responses;
  • When you have no other way than to think about yourself and your future;
  • When you have to take your own happiness in your own hands, and stop depending on his answers to be happy, or content with the direction your life is taking.

The key learning here is: When you are ready to send a strong message, followed by action:

I’m done waiting for you to be in this marriage with all you have; 

I’m recovering my own life; our pact of loving each other is cancelled!

And, of course, you are at the same time finishing packing your things, not only material possessions but you self-esteem, your integrity, and your life project!

What is the lesson for you to think over?

You don’t need to wait up to the moment when you are at your wits’ end…you can leave when you have your message together, both the words and the action:

“I’m done waiting for you to be part of this marriage, so watch me leaving you. ..”

It’s not only talking…he will understand the danger of abandonment only when you are serious about recovering your own life! So, begin packing!

About Nora Femenia

Nora Femenia, Ph.D, is the CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions and the author of the book: "The Art of Living with a Passive Aggressive Husband," a field guide for women that have to deal with passive aggression in their partners. Nora also posts regularly on her blog Creative Conflicts. Visit her blog and join the community to discuss issues related to Conflicts, Relationships and receive also Free her book “Breaking Free From The Silent Treatment.” You are warmly welcomed here, because we care for your happiness!

  • Janet

    Such truth spoken….they “divorced us in their hearts a long time ago”….so now it’s just the physical action that needs to take place..after 3 years of therapy and 4 1/2 years of separation I have rebuilt my life…my sense of self returned, my issues have been addressed, I have grown spiritually and I working after a 20+ year absence….and have lost lots of weight….the body/mind/spirit transformation….trying to work through the divorce of course with a “pa” man can be a struggle, no different than being married to them has been….they won’t give an “inch”….thankfully my transformation over 4 1/2 years has allowed me to become more secure and hence I don’t react to his statements the way I once did due to my rejection/abandonment issue…an email that arrived on the weekend allowed me for the first time to ‘see’ the ‘little boy’ who was angry and still threatening…and we know this anger is not about us but their relationship that began with their mothers. So I have just within the past few days come to understand that he is caught in the vicegrip of his past…our past does not need to define us but with these types of men it does. So I realized for the first time after 4 1/2 years that I can release him….accept and love him for where he is…hold him in the light also as these people do live what is called the “dark night of the soul”….we release them in order that one day perhaps they will free themselves from their chains but for now it frees us to live our “authentic” life free of emotional abuse…we can now soar like eagles ladies…but for those just entering this zone go easy on yourself as it can take a long time to reclaim yourself depending on how much of yourself you lost along the way….find out what has been running your life and why you chose this man…as my therapist told me my husband was my greatest “growth gift” and she was right about that…I know he wouldn’t see it that way but that’s not mine to control or be concerned about. I’m now more free to be me….once the divorce is completed life will be calmer….I prayed for change for a long time…that he would see the light….but as you know most of these men refuse to accept responsibility for any of their shortcomings….to accept any blame is a death to their psyche…we are all teachers in this life for each other….and that I have discovered is the best way to make peace with all of this….once you more fully own yourself and have reclaimed your “lost parts” you will more fully hear that “little boy”…and being compassionate women you can hold them off to the side in light and love and acceptance but at the same time move forward with your own life.

  • http://www.creativeconflicts.com Nora Femenia

    Thanks Janet, I always follow your comments with excited curiosity…and now you have reached a milestone!

    When you say: “I don’t react to his statements the way I once did due to my
    rejection/abandonment issue…an email that arrived on the weekend
    allowed me for the first time to ‘see’ the ‘little boy’ who was angry
    and still threatening.”

    you are certifying your own growth, because your insecure attachment predicting rejection or abandonment has been deactivated.

    Here we have you, Janet, describing a new, secure attachment where: “my sense of self returned, my issues have been addressed, I have grown spiritually and I working after a 20+ year absence…” YES! you don’t need any more to be depending on insecure or fearful or ambivalent people starve you to emotional death…Let’s leave them to sort out their own challenges in their personal path, and congratulate you in a job well done…If your mission in life was to get to be the master of your own soul, and manage your development from a place of self-love, here you are….Please, keep shining on others your lovely light….

  • janet

    Thanks so much Nora….I so appreciate your words of support!
    Janet

  • Janet

    I had a co-worker today who said “why so happy….do you have a boyfriend?” Lol!! When one is in possession of their own being you just can’t hold the joy back! I have also been pursuing my “bucket list” of life the past few months and moreso even now….I’m trying out all kinds of interest courses to find out what turns my crank! I always begin my day at work spending time in reading devotions…so connecting to the higher power….twice a month I volunteer at a local hospice giving back which gives me so much joy! So despite complications with the divorce I won’t let it steal my joy! This Friday night it’s off to try out ballroom dancing with different kinds of music!

  • Mona Lisa

    I met a man that’s passive aggressive and when he went silent for two weeks without contacting me I mailed him all his things- in a box. I DO NOT deserve someone who will not effectively communicate with me when they are angry. He got upset because I was expressing to him that I wanted us to spend more time doing more things together as a couple. We’d been together almost a year and he had one episode where he ignored my call and I told him then that I don’t play that game of ignoring each other and how destructive it can be to a relationship. He said he wouldn’t do it and what happened? He abruptly cut off all communication with me whereas any other time he would text or call daily. I WILL NOT accept this behavior from the person that claims to care for me. This was my first real experience with passive aggression and I knew when it first happened that I would need to send a strong message and I did. I miss him and attempted to reconcile but he knows that behavior won’t fly so he didn’t want to get back together. Well, he procrastinated on that decision. Ugh more passive aggression. These people are blood suckers. RUN don’t walk!!!

  • Janet

    You made the right decision Mona….it’s not possible to have a “whole” relationship with people who have these behaviours….until they desire to change or have had enough of unsatisfying relationships at a very deep level things will stay the status quo as they say…..I have compassion for their early life and how these behaviours were wired into them….however it is their choice to continue to allow their past to define their lives today. Relationships are a “balancing” act. It takes great courage to grow and change. At a deep level even if he would never acknowledge it you have taught him something….although for his “little 5 year old inside” he will be saying to himself “I am still not being accepted for who I am”….his desire as a child from his mother primarily. Good for you though Mona for respecting yourself enough to know that this was not a healthy relationship rather than spending 25 years with this type of man as many of the women on this site have.

  • Mona Lisa

    I had noticed some subtle signs about his personality in the beginning. He was so sweet and agreeable and passive and would do anything I asked. But I also noticed that I would be the one initiating contact a lot or planning holidays etc. I also was the one who brought up issues and asked him if he had an issue with me that I needed him to bring it up. He promised he would. But as soon as he had a issue with my “emotions” he shut down all communication and said later that I should have known he was upset and should have called him. Oh damn, now I’m supposed to read his mind. No thanks. This has been the most difficult breakup ever but I knew I needed to send a strong message to him. He tried to gain control by withdrawing his attention hoping that I would panic and chase him. That didn’t happen and I’m sure it has worked for him many times in his life. I’m not afraid to have someone leave me. As much as I may love them, if they decide to leave, I have to release them and believe better for my life. He got the right one. I could sense that he could never really emotionally connect with me. Like my emotions made him very uncomfortable. Now I know that’s because he’s not comfortable with his own emotions.

    The more I’m away from him the easier it is for me to see that he would just continue to resist me every chance he got. I want to be with a man that wants to see a smile on my face not see me frustrated and angry. His ex wife got breast cancer towards the end of their divorce and I feel for her. She spent 10+ years married to him. I don’t have that kind of time to waste since I only have one life to live and would prefer to live it happily.

    I hit the internet when it first happened searching for the silent treatment and control and educated myself on who I was dealing with. Thank God for insight, enlightenment and Truth. This is one of the best sites I’ve come across.

  • Shattered

    Janet and Mona Lisa- I am in awe of your strength and your words have almost instantly made me feel less crazy. I have been divorcing a PA for the past two years-or rather he has been divorcing me- and I am full of self-blame and sadness. I have lived 10 years of such emotional starvation, rejection, invisibleness, lies, no sex for 3 years, and confusion from the “I want you now go away” game of the PA. (He is an alcoholic too.) He once actually told my friend that he knows what I want and what would make me happy, even admitting they were reasonable and small things, but he just can’t or won’t give it to me and he does not know why. After abandoning me and our 7 year old while I was sick in the hospital (all better now- at least physically), he moved right in with his girlfriend (one month after I came home from the hospital). I cant help feeling like what does she have that I don’t. Now he loves her, all very quickly, and I am the object of his absolute distain and contempt. I supported him thru about 30 relapses and all I wanted was to spend time with him and he hates me. He says I yelled too much and threatened divorce- wouldn’t you if you found your husband drunk on the phone at 3am with an ex-girlfriend saying that he wished she was his wife? I just felt like I could not take it anymore. Please help me with your healing words. Describe more of your PAs behaviors so I know I am not crazy>

  • Shattered

    Shattered
    • a minute ago • 0 0

    +
    Janet and Mona Lisa- I am in awe of your strength and your words have almost instantly made me feel less crazy. I have been divorcing a PA for the past two years-or rather he has been divorcing me- and I am full of self-blame and sadness. I have lived 10 years of such emotional starvation, rejection, invisibleness, lies, no sex for 3 years, and confusion from the “I want you now go away” game of the PA. (He is an alcoholic too.) He once actually told my friend that he knows what I want and what would make me happy, even admitting they were reasonable and small things, but he just can’t or won’t give it to me and he does not know why. After abandoning me and our 7 year old while I was sick in the hospital (all better now- at least physically), he moved right in with his girlfriend (one month after I came home from the hospital). I cant help feeling like what does she have that I don’t. Now he loves her, all very quickly, and I am the object of his absolute distain and contempt. I supported him thru about 30 relapses and all I wanted was to spend time with him and he hates me. He says I yelled too much and threatened divorce- wouldn’t you if you found your husband drunk on the phone at 3am with an ex-girlfriend saying that he wished she was his wife? I just felt like I could not take it anymore. Please help me with your healing words. Describe more of your PAs behaviors so I know I am not crazy>

  • Connie Wetzler

    When I called him, from a safe place, and told him I was not coming home. All heck broke loose!
    Divorce behind me now. Our last conversation (via text) he said “next time I break up with someone, have the guts to do it in person!” Nice. Well, my life was in danger due to his state of mind at the time. Although I’ve never told him that because he’d deny it, blow up, etc.
    So, after all he’s done (and not done) to ruin his family of 20 years, that’s all he has to say. Blame, guilt tripping and the same ole combo of tactics including his “victim” act.
    Still not taking responsibility for his own actions (inactions). He even took the opportunity to verbally and emotionally abuse his only daughter by telling her that he will NEVER be disrespected again! What the heck did he mean by that? This happened when he held our plane tickets ransom so he could see his daughter and tell her how much he loved her. THIS is what he does. You want to see just how unstable someone is. Get a divorce. I have NO doubt I made the right decision. That…. and I like to live ;)

  • Connie Wetzler

    Way to go Mona! “RUN don’t walk!!!” LOL!

  • Connie Wetzler

    You got that right Janet! ” ….however it is their choice to continue to allow their past to define their lives today.”
    Dr. George Simon explains the “game” and tactics they CHOOSE and they choose to abuse….PERIOD. It’s an “offense” NOT a defense.

  • Connie Wetzler

    Yup, my x-PA “expected” me to be a mindreader too. Well, not really. He just liked to set himself up for rejection.

  • Connie Wetzler

    If you really want to know ALL about PA’s and all aggressive types (my x was a covert-aggressive type. Passive-aggression was basically just tactics.) Go to Dr. George Simon’s website. Read all the articles and blogs and please DO get his book “In Sheep’s Clothing”. It WILL clear up a LOT of stuff. I wish you well. Love yourself. KNOW your self-worth. Everyone on this planet is here because they ARE worthy of love. But you have to love yourself first. I had to learn this. I did learn this. This is how I broke the chain of abuse that I had allowed for 20 years. I have no regrets. I did all in my power, especially empowering myself. Knowledge is power but knowledge that you are valuable and lovable IS the greatest power. You DO matter. I feel my guides and angels and I like to share these sensations and confirmations I get with others so that they KNOW that they too are worthy. Yes, I can transfer the clair-sentience sensations from myself to others. If angels and guides are here for us and they are here because we ARE worthy of love, then without a doubt we KNOW we ARE pure love ;) Angels and guides do NOT judge us. They believe we are very brave to CHOOSE to come to this planet of human experience, to grow. They honor and love us and can ONLY help us IF we ask. Love, Light & Blessings to you miss “Shattered”.

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