Ending the Sadness of Passive Aggressive Relationships

If you are thinking of ending the sadness and pain of your passive aggressive relationship, you are not alone. For many wives of passive aggressive husbands, ending a passive aggressive relationship is often at the center of their thoughts. You may have tried many other alternatives, trying to salvage the relationship or convince your husband how changing would improve your marriage. Although we always encourage communication and growth above leaving the relationship, sometimes this option is a necessary final step. Sometimes, it is simply healthier for you to leave your husband and move on to a new stage in your life.

The first step in leaving a passive aggressive husband is to come to terms with your situation. You may have already done this, but if you haven’t, let us explain. It is important to realize the facts about your relationship: your partner is passive aggressive. You have tried everything you could, and still he refuses to accept his share in conflict ownership. Regardless of that, he is responsible at least for half of the relationship failure…and still in denial of this fact.  You are in pain, ready to move on, ready to begin again on your own if you have to.

Another thing to keep in mind is that certain strategies that have worked for others may not have worked for you, and that’s okay. After a certain point, some people are not fixable or changeable – simply because he has to be the one to commit to changing himself. Have you heard the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?” If your passive aggressive husband can’t commit to changing, it is not your responsibility or obligation to try and change him anyway. If he’s not willing to commit to change, he’s also not willing to commit to the relationship.

The next step after accepting that he will not change – and you have no obligation to change him – is to grieve the dreams you’re leaving behind. Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? It’s true though. Essentially, you suffer from the relationship not just because it thwarts your need for love, support, and trust. You also suffer because there is some part of you that still dreams of a perfect marriage, and this part of you is constantly crying, “Look, this is what could have been.” This may be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. It requires teaching yourself that sometimes, we can’t rely on others to fulfill our dreams, or wait for them to give us what we need. We have to take charge and take what we need for ourselves, or move on and find someone who deserves us. Realize that you have more to offer than is being recognized; you are worth respect and adoration!

After you’ve left the relationship behind you – moved to a new city, gotten a new job, whatever it is that you decided – the next important step is to re-motivate your life. Stop, think clearly for a moment. Has it sunk in yet, that you can do whatever you want? That you are free? That there is nothing holding you back from doing the things you’ve dreamt of doing? Think about something you’ve wanted to do, somewhere you wanted to be. Maybe you have projects that you never were able to do, goals you left behind to put your husband’s needs first. Pick those things back up! Let yourself dive back into them, and being to nurture and heal yourself in the process.

Lastly, it is critical for you to have a network of supportive people to shelter you as you transition from your old marriage to your new life. Whether they are family, friends, church members, teachers, mentors, or coaches, the benefits of having someone to listen to you and guide you cannot be overestimated. You need someone who will know how to put you on the right path when you’re not sure where to go next, when your ex-partner tries to guilt trip you, when there are complications in the process or when you just feel discouraged and lonely.

If you are ready to leave your relationship, want to try and salvage it, or are just trying to get by in whatever situation you’re in, Coach Nora is here to help. Please visit her here to receive a free coaching session, and learn what you can do to create a happier, healthier life for yourself. No bad situation is ever permanent, if you don’t want it to be!

Also, we offer an entire eBook on the subject of leaving a passive aggressive relationship. Please look below how to get your own copy, and learn more strategies for moving on in a healthy, responsible way.

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!

Comments

  1. This is good information which I have been trying to implement for almost three years now. When I decided to move on – then he was ready to go to counseling, read books, admit his P A and hidden anger. There have been some improvements but the gaping hole where intimacy should be has not been filled. How many chances and how much time do you give him to “prove” that he is serious. I am conflicted about throwing in the towel when he claims to be ‘working on it”. It feels like another attemt at manipulation – except for the times when it feels like he is trying.

  2. Dear Linda,
    thanks for sharing your situation here. You made me aware of the challenge for women to distinguish between stalling for time (and not willing to change at all) and an honest change attempt.
    How would you see the difference? First, I would not be afraid to say:
    “Can you show me how I will notice that you are doing things differently”?
    “What are the results (things done by you) that I can expect to see when you implement the changes”?
    In this way, you are tying his change promises with concrete indicators that he did something different….and he receives the message that you trust his intentions of changing behaviors, but need to see concrete, tangible actions both of you can see and count on.
    And, by the way, if he bristles and gets offended by you asking for concrete proofs of changed behaviors….then you know that he can be only posturing, talking for the sake of talking, and trying to confuse you with empty promises again!
    Good luck!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I divorced several years ago and wish I would have had this information to help me during the process. I was plodding through uncharted terrain and it was very hard to keep my bearings, but somehow, I muddled through. Happily I can say I made it to a new place in life, renewed my interest in the things that attracted me when I was younger, and am now actually leading a pretty creative life.

    Nora, thanks for your insights and I hope many more women find your site!

  4. Deborah Appleton says:

    It’s like your talking about my life! I thought I was going mad that’s how he’s making me feel & I am struggling to keep my head abouve water??!!

    I hope I have the courage to get through this????? Thanks for the light at the end of the tunnel,
    kind regards
    Deborah x

  5. Even though being with my p.a. husband has been some of the most painful experiences, and I am planning on moving on without him, it has taught me more about myself than anything. And healed areas of my life that I didn’t realize needed healing. A blessing in disguise.

  6. non-PA husband says:

    The statement, “he is responsible at least for half of the relationship failure” sounds judgmental. I agree that both parties in a relationship bear some responsibility.  That might be 90/10 say one one partner is abusive, or it could be closer to 50/50 in other situations.

  7. Goldy55 says:

    I’m still  “trying” to divorce my husband of 33 yrs.  I say this because we’ve been separated for 2+ yrs. We’ve had 3 trial dates (latest 7/2011).  He is an abusive PA who, although filed first, has held up our divorce w/games, but then complains it is “me”. (typical blame game)  I’m in the house, but desperately wanted to fix & sell; he states the same, but all of April-August 2010 neither came to house to cut grass or anything.  Wouldn’t agree to small loan on our homes to do necessary repair for 1+ yrs. of legal separation……….finally Judge ordered it.  Now I’m doing all sub-contracting on 1 home; he’s promised to do certain things.  I’m sure you can guess…he hasn’t..  His Attorney looked at him one day in a mtg. & said “what are you doing”?.  He asked me 1-1/2 mo. ago to consider putting the divorce on-hold for 90 days to discuss settlement (doesn’t want to go to trial because it will cost too much); I agreed for 2 reasons.  Need to finish home & get on market plus wanted to give him benefit of doublt on settlement.  BIG mistake:  He has conveniently been out of town, supposedly on business, for 2 weekends & when I sent email on Monday to ask what is going on he says he is going out of town tomorrow for 5 days (wkends again). & proceeded to tell me his business schedule over the next 2 mo. which I now believe was going to interfere w/our scheduled trial date.  I said well I guess we need to put the divorce back on since he feels he should skip grass cutting, he still hasn’t cleaned out his stuff (court ordered to be out by 4/15/11), basically doesn’t feel any responsibility (just like our marriage) except to collect 1/2 of proceeds.  I knew, deep down, there was a reason behind all of this.  He claims that he didn’t agree to put divorce on hold to settle privately, except I sent him a copy of his email to his attorney dated 5/19/2011 saying, “your memory is, as usual, short”.  So today, I got an email from him saying he has contacted his Attorney to proceed w/divorce trial.      Point of this email :  You can never, ever trust a PA man; there words mean nothing.  Everything in our divorce has been “court ordered” in order to get something done.  He complains about the cost, yet does nothing w/o being told by the Judge to do it & then blames me for holding up the divorce. He even told me a mo. ago, we should just let the bank take the house back; after sale we will still get $120,000. plus in profit..  Who says this stuff? 

  8. Ogarrosi says:

    I’ve suffered for the yearwe dated and for the 5 years of marriage. All I ever did was give this man life and all he ever did was take life from me. He has abused, used, and humiliated me beyond repair. Now we are in court and he is facing charges of raping me. I know that people may not believe me because I am his wife but also because he has painted me out to be the angry overbearing wife who fabricated the charges because I found out he was cheating. This man cheated on me since day one and if I had any doubts he would bring home their underwears and have bank account and separate cells phones with them…and still I loved him forgave him through it all. When he was facing deportation I was there to pick up the pieces. Even when he became desperate for a green card and had me arrested on false charges for being the abuser I forgave him. I am so tired. And it hurts to know that we are no further along than we were 5 year ago…never growing..just watched things get worse and the more I demanded he get help and try to show him readings on passive aggressive, the more I pointed put that he withheld sex when I wanted it but waited till I disconnectd just so he can force sex on me ….the more angry and violent he became. I know he can lose his career as a teacher if he is found guilty but I cannot turn back. And on this holiday weekend where we made plans to go away and the pain loneliness and guilt is flooding me I cannot turn back. This has gone on too long and he needs to be held accountable. Unfortunately he surrounded by his fraternity and people who refuse to tell him the truth and encourage him with his lifestyle of running from his home and responsibilities. We are both 41 and this should not be happening. Only after being arrested he ask me if we are going to fix this but yet he’s pointing out to the officers that those are my sheets, still he was lyng to me about having a phone with his mistress

  9. Jenbuck69 says:

    I am not like any of you, I have been hounding my husband for 15 years to get help. I watched him go from my knight in shining armor high up on a pedestal, who was going to wisk me away and save me from my dreadful life. To me being a codependent addict who has horrible anxiety and fear, that has tried to commit suicide twice and left him well this will be the second time. I have given up my friends my family over his arrogant opinions. He has destroyed both of our credit and has the worst history with money. He has fooled several marriage councilors all women who sided with my husband. The final straw came on our recent vacation, he was in charge of the money and even though I asked over and over again, he never let me know that we spent everything and had no money to buy food or water for the following week. He says horrible sarcastic shit and acts like its a joke, Now he doing it to our 6 year old and our 2 year old, called him a little asshole the other day and laughed, like it was a joke.  He now of course wants to get help this is the run around and fix it routine. He has drained all the love and respect and trust that I ever had for him. I don’t know if I can leave him, i have no job, no money(duh), and very little self esteem and motivation. What I do know is something inside of me has died, and I cant look at him the same way anymore. Here is the best part, I am the only one that knows who he really is, everyone at work his family they all think he is the greatest person ever, and I am his depressed wife who holds him back!

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