Passive Aggressive Husband

What are the five indicators of passive aggression?

It’s difficult to accept, but some people are so scared of being deeply loved, that they will unconsciously frustrate all steps towards intimacy with passive aggressive behaviors.

Probably you know already the multiple ways in which this passive aggression will rear its ugly face. Perhaps if we review some of them, we can begin to offer an strategy to understand how it happens and so reduce the damage. Let me count the ways…

We focus here on five destructive aspects of the relationship with your passive aggressive spouse:

1.- Mindset always focused on negative aspects of life:  Your husband believes that life is a miserable experience and there is no joy to be expected, so he finds always lots to complain about.

Other people, mostly you,   are to be blamed for his situation. He can do very little to change his world. Your positive suggestions will be ignored, because he needs to focus only on thoughts of disaster, misery and rejection.

TACTIC NUMBER 1: To balance this negative influence, keep a positive attitude, and remind yourself of the good things in your life you are grateful for. You have a choice: to be or not a victim of circumstances, and you'd prefer not to be a victim.

If you catch yourself diminishing your merits, then tell yourself to Stop! Do some breathing exercises and tell yourself how good you are at what you do.

 Keep your good friends around, so they can also remind you of your good qualities.

2) Behavior that makes you confuse.  As passive aggressive behavior is covered up with nice words and plausible excuses, you get confused often.

Your mind needs to make decisions while it is simultaneously receiving contradictory messages. He’ll describe his behavior as good intentioned, willing to help and support you, while at the same time he abandons all commitments at the first opportunity. Later he will give you a nice excuse and twist your brain another turn of the screw....

TACTIC NUMBER 2: Now you know where you are, because a healthy relationship would make you feel totally different. Look at your emotional pain as indicator of being in a relationship with a passive aggressive (PA) person. Your reality now is that another person is confusing and manipulating you! DO take your confusion seriously: go for a walk; do something alone; write in your diary; learn breathing exercises to calm your brain and heart; watch a positive romantic movie in TV; anything that fills you with mind clarity and peace is welcome!

3) Behavior that attacks projects because you love them: be ready to defend your beloved projects: Anything that provokes your enthusiasm and excitement is a target for his attacks, in the form of negative opinions, criticism and put down comments. Know why? Because he will perceive, correctly, that your projects are using attention that is now allocated to him, and will fight back.

TACTIC NUMBER 3: Don’t show any need for support from a PA partner, at least at the start up. The more detached you can be, the more protected you become from manipulations that will eventually disappoint you.

So, you need to present your heart’s desires in a way that is detached from the emotions they produce in you.  If you can present the most exciting idea with a blank face, then you’ll likely to get what you want. Learn to control any visible emotional connection or desire, while you move ahead with your projects simultaneously.

4) Giving you the “Silent Treatment:”   Keeping hours and days of silence  towards you, is an expression of his anger or disapproval.  Are you getting the cold shoulder, but you don’t know the reason? Is someone who’s normally eager to speak to you now keeping your conversations to the bare minimum? This can be hurtful, frustrating, and confusing.

TACTIC NUMBER 4:   Asserting Yourself in a very serious way. If you can  remember that this is his choice of method to control you, then you can be safer.  You are not responsible for his behavior, he is deciding to be cold and distant and controlling. Again, detaching yourself, having your own projects and friends, will protect your core from the isolation forced unjustly on you. When you feel stronger, perhaps you would confront him, explaining the impact that this behavior has on you, and on the future of the relationship.

5) Always “not being completely there”     In a time of need, the PA person will always be, as the saying goes: “an hour late, a dollar short, or a block away.” He  does nothing when something is expected from him.  He “was meaning to go with you to the doctor's…but something else came up.” He can give you a dozen reasons why he could not do what he promised, leaving you confused between believing him, and listening to your hurt feelings.

TACTIC NUMBER 5: Clair the confusion in your brain! Each time he says that he “forgot”, substitute the words: “didn’t want to” instead of “forgot.” You then can properly realize what is going on, and can move on with your decisions. You put an end to the confusion and paralysis provoked by his mix of verbal good intentions and painful omissions.

Living with a person who relates in this way can induce pain, confusion and loneliness.  Regardless of that, you might be very well looking at his positive aspects and trying to make a good effort to develop a stable and long term relationship. It will helpful to keep the five indicators in mind.

Needing help to see the situation from another perspective? If you would like to have a complimentary talk with Coach Nora, please, subscribe here.   

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Carol D.
14 years ago

I’ve read through your article and all the other comments and I’m happy to hear from other women experiencing the same hell I have been enduring for 18 years. Recently, God has given me the strenght to walk out of our home (after years and years of “trying”). This is not a threat to him, forcing him to divorce, but I’m doing it convinced that I need to do a bit of self-preservation. I have been living so depressed for so many years! Now I can see our situation very clearly. I have grown so much in our marriage- (a lot thanks to his PA behavior) that I know now how we functioned together to block our personal development. He is still nursing his anger, doing negative things to others, which tells me he has not grown and needs to do his own work on himself. If I stay in the home he will wait and use the time and opportunities to attack me. He is afraid of being by himself, the worst kind of loneliness for my husband is being physically alone. That’s been my most painful discovery: He doesn’t love ME; he just doesn’t want to be ALONE. Anybody could be his “love object,” if staying in the house with him.
I wonder if now, with me out so that the pressure of being fully alone and left with the house and all its requirements and the loss of a social life (which I provide to him) will be enough to push him to do the solo work he needs to do.

If he doesn’t respond to the pain and does something to redeem himself, I wonder what inspiration will tell me what to do next. I am apartment hunting, and it is scary and fun.

I so don’t want a divorce…but in a very real way…my husband has not honored his vows to love me (if he doesn’t love himself correctly how can he love me?). His PA is a form of constant abuse as real and cruel as a punch to the face. Honoring our vows is more than just “not getting a divorce.” He needed to be loving and supportive, and instead I got this barren life where he even does not talk to me for days.

Now I got to understand that women married to PA husbands need to be “strong, warrior women” who can do the hard thing (teaching them) in a loving way and let them know we won’t tolerate this twisted logic any longer and we are in our right to call them out to be better men. It’s his call to answer, but now I will not bet my future peace to my married life!

There’s so much help available… on the internet, in groups anywhere. I pray for all of us to experience healing and freedom to do what we need to do (to free ourselves)and continue growing. The only thing worse than being in a bad marriage for 10 years is to be in a bad marriage for 10 years and a day.

14 years ago

Well, the suggestion on looking at the positive aspects is not going well with me…I’m exhausted and angry after feeling left aside for so many years. Is there a way to show him my anger without him running for cover? I would like him to listen to me for once!

14 years ago

When I saw the posting on this web site, I felt that I had to join in, so I could share my experience! After being married to my PA hubby for 18 years (well, I spent 11 of those years trying to make sense of my situation!), I’m now divorcing him after having had a BELLYFUL of his behavior! It took a lot of convincing to realize that he is not intending to change anything, because he can’t.
The descriptions I’ve seen of the PA man describe him very well; in fact, I halfway expected a photo of him to pop up with the description of the PA personality disorder!
The procrastination, the sullenness, the always negative approach to life, the years of unemployment because he couldn’t get along with anyone at work, the controlling and manipulating me and our son (even manipulating the marriage counselor to side with him), well, the story goes on, and on, and on. Now he is spending his brain into stalling as much as he cans through the divorce process; I don’t care, because it feels like I have been resuscitated in my new single situation…I’m positive, and realistic, and looking ahead to my projects. I’m happy to have discovered that there is life after marriage with a PA man, and I applaud my decision to leave him. It was another of his catastrophic lies, when he was telling me that I was finished after 50….
Thanks for this site!

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