How can I address this behavior without the risk of retaliation?
There are very few responses to this question posted in this blog. It's true that the fear of retaliation is always present. Given that the PA Husband's behavior is mostly unconscious,
any demand to change it will be perceived at the beginning as a threat. Possibly, he could answer with more of the same....Beginning a spiral of negative behaviors out of control.
The key is to be clear of what you want to accomplish:
a) you want to establish some limits, as to recover a measure of self-control;
b) you want to be listened to.
In order to do this two purposes, the first key is to confront using a tone of voice never accusatory, but matter of fact;
and have the words already prepared, and practiced.
"When you forget to bring home the prescription medicines you promise to pick up for me, I feel let down. Next time I will (here mention what you have decided to do; your "Plan B")."
Is important not to sound accusatory, or blaming, as not to trigger all the defensive responses he has in stock.
Remember that he is not in a position to control his defensive machinery, which will trigger as soon as you can express the pain of your dissapointment. Make his failure a fact, describe it as a fact, look at him in the eyes, and repeat your phrase two or three times.
Then, change the subject and move on. Make a note in your diary, because the second step of this treatment is, when he offers to pick them up:
"This is the way I'm dealing with my prescription medicines now. Remember that in (date here) I told you that it was not acceptable your forgetting? Well, things have changed now and I manage my medications in a different way."
Again, voice in a matter of fact tone, make eye contact, repeat, keep records.
What other of his behaviors would you deal with using this method?