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  1. Amanda, not they are not in Audible yet…sorry about that!

  2. Hi all,
    I want to refresh your memory about the step by step plan to react to passive aggressive behaviors:

  3. Can I find these books on Audible?

  4. Gorete,
    funny that you are a therapist…it happens the same. I wish you could show him compassion and understanding only if he is making some progress in changing his behavior. Probably the fact of getting married has triggered his resistance to you and to the relationship and now all his tricks are coming back to play. Can you be more playful? perhaps making him believe that you are his friend, doing things together, or whatever you two were doing “when he was himself”?
    Apart from playing a non-threatening relative (not his mother or his wife) what you can do is get our program for passive aggressive men: and get a grip on what really is motivating him? Thanks for writing!

  5. Hi there. I’ve come to realize my husband is passive aggressive for a while now. I’m a counselor so I have much compassion & understanding of him but did not have the tools or info to change the situation. This isn’t my forth & see now i made many mistakes. So I will implement all you teach. But my question is prior to us getting married & we lived together we had the most incredible healthy relationship. Everything it should be & what anyone dreams of. So is there a reason he’s done a 180 & got into this rut? I know for a fact he was like this with countless women before me but with me he fell in love & was able to be himself. So what gives? Is it stress, change, etc…? When I fully understand I’m more able to do what is necessary. I’d just like some insight. I know he was genuine with me before & not faking it. Did I do something that scared him? It’s possible…hiw can i fix it??

    Thanks. I’m so tired & frustrated.

  6. Hi Connie. I would help my friend and forget the husband for now. You know HIS crap isn’t going away and it sounds like your friend really needs your help. I would concentrate on her and not him. In my opinion, she’s the important one to dwell on and it might help your mind to get it off the P/A disordered husband. I am sorry to hear he’s yet again disappointed you but mine does it all the time too. It’s all very annoying and not worth the energy on our part. I don’t care how he got the problem, I just want it to go away. Take care. Beth

  7. So the cycle is back again. He is silent again, I keep telling myself it is not me it’s all him. I almost fell into the same old trap and struggling to keep positive.
    I cant stand that stupid feel sorry for me look on his face anymore.
    He totally checks out of our relationship when he is like this and it still hurts when he totally disregards me. I still feel like it’s my fault sometimes. I am trying to remember what Nora said and what I’ve read in the books I’m reading. It’s hard work for sure. I am so empty of energy and tired all the time. I feel so much pressure when at the end of the day and I know he is waiting for intimacy from me and for me to approach him and I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. It feels like he is expecting and forcing me to approach him and when I don’t he is the sad victim but I don’t even want to approach him when he silently expects it and don’t even feel like it either, what am I a bloody robot. So again we get through our days up and down like a roller coaster. I don’t know how long the changes I am slowly implementing will take effect or if any changes will ever really happen but I’m so freakin tired with no motivation. I have not many friends as this was something I realize now that we can’t have in our marriage, he has no friends either but has many aquaintances around him who worship the ground he walks on, meh. When he is in a happy place it is wonderful for me and our children but when he is silent it is hell.
    I have one friend who I met and bonded with five years ago however she lives on the east coast I live on the west coast about 6hr flight away. We talk by phone 2 to 3 times a week but it is usually about her struggles and trauma over her breakup. I am quite drained by her situation as well but I know she needs my support right now. Thank you for this place where I can share my dilemma and realise I am not alone.

  8. Hi Beth,
    I know it’s so hurtful when he doesn’t talk but like my husband maybe he doesn’t know how so he won’t even try. Stubbornness come to mind as well. I know its not ok to be silent and it comes across as thou he doesn’t care. It only fuels our anger and hurt. I’m glad you ae getting help for yourself. Good luck Beth. I am trying to do the same for me too.
    Yes you’re right I have been on this roller coaster many times and yes I am on guard waiting for the next big dip. I have already sensed a slight distancing a couple days ago and that was because I sensed he wanted to be intimate but I was so tired and didn’t register his hinting and I fell asleep. Of course the next day the familiar coldness was building between us. I asked him if he was alright thinking he would talk to me but he just said I’m fine! I didn’t react like I usually do and then have it fester inside me for days and days making me feel guilty this time, I stayed bright and bubbly acting like nothing happened and he has reacted differently, for the better, towards me as well. Baby steps and fingers crossed. I am aware we are treading on a fine line and watching each other’s body language constantly for any overreactions. Im finding it’s hard work but I hope it will be worth. I really hope the shift I am feeling will continue for the better.
    I am implementing the suggestions Nora advised me and hopefully things will improve. I really want to keep my marriage and family intact. I am thinking I will wait for an appropriate time and ask my husband to do the PA questionnaire, I don’t know how to approach him about it thou. Do I just say here give this a go and see what response you get. What’s the best way to get him to do the questionnaire, can anyone advise me please? I know if the reply he gets isn’t to his liking he will just say it’s all bullshit anyway.
    But it’s worth a try Dont you think.

  9. Hi Connie. I would stay on guard considering your husband has done this to you in the past and then things just going back to the way they were before after he becomes sure of you again. It seems he might be setting you up to let you down again but I don’t know, maybe Dr. Nora has a better understanding of that behavior. My husband won’t say anything so I really don’t have any idea of where I stand so if I have to guess, I think that he’s trying to make me leave and wants me to leave since he’s not trying to do anything else. The fact he won’t discuss anything at all with me is disturbing beyond words and makes me think he really hates me and that can only be bad for HIM. I’ve decided to get my own therapist to try to work through this crap. Good luck ! Let us know what happens next. Beth

  10. Beth I understand what you say about not wanting to twist yourself any longer to suit him, I’ve been doing the same thing and like you I’m fed up with it too. Mine also didn’t take the time to care about my feelings and nurture me or support me or our marriage during the times that hurt me and our marriage due to his doing and disrespectful decisions. I want to look after me now.
    I took Nora’s advice and our children joined us for our anniversary dinner. My husband came home in the middle of the day two days before our anniversary wanting to talk about our situation. He looked so distressed, obviously because of my different reaction to his last outburst towards me the day before. We talked about some of the issues between us that have hurt me him saying I should let things go from the past and move forward etc etc. I held my composure for the first time and continued to hold him responsible for his hurtful actions towards me. I told him he has no idea of the hurt he has caused me and that he never will understand it as I have never put him through the same. But it’s hurts even more that he denies it all and dismisses me for it but I would tolerate it any longer. I told him we have reached the point of risking our marriage and family. He asked me if that is what I wanted , to end our marriage. It is always the same conversation style, I express my feelings and he ignores them but seems to want reassurance I’m not leaving him. I kept my cool and stayed firm and calm and did not cry or plead with him like in the past. He ended by telling me I am a good woman a good wife and mother and he sees he has hurt me and I didnt deserve that. He told me to tell him at the time when he fucks up. I told him we have a serious communication problem. He wants me to be more loving towards him as he doesn’t feel loved. I told him it’s hard to be warm towards him when I constantly feel hurt and disregarded by him, it works both ways and besides what makes a women tick is very different to men. He told me he had made a dinner reservation for our anniversary if I was up to it. I wasn’t ready for a dinner for the two of us yet but, I said I wanted our kids to join us which they did and it was a lovely night. The kids however did think it a little strange saying it should be just the two of us to reconnect.
    Since then my husband has been very warm and loving towards me, he is constantly all over me to the point it is frustrating me at times, I might be cooking and he grabs me not thinking I am holding a hot pan or getting something out of the oven he just expects me to stop what I’m doing and respond. Am I wrong to feel annoyed at him about this. We have been through this cycle before and I am still on guard. I am qorking on staying strong for myself and to react differently making obvious changes. Now I hope I can salvage myself and find a new me.

  11. Dear Connie, I think it’s wonderful that you went away with your daughters. I’m glad you did it and had a very enjoyable time. And I would have totally agreed with your husband when he said what he said about being a dick-head and not making any more decisions. It’s a shame about your son and your husband needs to step up and take responsibility for that too. And the knife incident is beyond; what a drama queen your husband is. Hearing this type of thing really makes me sick because I hate hearing stuff that these men do to terrorize and make their families feel badly. Mr. Connie needs to get a grip and wise up whether he wants to or not. That’s the stance I’ve taken with my husband. He actually saw a therapist and took some test and guess what ? The therapist told him he’s PA. Imagine that; I was right ! However instead of making me feel better, I’m even more furious than ever that he didn’t care enough about our marriage and me years ago when I begged him to go to counseling with me. At that time, it was just so we could “communicate” better. Now, I don’t care that much and I sure don’t have any intention of twisting myself into something I may not be able to be anymore just because he decided to get therapy. I told him he needs it for himself at this point. Beth

  12. I am so grateful for this blog and the support in here.

  13. Thank you for your response Nora and Beth.
    FYI I have joined a yoga class I’ve been to three sessions already, but when I am concentrating quietly during the yoga moves I get an overwhelming feeling that I’m about to start crying and I have to stop myself from letting loose.
    Nora that pout you can see well it’s grown somewhat!!!
    I have just returned home from a lovely weekend away with two of my daughters.
    My husband didn’t ask what I was doing or where I was going when I mentioned the girls and I would be leaving home for the weekend and I didn’t tell him anything either. Of course he was in the back of my mind the whole time.
    After we returned home I sat with my husband and explained I received a dinner invitation for all of us from our children’s godparents and if he was up for it I thought we should accept. He grudgingly replied if we all wanted to go then it’s fine with him. Then ten minutes later a simple conversation between my husband and my son got out of context and my husband got verbally aggressive towards my son which confused the heck out of my son. Long and short of it is my husband ended by saying “I’ve made two decisions recently 1. I refuse to get angry anymore and 2. I’m not going to speak up or make any decisions or comment anymore because I always say the wrong thing, I never say anything right, I’m just a dickhead so I’ll just shut up”. OMG I am feeling sick with disgust right now, it’s so childish. I told my son to not take it onboard as his outburst has nothing to do with him. Then my husband accused me of making him look like an arsehole in front of our son and that “NO we aren’t going to the godparents for dinner anymore so there I’ve made a decision”
    For the first time in 20yrs I stood up for myself and I told him he did that on his own (look like an area hole) and the comments he just made about himself were his own choices for him to deal with and I will not listen to that BS and walked away from him.
    Then he shouted at me “I’ll just go to work everyday from 6am to 6pm everyday and that’s it’s”. I replied if that’s what you want to do then do it!
    Is it possible my husband is also PA towards my son! My son walked away baffled and confused as to what had just happened, even when he asked his father why he was making the derogative comments saying he didn’t understand them. My husband offered him no reasons.
    Obviously my husband is sensing my change of attitude and body language towards him and he is starting to lash out verbally. My only worry is, the last time I stood up for myself 20yrs ago) he didn’t like it and retaliated by grabbing a knife cutting off his shirt wit the knife laying down on the floor and placing the tip of the knife to his chest saying he had had enough!
    I screamed at him telling him to think of our children and to stop it! He got up and went to work. When I tried to talk to him about it he shushed me saying let’s not talk about that.
    I an very nervous that by me making the changes and empowering myself making myself happy and start enjoying my life is going to be an extremely long and difficult journey with a volcanoe or two thrown in. I am not sure I can cope with any more volcanoes but I also feel I have past the point of no return. There has been a major shift between us both and it saddens me to the core. I know this shift will affect our children deeply, more than they have been already. Our three daughters will be ok I think but our son will not that I know for sure.

  14. You’re welcome Connie and I am so happy Nora reached out to you the way she did. Nora’s idea for your anniversary is great and will be a lot of fun too; I would do that. I think this is all so overwhelming to you now because it seems really hard to get a new mindset and strength to work on things but it gets easier. I felt like that before but by reading and studying and trying to remember the suggestions in the books, I feel better. Plus I am happy to say I also take an anti-anxiety med which also helps. If you want to stay with him you need to watch out for you as best you can. Good luck and take care. Beth

  15. Hi Susan. I think you need to stay broken up with this guy and don’t look back. It IS definitely a very good thing that you have only invested 2 years. Why waste any more time on this guy when you could put your energy into finding a better relationship. At least now you will know if it’s a better one or not ! It makes no sense to me to choose this life. What a rat he is to break up on the anniversary of your meeting date and he did it TWICE ! How rotten; that’s just cruel and mean and obviously done intentionally. You don’t need that crap. Good luck. Beth

  16. Connie,
    great to hear that you are now contemplating a different frame for your own life. It has value and you have to love yourself first!
    Now, let’s talk about your wedding anniversary. Here you have to be very creative…You know what are you celebrating? The marriage that gave you those wonderful children! You don’t have to focus on his silence at all! You don’t even have to involve him but at the last minute!
    Tell your children something like this: Hi kids, we are having this celebration of our marriage, that produced such beautiful people as you….please, let’s make this a happy opportunity. Can you help me organize a good dinner out of the house? perhaps we can have dinner at a nice place, and I’m sure that at the last minute, your father will go…So, let’s make of this anniversary the opportunity that we give thanks for being alive and grateful that we share this family moment. I promise to wear my best dress, smile a lot, and tell you more stories of the time when you were small, so we can laugh together…
    So, dear Connie, this anniversary has to be different: you will be surrounded by the children’s love, and he will tag along, because he is not stupid, and will not miss the celebration. The only thing he doesn’t want is to show that he is engaged in any appreciative behavior towards you and your love….I know, is such a childish behavior, I can see him pouting from here. Go to your anniversary dinner and have all the love and fun you can receive!

  17. I am still in a daze. After my last post I received an email from Nora Femenia asking to talk with me and then I received the phone call from Nora. Nora since our talk I have been feeling a little better about myself and I have been contemplating everything you said to me. I am so grateful you reached out to me I will never forget your kindness and your advice for my situation. I think it will take me a long time to try and implement the steps but I will do my best as I know deep in my heart that is what I must do. It will feel very abnormal to me. I desperately want to find myself again, who I am. The 1st September is our 36th wedding anniversary and I am dreading the day. I know my children will be looking for my husband and I to celebrate it with flowers gifts and dinner out or something special for the two of us. But I know that will probably not happen and so once again my children will be bewildered and upset. I can’t pretend happy marriage any longer yet I can’t bring myself to leave him.
    I realized many years ago that he is afraid I will leave him but still that doesn’t get him to think of any solutions to improve our marriage. If only he would wake up really wake up. As Nora said to me I can’t change him and it’s no use trying to hold him accountable for his actions he won’t acknowledge them. I can only work on making myself happy and start enjoying life. Thank you Nora and I will keep writing here as I feel I have finally found a lifeline to hope. I am worn out from feeling hopeless and at a dead end. No more hopefully!
    Thank you Beth I agree I can’t approach him about PA he would say I’m crazy which is the way he is making me feel. I am also reading Nora’s book the silent marriage. How true those words are. My husband is literally still not talking to me but carrying on like nothing is wrong
    but completely cold and detached towards me. After 36 years you would think that silence wouldn’t get to me any more but it still does and it still hurts very deeply.

  18. I have been in a relationship with a passive aggressive man for 2 years..He had commitment issues so he punished me on our anniversary meet date by breaking up…the first year after we broke up he was typical pa and I tried to do everything to make the relationship work..of course like everyone here..2 weeks before our anniversary date for the second year we were watching a tv show and they mentioned “passive aggressive” I told him what’s that? he googled the term and gave me examples…I blurted out “that’s you” ..after much reading online I realized that I was in a passive aggressive relationship…..Guess what he broke up with me on the 2nd year anniversary too…that’s was 6 months ago and I have focused on me and improving my body and mind…after going through this experience with my xboyfriend the next 6 months were filled with tests realizing so many men are passive aggressive!

    My question is even after all this in the back of my mind I want him to change and us to be together Do our brains get out of whack ? Is this common in victims of passive aggressive abuse ?

    btw my logical brains say THANK YOU for only investing 2 years in this relationship with a pa man
    after reading the stories of women stuck for 20 plus years!!

  19. Dear Connie,
    I read “The Silent Marriage” by Dr. Nora and “Closing the Passive / Aggressive Defiance Gap” by Dr. Neil. Those helped me a lot and you can get them online and read them online. I have not approached my husband about the problem because he will say that I am “diagnosing” him which I am not and he will get more stubborn. I got the books to help ME and they did help. I am sorry you feel the way you do but you can’t control him so try to calm yourself down and figure out the problem. One way that is better for me to communicate with my husband is via email or text, sometimes he won’t even answer those but at least I’m not getting upset trying to talk to him. Take it easy and keep writing. Beth

  20. Thank you Beth for sharing.
    I am numb and go about my day totally confused, lost, lonely and feel like I’m on the edge of losing it and I don’t know what’s keeping me from losing it. We are just going through the motions co existing like two strangers at the moment. It is strange it has never been like this before. He has completely disassociated with me except for basic talk about daily household bills etc there is no conversation. Just occupying ourselves with meaningless stuff keeping ourselves distracted from having to look at each other even accidentally. Trying to be inconspicuous about it all. Neither of us is happy smiling enjoying anything at all. I feel dead inside. I am not sure if he is going through something healthwise Im baffled. He hasn’t come near me, not touched me or made any advances intimately and that is a huge thing. Intimacy has always been an important priority for him the only thing for him to be able to function, the ONLY thing that makes him happy. It’s like a switch has been flicked off in him I don’t understand what’s happening. I feel so hurt & sad. I feel myself screaming and screaming inside my body but its stuck inside me with no escape. I feel like I’m on the edge of I don’t know what. I must sound absolutely crazy I feel crazy like I’m not in control of my very being anymore. I don’t know how to approach him given his reactions in the past and the way things are at the moment. It feels hopeless. I don’t want to split from him I don’t want to break up my family I don’t know why I still love him and want to stay with him forever.

  21. I have read Connie’s most recent post from 8/21. I can relate to the looking at you, walking away and shaking his head that your husband does after you try to talk to him. It is maddening and utterly frustrating and not going to get him to talk to you. My advice would be not to let it upset you any more than you are and stop trying that approach. Take care of yourself and your kids; let him sulk and go to bed early. He needs to realize that he is also a partner in the marriage and needs to participate. I am almost finished reading, taking notes and studying the Kindle ebook written by Dr. Neil Warner titled “Closing the Passive / Aggressive Defiance Gap”. It’s excellent and answers a lot of questions. The fact that your husband at least made the comment about how you are getting older and shouldn’t argue sounds good to me. That would give me a little hope that you husband may want to change but my husband would die before saying anything like that. This book has helped me to realize and firmly believe that there is NO hope for my husband. He doesn’t want to change and is willing to lose me instead of changing. I’m 63 and I’ve been trying to get through to him for the past 26 years and that’s long enough. I have figured out from what he does say that my husband prefers that I simply shut up and leave him alone. The more I try, the more he digs in his heels NOT to give me what I need and he likes it when I DETACH. That’s his idea of an ideal marriage. And I am very happy I know that now; I needed to know that 20 some years ago and I feel like I have wasted my life. I am no longer willing to compromise MY needs for him. If he wants to be a child, play the martyr role and be along, so be it. I’m tired and can’t carry the marriage anymore by myself and I’m glad to know it.

  22. Dear admin,
    Thank you for your reply. I did begin a conversation with my husband but only after he started saying to me that “after all these years together we should not argue about petty little things coz we are at an age where we may only have a few years left together & we should be happy”! He is 59 & I’m 56yrs old!
    I did confront him about some current & long standing issues, which overcrowd my mind whenever he does the same old things, that I feel have been & still are disrespectful & inconsiderate towards me as his wife & mother to our children & as a woman. He just looks at me with no response. Of course I went on & talked more of the current issue & things from the past that keep bothering me & which he has never accepted responsibility for nor given me a truthful explanation. He never answers my questions nor gives a response to the truth I speak about to him. He just looks at me or looks away silently shaking his head.
    Long & short from this conversation, he is still not talking to me & walking around with a long face & droopy shoulders. He goes to bed within half hour of finishing dinner, in bed with his back to my side of the bed & the bedcovers over his head. As per usual the kids (who are all adults-26, 29 & 30yrs old) come to me in private asking me “what’s wrong with Dad” they have asked me that same question for years & years. I’ve been making all sorts of excuses but last couple of years I say maybe go ask him but they never do. I feel their irritation towards him which saddens me to no end. Ive tried to keep bright in the home but I know they see right through me.
    I know exactly my husbands reply if I were to ask him the question you suggested when he is silent. He never answers my questions no matter what the context. He ALWAYS responds back with the same question back to me!
    I don’t know why I still love him & want to stay with him but, I am starting feel I will have regrets & feel hopeless as I get older. I have lost my identity as a person & realize now that I have put too much blind faith & trust into my husband, to my own detriment.
    I am an intelligent & strong woman. I am & have been available to my family & friends if they ever need any help or support but, why am I unable help myself in the same way?

  23. Dear Connie,
    I appreciate your comment very much. Thanks for being a reader!
    You are in a difficult situation. Please, avoid confronting him with a 36 years long list of silences. He did this because it’s his way of doing things with you; for him it is a natural way of communication.
    Perhaps if you understand when he is doing the silent treatment, you can start by saying some comment about it. “Is there something wrong with us now, that you have stopped talking to me”? And wait to see his reaction.
    If you see that he reacts somehow, either by talking, apologizing or doing something with you, then wait. Next time, you call his attention again: “Are you worried about something, that you are so silent?”
    Once you establish that you are not corraling him into a corner, but want to establish better communication, then you can act more and more firmer in your effort to have a decent link with him.
    In short, you tell him, in a short and calm way, that you notice what he is doing, and call his attention. Then, you keep the pressure on him.
    You have to know that we have a program ( to help men identify the reasons he has to keep you isolated by his silence, and that has a cost. Silence hurts your marriage, and he has to know that you are not willing to suffer in silence.

  24. Hello’ I have just started reading your book Nora, The Silent Marriage.
    Beore I found your book thou, it hit me like a thunderbolt a few weeks ago that my husband is PA. I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders & I cried and cried and cried.

    Can you please advise me if I should suggest my husband read the book too?

    I don’t know how to approach him about this. We have been married for 36 years and I have felt so lonely for all of those years always wondering why everything is always my fault feeling guilty every minute of everyday. I have so much to say I don’t even know if I can get it all out or know how to get it all out even. I’m so lost right now.

  25. I’m hoping this is the section where I can start a comment on this site

  26. Sue, thank you so very much for letting me know your experience. I will pursue that line of thinking. I appreciate your concern and interest. Beth

  27. Dear Sue, thanks for your answer. It’s always useful to look inside and answer some difficult questions. We are all works in progress, so we need to learn why we endure certain situations! Here is an old blog post that refers to the same situation:

  28. Beth
    Thanks for telling me,it helps get perspective on your situation .
    I have been married for 36 years. I have been in your situation on some level so I understand how you feel. In every disfunctional relationship it come down to power and control, someone takes more than they should and some give up more than they should. I fit in the give up more. What happened to me is that I was desperate for some kind of answer and was willing to do the work and go through some pain to find the answer. In my opinion I find it extremely difficult to achieve that goal without wanting to know the truth. I shared in the Paula thread that we have to ask ourselves. What is in me that finds a man like that someone I want to be with. I think if you can answer that then you can begin to unravel Web and get the bottom of what is going on.
    I will try to help if you want.

  29. Sue G. – I have been married for over 25 years; will be 26 in October. Beth

  30. I would like to ask Beth how long she has been married

  31. Dear Paula,
    perhaps you did not notice yet that I have responded (partially) to your comment here…There is a post today in the blog ( And there are some nice women talking to you…You could, perhaps, enter the conversation? Best wishes, Nora

  32. My husband is somewhat different from others mentioned and I’m getting confused about whether or not he is really PA or something else or a combination. He is stubborn and refuses to discuss anything. Another problem is that he silent most of the time, even around other people and doesn’t want to participate much in conversations. But he doesn’t miss a thing and will be quick to say in private his opinion about something he didn’t agree with or approve of. And, I always take the initiative with sex; no matter how many times I’ve told him this bothers me and I’ve stopped; it’s humiliating. Another thing that really upsets me is that when I say something to him, anything at all, he ignores it. I have repeatedly said that I would like at the minimum a grunt telling me that he knows I said something; that’s just a courtesy in my opinion. And lately, he’s been rolling his eyes at me and shaking his head at me; this is usually after I’ve said something that I assume he doesn’t like or approve of. Another thing that upsets me is that he assumes that I am “attacking him” or “starting an argument” when most of the time, I’m just trying to say how I feel about something. He refuses to discuss our relationship and how unhappy I am with it; he simply says “I am not arguing with you”. I do feel lonely and like I live alone or with just a room mate and he finds that utterly ridiculous and won’t respond to my complaints. Any ideas? Anyone? Thanks.

  33. I apologize in advance for such a lengthy post I started to share and couldn’t stop I’ve never told anyone this much!!! OMG! Where do I begin? I just finished Nora’s book on Silent Marriage: How Passive Aggression Steals Your Happiness. It confirmed what was happening in our relationship that it was not my fault and I didn’t cause it and I can’t fix it! If only I knew this years and years ago I would’ve saved myself so much time, pain and energy trying to fix it!!! I’ve been praying to God to point me in the right direction with the situation I’m in. I’m so glad I came across this website:) I’ve been married to a PA man for over 37.5 years. I was forced into this marriage when I was 14 and he was almost 19, by my father and sister. I didn’t love him, but he said he was crazy about me @ least that’s what he said! I come from a very physical, verbal, emotional, mental abusive home. My FATHER WORE ALL THE PANTS IN THE FAMILY!!! HE WAS IN CONTROL OF EVERY SITUATION AND HE WAS VERY ABUSIVE! Us women we didn’t have a say so, we didn’t count only men did! On the other hand my mother-in-law wore the pants in their family was that ever confusing for me! She would belittle her husband in front of the kids and wanted to be in control of every situation! So can you imagine what a hot mess me and my husband are?, but you can’t tell that by looking at us people think we have a good marriage and we’ve accomplished quite a bit in our lives. I’ve been hiding it SO WELL! And yes PA men can also be physically abusive. The first time my husband showed passive aggression towards me was the 2nd or 3rd week into our marriage gave me the cold shoulder and silent treatment! I kept asking what was wrong? his response nothing and the PA started constantly after that. 3 months into our marriage he abused me physically. I took the keys jokingly saying I want to go visit my sister, but I had no drivers license he told me to give him the keys and I didn’t right away he threw me on the bed and started choking me I was crying and pleading for him to stop! We lived in the same house with his family. First week into our marriage one morning his mother walked into our bedroom while we were in bed can you imagine how shocked I was?! I asked my husband why she has a key to our bedroom and he needs to ask for it back…he never did. She was controlling everything in our marriage from day 1! It was hell living in that house for a whole year! I went from one abusive home to the next! My parents lived out of the country when ever they would come to visit my father would always say in front of my husband and in-laws, is she behaving? that just gave them more ammunition to do what ever they pleased with me. We moved out of the in-laws just a few hundred feet from them and passive abusive behavior continued and he started to lie saying he needs to go to the gas station I’m coming with you no I’ll be right back and he won’t come home spending the night somewhere else. He continued going out and partying with out me. By this time we already had our first child and I’d be up all night worrying we had no home phone! what happened to him? was in an accident? in jail? I’d be praying that he was alright, morning comes I walk over to the in-laws to use their phone to see if he’s okay? not telling them he didn’t come last night they overhear the phone conversation and say I’m lying that he’s not home. When he does come home his mother would walk right over and say to me in front of my husband it’s my fault that he’s doing this! And his older sister would do the same, I felt like I had two mother-in-laws!!! Fast forward when I was pregnant with our second child I worked full time had really bad morning sickness till 7.5 months and gained a lot more weight than with my first pregnancy. He would call me a fat cow and couldn’t stand me and how I looked! He also physically abused me when I was pregnant! I called his parents over so they would have a talk with him, his mothers response was don’t hit her now, but it’s okay to do it after the baby! So the abuse continued both PA and physical…he was smart not to hit me where the bruise’s would show! He would be so sweet and loving in front of family and friends they had no clue and would say I was so lucky to have a such a nice husband…if only they knew! I hid it so well, but I was dying inside!!! I had nobody to turn to my own family put him on such a high pedestal because he never showed that side him in front of anyone it only came out behind closed doors! So nobody would ever believe me! My own father said I live like a princess! I never shared any of the physical abuse with his brothers and sisters till about 7 years ago and of course they couldn’t believe it I didn’t even go into the PA abuse they’ll say I’m crazy! and in their eyes he’s the calm, nice, and sweet one. I’m the aggressive one. Even our children haven’t seen that side of him. When the kids were bigger he would push and hit me in the bedroom so they don’t see it! He has never laid a hand on them. I was always the one disciplining them. I was physically abused so I told myself I will not raise my children that way, but I would still be the one setting the rules, boundaries and grounding them. It was so frustrating because he ended up being the good parent and me the meany:( I was always the responsible one heading straight home from work to cook dinner, do laundry, homework with the kids, and prepare for the next day. He was self employed in same line of work as his 4 younger brothers and his own boss he could come and go as he pleased. By this time his drinking became excessive he would get together with his brothers and party instead of coming home after work. Non of their wives worked so they also partied. They all lived in the same area where my husband had to drive 20miles to get home. I’d constantly be calling to see if he was okay to drive, I’d go pick him up or have my niece drive his vehicle home. I was always babysitting! Oh I was sooo exhausted!!! We would always have arguments about his drinking. One evening he was finally stopped, he was so drunk instead of heading home he headed into town. I just wanted to leave him in jail overnight, but no I picked him up!!! That was 17.5 years ago he still continues to drink with his bros and lies about it when I call he wont answer or say there was no reception! He’ll get together with them during the week and spends the whole day Sunday on the sofa in front of the T.V.! We have no friends left! When ever I suggest to get together with other couples he ignores it. We never go out anymore. He has sabotaged all my relationships with my family and his bros wives by telling them I hate them! They believe him! I’ve researched and I’ve read on how to improve our marriage with no help from him! I’d always be the one saying we need to talk we need to fix it can’t go on like this! After his DUI 17.5 years ago I finally left him with our daughter he kept calling me to come back, on one condition we go to marriage counseling he agreed. I was only gone for a couple of nights, now I know not long enough! I specifically found a male counselor, didn’t think he’d want to go to a female because she might side with me. We only went one evening he didn’t like that the counselor told him he has drinking problem. That was the end of our counseling!!! As years went on there were other situations that happened to one of our daughters(thanks to her grandmother that caused this, my husbands controlling mother did something so spiteful and evil) to her own granddaughter that made our lives very hell and his PA added to it. Again I asked him we need to go counseling his response he has no problem its me with the problem…so I went counseling on my own…after a couple of sessions with her she couldn’t believe what I was going thru, her response I could write a novel about my life! That was 10 years ago! I know I majorly need counseling now! As years go on we’re getting into more and more fights, but we put on a show for our children and grandchildren that every thing is okay! We make up and it only lasts 3-4 days max! I’ll cook a nice dinner and we’ll be having a nice conversation with a glass of wine and out of the blue we get into an argument!!! After reading the book I look back and see the last four argument we had caught me off guard and left me so confused now I know he’s been doing that on purpose! This last one was a doozie! I told I’ve had enough we’re no longer husband and wife he’s free to see other people. I know I said it out of frustration! In the past after an argument he’d move out of the bedroom for 1-3 months and sulk always acting like wounded animal( playing the victim). Well this time I threw him out of the bedroom before he could do it. We haven’t been speaking for a month @ the beginning he kept saying we need to make up. I’ve been ignoring him this time, I need to figure out what to do I’m @ my wits end with this kind of marriage! I’m married, but sooo alone:(:(:(! I know divorce is not an option and I’m not working right now I have lots of health problems! I used to be a healthy person, he’s slowly killing me! I pray to God for strength to help me thru this.

  34. Dear Nora,
    After 25 years together and many, many years of research reading every book on narcissism, passive aggressive behavior and co-dependency, I see clearly why my husband and I behave the way we do and why we made the choices we made. Both his mother and mine are narcissists and he was the golden child while I was the rebellious, unwanted one. I became estranged first from my mother and then more recently my bi-polar father. I spent many years feeling sorry for myself for having married yet another person with mental health issues. While I’ve read that PAs are really tortured children, I think of him more as a spoiled bratty 12 year old. He withholds affection and intimacy and belittles anything I love. After many years of allowing myself to be bullied into where to live and how many children to have, etc., I’ve been putting my foot down for the last few years, only to find, as the books will tell you, a nastier, more vindictive person in him. He’s been giving me the silent treatment, which I have to say I love because I don’t have to listen to his screaming and crap. After years of crying over the lack of sex, I gave it up and we haven’t had sex for months and I am amazingly happy. Since the silent treatment and sexless marriage, I feel like I can breathe. I am doing more than I have done in years; I joined a weight loss place, I’m going to gym, taking classes and generally just doing more. I am happier than I’ve ever been in my marriage because I’ve detached and I’ve decided not to own his problem. I do pretty well until I get bogged down with callous things he does that seem to prove that he’s just a mean 12 year old who will never grow or change. The books say they don’t. Divorce is not an option at this moment and may not solve the problem since he will make it his priority to chase “his” money down and make it difficult for me (as he’s threatened several times).

    I am doing pretty well with trying to focus on me and stay in my business, as Byron Katie says. I am working at being a better person and taking care of my needs, which is actually exciting. I am proud that despite being in this abusive situation, I am thriving. Do you have any advice for how to avoid the disappointment of seeing little if any growth or his immature and callous actions as reality checks of what I really got myself into? Thank you.

  35. Nora,

    I am not certain if this is only a forum for wives, but I hope not, because I could use some advice on my family, especially my 13 year old son M. I have been with my wife for 25 years, married 18 in June and we have 3 sons, P 17, M 13 and K 5, so we are actively trying to teach K to read, while filling out college apps with P while handling M’s PA behavior.

    I was raised in a straight forward family, my father was excellent at communicating and pretty much insisted we talk to him about everything, while my Mom tends to hold things in when she is upset, angry or dissappointed, she is very passionate and straight forward in everything just shy of Really upsetting.

    While they divorced when I was 13, my brother and I lived with both of them and remain close, in fact my parents spent vacations and holidays with us, which regularly included moms boyfriend, husband. Clearly disfunctional in a textbook sort of way, yes, but loving and supportive without question, something I very much want for my sons.

    Sadly my wife wasn’t so lucky and as I have learned, the sins/shortcomings of parents can haunt a childs life forever, maybe even generations after, which is why I am writing you for help. Throughout college and years following, my wife and I had a very deep/intense love,but when things were difficult, they were DIFFICULT BEYOND MY IMAGINATION and I never understood why, until after many years, my wifes best friend said I am not sure why you still want to be with her, you guys are so different. (spoken in honesty, while still 100% loyal to my wife as they remain best friends to this day.

    And then she said it, You are very straight forward, honest to a fault and open like a book and she is so passive aggressive, I had no clue. I always thought passive aggressive was those little comments people make when they want to get their point across without actually saying it directely; “that’s a good job, considering you didn’t go to college.” kind of stuff.

    I had no idea it was a pshychological mindset to handle controversy, communication and everything in between, but I sure do now, only my life has been forever altered and my childrens well being and futures seem at risk as well.

    While our family dynamics are very relevant and important to getting where we are now, the story is much to long for this for this forum , but hopefully my son is still young enough to address his pa before he becomes set in his ways. Our family dynamic has blessed him with an abundance of love and support, while also making him witness to my wife and I dealing with very difficult issues before their eyes, including seperations and terrible fighting and sadness. So, while we have made it to the other side and our love is stronger than ever and they are able to see the beauty of a great love, they have seen way to much anger, sadness and arguing for anyone.

    Clearly those years don’t just get replaced by the last few, but generally speaking our kids have very good lives, love and support, however I now know how and why M would have formed a PA manner of dealing with things.

    Being largely a cause I can, will and do accept responsibility for, but accepting this for his future is terrifying, I can’t fathom what sort of affect it may have on his adult life.

    M takes ap and honors classes, maintains A/B average, mostly A’s, but I have long feared his PA would prevent him from continuing his sucess. M is also a terrific athlete, excelling in football, wrestling and baseball and often considered the most coachable player on the team, regularly spending the night with other kids and never fails to receive high praise on his manners and ability to get along with the other kids.

    Of course that same child comes home with us and makes regular appearances, but when it goes its gone. Michael can you get ready for bed, yes sir, in a minute, which goes on for hours until mom and i are so frustrated the yelling begins. Bed, chores, homework all follow the same pattern, as though he will not do it because we are asking him to, all the while saying in a minute. Once it gets to the point of disruption, he says, stop, stop, your not helping anything.

    I have coached him in several sports and he generally takes it well, but even then a direct coaching point will garner a return comment, I Know dad, so long as no other coaches are around. In trying to handle in a positive manner, I have tried, M do you have hwork, yes, ok, what time are you going do it and how long will it take, so he can be the decision maker, which works great until that time arrives. When I remind him of his commitment, we still go through the in a minute and he is up til 12, which of course affects everyone in morning, because he simply refuses to meet the time deadline for the bus.

    Discussing his obligations the night before is fine, until we can not get him out of shower and any normal parenting efforts to hurry him along only result in arguements and disruptions to the entire family and he needs a ride anyway. In recent months getting him to clean his room is impossible and then he just started using the bonus room asta a bedroom, when I ask him to use his own room, it starts all over again.

    Working out with him may be the worst of all, he wants me to help him as I provide personal training and instruction to other athletes, but when we get to the field, ANY COACHING is like I am spitting fire. I am aware of my forward nature and my loud voice, so those are put in check and I intruct him as I do any athlete, but its always, I got it and you dont need to tell me that. So much so, I have suggested many times, we should just stick to father and son and play catch in the yard casually if he feels like throwing the ball, but he gets really upset and then we argue.

    Like my wife, they tend to jumble the course of events and he walks away knowing in his heart that I just started yelling him, which is completely out of character for me as a coach, but plays right into the past family dynamic. In the past with my wife it started in college, I would recount the situation in the actual order of events, which to me and I assume most people is very relevant to someones actions, but not PA people, they tend to jumble it all up and the more I would try to clarify, the worse it became.

    I actually believed if I clarified how things occured we could actually figure out why it was happening, instead, “your like a lawyer, stating points and my mind doesn’t work that way.”, or fine your right, ok. Of course in my mind, I was trying to be accurate, so we could figure the problem out, cause there is no doubt I had fault on many occassions, but we never managed to discuss what the actual problem was… My wife it was I cant remember, I don’t know, I didn’t say that and the more I tried to clarify the worse it became, I even tried recording, but it didn’t feel right and even if she heard her self, she would spin it to something else 3 years prior, which I of course thought we had dealt with and moved passed.

    Needless to say, when I have mentioned recording our workouts, since we often video parts to analyze, but M gets angry. I asked him recentley why not record the session, so I can see how I am coaching you that is so bothersome, but he refuses, yet won’t address the idea of discontinuing our efforts. Being with him on a ballfield or helping him with things is one of my favorite things to be doing, but I am losing my mind all over again.

    If my post doesn’t belong here, please remove and inform my by email.



  36. I’m not quite sure how I ended up on your site, but I’m very glad I found it. My situation is slightly different, and it was my exhusband who sunndely decided we were through after 23 yrs of marriege. Aside from fathering my kids. it was the very best thing he ever did for me. It took quite a lot of convincing by my therapist and my new husband for me to understand and accept that I’d been emotionally abused by my passive-aggressive ex. I won’t go into detail about how miserble I was without admitting it to myself, but you can probably guess. Let’s ust say that when I first read an article about passive-aggressive people, I had the creepiest feeling that someone had been spying on ou marriage. My new husband is an incredible man who treats me as if I’m an amazing woman. After a lifetime of worthlessness, his view of me is a little hard to take in- and that’s why I’m writing. I don’t doubt his love or sincerity for even a moment- he absolutely shows by word and deed that he adores me. And while I feel the same for him, I have such a difficult time reconciling his very high view of me with what I believe of myself and how I see me. I just honestly don’t know how to unlearn what I know as truth about myself- which goes all the way back to early childhood. I have a wonderful therapist helping me, but I’m failing miserably at changing my thinking. Any advice? Thanks for your time.

  37. Dear Gwin,
    I read your long letter with attention and care, admiring the bravery of your decisions. You are doing your best to survive, find fulfillment and be the best mother you can. I’m sure you will be present for your children according to their needs…Present times are tough, and role transition even when more frequently done, is still a bit harder to accept. I say that because you are carving for yourself a new mother role. The point here is to get your own story well, (make that very well) put together. You have four intelligent kids, that need to learn the deep reasons for your leaving. As passive aggression is used against a partner more than other relatives, probably they will see only the “poor victim” image that dad is consistently projecting. Ask with your therapist to identify the stronger points in your own story, and then work by yourself, or with a writer, to make a narrative that explains step by step your own process, with feelings included. Think of it as a necessary project, perhaps a book for the future grandkids. Write about your own inner war, describe what happened and why did you reacted, time after time. This is your official story, that can serve later as the imprint for the successive passive aggressive stories happening to them, by them? So, you are not the bad, abandoning crazy mother they had, but your own heroine.
    Please, don’t discard this proposal. The only way to reinforce your identity and show your children how much you love them, is to learn from the story of their parent’s marriage, from your own words…

  38. Hi Nora,

    I am in the midst of Collaborative Divorce after being married for almost 22 years. We have four kids- 2 boys, 2 girls ages 13-17. Our marital demise has been very long and drawn out. My first of many attempts to leave the marriage happened when my youngest child was only weeks old. I made excuses, rationalizations, compromises and top of compromises and in the end I had compromised myself on every level of my being. Seventeen years later I was gutted spiritually, emotionally, sexually, and even found myself completely dependent on a man whose intent was to control me on every level (even financially) and to keep me under his control in ways that still take my breath away.

    I need advise. I am about to begin the settlement agreement process. I have the option to take our divorce to the courts and let the judge decide the terms. I’ve heard horror stories of (most) women before me who were married to PA’s who divorced through the court system and see the pitfalls – there are many.

    I’ve been reading about what other women have been experiencing and feel discouraged. I am seeking knowledge and advise of what works and doesn’t work post-divorce with a terribly imbalanced and flailing PA. He’s a successful oil exec and presents to the world a picture of a man that has been abandoned and has been left to struggle taking care of the four children as his wife suddenly went nuts found God and moved out. Miraculously I found love and have a found safe harbor and I’m no longer the parched starved out human being – I have been this long 22 years – I’ve changed dramatically this past year and a half – living away from my home and my kids has been the hardest and most rewarding time of my life. But now it’s time to decide if I can continue parenting this way or let the courts take over.

    I’m 48, and now have four teens. I’ve been out of the work force for 17 years and have an associate degree in nursing that I had reinstated just prior to my having decided I needed out of the marriage. I feel fortunate I had at least an RN license before I entered the marriage.

    I’m looking for work and live outside of the home from my kids. Abuse on every level drove me from the house as this PA amazingly (tragically/weirdly) enough can be a decent father. I never would have ever seen myself leaving my children behind as being a way out of getting out such an entrenched and toxic relationship but that is where I stand. My parents, my sister and few close friends know and support me although they don’t understand all of it – as I haven’t been able to tell them how bad it got (and I don’t think I ever will).

    I was late upon arriving at the knowledge of what passive aggression was. I knew of the words but not of it’s impact. I have been fortunate enough to have access to an amazing therapist and a support system. I have learned a tremendous amount about the path of destruction PA causes and how to better manage it. Although, it is tedious, taxing, and painful work – I am making tremendous strides with myself and my kids in record time.

    I have 2 young women and 2 young men that are still my babies that have been raised in the grips of passive aggression at its worst and I need a plan. I have been living the past year and half outside my home and meet my kids after school and do my mom thing every day with as much grace as I possibly can. My kids are offsprings of PA and have a lot of discovering and healing to do – but they are getting help (finally). It’s slow but it’s progress and that’s better than what I had been living with. I leave “the big house” before the kids dad gets home from work. The two oldest (16 and about to turn 18 yr. old) have already declared they will live with their dad. He’s their friend and they feel sorry for him. I know whatever the courts decide the older kids will decide for themselves what they will do. My younger two will soon both be in high school and I need at least enough time with them to be present (as much as I can be) until they are more independent.

    I live in Texas. Child support and spousal support are convoluted in this case. He is the Provider – always was and always will be just the provider. I am happy to serve the needs of my kids and to plan my future life around whatever their needs are but I need advise how to do that with someone who has arrogantly and eloquently admitted he wants to make me suffer.

    Thank you for being there.


  39. run like hell especially if you have emotional problems yourself. i am an emotional person and put in my share of back from pa men is seveer. one thing i learned from this terrible marriage is love is not unconditional. if you are a person who thinks if a man loves you run like hell especially if you have emotional problems yourself. i am an emotional person and put in my share of back from pa men is seveer. one thing i learned from this terrible marriage is love is not unconditional. if you think a man loves you he will do anything to make you well. wrong this kind of man once tampered with will try to destroy your very existance. what is done is done. forget who did what and what can be done because when this type of person mind is made up it is game over for you and they will stick around to watch you bleed get all the revenage possible before nailing your coffin. i almost believe these people are possessed. the bible says devil come to steal kill and destroy. there are wolves dressed in sheep clothing. the devil is patient and knows you and waits to gain grounds over you. maybe these people are the devils agents to destroy your soul and kill your spirituality. i dont understand what could have happen so badly in childhood that would cause a man to pushes the woman he married into insainty. i honestly believe thesepeople want to kill you by pushing you into sucide. they dont want the blood on their hands. they are one step away well let me hold my tongue some people love strongly and want their marriages to work. i say well your still functioning get away . i did. i was told he did nt want be here thats why i was neglected so i toldhim to divorce me. he said when he was in aposition to. i ran to a lawyer. he signed the pappers. are you ok he asked see i did what you wanted reverse the divorce. hell no. you worked hard at being an a . so we are now both free. sleep in whoever house you been sleeping in the past year. looking forward to healing dont wish him harm hope he never does this to anyone else looking forward to fixing myself and geting my emotions into check. these people seemto have evil attached to them hope this is not true and just my own dramatic intruptation. but do get out before you are consumed with rage god bless we all need love but hopefully not so desperate we loose our own souls

  40. LaTonia Gray says

    Do you have any posts about parenting with a PA husband?

  41. Victoria Easterday says

    Dear Mari
    Just read your post. Is it possible for one person to live in two places at the same time? If not, how is it posstble we are living with the same man!
    Please keep posting as you progress and learn how to live with your situation, I need to learn from others who are working with this same situation.
    Best of luck!

  42. I’m so sorry, Aine, to hear you are going through all of this. You need to get away from this man, asap! Is there a women’s advocacy center you can call?How are you doing now?

  43. I’m so glad to have found this page, and just finished, ” Silent marriage.” I am so eager to start implementing what I’ve learned.

    I feel like I’ve hit a wall in my marriage, and day by day, I’m losing more of myself.

    We have been together 11 yrs, married for nine years. From the beginning, I know we were drawn to each other to meet unmet childhood needs through each other ( unhealthy set-up), but we also had a great friendship together. One of the initial things that drew me to him was that he was so quiet, not at all like the raging alcoholic father I had feared as a child. I noticed he appeared almost too quiet at times, and sometimes, would not respond to basic questions. I thought it odd, but at the time, he didn’t seem unkind about it.

    As our dating relationship progressed, I became witness to his mother’s behavior around him, as well as his family, in general. I never once saw her hug him. I would eventually learn that, his entire childhood, she yelled and controlled him through her anger, and his father, was absent. Still, our relationship progressed, and things seemed fine. He wanted to be in a relationship with me, that is until we got married.

    Almost immediately, he became withdrawn, shut down, depressed. He began to pick fights; he was angry all of the time; I felt I was walking on eggshells. He became very demeaning, and if I ever cried, and went to him for comfort, he would say in a cold, disdainful tone, ” I won’t touch you, until you calm down.” Our dynamic worsened, and I found myself highly triggered by behaviors I could not understand. I became angry in response, trying to defend myself, and was triggered into my own issues of being abused and controlled by trusted men in my childhood.

    The cycles have continued since that time, and I’ve only recognized them for what they are, after reading The Silent Marriage book.

    The more time has gone on, the more I feel I have lost my husband, my family, and myself. Sometimes, I see small glimpses of the person I thought I knew, of a person who loves me, and wants to be close to me, but it’s becoming less and less.

    He creates more distance between us, including our 6 year old daughter, who is afraid to go to her father to meet any need; she knows he will be angry with her, so I am left to meet all of her needs, which I know, I cannot. I feel like a single parent!

    He obsessively watched tv and stays on the internet. If you try to engage him at all, he becomes very irritable, and withdraws even further. He is repelled by any affection I try to show him, and literally turns his face away from kisses, and holds his body away from me. Affection is only acceptable on his terms, and on his watch, which usually means, every couple of weeks. I feel like I’m starving to death from lack of care and affection. He knows how painful this is for me, which is why it’s so much worse when he withholds affection and communication purposely, for long periods of time ( I usually have no idea what has triggered this mood). He also does not like to have any discussions at any time, and is usually repelled by any expectations put on him -from simple requests: “Please, give me a glass of water, I’m ill, to serious requests ” It’s urgent, we need to go the hospital.” I have also found him hiding in a closet, after he randomly disappeared at night, for hours, and family called his phone, and searched for him. That’s only the tip of the crazy behaviors I’ve seen him do, to run away..

    I recently told him how much these behaviors are hurting me, and that I want him to heal, instead of more distance created between us. I encouraged counseling, and told him I can’t go on like this anymore. I told him I loved him, and he looked like I had shamed him, and was extremely threatened. Then, silent treatment happened, over the following days.

    I cannot go on like this. I feel like my spirit is breaking. I’m exhausted from living life alone, and walking on eggshells around him. If he isn’t willing to get help, I can’t stay. Is there any hope for someone with these behaviors? I’m only 31. I can’t imagine another 30-40 years like this. Thank you so much for any feedback, and the excellent resources here. I can’t wait to buy the next book!

  44. yes you did help! Everything you said is so true. I have already been trying some of the techniques you mentioned. Whenever he tries to blame me for stupid things I just kind of laugh and make a joke, I don’t take it personal any more. I am like you, they are not bad people this is just their defense mechanism. Thanks so much for you post. We are going on a trip tomorrow and I am going to try my darndest to let him make all the decisions on where we eat and things and find something good about each place he choose and make him feel impowered because deep down I now realize he is just an insecure little boy but I do love him madly=) thanks again

  45. Hi- The last week has been a very enlightening experience in a good way. I am so relieved to get some confirmation that I am indeed not the main insecure one in the relationship as my PA man would have me believe. I say man instead of husband because we are not married as of yet. I have been living with him for 2 1/2 years and together for 5. He is 52 and I am 42. He has been married before for 10 years(she left him-I might add) and I have never been married. I do love this man immensely and would like to make this relationship work. Reading everything here, as well as some of your books Nora, leads to believe I can do that.
    To be blunt our first issue is sex. We have sexual relations where I please him and he pleases me but he has not been able to penetrate me. He always goes soft right before entry. I know his “equipment” works because he is able to orgasm other ways. I have now come to understand after 5 years that he must go soft because of passive aggressiveness. He obviously doesn’t want to lose himself to me-lose or give up control per say-experience true intimacy. It’s so comforting to know that I am not wrong for having needs and wanting more from him. I have struggled because I have been thinking well it’s because of his age and I didn’t dwell on it because I was trying to protect his feelings by not saying anything.
    Before reading all the information about PA I was thinking it was ED, but it didn’t make sense that he was good to go as long as I was pleasing him. we talked a couple of times and he said “honestly babe, I don’t know why it’s happening” He refuses to go to a doctor to get Viagra because he is too embarrassed and I have sent him a link on where he could get it online instead a week ago-but nothing has gone on as of yet. He does know it is mental because he even said he didn’t think Viagra would help with that-I said well it’s worth a shot.
    I have not addressed the issue now that I have read that it is clearly caused by his passive aggressiveness. My question to you is…Where do I go from here? How do I talk about it with him-Do I say it’s PA right out and here’s why or what? Please help me Nora. I want to know I tried everything before leaving him. Thanks so much for creating this site where we women can come together for help and advice.

  46. It is now at the stage where he does not talk to me gives me evil looks and I feel sick, the house is silent my son abuses me too, I am now not allowed to drive his car, I never leave the house, I only see two people and they talk to me like I am nothing, last night pa called me a cunt fucker, my father died a year ago and it has spiraled out of control, he dropped me off on the side of the rd once and drove off I got stabbed, I live in South Africa, I am a strong person but this is soul destroying, I went to get his keys and he grabbed me and told me to get the fuck out of his room. Nobody sees him for this, they all thing it is me.

  47. I live with a man, we have a 15 year old, I have gone through endless trauma from crime living in South Africa and on top of that I live with a passive aggression man, who on one incident kicked me out the car and drove off, I then got stabbed eleven times. My father has died and I have no support, he has taken my car away, he controls me on every level, I now don’t leave the house at all, he has no empathy, checks my phone records and emails and if he sees something he does not like I get silent treatment that only I can pick up on, nobody else’s sees, I am miserable and try to maintain some sort of joy by renovating my home (myself) and painting, I am an artist. He gets violent sometimes and I have had enough, I am making plans to go abroad, I am so isolated from the world, people think I am strong have no idea, because he is so good at covering it up. I just can’t live with this anymore I am broken.

  48. I will share a bit of my experience that might help some of you girls.

    I’m not married but I have a serious relationship with a passive aggressive man for 2 years. It took me a while to find out that I was under passive aggression as always thought it was something I have done during our time together. We had many ups and downs but, as most of them, they are charming and amazing partners at the beginning, what make you love them so much, and when they start to get control on you, they will express their feeling indirectly in a way that will frustrate you.

    There are no ready formulas but the main thing is don’t show fear or weakness. He is the most weak in the relationship otherwise he wouldn’t defend himself – actually because he is afraid to get to close, so he wouldn’t support the idea of losing you. You obviously don’t want a relationship that you have to play games all the time – it’s tiring – but if you want to stay, you must learn how to ignore lots of signs.

    Withdrawn romantic things is part of the process. If you complain, you won’t have it. If you ignore and live your life independent of him, he will notice. You need to have a strong social and work life to carry on doing what you gotta do, more independent you are, more you show that you don’t need him. But he needs you more that you can ever believe.

    The controller (I could call some of the passive aggressive men like that) do it because he can do it, because he knows that you aren’t going anywhere. It is very difficult, but you have to lose the fear of losing him! Then you must make clear that, if he will behave like this way, it’s not a point to do things for him too. Do as he does, withdrawn. Don’t be afraid to frustrate him, just show that you can live without him, but would do lots for him if he would cooperate.

    They play games like shout on petty things just to drive you crazy, make you go back to your shell and do not confront them. They can threat you to leave, walk away and as soon you call them, they make you feel guilty but come back.. So, don’t go after them. They get weird sudden, with no warning, and expect you to notice. Don’t bite it!! Flirt can even be one of the games, and made up affairs or talk about a girl to make you jealous too! My boyfriend know that his ex wouldn’t leave him alone, and she could be quite annoying sometimes. They spent a long time together but he didn’t want to be with her and we met short time after the break up, so she made all blackmails she could, and in some point I realized that she was passive aggressive. ‘When angry, she can say things that she knows it will hurt me!’ Well, he knows that it work! He already used her to hurt me, once said that instead be at home, he was having drinks with her in a middle of an argument. I told him to go away from my house that I wouldn’t tolerate him being nasty and telling me a lie. He left but denied later few minutes later in a text. I truly believe because he isn’t interested on her at all, he is crazy about me and I have learned him, he just do it to upset me as I am upsetting him with something else. Yes, most of the times it;s quite unfair! He apologized a lot for lying as he did just to hurt me but he knew that he could lose me (and he would!) so he fixed. They don’t often fix, or even say sorry.

    You must change your attitudes. If he talk about another girl, say ‘uhum, ok’. It kill them. They can’t see the tears in your eyes, or your expression. Belittle, ignore, don’t bite. Another thing I read (I read about it for over 1 year, taking very seriously) is that you have to show them that you are aware about what they are doing just to hurt you. ‘You never act like that, doesn’t match with your words, I’m sorry but I can see it’, said that, avoid the confront. His job is always deny and blame you. If you don’t argue, or say ‘again me? well, if in xxx years is only me, please leave me then, because I’m not good enough for you’. And doesn’t matter what he say, ignore. He will know that you are aware, and won’t use that game anymore, will go for another. I got so much all his games that it’s not much left so when he try, I say ‘I know you well, you are always great, this is not that cool guy I know’. Highlight their quality help a lot!! Believe me, he already changed a lot, to better. When he does something good, I make sure I tell him how much I appreciate that!

    He change the plans or withdraw of our plans. Now, I don’t say ‘why you are changing the speech’ anymore, because I did many times, that now he swear he is not doing again. I just decided I will DO, show that if he doesn’t make plans, make me feel in safe, and show that he’s willing to change, I will get distance too. When I was in the edge and said ‘enough’, as many of you girls could see, they just panic and change, get amazing, want to hold you. Let him do it, but don’t give yourself too much!

    You have the power, you must be strong and show that you don’t accept that treatment, but never ever freak out. If he say things to push you down, he doesn’t mean it, be ironic and say ‘good! I might be, there are many people who would love have a terrible person as I am’ and walk away. Or tell him ‘can you go now?’ Like a strong woman would do. I try be cool most of the time and avoid push his buttons but also show that if he push mine, I will be a nightmare, and do all what he hates. When we got to this point, I showed him that we didn’t need argue, all we need was peace. So now if I feel he’s getting funny, I silent, and say ‘again…’ then he realizes and WANT to show that he is changing. It make me feel I want to be great to him, but I keep in alert.

    You can make them be willing to change feeling secure with yourself. Showing that you are not controlled and that you WILL go if he push too hard. Set limits, make it clear. Have an affair is not acceptable, ‘that is it’ leave me alone. I will find someone else.’ is what you should say! And mean it! He must know that he can’t mess with you and still have you.

    If you see that he goes too far, darling, time to ask yourself if worth sweat that much forever. If he doesn’t get any better, you must set yourself free because your are not a nurse! Even if you are, well.. not working for him!

    My partner is the man I would love to spend my life with but I also have my concerns and sometimes get bored of it all, what keeps me in the balance and he can feel when I just not bothered do dedicate much to him anymore. I am supportive and slow I show how his behavior isn’t good to keep a person who he love so much, I have to say it’s being not always easy but now it’s 70% better, because I changed my attitudes, and I understand that he isn’t a bad person, but he has his reasons and got hurt in some point of his life so it was the defense that helps his weakness. You must show him in some way, obviously not telling him what he has done, but telling how, for example, the partners of your friends did.. ‘terrible, he don’t let her talk and always blame her!’ my boyfriend always agree that isn’t good, and act like I never saw him doing that, then he stops. It’s a good trick, make them believe they are amazing.. even so, in some way they are, the reason we don’t give up. We want that charming guy we fell in love with back.

    Hope I helped in some way sharing my own experience and thoughts!

  49. livingwpa says

    I’m LAUGHING OUTLOUD SO HARD on the statement above about he is still “thinking” about how he is going to make it better. I CAN RELATE! Procrastination at it’s finest. Also, if he doesn’t commit or do anything, he can’t be to blame. It’s all our fault anyway!

  50. A month or so ago, I stumbled onto this website and realized that passive aggressive behavior is exactly what is going on in our marriage. I’ve obviously known there was trouble for years. We’ve been separated before. I went to my bishop years ago and told him I wanted to divorce my husband. He told me I was listening to satan and to go back to him. It sent me into a kind of state of shock. I went home, numb and dazed. I went to bed and lost the ability to talk or move for three days. I was in bed off and on for nearly three months. I knew I’d never be free of this treatment. Even if I left him, I’d still have to deal with him. He’d still be the father of our three kids. We’d have to work out child support and all that and I knew the head games would never be out of my life. I felt like someone had put me in a cage, locked the door and threw the key into the ocean. I started having PTSD troubles and had anxiety so bad, I could barely leave the house for four years after that. I have very low energy now and get sick often, which is not in my nature at all. I’m a naturally happy and buoyant person with a lot of creative energy and zest for life.

    Well, when we found your books, it was like a miracle. My husband has started to see for the first time, and to see dramatically. He has started to take action on his own to get better. I have been able to see that my trying to fix things has only been making things worse. I never thought I was codependent because I never was interested in a project. My husband tricked me into thinking he was a mature, level headed, responsible, kind man when I married him. Then he tricked me into thinking, when he chose to be passive aggressive, that I was seeing things wrong. A lot of the time, I believed him. I realize now that that’s exactly how I was treated in childhood. I think my dad, instead of using my mom as his object of hostility, used me.

    I am struggling right now because, now that I know what’s happening, I have ZERO tolerance for his behavior. I can see it big and bold and loud, where before, I bought many of his justifications and excuses. I know healing takes time. I know he will take two steps forward and one back, but I just absolutely can’t handle even one step back. I know I can’t require him to be perfect. He’s learning, but I’m so shredded up inside after the past 20 years of our marriage, I can hardly cope with the healing process. I wish I could go sit on a beach in England for two years and just listen to the waves and my thoughts, and straighten my feathers and feel peace while he was at home doing his own healing work, but that’s not how the real world works. We have jobs, kids, bills and all the things every grown up has–and I’m glad to have all of those things. That means, though, I have to heal in the same house as him, while he’s taking his steps forward and back, and each back step seems to rip and old emotional scab off me. I have no idea how to protect myself from his healing process.

    I feel angry at myself and like I’m a stupid person for not seeing this earlier. I feel especially devastated that my kids, 18, 16 and 14 have grown up in this environment and will most likely have to deal with it in their own marriages. That’s the worst of all. I thought my husband and I were cycle breakers because we have both worked for healthier marriages than our parents had, and we do have a better marriage than our parents had. Our kids have grown up seemingly happy and well adjusted knowing that both their parents love them and are happy to have them in our home. They often say they are grateful to have a family like ours and even though they are teenagers, seem to really like to be around us. Now I’m wondering if it’s all an illusion and I didn’t know, and that they will grow up and feel what I’m feeling in their own marriages.

    I fantasize that I leave my husband and start a new life in a new home that is filled with good energy and peace. I fantasize that I have my health and energy back, and that I can see the world and spread my wings. I am a person who was created for joy and living life abundantly. Really, I do have joy and live my life with abundance in my current sphere, but my marriage is like the elephant in the living room, and always keeps life in a state of chaos and want, so that living all the way is not possible at this point. My spirit is starving right now.

    I often wonder what it would feel like to be in a relationship with someone who was an adult. I’m afraid, even as a kid I knew I was emotionally and psychologically and spiritually older than my parents. I don’t really have experience with that kind of healthy relationship, except in friendships. I have no idea what an all the way healthy marriage to a grown up would feel like. I need to learn that so I know when our marriage is healthy or when it’s time to give up and get out. I guess I would know a checklist of healthy grown up behaviors, but I don’t know what it would feel like in my spirit to be with someone who was choosing those behaviors as a lifestyle. I need to feel it so I know what I’m looking for in my marriage and in the private world of my spirit.

    I just needed to tell somebody.

  51. Paula Bennett Schuyten says


  52. Paula Bennett Schuyten says

    Thank you. I am in the very same spot now. Reality isn’t always pretty but its better than lies and the dark.

  53. Paula Bennett Schuyten says

    Of course. If there is no problem in his mind than you are just a nag and unworthy of giving thought to. He’s wrong though. You do have value. You are needed. He’s damn lucky to have you! Remember that.

  54. Paula Bennett Schuyten says

    I agree with you. A woman is never STUCK in a marriage. One can CHOOSE to move forward in one of two ways. Learn your husband very psyche. KNOW him on a cellular level in some aspects… that is only if you believe in your marriage and stand by its covenant. Or secondly, and this I do not validate, carefully plot and plan your freedom… leave. But you have to be careful. A PA is usually a narcissist too so careful patience and planning is a must or you will get sucked back in.

  55. Paula Bennett Schuyten says

    Just yesterday a dear friend suggested I look up the term passive aggressive personalities and difficult people. It opened my eyes to reality, endless information, and power. Knowledge is power is so true. Finally, I have the play book to win the game AND regain my sanity. I have hope now because of sites like this one. Please, anyone who reads this post new links, books, or sites that help me understand how to love my husband in his way.

  56. Paula Bennett Schuyten says

    I’m new at this after just being lead to the plethora of information on the web about PA but find hope in what I have found out. The main reason I feel better is the empowerment I feel to finally have the “play” book. Knowing information, guidelines, and having a structured relations makes a bad situation have hope in knowing what to expect. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…

  57. Paula Bennett Schuyten says

    This is all new to me. I recently became enlightened through prayer who exactly I was dealing with in my PA husband. I feel somewhat empowered after finding this site. My husband is textbook PA just like your husbands only NOW I am getting the play book and have hope. Thank you for your stories.

  58. Paula Bennett Schuyten says

    I’m going to take your advice and surround myself with people of like minds like you do. I have to keep reminding myself I HAVE to be a content, satisfied strong woman outside of my marriage. People need people.

  59. Indeed, you are very right. He has realized that with you going (and finishing) law school, you would be in a different situation with more choices open…and he wants you to be with him. But his choice of behavior, sinking the project through getting deeply in debt, is a cruel sabotage of not only your career, but the marriage. Now, he is asking you to choose: do you love him as a decrepit and insolvent 90 years old? if so, abandon your plans to be a lawyer, take care of his bills, support him and destroy your life in the process. He has made such a mess of this marriage, that he is forcing you out. Of course, he will tell everybody that he is your victim, but ypu know that already, right? I don’t see here any alternative left but to walk out. Sorry about that!

  60. Der Zainab,

    You don’t clarify what book is it.

    Here is the one about emotional abuse:

    Here are the others:

  61. Where can i purchase this book to read online?

  62. I think my husband is PA. I started law school last year and we decided we would rent his house and live in mine which is 1.5 hrs from the school and his work. He decided to cut his office hours (he is a chiropractor) down from four days a week to three. He was supposed to take care of all the household bills with the exception of the mortgage while I attended school. He informed me yesterday that he had not paid my car note, his office rent was unpaid for the month of january and he didnt have the 900 to pay his sons tuition. He says his accountants have over taxed him which is making his business fail. He refuses to listen to my suggestions of going in four days a week, trying to get in touch with personal injury attorneys for referrals or joining a church to try and meet new people He says the economy has done him in and there is nothing he can do to increase business. He also told me he was 10k in debt with the IRS. I started looking at my taxes and trying to figure out if I could file separately and avoid his debt so that I could get a refund on what I paid in last year and I could. This morning he started an argument with me saying I was ready and willing to throw him under the bus at a moments notice. Really? I mean he was supposed to support me – but it is never bout me it is always about him and his needs. He is a very needy person. He is sick all the time. His back hurts constantly from a soft tissue injury car accident over two years ago. He whines and complains constantly. I cant take him on vacation with me anymore because he is a total buzz kill. He cant walk, his back hurts his feet hurt. Its like he has turned into a 90 year old man. I feel like he is trying to sabotage me and my schooling by adding all this extra stress on me. it is not my fault he didn’t pay his business taxes last year he hasn’t supported me at all (aside from paying three car payments) I have had to pay to put the phone back on (which is in his name) because he “forgot to pay it” he tries to blame all this on a car wreck that did no damage to him whatsoever. I think he is crazy. Since I didnt respond to his accusations this morning and in fact refused to argue with him he came home and laid on the couch all day faking a cough (it is a dry cough) and he has no fever, even though he laid under a wool blanket all day long. I am at my wits end with him. His behavior is unacceptable.

  63. Couple days ago I opened my eyes. Second time. First time was year ago when I realized that my dearest (at that time) cheating on me. It took me a year to find answers on my qs.
    Now I feel better and more calm then I can remember…. I found you and open my eyes for a second time. I realized that is over. i still have a little crumble of a hope… but that is it.
    I’m done.
    Let’s start with me. Who am I? I’m open, straight and very communicative person as someone can be. I hate being alone. I like going places time to time, having a fun…. very sociable. I never had a problem to say what I feel, what I want, what I like….
    We are married for, in Jan. of 2014 will be 11 years. For first 8, I would say was a fairy tail. He was sensitive, caring person. We was close to each other and I could feel his love at all time. He was supportive for my career and thanks to him I accomplished a lot. Thanks to him I experienced for the first time in my life what feeling is when someone loves you for who you are. Thanks to him I traveled over half a world every summer visiting my parents and learn to speak two languages. Then I start having a problems with my job ( I get lied off) and good junk of money left our household. The job problem is still on and in mean time I did work as temp….Time to time. But nothing stable or constant. Regardless, he continue to be supportive with no complaint….Actually he did couple times through a jokes. if i can count that. But I felt bad for it because he was working 24/7. So 3 years ago I noticed how he is distant and there is no time for me and him as before. Actually there was not time for us at all. So day by day, month by month I become mostly lonely person on the planet. I felt guilty for it because he has to work so much and If I do work I would not fell on this way. He would have more time for us. So IT IS MY FAULT. Now, I do realized that was just one of his tricks to make me feel guilty and keep under control. Back then I just did not see it. And as you can see I did look for validation of his behavior. We still had a sex but from “making love” sex we went to “job” sex. All that I sow it, I felt and I tried very hard to fix it somehow. He still never leave a house without kiss me and hug me but in this year since I found out that he had 1 relationship of year and half and at that time was starting another one what is still on and confronted him I experienced the hole hell of Passive Aggressive Disorder. At time I did not know how to name the things and I was giving my own names. One Friday night few months ago he left a house letting me know that he will be with “her” for a weekend because she deserved!!! I told him on his way out that he abusing me emotionally. And still knowing what he is doing and named with right name I could not counteract but to ask myself why I don’t deserve and what I did????!!!!
    And there are other things very familiar to everyone here.Promising with smile and look on his face that he will do something and of course never do or do after you forget when you ask for it. Avoiding the social responsebility… hooked up on TV like a drug addict…. Saying the things what he don’t really mean… Like I really do miss you and same evening go to “her” for all night?!?! And to be so saucy after that and try to kiss me in the morning knowing that I do know where he was…. And after I refuse it “poor fella” was with so sad and worried looks on his face??!! Who is crazy here???? The silent treatment is there at all time but not in some aggressive mode as I did read here, it is more like to go to that mode when I push to talk about his double life and his feelings…. After all what I find out here I feel like I get to the bottom of my situation and I ‘m not so confuse as I was till few days ago…. I feel much better. There are still some missing pieces which I would like to have and that is I did not see or read anywhere that someone talking about this part of issues, I mean another women? How to approach to that part of the problem? What to say and what to do and accomplish some positive result? I’m just curious…. That’s all.
    What I see in my very desirable future is to have a job and save a money enough to leave him and be far, far away from him…. never ever to see him again! Thank you so much for your time and your input. I’m highly appreciative for your comments and opinions, especially form you Nora. Thank you.

  64. In only very few cases I say what I’m going to say to you….leave. Just leave him now. He is a master of mind games, and must get a lot of satisfaction hooking you into a new game…the wedding ring game is one; once that is exhausted, he begins with another. You have lost all respect for this guy, who prefers to reel you in into his sad world, but never can see you as a real person with real needs. NOBODY deserves this treatment. And you are losing yourself….Please, leave as soon as possible: don’t say a word, just leave him.

  65. you have been doing everything i have done for 39 years and nothing has changed. I have search for years for answers to no avail untill now. I have been living with a passive aggressive husband all these years believing i was doing something wrong. So lonely and always praying things would change. Everytime we had a holiday he would treat me like his princess and i would fall back into the trap again. Thinking he really does love me still and i would be happy again. He is taking me on a world cruise and i know all will be well again soon. Now i know the truth and all i can think of is i am trapped again. How do you get free from this nightmare, the roler coaster life. I wish i could say don’t stay but i am still here but in a seperate room it is my sanity. I had 4 children and one with a disability i needed the support didn’t get it. But had the fiancial security no connection, no empathy, still don’t . What is my future, lonely i am 62 now.

  66. I’m not sure where to write this, so I apologise If I have put it in the wrong place.

    I am at my absolute wits ends, and I feel like a shell of the woman I was seven years ago with no confidence. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    My partner when we met, I thought was the kindest man ever. I have been in a physically abusive relationship so I thought I was doing the right thing by becoming involved with someone who appeared very caring. I believe he is very passive aggressive and as a result I am turning into a crazy woman, losing my temper, filled with frustration and disappointment, hurt and regret, who have I become.

    We have been together coming up to seven years. During this time I have found his behaviour increasingly becoming more and more confusing. I told him after a year that I believed in marriage, well did this start a seven year war… He spent the next seven years dangling this carrot in front of me only to take it away at any chance of anger. At first he apparently believed in marriage but our relationship wasn’t ‘perfect’ enough yet.

    Then eventually after many tears from me, asking what was wrong with me, in our fourth year dating he told me he didn’t ever want to be married to anyone. I then said okay perhaps we could get a commitment ring, compromise and have a ceremony as such, he was going to get me a ring, of course there were more rules for me to comply. He brought me a ring eventually on our fifth year together, showed me it, kept it in his closet and then after two months took it back and told me he couldn’t afford it. Then when I said I was over the games, he took me ring shopping again, said to look for a cheaper ring (another rule) I brought into the game and choose one, but alas he decided after that he didn’t want to buy me a ring at all, of any kind, not a cheap ring, not a expensive ring….no ring. Finally at six years I said I was going to leave (with a lot of other things considered as well) because I believed in marriage and he didn’t, we weren’t compatible and I couldn’t force him to change but I wanted more from my life. What do you know all of a sudden he tells me he was just about to get me a ring to propose for real. He drags this story out for another four months, then eventually gives me a ring he was given from his mums from one of her ex boyfriends and says I will propose in two months, and you can choose another ring. We go on holiday he proposes on the very last day, tells me to look at rings, we don’t find one that ‘he’ likes enough…he says we will get one at home. I find the perfect one at home, he tells me to buy it….Two months later he calls off the wedding during a fight when he brings people home at 4am and I ask him to turn down the music, he tells me I am too controlling. He apologises a month later, weddings back on, two months after this he tells me I should have read the signs he never wanted to marry me, buy me a ring, It has all been a massive ball ache. I give him back his ring and say I want no part of these ridiculous games. He says we are still engaged but not to get married just to be engaged…..OH MY GOD ARE YOU KIDDING?

    This isn’t just it. He goes out drinking (he is an alcoholic) until all hours of the night, does;t get home until 7 the next day, It is apparently ‘who he is’ I say okay lets compromise, can you at least phone me so I don’t worry your lying in a ditch and I know your not coming home….Always….always he either forgets his phone, it goes dead, there is no reception. Without fail.

    I ask for his help with the dishes…He huffs and says I am controlling him, the dishes will stay there for another five days, when I eventually get up and do the drying as well he says what are you doing I was going to do them….Hello we both live here, I just want some help.

    He will come into our house while I am sleeping at 4am with a group of people, put the music on full blast and when I ask him to please be considerate and turn it down, he will tell me I am controlling and manipulative and call off our ‘sham’ wedding, storming out and disappearing for days on end. (Was pregnant at the time, had a miscarriage a few days later).

    We make plans together, and ALMOST ALWAYS without fail he will overbook our plans with something else, then tell me at the very last minute he had a better offer.

    He is forever taking my car keys to work with him leaving me stranded in a rural area, because he ‘accidentally’ took them.

    He ‘forgets’ to tell me about plans with friends all the time until the very last minute.

    I was at a well paid job and ask if we should get a mortgage, he says no he does;t want to but when another part time job comes in that will put financial strain on us he CONVINCES me to take it, says it will be the right thing for us, he is more than happy to pay the extra, a few months later the job falls through, I am put in a terrible financial position and instead of support me he shoves in my face that he wants to get a mortgage, I am letting down the team, I am not applying for the ‘right jobs’ I need to write down what I do everyday because he doesn’t feel I am trying hard enough….Worst few months of my entire life.

    For my birthday he showed me a camera for weeks he ‘wanted’ to get me….I know this game and I say no its too expensive, please just get me a massage voucher, or put $100 toward a ticket to auz, or a scented candle….no he wants to get me a camera….Day before my birthday he says its too expensive what do you want he asks? Again I say just put some money toward a ticket, I mention the candle….On my birthday he got me flowers and said I didn’t know what you wanted so I didn’t get you anything…..Rrrrr, why do I bother?

    The last straw for me was the other night, we were out on a date and I unfortunately and very humiliatingly got a tummy bug (very bad) and asked if we could drive home after the date….I have a terrible phobia of public toilets (I know this is quirky and crazy but I can’t help it I have difficulty going in certain toilets) I ask can we please just drive home quickly, he says he needs to get a glass of water from the bar, so I wait….While driving apparently he has a thirst like the gods all of a sudden and starts arguing with me about how he wants to stop at his mums for a glass of water, I said I really do not feel comfortable going in there with my tummy bug, he argues some more I am trying to control him from getting his glass of water, I should go anywhere, no I say I just really really want to get home, I am in pain and yes I have a quirky habit but please can we just go home…. An argument ensues (worst possible time) and I just lose my temper completely. The next day apparently I am in the wrong because he wanted a water and I was trying to stop him from having one.

    Its like I can’t even have a tummy bug without him arguing it!!!!

    I am slowly losing any shred of love for this man. I say black he says white, I ask for help I am trying to control him. I ask for consideration, I am trying to control him. I try to compromise, I am trying to change him. It is as though there is absolutely nothing I can do that is right.

    Please help me, I am absolutely unsure of what to do anymore!

  67. Dear Nora,
    I have read three of your books on the PA husband and, frankly, you have saved my life. I have a sense of peace about my life and my marriage – for the first time in 28 years. I am no longer in psychic agony. I am not confused anymore nor do I harangue my husband for even the smallest kindnesses. I am so grateful to you.
    I do have a situation that has not been addressed in your books. My husband endured a wretched childhood, with abuse of all types. What I don’t understand is the high degree of devotion he has for his relatives. He will do anything for them; any request of theirs is sacred. Our home is filled with furniture and art from his family of origin. Vacations are spent with his family. I could go on and on. Please help me gain some clarity as to why these abusers (and those who failed to rescue him) are so cherished by him.
    Bless you, again, for the work you do.

  68. Shelley, I’ve just noticed that your question here is not resolved. If you need a phone call, please let me know, so we can catch up on what’s going on….

  69. Nora Femenia says

    There is also help in this book:
    Boosting your self esteem, be your own heroine! at

  70. I really believe I have a PA husband, in the beginning of our marriage (5 years ago) I didn’t know what was going on, but a few months ago I started to research about his behavior and found out that is pretty similar to a PA, I have been reading about it and trying to follow the tips so I don’t feel so bad, but sometimes I loose my temper and my patience and I get really frustrated so we end it up having a fight were I feel like I am the one always loose. For him I am always fighting and he says I am the one destroying our marriage because of that. I feel like is getting worse and worse. I have 2 kids, one is a toddler and a newborn. Since I got pregnant the first time our relationship started to change more, I feel like is because he had already 3 kids from previous relationship and now he has 2 more. On my 2 pregnancies I never had emotional support on my sad or bad days. He let me carry heavy stuff, carry my toddler instead of helping me, never said he was happy for us to having our little family (when 4 years ago he was the one telling to start our new little family) He forgets almost everything, he is becoming lazy, everytime I ask for something we need to get done around the house (his duties) like cut the grass, wash his car, or fix the toilette etc) it takes forever to do it or doesn’t get done at all. My days are pretty sad very often and I feel lonely. I told him that but looks like he doesn’t care. He doesn’t eat the food I make, he always has an excuse that he wants only little or he is not hungry. When his other kids come to visit every other weekend show happiness and energy to play. But when are just my kids in the house, he feels tired, he doesn’t have energy, he sleeps long naps, and that make me feel very sad. Everytime we have an argument and I get excited he thinks my goal is to fight so he ignores me, and does not matter if I am crying if I am asking to talk, he says I am nt capable at the moment to talk decent and he ignores what I am saying like I am not there. On my mothers birthday we went to out to a restaurant only the 3 of us and didn’t say happy birthday to her, and that was because he got mad at me early that day because I was reminding him to not forget her birthday, so I got the punishment for being pushy I guess. Sometimes he ignores my oldest son, when his other kids ignore my oldest (3 years old) he doesn’t tell them anything. Actually when they are doing something is not nice or correct and I tell him always excused them in front of them so I feel like my word doesn’t matter to them. I got married in love with him and looking forward for our life together. Now 5 years later I feel like I look a lot older, tired, and the only motivation I have right now are my kids but still I feel very sad about my marriage doing so bad. I I feel very depressed hope Nora can give an advice. Thanks for taking your time and reading this post

  71. Family Mom….my husband is PA…without a doubt! And what you’ve written, well, that could have been MY husband! So yes, I’d definitely say you’re dealing with a PAH (passive aggressive husband)!
    It’s so weird also because those things YOUR husband has said…mine says the EXACT same things!! Is there a PA book of statements that they’ve read?? Weird!

  72. LadyD….I’m on the verge of asking my husband to leave…like you, I just can’t take it anymore….this last week alone I’ve almost been in two car accidents! I just cannot concentrate on anything, the pain and loneliness are so bad!
    I have an appt. with an attorney on Monday, so I can see what my options are…my husband will be out of town all week…thank goodness! My boys and I LOVE when he travels for work….how sad is that?
    I also love my husband…well, I love the non PA husband, the husband that our friends and family see…. the PA husband…that’s cheated on me twice in our marriage, the one who gives me the silent treatment, who won’t talk to me… yea, I don’t care for that husband at all…and yet, they’re the same person, aren’t they?

    I’ve prayed and prayed and asked God to show him how much he’s hurting me, and his boys….but it seems like God isn’t answering….But you know what…Maybe God’s silence IS an answer…Maybe the answer is to let my marriage go…God is a God of love….and this marriage of mine is not.
    So maybe the answer is to let my husband go, and then he’ll let God work in his life. I too, am tired…..Tired of crying. Tired of apologizing. Tired of trying to make this work. Tired of being married….but alone.

  73. Dear Nora,
    I have hope for the future for the first time in a long while after finding your website, sharing your help on Passive Aggressive Marriages with my husband who is also open to your help. We have downloaded your book and workbook for him (Philip) to use and I have been doing the same with your books for myself. I feel like I need some feedback more specific to my own situation in order to determine if I should stay with my husband or separate at least temporarily, from the standpoints of my own mental health. He is open to help, although he has never been able to initiate, so I can’t allow myself to have hope that he will continue to pursue your help and implement real change in his behavior, but I can have hope that finally I might find someone who understands and can advise me. I’ve just downloaded your book on Living with a Passive Aggressive Husband which states it comes with two counseling sessions. Is this the best first step for me to receive some feedback?


  74. My eyes recently came open to this information concerning PA husbands. I was relieved of some anger and absolutely amazed there’s a name for this type behavior. I begin to recognize the behavior when my husband was out of work for 2 1/2 years and his father died during that period. As a child, his father was very militant, womanizer, and repeatedly called him dummy’. He nor his siblings could express themselves. Unfortunately, I married the dysfunction. I’ve been married for many many years. Married in the 80s. Recently, packed my belongings and ran for my life. I did not understand why we were in this place in our relationship and I could not get him to open up to me. My home had become a silent war zone. I had done everything I knew to do to make things ok but he began to intimidate by tearing down the closet racks. Slamming doors or even when he would leave for work he would leave the doors wide open while i’m upstairs sleeping at night. He would never tell me what he was angry about but I knew there was something he didn’t like that he felt I had done. I begged, prayed, cried, cussed, been silent to get a response out of him concerning the our marriage-NOTHING. It amazes me to this day how he stoned wall me for MONTHS!… Literally for months, he did not speak to me and wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. I begin to suspect an affair. He treated me as if I did not exist. “IF” there was any interaction, he was very hostile, NEVER take responsibility, or NEVER wanted to be held accountable, prideful ( I’m sorry very seldom leaves his mouth). We literally became room mates. I became EXHAUSTED and somewhat intimidated which I had never felt before. IT WAS GETTING WORSE. Being that I had been dealing with an illness for a couple years, I could not remain in the home. It had become emotionally abusive and stressful. The stress had gotten to me so much that I’m now trying to wean myself off Xanax and I pray that the Lord does not let me die from the stress. I was in and out of the hospital with anxiety attacks, heart palpitations, extreme weight loss. When I left the home he made no attempt to find out where I was or even try and make amends. Married to him MANY years and He did not dial my number. After 2 months of me being gone, and me not wanting to be hanging in the wind as I wanted to either file for legal separation or divorce. I wanted to move forward with my life so I contacted him to try and find a resolve. Surprisingly when we met, he admitted he messed up, he wanted the marriage, and he was going to do what it takes to win me back. First month of his efforts was wonderful. He was buying flowers, sensitive to my feelings, taking me to dinner, showing concern about our marriage, etc. He was doing everything I had been praying for and I was really excited and looking forwarding to starting over and having a new relationship with him. It was like we were dating getting to know one another again. Now it’s the 2nd month of us trying to rebuild and a situation came up concerning our daughter and I wanted to talk to him about it because they are hurting as well as I family had crumbled. He completely ignored me and lied about it. It did my best not to push the issue and was gonna let it go. Now he has gone back to his old behavior. It blows my mind because it’s hard for me to process. One minute he’s being sensitive, loving and the next minute—NOTHING. I’ve expressed my love for him and how I do want the marriage-NOTHING. I’ve asked him what’s wrong-NOTHING. I’ve asked him if he was upset about something, he says, no but Has completely shut down on me because I asked him about a situation about our daughter. Ever since then, things have been AWFUL. I feel like I’m the one trying to win him back. He is suppose to be winning me back. Now I ask myself, do I really want him to win me back. I feel like this is insanity. I cannot handle this anymore!! I DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT! Those that don’t live with him, thinks he is the most wonderful person in the world but I hear PAs are able to mask it. Well, I’m hear to tell you, my husband is a pro at it. I had started getting angry with people when they would tell me that I had such a good husband. Really? Only my children and I know him to be this way. His own mother has no idea. My body is so stressed again, I can’t eat or sleep-losing weight. I’m back in the place I was when I was in the home. I left the home because of the stressful relationship. I cannot allow his behavior to kill me outside of the home. That would defeat the whole purpose of me leaving. We’ve been in counseling for 2 months. During this period of regress, he tells the counselor we are doing good!… ARE YOU SERIOUS! I could not believe it. I begin to think, does he really think we are doing good. He also told the counselor he’s not passive aggressive. When he said that, it dawned on me that he will never change until he recognize his behavior and WANT to manage it. I have 3 young adult college age children who are still in the home with him. They are now feeling what I was feeling. He treats them like strangers and only communicates thru text, if at all. My oldest, couldn’t handle it and recently moved away too. I grieve for my children because they need their father and I’m not there to buffer things. I pray so hard and feel so guilty for leaving them but they wanted me to leave because they saw what I was going through. And they are grown. If we make it to the next counseling session, I’m letting him go completely. I love him and I love being a wife but I can’t do it alone nor in my own strength. I am exhausted, I am exhausted. I need to heal physically, emotionally and mentally. I am so tired of crying! Right now, it’s about my health, sanity, and preserving myself. I CANNOT CHANGE HIM. BUT GOD CAN. So if you’re going through the same situation pray, step back’ and allow God. It’s too much for you and I to handle.

  75. I’m not sure if my husband is Passive Aggressive, because some of this seems true, but he also does get angry, though it is usually in response to me saying anything to him that he doesn’t like, therefore it is my fault (according to him). What made me start thinking he is passive aggressive, is the numerous times he will come home from work and tell me that he is going to clean up the kitchen, put away the dishes, fold the laundry, …basically whatever it is that I was supposed to get done during the day, but hadn’t yet (I also have two kids that ARE my life as well, and I put them over little chores that don’t need to be done at that very moment). Finally, recently, I called him on it, because it really comes across as him saying that I haven’t done my job adequately. He also says many critical comments under his breathe, which are very hurtful as well. e has all kinds of his own unfinished projects (that need to be done) that he can spend his limited time on, but instead tells me he will do what he thinks I didn’t accomplish. He does this most evenings, then gets onto the kids for what he thinks they should have done, and then it just goes downhill from there. He also is disengaged from the 3 of us most of the time. When we eat together, he just sits there. When we go out to eat, he watches the TV’s. The kids will try to get his attention, and he doesn’t seem to hear them, when I nudge him, or say anything, he says “I was just about to…….” He will also be very affectionate, when we are getting along, but it takes just a wrong word, for things to go down hill, and then again, it is all my fault, according to him. He also will never take responsibility for anything that goes wrong in our relationship, or he will say something to the effect “yes, it is all me. I am all to blame. Fine” I feel lonely, and sad for wasted life, little intimacy, nothing in any conversation holds true for longer than the moment (or a few hours), and I feel sad for my kids that their Dad is so disengaged and bossy. We’ve been married for 15 years….I feel so torn. I want the best for my kids and myself, divorce would hurt the kids, but our unhappy relationship also hurts the kids…do I just wait it out? Can I do anything to change it?

  76. I’m not sure if my husband is Passive Aggressive, because some of this seems true, but he also does get angry, though it is usually in response to me saying anything to him that he doesn’t like, therefore it is my fault (according to him). What made me start thinking he is passive aggressive, is the numerous times he will come home from work and tell me that he is going to clean up the kitchen, put away the dishes, fold the laundry, …basically whatever it is that I was supposed to get done during the day, but hadn’t yet (I also have two kids that ARE my life as well, and I put them over little chores that don’t need to be done at that very moment). Finally, recently, I called him on it, because it really comes across as him saying that I haven’t done my job adequately. He also says many critical comments under his breathe, which are very hurtful as well. e has all kinds of his own unfinished projects (that need to be done) that he can spend his limited time on, but instead tells me he will do what he thinks I didn’t accomplish. He does this most evenings, then gets onto the kids for what he thinks they should have done, and then it just goes downhill from there. He also is disengaged from the 3 of us most of the time. When we eat together, he just sits there. When we go out to eat, he watches the TV’s. The kids will try to get his attention, and he doesn’t seem to hear them, when I nudge him, or say anything, he says “I was just about to…….” He will also be very affectionate, when we are getting along, but it takes just a wrong word, for things to go down hill, and then again, it is all my fault, according to him. He also will never take responsibility for anything that goes wrong in our relationship, or he will say something to the effect “yes, it is all me. I am all to blame. Fine” I feel lonely, and sad for wasted life, little intimacy, nothing in any conversation holds true for longer than the moment (or a few hours), and I feel sad for my kids that their Dad is so disengaged and bossy. We’ve been married for 15 years….I feel so torn. I want the best for my kids and myself, divorce would hurt the kids, but our unhappy relationship also hurts the kids…do I just wait it out? Can I do anything to change it?

  77. I’m not sure if my husband is Passive Aggressive, because some of this seems true, but he also does get angry, though it is usually in response to me saying anything to him that he doesn’t like, therefore it is my fault (according to him). What made me start thinking he is passive aggressive, is the numerous times he will come home from work and tell me that he is going to clean up the kitchen, put away the dishes, fold the laundry, …basically whatever it is that I was supposed to get done during the day, but hadn’t yet (I also have two kids that ARE my life as well, and I put them over little chores that don’t need to be done at that very moment). Finally, recently, I called him on it, because it really comes across as him saying that I haven’t done my job adequately. He also says many critical comments under his breathe, which are very hurtful as well. e has all kinds of his own unfinished projects (that need to be done) that he can spend his limited time on, but instead tells me he will do what he thinks I didn’t accomplish. He does this most evenings, then gets onto the kids for what he thinks they should have done, and then it just goes downhill from there. He also is disengaged from the 3 of us most of the time. When we eat together, he just sits there. When we go out to eat, he watches the TV’s. The kids will try to get his attention, and he doesn’t seem to hear them, when I nudge him, or say anything, he says “I was just about to…….” He will also be very affectionate, when we are getting along, but it takes just a wrong word, for things to go down hill, and then again, it is all my fault, according to him. He also will never take responsibility for anything that goes wrong in our relationship, or he will say something to the effect “yes, it is all me. I am all to blame. Fine” I feel lonely, and sad for wasted life, little intimacy, nothing in any conversation holds true for longer than the moment (or a few hours), and I feel sad for my kids that their Dad is so disengaged and bossy. We’ve been married for 15 years….I feel so torn. I want the best for my kids and myself, divorce would hurt the kids, but our unhappy relationship also hurts the kids…do I just wait it out? Can I do anything to change it?

  78. Sad state of affairs is when you have to be grateful because he is sparing you any indignities in front of your family…
    Now, you are confronting tough choices: you can’t leave him because of money, and you need help. What I can see is that you need help getting back on track…you need now to work on yourself. Stop looking at what he is doing, stop expecting that somehow he will deliver in his promise to be a good companion, and proceed as if, suddenly, you are the only one making decisions for your future.
    You need a plan to recover your self-esteem. You could get my own book:
    You can follow the plan there, and focus on what is your life mission and how to get there. Once you are in the right path, you will feel better and more in control of yourself: your stress will go down (is coming from feeling helpless now) and you will figure out a simple plan to love yourself as to get your daily walk (at least 30 minutes) and a better food selection every day.
    It’s not a lot, once you tell yourself: NOW, my job is to focus on my life purpose and follow through a simple plan which will improve my life.
    There is nothing else so important or urgent now than this project. So, please, do it now!

  79. Dear Jen,
    sorry about discovering his behavior. It is really sick that he involves his daughter in any extra-matrimonial shenanigans he wants to have. It is really damaging her…and beyond what a decent father would do. This is called an “unholy alliance” between father and daughter, and it feels like an emotionally abusive behavior. You are right, perhaps now is the time to resort to legal resources…and sorry about not responding earlier.
    I wish you a better life, now that you have the truth in your hands, and can be sad and resolved to move forward at the same time….

  80. I forgot my login info, but I am “stressed wife.”

    Well he moved in with his girlfriend two weeks ago and never told me about the fact he’s been having affairs for over a year now. I heard this from my teen daughter tonight. He swore her to secrecy for a long time and she broke down in tears and told me all about it. She even spent time with her dad and both of his girlfriends. I knew his first girlfriend, I wondered why she unfriended me on Facebook, this explains it! I don’t need advice, just a lawyer. Good thing too, because nobody responded to my post anyway!

  81. Justwondering says

    While everything I read indicates that P-A is typically diagnosed in men. Why is it not equally diagnosed between men and women?

  82. stressed wife says

    Just celebrated (not) my 15th wedding anniversary with my pa hubby. Finances won’t let me leave, that would be the best and it’s my dream to get away from this man the minute I can afford to. I’ve started a new career and it’s slow going, I’m building my clientele, and in time it should prove to be a good business. I understand that things will never change with him and he never really gave a damn about me anyway. He still dishes out emotional abuse on a daily basis. Whenever I feel good he can’t stand it and does whatever he can to bring me down. I have to admit he did do something nice today. He is not attending a family (my side of the family) wedding this summer. I sent the rsvp card back today indicating that it will be my daughter and myself. If he went, all he would do is get drunk, make a jackass out of himself, then demand to leave early, ruining it for me. I was relieved when he told me he didn’t want to go. This whole scenario is so sad, he really had me convinced he was a good guy and we’d be together forever. The only real problem I’ve having right now is my weight. I need to lose about 30 lbs and can’t seem to stick to a plan of action. I feel scattered, stressed, and just plain lonely. I keep reading that stress keeps weight on, but how can I eliminate that when I have to stay with this man? If he left, we’d be living on the street in no time. I have a teen daughter and can’t let that happen. He threatened to leave a few days before our anniversary and I was a wreck. I’d appreciate any advice from someone who has been where I am. Thank you.

  83. Terry Graves says

    The Silent Marriage Saved My Marriage and My Sanity

    My husband breaks his promises, puts things off, is taciturn, occasionally gives me the silent treatment, and refuses to have sex with me. At my wit’s end, I was told by
    a marriage counselor that my husband has passive-aggressive personality
    disorder, or PAPD, a deformation of character.

    Hearing an actual diagnosis should have been a relief, as with a diagnosis one would expect a treatment. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Finding sensible advice was impossible, and I lived in despair for years searching in vain for answers and spent years nagging and appealing to my husband for fairness. Then I came across
    a blog and a series of small tomes by Dr. Nora Femenia. I wholeheartedly recommend reading all of Dr. Femenia’s books, in particular, The Silent Marriage. In it, Dr. Femenia suggests strategies that will restore dignity to both partners. The most important, I felt, is to think of the passive aggressive as “a wounded, cornered animal” and to treat him well.

    Since passive-aggression has its roots in severe psychological abuse in childhood, using a tender touch with a passive-aggressive husband will afford him a measure (perhaps his first measure) of safety and security. This and other tactics recommended by Dr. Femenia will not cure the passive-aggressive, but it will make a relationship with him easier and less contentious.

    A caveat: The Silent Marriage is for the passive aggressive’s partner. Dr. Femenia’s “Stop Your Passive Aggression” ( is geared toward the husband. I have not read this book so I cannot speak to it but, but it seems obvious to me that regardless of how much better a relationship can get when a wife follows Dr. Femenia’s advice, it is still critical that the passive aggressive gets help for himself.

    A second caveat: there are two books on passive-aggression geared toward the layman that, I believe, are bound to cause more harm than good. One was written by a member of the U.S. Congress and purloins large tracts from other authors; the second is by a psychologist attached to a reputable teaching hospital in New York. Both books recommend that a wife behave like a therapist, suffer in silence, and manipulate the passive aggressive. Do not bother with these books: they are useless garbage.

    Then there are various books by Theodore Million, the world’s
    foremost expert on personality disorders, some of which contained bits of
    information on PAPD. Unfortunately the most recent tomes leave the malady out altogether, since the committee that writes the various iterations of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual no longer included PAPD among the illnesses it recognizes.

    Dr. Femenia recommends compassion and dignity. The minute I started applying these, my marriage went from miserable to bearable, then to even pleasurable at times. If your husband suffers from PAPD, whether he enters serious treatment or not, Dr. Femenia’s suggestions and explanations will make it possible for your marriage to change for the
    better. Even if you are the only person whose behavior changes, you will be happier.

  84. Lucille2 says

    I discovered my husband had an affair
    nearly 7 months ago–He and I immediately went to counseling , he couldn’t do
    enough for me, but 2 of our daughters cut him completely out of their life. He
    moved to the basement and I have continued to live upstairs. I tried to go out
    with him in hopes he would come clean which he still hasn’t. He is even saying
    now to one of our daughters that he didn’t have an affair which is absurd
    because I have more than enough proof. About 2 months after doing much research,
    I discovered he has a covert aggressive personality. I always knew he thought
    differently but I thought it was just him. After I heard him tell my daughter
    about 4 weeks ago that he did not have an affair, I stopped contact with him
    unless absolutely necessary. From the very beginning he told me he would fix our
    family but he hasn’t. I am miserable. He works and comes home and there are no
    calls on his cell phone. He tells us we never appreciated anything he did which
    was only material things which we do appreciate, but his dishonesty and all his
    lies has us devastated. Books and the internet say these type people have to recognize they have a problem
    like alcoholics, etc. I have been married for 26 years and I feel like a
    stranger has been living with me. I still love him and don’t know why. We don’t
    seem even important enough for him to attempt any kind of honesty or change. I
    have prayed all my life with him and things have gotten worse.

    When I told him I no longer wanted
    contact with him I also told him what I expected from him to remain married to
    him–still no comment. I wake up every morning (if I sleep) with all of this on
    my mind and my mind cannot get any peace. I don’t want a divorce but I don’t
    want to enable his dishonesty and the question in my mind if we meant anything
    at all. I would do anything to make my family a family again but I can’t do it
    alone. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.

  85. Dear Susanne,
    thanks for connecting here! I know that this is a sad time for you, coming to grips with the root of your situation. As you know, I support the perspective that his behavior has been shaped in childhood, he considers it “normal” and can’t see the huge gap between his way of connecting and the real needs of an emotionally engaging relationship. He is not there, not because he doesn’t want, but because he can’t. I know that accepting this fact (you married an emotionally crippled individual) is very depressing…but at least you don’t spend energy in trying to teach him what a loving husband is…Of course, with a serious effort, he could begin to retrain his brain to allow emotions to flow…but nobody can do it for him. He could be receiving some retraining help so he can identify when his emotions are blocked, and accept them and let them flow…Alone, he can’t. You are just on target, educating yourself to not fight back, out of your need for a good connection! So, it is wonderful that you are going to use your own energies to re-discover who are you, what do you need to accomplish in this life, and how to live every day with peace and self-love, regardless of your marital situation. Wishing you a satisfactory trip into discovering in how many ways you can make yourself happy….best wishes.

  86. susanne wells says

    I have been with my PA for 26 years too. We are in therapy counselling now. I have only really discovered the issue in the past 5 years. I’m exhausted and ready for change. I’m crying because I am at the beginning of the stages of accepting this behaivor, and I’m now ready to learn how to handle it appropriately. I have not handled it good. I have realized I have made situations worse at times because I didn’t accept his behavior…controlling him back at times…to get the results I needed…which only made matters worse. It’s lonely knowing this now, but I am truly ready to stop and focus on my self esteem and confidence, and learn to love myself more. It’s so hard because when he communicates with me, I am very sad because it’s from “his head” and “fixing”…my challenge is to not fight back out of my need for a good connection.

  87. Sandra, great news! I’m happy that you got to the point where he
    puts you first; that is the real basis for any good relationship…enjoy and keep doing what works with him.

  88. Received this comment via Skype from a woman like you:

    Hi Nora,

    You helped with a lot of advice some months ago. I want to update you with what has happened since I last spoke to you. My boyfriend Colin finally completly committed to me. Although he had been a workaholic he has now made me NO.1 .. Amazing! He puts me first all of the time. He is still very busy but he has completely taken me into his life and I work alongside him… He will drop everything if he sees that I am needing him in some way.

    I left Colin for 3 months and in this time period we continued to text each other as neither one of us could let go. Finally my close friend Hank became closer and I told Colin that I had finally found someone else, this news drove Colin to distraction , he weeped uncontrollably and promised me the earth… I still spent 2 weeks thinking about this as he had let me down before.

    Finally Colin and I got back together and we have been together since January and we love each other very much. thank you for all of your advice.


  89. Hi NewlyAware,

    Things have been quiet here lately which is not unusual. The problem with that is when it’s like that I tend to let my guard down. I start to feel comfortable again until KABOOM! Something sets him off. I never know what it’s going to be because it can be ANYTHING. And when my guard is down, I guess I don’t watch what I say as much. Not that I’m saying anything I shouldn’t be but it really doesn’t matter because it’s just a matter of time before he finds something that will cause him to explode. At this point, I know that it’s not my fault but he always manages to make me feel like it is. I’m starting to get on edge now because it’s over 2 weeks of quiet, and the longer the quiet goes – the worse the explosion. I know he needs therapy for his issues. Not just marriage counseling but one-on-one counseling for whatever it is that’s going on with him that he doesn’t share with me. The problem is that HE doesn’t agree with that. I think he’s afraid of the therapist being honest with him and pointing out his flaws. It’s a self-esteem thing. I have begged him to go for help but he just says he doesn’t need it. I will try to think positive and hope that it won’t happen again. I understand that positive thinking is a great tool. I have always tried to be positive and hopeful about it. The problem is that every time it happens, it’s more and more disappointing and hurtful. It’s just so hard dealing with a man like this.

  90. tired-of-it says


    i just am learning the “song and dance” that prelude’s hubby’s pa…. i didn’t show any emotion, didn’t break what i was doing, which in this case was eating dinner…. and he assumed that i was burnt out on classes…. do i let him believe that? do i even respond to his assumptions? i’m so tired of the song and dance, he says he’s trying but doesn’t produce… i’m looking for work so i can have the money if this whole thing goes south and can support myself… i’ve been thru therapy before for a similar issue with my first husband… the 2nd one however behaved according to him as how he “thought” i wanted him to behave… go figure… at any rate, how do you respond to the assumptions…?

  91. NewlyAware says

    Dear Confused,

    It is so hard to keep putting ourselves out there for them to walk all over and treat us as their punching bag. I understand what you’re talking about. I also don’t know what to expect from my husband. Things can finally feel like they are “normal” and have settled down from whatever our last problem was and then out of the blue he will act a certain way that makes me think “what happened?”. If I were to treat someone that way, it would be because I’m upset about something and they’ve really done something wrong. I am relishing the words from this website that it is not my fault. I have lived there for over 15 years and it is so refreshing to know that I didn’t do anything to deserve this type of behavior. My husband lost his mom a month before we got engaged. I saw certain red flags in the 3 years we dated and I should have acted on those but unfortunately it wasn’t until after we married that I really came to understand there were significant problems. At least you have those 5 years and can know that he can be a different person – he just needs help from a therapist in dealing with his issues to get back to that person he was. I hope he will seek help.

    As for the sex issue, I haven’t wanted sex for a long time either but it was so unusual what happened during my pregnancies that I’ve found it quite baffling. To read on the website that PA’s will withhold sex to punish the other helped me to come to terms with a possible answer to why he was that way. I agree with you on both accounts: How can I be close and intimate in that way with someone that treats me this way? I feel the same. And I too am exhausted and worn out. I don’t have the same life challenges you do but I am very busy trying to ensure the house is run in a way that I want, the kids get to activities, and I work part-time as well. My husband encourages me to go out and do things, to meet with friends, attend events, begin exercising, etc. I’m sociable but never have been one to be overly sociable so doing things outside of my norm isn’t what I tend to think about or arrange. I find it interesting that he wants these things for me but when I do have something that I want to do, it inevitably has had its challenges with respect to who will watch the kids. He’s a good dad and usually he watches the kids but if he were to handle things the way he wanted we would go out often and leave the kids with various questionable people, spend too much on babysitting, and party more than I feel is right. I feel it just isn’t fair that he can plan his life how he wants and expect me to take care of the kids. I am happy to spend time with our children – I stayed home 8 years to be with them – but I don’t think one spouse living their life how they want and not caring that they leave the other with the bag is right. Things have gotten better with respect to this issue in the last few years but I was truly beside myself when the kids were real young and he regularly went off to exercise, join a sports team, or go drinking and thought nothing of me staying home with the kids – “that’s what good moms do”. I made it through those years but not without the scars. When I decided to go back to work, he went from being supportive (he always talked about me going back to work) to listing off all the reasons why it probably wasn’t going to work out. That was so frustrating but I stuck to my guns and things worked out. He got through it and probably wouldn’t even remember being unsupportive. I am rebuilding my confidence level and my job has been a large reason why.

    Like you, I too, have resorted to passive aggressive behavior back at him. It is sooo not me and is hard to be that way with respect to my personal integrity comfort level. I have done this as a means of trying to get him to see what it feels like but it has not been productive at all. He just doesn’t get it. Like you, I too, have chosen avoidance for survival. How can I have even a normal conversation when the slightest thing will set off yet another inappropriate comment or downright rude reaction from him? Then to add insult to injury, he will say I just like to pick fights and I was somehow to blame. My husband will often use the blame game. It could be as simple as telling the kids that “your mommy said you have to go to bed now so talk to her” when I had just given him my reasons why they should go to bed and he agreed. He doesn’t know how to take mature responsibility for his actions. I’ve clearly spoken with him about these situations and explained that if he agrees to something then there should be no blaming later or if a new decision must be made, he should say “we decided …”. Even when I clearly assert myself and show how things should look, he just thinks that my feelings are a reflection of over-sensitivity. He feels other women would not feel the same way I do. Everyone says being assertive is important. Sometimes I wonder where the assertive boundaries should be with him: If I am silent now, was that a missed opportunity at being assertive? If I’m assertive, was that a time I should’ve just been silent? I am tired of fighting but I’m also tired of being walked all over too!

    I don’t know if your husband is this way but mine has rarely said he was sorry. He has excuses why whatever he did was right or justified. I have been quite assertive in sharing how his behavior/comments has hurt my feelings but to no avail. He hears it all right but acts as if it doesn’t matter that my feelings are hurt. It has made me feel like I’m going crazy. I think to myself, any normal person would understand that what you did was not right – any normal person that truly loves the other would say they were sorry for hurting them and try to come up with how they can mend things. Instead, he just avoids me for a while (minutes, hours, days – it depends) and then acts as if nothing is wrong. He expects me to just pick up with our relationship like all is well again. I can’t trust him with my emotional well-being. I heard the term “emotionally divorced” a few years ago and this is definitely true of my marriage – I have felt that way for many years now.

    Is there something your therapist has shared with you that is helpful in dealing with your husband’s behavior or is it simply that you are validated?

    Good luck to you too.

  92. Confused says

    Dear Newly Aware, I have been seeing a therapist for a number of years now. For the first five years of our marriage, he was a model husband. Sweet, understanding, approachable, and very even in his moods. 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 said to me “you have no room in your life for me” Thats 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. I am taking it one day at a time, it’s all I can do. I call my therapist when usually after he’s had one of his irrational, explosive episodes, and I start doubting myself. She then validates me and gets me through it. This is the best I can do for now. I do recommend counseling. It really helps. I like this website. I will keep checking back for new posts. Good luck to you.

  93. NewlyAware says

    Dear Confused,

    I completely understand what you are going through. It sounds like you’re married to my husband! : ) I, too, have put up with this emotional abuse for these 15+ years, mostly because of wanting to have a two-parent home for my children. I also saw what kind of problems would come up if we were separated by watching his interaction with the mother of his daughter and I know that the issues will never really end. But lately I’ve been wondering if the reprieve between times of dealing with him would be worth it. My husband has also threatened leaving me (several times over the years) and claims he would do everything possible to try to get the children. This scares me – I couldn’t imagine everyday life without my sweet kids! I think the reason my husband now refuses counseling is that the last counselor said he had many issues that he needed to work on. Shortly thereafter he had various reasons why he couldn’t get to his sessions and he never returned.

    I feel for you. Keep strong and remember that it is not your fault and you are not losing your mind. I have felt the same way but this website has opened my mind to understand that it really is him and not me and that I just need to learn to focus on me and focus on interacting confidently with him. My biggest problem is that I react with anger and sometimes “rage” (nothing physical and no broken items but a lot of raw anger). This I will need to control to deal properly with him from now on.

    I’m considering counseling for myself soon. How about you?

  94. Dear NA, it is so clear that he is not having any respect for you now. You need to have a serious conversation with a coach, or a therapist, with the question: How can I take control of my own life?
    Please, do a serious effort to detach from this relationship and work on your own self-esteem issues; he is not engaging in this marriage at all, but manages to have some benefits from it, that are coming at the expense of your self-respect.
    Look at your own life, and make a plan to improve your life as much as you can. Read books, learn strategies to feel stronger, make new friends, start a business or a hobby and be clear at all moments that you are responsible for making yourself happy. If you look at him for that, he will use the chance to humiliate and trash you. So, don’t leave anything open: be reserved with your plans, have them created and begin doing things you always wanted to do before. Good luck, and write back!

  95. Confused says

    Hi Newlyaware, I too am newly aware. Even though we’ve been married for 12 years. I came across this website when researching “emotional abuse”. This is when I discovered that PA is a huge part of it. Lately, I feel like I’m losing my mind and doubting myself all the time. He’s got me convinced that everything is my fault. He has stepped it up a notch lately by threatening to leave which wouldn’t be so horrible if not for my 2 young children (one of whom is a special needs child) and I have no family or support system. I cannot make him happy. We cannot have a conversation without getting into a heated argument. Every little thing is a problem. Been to counseling but he won’t go back I think he’s pissed that the counselor pointed some stuff out that he didn’t like. He cannot take any kind of criticism, even constructive. I say it’s black, he says its white, etc He picks on every little thing. I feel like I can’t be me. There is no reasoning with him. He just doesn’t get it. I don’t know what to do anymore. Really I just need ways to cope without totally losing my mind. I need support and advice.

  96. NewlyAware says

    I have just discovered my husband is PA, thanks to your website! I’ve been married to him for 15 years and he regularly tells me that I am the one with strange opinions and thoughts – that I am the crazy one. I have let him know that I’ve been married twice before and the problems in our marriage were not problems in those marriages. I have thought “Wow, being married to those men was a walk in the park compared to him.” Why have I stayed so long? Religious convictions that I didn’t have with my other 2 marriages. We have 3 beautiful girls now and he came into the marriage with 1 daughter. I am amazed that your website hits on just about everything he has done which has baffled me over the years. When we met, I liked to touch and call him special pet names. He didn’t like these things and discouraged this. I thought I needed to understand that some people just aren’t overly affectionate. He has kept secrets from me with his daughter and more recently with our children (12, 10, 8). He has chosen to tell other people important information he should have shared with me and then says it in front of me to them. I have confronted him and said this is not right – he has excuses and tries to be manipulative in his responses. When I was pregnant with our first child, he was not interested in sex. When I realized it was an ongoing issue, I asked him about it and tried to mention things I thought may be the true reasons. His response was that there was no reason and I shouldn’t analyze everything. It wasn’t that we didn’t have any sex during the pregnancy but it was a considerable drop from previously. He had the same pattern with our other two children. This was emotionally devastating for me but I determined it wasn’t my problem – I’d tried to help come up with an answer and he was simply going to do what he was going to do no matter what. I’ve recently wondered if it was a punishment type of tactic since I was very invested in providing the best for our baby (I would eat healthy, absolutely no alcohol, no headache medicine, etc. – he would balk at my “extreme” concern for providing the best for our baby in utero). He has taken off his wedding ring while at home for years now, saying that the water under the ring is annoying to him (water that sits in the cavern of the diamonds). I have told him it bothers me that he does this and have suggested getting him a simple ring (no diamonds) to wear – he refused. I have sought counseling over the years and have taken him along two different time periods. He has rejected wanting counseling and claims that he “is there for me”. He was openly honest with the counselor that he felt I was the one needing help. I did come into our marriage with childhood baggage and this seemed to somewhat make sense to me; however, I did remain firm that I felt we needed help with our communication issues. He refuses counseling now, saying it just doesn’t help (he barely attended the sessions the last two times). I am frustrated that it seems this will be a lifelong problem to bear and I am quite concerned with the messages our young children are receiving from our interaction with each other. I don’t want them to repeat this cycle of behavior in their own marriages!! I feel I am an assertive person but my self-esteem was lacking in the beginning of our marriage due to childhood problems (most of which I feel have been healed and corrected now). I am regaining confidence and am cautiously beginning to ponder if a divorce is the right course of action in my situation. Of course, I could go on an on with examples but I will leave it with this for now. Please give me advice.

  97. Nora Femenia says

    Review your self-esteem. This is my only answer…your husband is feeling diminished because you are earning more, and tries to reestablish his “male authority” by controlling the money that you bring home. This dynamics can be very demoralizing for you, and has to stop.
    First, convince yourself that there is nothing wrong with you making money, especially when you share it with the family;
    Second, you deserve more respect, because you are doing exactly a lot to support the family.
    Third: have a conversation with him:
    talk with him about how decisions on money have to be shared, and that having a “money manager” controlling you is negative and diminishing your interest in doing your best. Explain the alternatives: does he want you reduced to the role of the house wife with no income? how you both are going to live then? Is he capable of going out and producing the same income?
    If his answers are no, no and no, then say:
    “From now on, I will bring the money to the bank, we will allocate together a percentage to support the house, plus some money for your expenses, and I will dispose of the rest on my own.”
    THEN, you gather your courage and do it. Or begin saving part of that money in a bank account only in your name.
    If you think long term, either your husband matures and accepts gracefully the situation as no damage to his masculinity, or he has to pull himself together and find a business or a job that produces the money that will reflect his worth.
    Is his challenge, and if he doesn’t grows to solve it, the future for the relationship is not very promising. Hope that he understands and changes for the best!

  98. Hi,

    My husband is controlling regarding money. He calculates everything, checks our bills and questions on a regular basis my expenses. He will often ask me why I purchase this or go there. We are not in debt and I am the main breadwinner in the family making 6 figures. He seems always very unhappy and unpleased…I feel trapped and often feel like I would rather be alone that to go through these episodes of arguments and screams..It is is way or the highway. What do you suggest I do?

  99. Nope. He won’t change. Don’t waste another minute of your life. Check out.

  100. Thank you so much! I will get that book and read it. I do need to boost up my self-confidence. I appreciate your help.

  101. Are you aware of our last publication? The one we told you before? in this posting/letter:
    The book is described here:

  102. Amen. Keep your heart open to the possiblity of him changing, but take action too. A really good read is How to Spot a Dangerous Man Before You Get Involved by Sandra Brown. Get it at the library. It will help to validate your need to move on to save yourself. I know you’ve probably already “invested” alot of years in this man/relationship, but if he refuses to change, how will YOU be in that many more years from now? Women are deeply changed/wounded by their male mates. There are good men out there who will love you as he is supposed to do, they are just really hard to find. Books by Lundy Bancroft are really good too.

  103. Two years after telling my PA husband I want a divorce, he is still “thinking” about how he is going to make the marriage better! If he has no idea after two years, he never will. I just need to get strong enough time to move out.

  104. I agree, it never gets better.

  105. You have to be very clear with yourself:

    Be positive and gentle;

    List the necessary changes without inducing guilt;

    Be compassionate and neutral, firm in your list of demands: “What needs to happen here is…”

    NOW: detach from the results: “I will be watching what you do because we happen to live together, but I’m telling you that this new attitudes are in your domain. I would be happy if and when you do the changes; but if you don’t do anything, don’t expect me to be destroyed by frustration or disgust. I will continue doing what I love, and enjoying my life….”

    Here is the clincher: Do not show any excitement or surprise if the does the same behavior as always; this is his baseline and he will stick to it. Don’t mention the changes anymore, but don’t do anything with him up until you see that he is taking his promises seriously. What matters is that you are always busy, doing things you love, interested and full of life.

    He has to see that he can’t destroy you with his usual shenanigans; or that you depend for your happiness of what he does, because he will be tempted to provoke some pain on you. Be neutral, optimistic and happy with what you do. And look the other side when he is trying to impress you with his bad behavior…..

    Let me now if this strategy is clear here, will you?

  106. what do you do when your husband wants attention from any women married or not
    like he made a cake and took some to a neighbors house the wife called and thanked him only, Since he made it and made sure he said he baked it.

  107. Beentheredonethat! says

    So what do you respond when you’ve done the “positive talk” and still receive only grief? Leave – or what then?

  108. 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.

  109. First, I want to thank you for your articles. They give me hope and understanding.

    I’m trying to exit a 20 year relationship with a passive aggressive man. He hails from a narcissistic family.

    Early in the relationship, I became the target of a stalker. I was in a graduate psych program at the time.  The stalker approached my professors trying to spread malicious gossip. One of my professors warned me that my husband was trying to get me
    to drop out of school. My husband denied it. I was frightened and left with my MA. The stalking followed me to every volunteer opportunity, every job, lunches I had with friends, and these unknown people even hassled colleagues in an office building where I tried to start my own business. I never see the stalker, other people tell me that a man (or a woman) will approach them with my picture, demand information about me, and say malicious things about me. I always assumed that the stalkers were members of his extended family but I never knew for sure. 

     I haven’t held a real job in 15 years. When I leave the house, the stalking picks up. I’m trying to plan for a divorce. We have three children.  He is filing for bankruptcy in the next few months, so I can’t leave until he’s done with that.

    He has left me three times in the past twelve years, each time promising to allow me to work in exchange for his return. When he’s gone, life is nice.  I can do anything.  If I look for work, take classes, run for office, or volunteer….the stalking picks up and he’ll find some weird way to sabotage me. This is the craziest thing he has done: I ran for office as a conservative and got a lot of press. This man signed our family up for food stamps during that campaign. I didn’t know he could do that without my consent. We never used the food stamps but I was incredibly embarrassed by that. 

    We haven’t shared a room for twelve years. We haven’t been intimate for five years. He’ll let me give him pleasure but he won’t do the same for me. This has taken more of a toll on my self-esteem than any thing else. I’ve been in therapy off an on numerous times during our relationship.

    The local police are sure that my husband is my stalker as it only seems to happen when he
    isn’t around. He has been known to be violent and during his rages he will say I am just like his mother (stupid and not worthy of respect). The police have come out a couple of times due to his rages but they have never arrested him.   The victim’s advocate at
    the police department wants me to stay quiet about my plans for divorce as they fear that the abuse and stalking will pick up if I try to leave.

    Here are my questions. Is it common for passive aggressive men to get violent? Or stalk? Is the sabotaging behavior normal? Any advice on coping with the rages or planning to leave?

    Please forgive the length of the post. I think it helped me process what is really going on.

    Thank you.

  110. Sheilah Davis says

    Thank you for your articles.

  111. Toby42169 says

    Wowee….This site has opened my eyes a bit.  I never saw my husband as PA before until I began reading all of this.  I see bits of myself here as well, however, I am proud to say that I have done the work to recognize and take responsibility for those behaviors and have made many changes.  The PA my husband exhibits is very insidious.  He words and actions have caused me to doubt my reality.  His constant, Defend, Deny, Deflect tactics have turned into outright verbal abuse now that I am no longer seeking for him to “understand.”  For many years, I always assumed that if he only “understood me” he would engage and communicate.  Hey, he loves me right?  So, why wouldn’t someone who says he loves me want to work things out?  I realize now that banging my head against that wall has just served to keep up the game according to his rules.  I have recently begun the difficult process of ignoring bad behaviors and praising all good ones.  I learned one thing on this site that I was completely blind about.  When I read the bit about self deprecation, (I SUCK) my jaw nearly hit the floor.  I never got it before that when he says, “I SUCK ~ I’M A BASTARD” after I raise a very difficult issue, that he was doing this to change the dynamic and get empathy.  I always thought of him as being irreverent and just wanting to divert the conversation because he was uncomfortable.  Big insight for me..

  112. Janet,
    you are hanging on the hope that he finally, will take responsibility for the divorce, while he is perfecting his “victim perspective” on all this affair. Well, he will not do anything of what you want to have done. It is best for you to pull yourself by your bootstraps and keep going. In fact, there is no other way, if you really want to recover your own life. Fortunately, your own child is grown up and in a good position to take care of herself. It’s you now that has to be the center of your own attention!

    Please, make a plan: 
    1) start divorce papers even finding a pro bono lawyer;
    2) make a list of your work prospects, craft your resume, begin hanging up in some groups to give you support while job hunting, and keep pushing ahead;
    3) follow the program of “putting yourself back together:” 
    –take care of doing yoga, going to the gym, walking daily;
    –watch your weight and do a healthy diet;
    –find things you love to do and get your daily dose of joy….
    –get rid of his things in your house, clean everything that is not yours
    –change everything you can inside the house: renovate, paint, etc
    –be creative in the mortgage payment dept: find roommates, etc.

    Finally, begin a plan of daily meditation and focus on creating the life you want for yourself…and when you find yourself thinking about your ex- do a serious effort to focus on your own needs,, wishes and plans…
    Your happiness is not so far away, but you need to re-focus on the new life that was given to you, and make it work for you!
    Be well,

  113. Janet, what is exactly PA about your husband? Don’t get it.

  114. I’ve been separated from my husband for 3 years now…..I was quite the mess for sometime as I had lost so much of my original spunk but through therapy and reading a great many books I began to get reacquainted with myself. He wanted to divorce me on an line website if you can believe that after 25 years….my lawyer said “don’t fall for it”……oh yes he had had a great job which he ended up losing because he had a run in with his female boss….she put the moves on him after I told him to leave….as “pa’s” have issues with controlling women he reacted badly to her advances and told her he wasn’t the least bit interested in her….all of this came out during his performance review and in the end he was dismissed after 10 years of working there….a inquest was held and the company basically said “sorry about that but it’s more like they side with the woman” and this woman has done this to other women…..they kept her on as they were grooming her for upper management….they relocated her to another area in the company and my husband was given his walking papers….basically they were the “perfect storm” colliding….he got a lawyer but she told him it would end up in court for 3 years and he might be lucky to see $10,000 so take the package….so when we met with the lawyer after this period of time he said he decided to “check out”…..basically said I’m going to go and grow vegetables….I nearly fainted away right then…..well that idea came and went and even in the fall he told me he just hadn’t wanted to work for that year and a half but would have to do something as the money was getting tight….I’m still in the house that still has a mortgage on and am paying for all of this with an inheritance but it won’t go on forever…..he’s done a bit of consulting but nothing permanent…..

    Here’s the thing…..I don’t want to pay for this divorce as he was the one who wanted it….wants to live alone….wants to be free…..likes being isolated….lots of mother issues which he is in denial about….we did a bit of therapy and he did lots of crying during that time….but it was always about him being a victim….that my daughter and I would shut him out….at one time he talked about building a bridge but of course you can’t build a bridge with the same behaviours that knocked it down and he’s oblivious to that as he has believed all of this is my fault….they love to blame and never take responsibility…..he said he didn’t want to feel he had to be a better father/husband….thankfully our daughter did finish up university and has a great job but it impacted her in a big way for those first few years….and I was left to carry all of her pain while he “avoided”….

    So the question is what to do now? He’s not working much so I don’t have much to gain financially at present other than he said I could have the house but of course there is a mortgage on it….yes I would qualify for half his pension down the road but I don’t see any support unless he finally lands a full-time job and I think he’s avoiding that so he doens’t have to alter his lifestyle….wants to be free of all expectations…..or pay me alimony….being a passive aggressive I want him to finally accept responsibility for this divorce….his desire and all…..he’s not pressing for it as he figures he has his freedom and he’s living alone the way he wants it…..had told me the night I told him to leave 3 years ago that I wasn’t “good” for him….the issue of not being able to handle responsibility or expectations as his mother placed too many on him growing up…..I’m trying to find full time work but so far have just secured some temp work after taking some computer courses….I had been at home for 20 years when all of this happened…I did a year and a half of elderly care but wanted something that used my brain as I slowly put myself back together…..lots of his stuff is still here in the house….he came for his bike and some speakers just a month ago and that’s been 3 years….I sort of feel like I’m holding his stuff hostage until he takes responsibility for the divorce but he’s not doing anything….isn’t it wrong to take responsibility for the divorce since him avoiding responsibility is the pattern???He had told the lawyer a year and a half ago that he would file but of course that never happened….he hates feeling bad about himself and is a big avoider of unpleasant tasks….I just don’t want to have to return to the lawyer’s table should he get a permanent job….to pay those fees….it’s like I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place……I’ve outlined via texting things I have come to understand and his comment was “I’m glad you have me all figured out now”…..I just heard his mom has lung cancer and I’m thinking when she passes away that the mother issue will hit him and who knows what he will do then…..just not sure how to proceed with all of this after 3 years….I know I will feel more solid once I have a permanent job and put myself back together physically…..

  115. @ Al Orne: LEAVE. That’s the only solution. There is a post above about s.o. who claims they’re re-trying and things have changed. Don’t believe it. After a while it will turn out to be even worse. A PA will NEVER put in as much energy into the relationship as you do. Therefore, the relationship will never be equal. On this website, there are so many tips about how to live with a PA and about his/ her psyche. The real issue is, however, that the PA doesn’t give a damn about YOUR psyche and your feelings. We all try to understand our PA spouses, but as a ‘thank you’ they’ll turn their back even more on you, because the last thing a PA wants is a spouse that sees through him… Again, leave. And don’t feel guilty, because he or she has already let you down and mentally left you months or years ago. I wish you all the best.

  116. Dear Al Orne,
    I understand your frustration, reflected in your famous phrase: single in a marriage with three children. I could not be more clear: you are feeling completely abandoned by him. As you describe him, he is acting as if he is detached from you completely. Is he detached also from the children? If so, there is little hope that he would show his affection for your group as a family.
    Regardless what can or can’t have happened in the past to cause this degree of emotional independence between you two, the gap is serious.
    You don’t say clearly if you approach him when he behaves badly or sometimes you reach out at him in more calm times…It would be useful here to see if there is any way of getting a reaction from him: if you don’t say anything when he behaves badly, but decide to appreciate the little “right behaviors,” like driving the kids to school, or paying the bills, or doing something common but necessary for the functioning of the home. This last situation should surprise him; he is not expecting from you any positive comment! if you can stop chasing him with PA readings, and do something extraordinary like appreciating something he has done, that will shake him up, and you would know that you can move him somehow and that his shield is not so impenetrable. Try to shake him, surprising him somehow,  only to feel that you have the power to do so….and you will discover that there are things left in your power. That will make you feel a bit better. 
    Hope this is clear, even if you can see it as a bitter pill; but you need to recover some self-esteem now.

  117. Dear Al:  I hope you don’t mind if you explain what the definition of “stuck in a marriage, but I am single w/3 children.  Let’s start with this answer & I believe you might be in the right place. 

  118. I showed this website to my husband.  Obviously, he just walked off without saying a word.  LOL.

  119. Hello.  Just found this website.  My life is crumbling, largely because I have a completely passive aggressive husband.  I like the advice I have seen so far but don’t think they’re relevant to my situation because I don’t think my husband would mind one bit if I ignored him when he behaved badly.  He wouldn’t even notice.  In fact, if I didn’t talk to him or look at him or touch him or anything ever again, he wouldn’t give it a second thought.  I am single and yet stuck in a marriage with three children.  Any advice welcome.  Thanks.

  120. Hi dear friends here…
    we are uploading this blog very soon…I want to give you some heads up…The Content that you like will be the same, but posting be much more easy!
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  121. Lesley,
    I have no predetermined answer to your question.If he thought that this kind of proposition would enhance his own sexual disposition, I guess that he got frustrated. The dynamics of PA doesn’t play very well including others…you are supposed to be the only recipient of his frustrating moves. When it didn’t happen as he imagined, then comes his surprise, because in that way you stopped being controlled by his usual antics.
    You can go ahead with your proposal, but be very aware that there is not a lot of space in this game and he will flip, or do something to go back to the status quo….

  122. Hello,  I have a rather unusual type of question. 

    Regarding the lack of intimacy in PA scenario’s, Nora what are your thoughts about an open marriage with a PA husband.  Mine…lol…plays or tries to play a bit of a jealousy game and was very interested in swinging which we did but it backfired on him.  He and I quote said “it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be”……this is because he thought it was just going to make me jealous and it would be better for him than me!  Boy was he wrong……so now he’s not too enthusiastic about it at all….lol.  I am thinking that perhaps I should discuss an open marriage but before I do that I am wondering what your experience with this are.


  123. By the way, God IS the one that is guiding me.  I have a firm belief in Him and know he is helping me through this turbulent time.

  124. molly195977 says

    Thanks for your response. I guess that I just needed to hear some validation. 20 years ago I was in a physically abusive relationship that I was lucky enough to escape with my life. You know it’s bad when they call the coroner in to take your picture in the emergency room. Two weeks out of the ICU and I had a job. Four weeks out I had a nice studio apt.

    This relationship is not physically abusive but I have to tell you, some days I feel like I’ve been beat up.  The emotional is just as bad and I’m convinced that in some cases, it can kill you.  I’m done. The next time he tells me it’s all about me, at least I can agree with him in a reasonably calm voice.

    Something snapped tonite. He came home with a bottle of rum and proceeded to get drunk. Not his usual self. Then the verbal started again. I kept stopping, reminding myself it is impossible to talk WITH him on a sober basis.  Under the best of circumstances there is no point arguing with someone that is drunk.  That’s it.  I’m done. I put in my ear buds and put my favorite radio station on.  Pulled up my half finished resume and worked on it for over an hour.  He finally went to bed. I imagine he got tired of hearing is own voice.

    I wasn’t in the medical field, can barely have my own blood drawn without passing out.  I was making a comparison to any line of work that I would have put 11 years into.  I was a secretary in different companies and excelled to the point that I was the top person that was sent out when working for a temp agency in So. California and Nevada.  I did so well that at one point a Fortune 100 company bought out my contract.  I climbed to the top of the company within 6 months.

    My obstacles are 1.  No vehicle.  Oh well.  I walked 2 miles round trip in a foot of snow for a couple of months when he left last year (on Christmas Day without telling me he was leaving).  I also lost 40 lbs and got back to my high school weight.  I have a nice bike and the bus stop is a shorter hike than last years treks.  2. Having a little difficulty with the resume program I’m using.  So, since I have had experience with temp agencies, I know that they test you first, and if you are open, honest, and show an eagerness to succeed, someone is bound to help you through some of these hurdles. 3. Limited funds but I learned to always keep some money stashed where no one can touch it.  You’d be surprised how fast nickels and dimes can add up and are not usually missed.

    My strengths: 1. I’ve hit bottom and you should see what I can accomplish when I start back up.  Proven track record on that.  2. I am motivated, have no problem talking to people and do quite well at interviews.  I’ve seen some of the people in the clerical support field. Bring it on.  I’m always early and love to stay busy.  I know how to dress and shop for deals at the thrift store to get started. 3. My mind is always working and have saved a couple of companies hours by implementing simple proceedures. A good challenge should keep my mind off the negative also.  4. I’m not afraid to ask for reasonable help with my problems. 

    You’re right, something about being older and wiser. Just wanted to let you know that I have looked for support groups in my area and there are none that I can find. Seached Meetup and googled everything that I could think of. Nothing. So, I found this little group. Seems like a good fit to me. Instead of meeting once a week, you responded to me a couple of hours later.  And I also just might learn something as I did from your post. Hopefully I can help someone else in turn with mine. 

    Thanks for your supportive words.  This forum is an invaluable tool. It won’t be easy, but it wasn’t easy getting this miserable either.


  125. HI Tessa:  Better late, that never, to your statement “believing this is a “genetic” inclination; I think this hits it right on the nail.  This behavior is so full of “negativity” I still can’t believe anyone thinks this way.  My experience, the experience of others on this site all points to the same “selfish”behavior, lack of self-esteem, narcissictic behavior directed to or at the “person” who “loved them”.  WHO DOES THIS!  Treats the supposed most important person in their life…………like a piece of garbage!  I’ve read no fewer than 15 books on this topic, most best sellers, describing what “behavior” destroys relationships.  I came to the same conclusion, based on Dr.John  Gottman’s numerous books on Marriages, Relationships, through working or everyday life, & they all come to the same conclusion……….this behavior which is blamed for the extremely high divorce rate will destroy any intimate relationship of any kind.  Since it is deemed almost rampant in our society as a whole, their does appear to be some type of genetic component which may turn it’s self “on” at sometime in life just like numerous diseases such as cancer, MS etc. etc.  Somebody should do a research study on this one!  There also appears to be a “direct” correlation to some type of “trauma, abuse or other negative” event in childhood!  Why some people come into adulthood, even though they may have suffered abuse as a child, unscathed & others who are permanently damaged by it is a DAM good ? 

  126. Hi Molly:  I was exactly where you are today, 2-3/4 yrs.ago; I understand your anquish!  I am here to tell you that you can pull yourself up by the boots straps & rise again.  I went through this for 33 yrs.  It’s not easy believe me!  You say you would be a skilled neurologist by now so I’m not sure where you left off w/your training.  Can you start at the point you left off or do you need to back-track a little bit to get going again?  Please, Please look into this if not for yourself, then for ME!  I want you to get back to the place you left before HIM!  You can do this!!!!!!!  Your 5 yrs. younger than me & I now realize even though I left my career behind 12 yrs. ago due to an injury which sidelined me, I am much wiser, smarter & better than ever!  From here on out, do only what is good for you…… more US.  Get to a domestic violence center; explain your situation & they will give you step by step help to re-build yourself & your life.  This is abuse even if he isn’t physically assaulting you……………they will recognize this & explain it to you!  Please, please do this for me if not for yourself.  If you believe in God, pray & ask him for the help to get out of this situation!  He will help you I will assure you of that!  Luv, Goldy55

  127. molly195977 says

    Today is my 11th year anniversary.  To detail what I’ve been through this last year, including him leaving me in another State with no possible work options, and at his financial mercy, I can honestly say I have worked hard to travel 5 states to try again.  This has been the hardest year of my 52 years on earth.

    So I thought we had made plans to go to an antique mall today, with a lunch/dinner plan.  Kind of wing it but spend the day together.  I can’t get him to talk or plan.  He does “this thing” where he clasps his mouth with his hand while his fingers are constantly moving.  Like he’s somewhere else completely.  No eye contact either. The only thing that he will talk about is “what he’s done for me “for our anniversary””.  He’s been on a frantic house cleaning mission for days.  After about the tenth time of him telling me this I called him on it.  He had earlier told me the real truth of this mission.  So I asked the question that set him completely off, “So which is it?  Did you do it for the reason you stated earlier or for me?”  That was all it took.  He doesn’t yell, he just raises his voice so I can’t be heard unless I scream, then I look like a total banshee. If I wait for him to finish, with a comfortable pause, and in a normal tone, he starts up again telling me (the usual line) “It’s all about YOU isn’t it?!” Over and over and over. I finally agree to stop the cycle.

    Over the past 11 years I gave up my job so that I could go into business with him.  If I would have put those 11 years into a medical career, I would be a very skilled neurologist by now.  But with my Husband, I am still crawling on my hands and knees, picking up after him.  On the job he barely lets a customer get a word in while he boldly sings his praises of what an accomplished person he is. He is talented at what “we” do but rarely get called back to the same job.

    We are constantly having money problems.  The solution.  The car “he bought me for a birthday present” (that I worked for also) is now his car since we couldn’t keep up the payment on his van.  I didn’t even want this car.  It was too expensive.  Finally got it paid off, now he has hocked it.  My wedding ring, in hock.  One memorable birthday a neighbor threw a small get together for me.  Hubby bought me a ring and necklace we couldn’t afford.  Made a show of giving it to me that night, though I was with him when he bought it and planned this charade, only to take it back for a refund the next day.

    I’m too tired to leave and have no friends or family to rely on.  I have a backpack.  He keeps telling me if I don’t like it here, I can pack it and leave.  Convenient after he’s used everything up and am no use to him anymore.  “Just leave” is his other mantra. 

    Happy Anniversary.  I just don’t care anymore and am tired of trying to come up with any kind of solution.

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