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Amanda, not they are not in Audible yet…sorry about that!
I want to refresh your memory about the step by step plan to react to passive aggressive behaviors:
Can I find these books on Audible?
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
I am so grateful for this blog and the support in here.
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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!!
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
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.
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.
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?
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 (http://passiveaggressivetest.com/parelief) 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.
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.
I’m hoping this is the section where I can start a comment on this site
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
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: http://passiveaggressivehusband.com/tango-passive-aggressive-husband-victim-wife/
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.
Sue G. – I have been married for over 25 years; will be 26 in October. Beth
I would like to ask Beth how long she has been married
perhaps you did not notice yet that I have responded (partially) to your comment here…There is a post today in the blog (http://passiveaggressivehusband.com/at-your-wits-end-with-lonely-marriage/) And there are some nice women talking to you…You could, perhaps, enter the conversation? Best wishes, Nora
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
run like hell especially if you have emotional problems yourself. i am an emotional person and put in my share of wrong.pay 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 wrong.pay 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
Do you have any posts about parenting with a PA husband?
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!
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?
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.