Can passive aggressive people love?

can a passive aggressive husband loveReaders ask:  "Can passive aggressive people love"?

Of course, I only have  a frustrating answer: "It depends..." on how do you define love. If it means grown up, mature and responsible affection for each other, probably there is not much of this kind of love in a passive aggressive marriage.

Here we have been offering before the idea that having an insecure or avoidant attachment while being a small child has lifelong consequences. 

 According to Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., “The impact of impaired bonding in early childhood varies. With severe emotional neglect in early childhood the impact can be devastating. Children without touch, stimulation, and nurturing can literally lose the capacity to form any meaningful relationships for the rest of their lives.”

What it has to do with a passive aggressive marriage? Easy, we can love each other as we have been loved before, by the first love object, our mother or the mother substitute. That is the model, the emotional imprint that tells us what "love" is. To reach out from a defective attachment that taught us to be reserved, isolated and defensive, a person needs to work seriously on himself or herself. Nothing else will substitute the corrective process that needs to be done: to learn to trust, to reach other, to love well.

So, the answer here is: your passive aggressive partner can "love" you as much as he was loved when being a baby. Look at the relationship with his mother, (or the memories he has of her and of their relationship) and decide if their relationship has the warm, emotional connection you want for yourself. Here is the truth, and if you are a wise person, you can see already the writings on the wall.  No way he can protest that he has learned another way of loving...if you don't see him ACTING in LOVING WAY, CONSISTENTLY, with anyone around him, assume that still the emotional healing work needs to be done!

Now, are you asking me how can he do this growing up effort? We offer a complete system for him:  4 Steps to FREE Your Marriage of Passive Aggression

And remember that it takes some good work to repair the damage to your own self if you have been in this situation of waiting for good, selfless love from your partner for some time.

My Kindle book:  "Stopping emotional abuse.." is the answer to get back to your own power and resilience!

About Nora Femenia

Sign up for your Free Coaching session with Coach Nora, where she will help you understand your specific situation and what would help you most.
Please, click here to schedule your no charge session


  1. I relate to what you have shared Terry…the sporadic, neglectful and critical sometimes in indirect ways and near the end of our marriage it was “direct”…when the anger was coming out due to his drinking….that was how he coped with his hard feelings. But his mother’s love was “sporadic” as she told me the father thought if you fussed too much over a boy it would turn him into a girl….so she loved her boys when the dad wasn’t around but when he was she didn’t…so her love was “now it’s here and now it’s gone”….very erratic I now understand which I how he was with me….

  2. I so relate to what you are saying Nora….the idea that people understand the need to involve in the other in a decision…that’s what “family” does whereas for “pa” people they only know about “survival” which is what I’m discovering with my husband as I’m trying to go through the divorce now after 4 1/2 years of being apart.

  3. Well, Terry, here you go. Of course he needs you! we never stop needing to have corrective experiences that can put the “sporadic, neglectful and critical attention” received to rest….What I’m trying to say is that they have nothing like what you give, to pay you back. At least, for now…I used to make a point to separate my loving behavior, and make it the new standard: “You see how I involve you in any decision, so you really feel a part of this family…feels good, doesn’t? this is what loving people do, without adding “but” or “unless” to the mix. Perhaps next time you could try to do the same to me? I’m always needing this affection show!”

  4. Terry Graves says

    Wow! I see what you mean. My husband does love me in the way his mother loved and loves him: it’s sporadic, neglectful and critical. Still, he seems to need me. I don’t want to do without him but it might be best to do just that.

Speak Your Mind