We see lots of comments from women about passive-aggressive husbands teaching their children to be passive-aggressive, too. There are ways to stop this before it gets to be too much to handle.
First, you really do have to remember that passive-aggressive people have learned to hide their anger because the home life outlawed frustration and expressing frustration. Your husband grew up in a house where it was unsafe to be expressive, for whatever reason. Your children will only end up totally like him if your home is a repeat of the one your husband grew up in, and even then your child may deal with it in a healthier way. If you are concerned about your children taking after their father, start by analyzing how you react to the frustration, anger, depression, and sadness of your children. In short, you need to focus on their emotional needs at the moment and verbalize their feelings.
It is important that even if your husband is doing the opposite, to provide an inviting atmosphere for your children in which it is okay to express and address feelings. They can’t be allowed to think that suppression and denial is the way to handle emotions. If your children are particularly angry or emotional, you may need the help of a children’s expert who can give you specific tips for communication, releasing anger, and healing pain.
Otherwise, children are still impressionable in that, even if you catch them doing sabotage and covert retaliation, you can teach them proper ways of naming bad emotions and talking about them. You may have learned some ways of dealing with emotions yourself if you catch yourself snapping at your children when they cry about boo-boos or get angry when you leave them with a babysitter.
Your child needs to know they can say “I am angry,” although the specific way of expressing that is up to you to teach them. When they do, appreciate their voicing it by clearly saying, “I’m glad you shared this with me.” Finding ways of helping themselves feel better (“Playing with my toys makes me feel happy when I’m lonely”) will help you teach your children the independence that’s important, without condoning the isolation that your husband is trying to promote.