Although it may seem that your passive aggressive husband can hurt you by denying you big things (like a conversation, sex, a hug, or other connections), new studies are showing that our desire to be connected to others can ride on something as small as eye contact. This is why we’re sometimes bothered by something as “insignificant” as a stranger who “looks through us” as if we didn’t exist (something studied at Purdue University).
When your passive aggressive husband uses the cold shoulder and other intimacy denying techniques on you as “punishment,” it can feel doubly painful. First because you didn’t do something to deserve being ostracized, and second because denial of eye contact and other connection is very hard for any human to handle.If your passive aggressive husband has gotten to the point of not even making eye contact with you, we have some tips.What to do if this happens to you:
When talking to him, make a point of meeting his eyes whenever you have the opportunity. You never know when he’ll chance to look back, because sometimes he may be avoiding you out of some hidden shame or guilt. It will also show that you’re not going to back down and take his “punishment.”
Show him you’re not weak, and recoup your loss of intimacy, by making eye contact (and other types of connection, like simple greetings) with the people you love - and if you’re up for it, strangers you pass in the street. You’ll get a better feeling of connection to others and counteract the “loneliness games” your husband is playing.
Make it a point not to run or walk about of the room as soon as he shuts off and stops meeting your eye. This is important, because you need to break the cycle of: “I do this to her, she does what I want and leaves.” He must not be able to manipulate you, or even think that he can.
When you are mad at him, do not use his tactics against him (that is, don’t fight passive aggressive behavior with more passive aggression). This mode of operation obviously isn’t good for your household, and it will damage your peace of mind to deny connection to others the same way it is being denied to you.
Do you need more tactics for fighting denial of intimacy in your marriage? Talk to our conflict coach today, and receive a free phone strategic session.