Passive Aggressive Husband

passive aggressive husband

Are you feeding your passive aggressive husband's behavior?



When having my coaching calls with passive aggressive husbands who really want to improve their marriages, I find something very interesting. The first piece of information that changes the pressure they feel from their wives, is to explore the roots of their hidden war against their parent's control. The second one is to admit that in their present marriages, they usually experience their wives' desperate attempts to connect with them as another edition of the same past control...

It means that they are always acting in this manner because they perceive it as an effective way to either avoid any responsibility or lash out at others in positions of authority, in this case the wife. Funny is, when you look at her behaviors, the first response the wife has is to try to control his passive aggression with more supervision, control and detailed "what to do" lists that accomplish exactly the contrary effect... From here, an spiral of corresponding behaviors is installed in place:

  • The more she tries to control his behaviors, the more gross his passive aggression;
  • The more blatant his passive-aggressive behaviors are, the more desperate she gets and it prompts her to try to control him in more life aspects...
  • And so on, and a maddening circle!

Are you stuck in this process? The more you try to control his behavior, the worst he delivers?

If you are here, take a deep breath and STOP. STOP COLD TURKEY, please! STOP!

This spiraling conflict is a waste of your energy, you are going nowhere fast.....and there are other ways of reacting. As it is now, the only response you get is a bunch of excuses, that take you nowhere.

SO, what's the answer? Make an effort to detach from this expectation: ("If I tell him exactly what needs to be done, and supervise him closely, he will do it") You are his partner, not a supervisor!

STOP all the control; Look at what needs to be done; take the part of the tasks you can do, and do them. The rest, hire someone to do them or negotiate some way of taking care of them. The point is to reduce the number of issues you need to control and get done. Give him only the tasks that, if left undone, will hit him the worst.

Make him responsible for dealing with his anger: the anger from his past life, with the family he spent his childhood with; the present anger with the interactions he believes are reproductions of his past childhood abuse.

You can say: "I'm not your mother, who used to control you and not respond to your needs; this is your marriage, and we are both grown-ups."

Focus on the tasks to be done: "This issue is your responsibility: I will expect you to do it, if you don't (as a way of hurting me), I will protect myself from the consequences in this way."

Keep saying that:

  1. you now know he has old anger issues present here and now;
  2. that his projecting his old anger on this marriage is wrong;
  3. that those issues need to be resolved by himself;
  4. that you will protect yourself from his anger sabotages because they are unjust and ill-directed.

Basically, you are pushing him in the path of reviewing what parts of his childhood are now destroying his present marriage. Here is the resource with all the information necessary for him to work his hidden, past anger and connect with you in the now.

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Reply to  Shocked and Annoyed
10 years ago

In my computer, the link that appears is not an Adult Singles site. It is my site, and my book:
Anyhow, I will double check with my techie about this problem. Thanks for letting me know; there is so much spam nowadays…

Shocked and Annoyed
10 years ago

Do you know when I clicked on the link in “Here is the resource with all the information necessary for him to work his hidden, past anger and connect with you in the now.” I got taken to an Adult Singles Site. That was messed up. Unless it was on purpose, you should have that fixed. BTW, there was no information……but if my passive aggressive ex-husband would have clicked on the line, it would have given him another fantasy to chase after to avoid real life problems.

11 years ago

The way in which it all “spins” makes me chuckle now….it’s so true…the more we try and control and provide those “lists” of “things to do” the more they push against it although my husband said it was “one” thing good he learned from me……if that statement wasn’t so sad it would be laughable! Trying to handle as many expectations as possible is what I did within the marriage while I stayed at home….I often wonder how it would have played out had I been out in the paid workforce all those years…..would he have stepped up more? I don’t know…somehow I doubt it and things would have escalated in some areas while perhaps improving in others….to have to in the end lower your expectations with this type of man seems like continuing to cater to the “child” that resides within them….leaving them with the tasks which if not done they will feel the impact of is also a tough choice… husband had so many expectations placed on him as a child by his mother that I don’t think he would ever have shifted……living on his own I can only presume he gets enough done in his life to keep things running….alas that is not my concern anymore…….he feels he has deal with his anger about the past but it was only done “intellectually”, not emotionally where the damage resides in his right brain….but to release that zone would be to incur heavy pain so instead he believes what he believes living in denial of the denial….continuing with his passive aggressive behaviours of avoidance/resistance….he sees my issue of control as what made him unhappy….he doesn’t allow himself to see that as a trigger to his past so this allows him not to put the onus back there….the inner child gets to stay safe that way and yet he’s an accident waiting to happen when other people show up in his life with expectations and control. If I have ever brought up his mother he will say “don’t give me any of this psycho-babble”….alas when she passes away one day I’m sure there will be an impact but no doubt he will bury that as that too is his pattern.

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