Hidden roots of passive aggressive anger

narcissistic husband

The roots of passive aggressive anger are hidden in our early childhood.

I tend to do a lot of internet research...perhaps too much. Of my results, I find that I can agree with very little of what is posted out there. Why is this? because most of the postings tend to make of a little piece of information a big foundational stone for all further developments. So we build this mountain based on a false premise, and the whole recommendation fails.

Here is an example, where you can see the whole package: 

 "Anger is a natural feeling that when left unchecked can permeate a person’s entire life and contribute to unhappiness, depression and sometimes violence. Uncontrolled anger is detrimental both to the individual expressing it and to the people around him or her.  Consequences of anger can be divorce, isolation and verbal and physical abuse. Anger can be expressed actively or passively. Passive expression of anger is known as passive aggressive behavior..."

Wait a minute! so, we all have anger, and our life mission is to control and avoid expressing it in passive aggressive ways? Is this the same as passive aggressive anger?

This reminds me of the horror I felt the first time I saw a commercially produced Xmas tree, a gorgeous tree with its feet cut. To produce the tree as a disposable product, growers cut the roots, and you are left with the problem of artificially fixing the trunk so the whole tree can stand vertical. The tree has lost its roots, and the whole tree is an empty shell devoid of life. 

The image applies to humans in this way: 

We all have roots: our past childhood where we learned either that the world was a welcoming, secure place, or a place where we didn't belong, because of illegitimacy, birth defects, color of the skin, wrong gender or whatever that diminished us in the eyes of our parents. First experiences shape our emotional responses for life.

Assuming that your anger has no known origins (thus denying its childhood roots) and that it happens because it's "natural," hides the whole story. Is like raising an adopted child never telling the child his origins...the hiding of his/her past will have consequences, among them floating anger against the world because a pervasive feeling of mistrust of the adults in the family, that only the truth can dissolve.  It's not possible to build up a secure identity when our own origins are hidden and people who say they love us are living a lie.

Humans react immediately to the conditions of birth and first year of life. A secure attachment will produce humans secure of themselves with no hidden reservoir of anger to vent. They can get upset, but the anger is proportional to the frustration and resolves when the person takes action to address the problem. If we had twisted roots, insecure or ambivalent reception in our first family, or made feel unwelcome because something that we could not control, as our gender, caused us to be rejected by our own family, then there could be a reservoir of anger that later on explodes when the inevitable life frustration appears.  Not being secure of being loved is like growing up with insecure roots, and we can't be as successful or happy as we want up until we identify the roots of anger and deal with this very primitive let down.

Here I need to say that we keep developing these ideas after recognizing the insecure attachment of husbands behaving consistently in a passive aggressive way.  This is the only explanation for the stubbornness of passive aggressive behavior. Dealing with passive aggressive people can be causing terrible damage to the whole family, especially hurting the wife and contaminating the children, but without identification of the husband's childhood anger, is almost impossible to get any man to work on changing it. So, any course that offers anger management without venturing into the hidden, childhood roots of this anger, is worthless.

Perhaps it can force some passive aggressive men to do behavior modifications, but a person insecure of his/her connections with others will always raise conflict and drama only to test again and again how much the others (as parents replacement) love him. If they show patience and love, perhaps is time to up the ante and do worst behavior....and so it goes, to the spouse's desperation. 

What is the way out? Step by step...taking the Passive Aggressive Test, is one. After that, getting a coaching session to map the childhood origins of present passive aggression, will keep the process moving ahead...If the husband is really serious in recovering the repressed roots of his childhood anger, doing the "4-Steps to FREE Your Marriage of Passive Aggression" will get this important step of recovery accomplished.

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. Going thru a lot right now probably some anger problems of my own and my ex fiance’s I don’t think either of us handled it very well , and of course ruined our relationship

  2. Hi I really found your article on anger coming up from your child good.& how it could be scarring your partner.I have been with someone now for about 4months now all thow he has not gotten physical with me ,but he has some scarring from his child good.which I can tell it has resulted in him having to taking meds& how he deals. With certain things in his life.with that being said I hope we can have a healthy relationship.maybe it would not hurt to talk to someone.thank you.

  3. hi Nora,
    I agree my husband is a product of childhood anger not being release the right way or should i say dealt with. and for years being married to him he has taken to out on me emotional and my kids to . he is in counseling but i don’t think he tells his counselor the whole truth about things, he never did with me, he said he want to change but i still don’t believe it.

  4. Hello Nora & thank you for your work.
    First I will always say. PA is not a gender based condition. It may be more obvious & prevalent in men but is not a sexist based disorder. It just looks different and comes out differently between the hormones.
    Take my family of origin, please.
    It is as much a family disease amongst the males as females. Actually 2 of 3 females & 1 of to males, you do the math.
    I see two things which are actually 1 thing that are the problem. Narcissistic wounds then no accountability then not reconciliation then……ending up in resentment. Unforgiveness is the root of carrying it forward. Next, OMG! Gotta run! Real life stuff! TTFN!

%d bloggers like this: