Passive Aggressive Husband


 What if you could play with  your passive aggressive husband (without him knowing it)?

I want to share with you this plan, hatched in a client's call yesterday...
It is a brave, different way of dealing (kindly) with your PA husband.

PLEASE, read it completely!

We have here several perspectives that I have been proposing along the conversations in this blog.

You need to find them a bit reasonable, and here they are...see if you can switch your way of thinking and read this proposal completely?


Your husband is not evil, he is only an emotionally crippled person, scared and cornered in the relationship because he is failing again, this time as a husband...

He feels already that he failed at being a good son, because mother used to tell him that he was good for nothing (in words or by abandoning him). The purpose of this plan is to invite him out of his cave to play with you, his playmate. To understand how this plan works, you need to stop being a psychiatric entity ready to evaluate any one of his behaviors as pathological, and accept him, in his positive aspects.


Imagine that he is a scared five years old, hiding in a corner and suspicious that everybody in the world despises him.
You need to "ADOPT"  this 5 years old, while doing an experiment in raising him.
And I know you are not his mother, of course, but this is a desperate plan to rescue a situation...please, bear with me!


  • This husband has to be a basically good guy. No affairs, no shenanigans with money, or alcohol,  steady and reasonable behavior.
  • You need to be convinced that you don't want to divorce him....

 Your Behavior:

For some time, let's say a month, you are NOT going to call his attention to anything passive aggressive related.

  • No inviting him to read this blog!
  • Don't buy any other book about how to deal with a passive aggressive husband!

Basically, you don't mention this or other equally negative or marriage-hurting behavior.


Here we are using the "Whale Done" technique, practiced to teach big marine mammals like whales, to perform for the Aquarium, or places where public goes to see them perform unusual tricks.

Trainers use a method of constant reward of good behavior and ignoring the bad or wrong responses:

When the animal misbehaves, it doesn't get even a bad look!
It is completely ignored; nobody looks at it, nothing...

In the case of trained whales, there is a crew of people giving it extra rewards every time they do correctly their show.

Trainers even have people underwater ready with the sardine bucket to reward it.

So this is what you need to do:

a) Observe and Praise Positive Behaviors.
b) Ignore (be blind to) Negative Behaviors.

Of course, you need to be creative.
I hope you are not so frustrated and angry that you can't find anything positive to this case, you are ready for divorce now.

What really I mean is:

- if the guy does something like taking out the trash? say thanks and appreciate him;
- if he driving the family in a long trip, no complaining? say something positive.

Make looking for positive things to reward YOUR TASK.

And Remember to give him a sardine each time he does the right thing....


You need to be creative and sincere here; no sarcasm allowed, because 5 years old boys don't get it.

You need to be sincere in your appreciation of the good aspects of your husband.

And you need to trust me when I say that sometimes, is better not to look at bad behavior....
because then you get more of that (if he is behaving like a hurt but revengeful 5 years old).

Ready to try this plan at home?

Write below your reactions as comments, and I will post news about the evolution of this project with my you can follow what develops.

Let's see what changes can we can get in a passive aggressive marriage with a different approach!


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10 years ago

I have tried everything else so this is a last ditch effort. I can honestly say I have no love for him anymore and only sympathy. My daughter is starting to copy his behavior so it needs to stop!!! This is going to take a lot of self control on my part but reading your advice empowers me to do this for my family’s sake!! I do not believe divorce is an answer…

Reply to  Char
10 years ago


I have an idea….bear with me because it’s ridiculous:


So, you are nicely waiting for him to be real nasty….and then, he does it!

Yay! this is your opportunity to say:

“Wonderful, you are really wonderful my dear! you never fail to deliver this kind of comments! Thanks to your dedication, I keep learning what are my weak points…Please, don’t forget to criticize me in this way, it helps me grow!!!

NOTE: Here, your expression is important. you need to sound happy, really enthusiastic and grateful for his “help.” As much as you show enthusiasm, the more confused he will be (“how come, I want to destroy her piece and she is grateful? WTF”?) and that is what you want from him. Confuse him appreciating him being a nasty person; it works so well that he will get demoralized at being nasty, because he can’t destroy your cheerfulness.

NOTE: I know, this method takes guts, but I can tell you that it really works…

10 years ago

I am definately going to try to apply “Whale Done” to our situation. I am out of options and ideas myself. This is my second marriage and I was the PA in my first but then I took a 13 year break between that one and this one to deal with my “stuff”. My current husband has worked on his “stuff” to but new health issues that have led to disability have sidelined him and he has been applying a level of PA and sabotage that is beyond my comprehension. I have toed the line for over a year, able to see clearly when he’s acting from an “old” place but the ones that I just can’t seem to get are the ones that catch me off guard, after a nice day or time together, in a seemingly innocuous conversation he will take me down hard, even given 6 or 7 challenges or opportunities to stop and I have learned I have about a 6 deep challenge depth and then I lose my cool.
I’m not sure I can do this “not reacting” because the attacks come from the side but I am going to try. And certainly praising him and thanking him for the things he does will help somebody…if not him, then at least me.

Reply to  Ross
11 years ago

Dear Ross,

you are so welcome here! we have been writing about this particular obstacle to good relationships for a long time now. Hope to be of use to you; please, send us your questions and we will work on the right answer for you! thanks again…

11 years ago

interesting topic/website.wish I’d known about this type a long time ago.Married for almost 24 yrs.Husband filed, because I wouldn’t let him geta free pass for all hes done…I plan on looking around some more on this site.I just found out about the problem of passive-aggressive tonight.

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