Is your Passive Aggressive Spouse Crazy-Making you?

Have you ever had one of those fights with your spouse where you just explode while your mate just looks at you calmly, making you feel like you have lost your mind?

He’ll call you crazy and brush off what had made you so upset in the first place.  Lets rewind and take a look at what causes this behavior.

Joanne, a working mother, is kept busy by long hours at the office and by two active children.  Her husband Keith is a hard worker but he does not enjoy helping out around the house.  Joanne has a busy day planned and asks Keith to do the laundry.  Keith agrees and Joanne leaves the house.  When she gets home, Joanne finds the laundry unwashed and crumpled on the floor.  Keith’s excuse is that he forgot.

This can be the last straw for Joanne.  It seems that whatever she asks Keith to do, never gets done, and she begins to see a pattern in his "forgetfulness"...he forgets whatever he doesn't want to do, but never confronts her directly.

After multiple experiences with this passive aggressive behavior, the wife may eventually explode. Then, to her surprise, her mate will remain calm, roll his eyes at her, and make her feel like she are the crazy one. Why is she screaming, when he unfortunately only forgot to do it?

Remember, a passive aggressive spouse will take his anger out on you in an indirect way.  He won’t come out and say “I don’t want to do the laundry today,” but will conveniently "forget" to do it instead.  When his spouse gets upset with him, he has all the excuses in the world.  He refuses to take blame for his passive aggressive behavior and rationalizes what he has done.

Furthermore, he feels that he must win the argument by convincing his spouse that she was the wrong one.  This type of manipulation is common for a passive aggressive spouse, and can add a lot of aggravation to their relationship. She can't trust to delegate any domestic task on him in the future, and in this way he is off the hook. And anger builds up.

Perhaps the only way is to work with the husband and find a trade off: if he really doesn't want to do domestic chores, what else can he do to help the overburdened wife? By discussing his resistance in the open some clarity can be achieved and expectations can be lowered to the level of what is real. It can save her some negative feelings of frustration, in the future, only if he delivers on the trade off tasks assigned to him.

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. In this ground-breaking guide I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today.


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  1. i really like this site
    not yet finished reading all but i,m hopeful to find a solution
    anyway i,m glad to know i 'm not a lonely case

  2. i really like this site
    not yet finished reading all but i,m hopeful to find a solution
    anyway i,m glad to know i 'm not a lonely case

  3. I agree with Karen and Pink.
    This approach might work temporarily and I am actually quite disappointed to see it offered as a viable solution on this site.
    I have tried it on my PA partner and for a couple of months I sincerely believed it was working ok. I remenber feeling guilty and manipulative for having to deal with his behaviour without his consent, and I was tired by the constant effort of hiding my hurt and pretending I did’nt care about things he was doing. But the worse was yet to come,once my PA partner realized my new approach, his anger and resentment were multiplied.
    He increased his efforts to control the situation tenfolds and turned into a real nemesis, sabotaging everything and spreading nasty gossips and rumors about me, his mother, sons and basically everyone unlucky enough to cross his path.
    In one final gesture of ‘shock and awe’ he suddenly, and without a mention, moved out on us the week before we were to transfer to the house we had just bought together. I have since taken an intervention order against him because I am terrified of what he might try to do to hurt me now that I refuse to see him or talk to him. I know he has been spreading rumors and lies about what really happened, but I am so happy I made it out of the nightmare my life had become (in the 7 1/2 years we were together) that I really don’t care about what he does or says anymore. All I have to say to women (and men) out there, stuck in a relationship with a PA abuser, is :
    GET OUT ASAP AND CUT ALL TIES !!! It is the only way to regain your peace of mind and your light.
    I have not spoken to him for 6 months now and friends and collegues tell me I look happier, healthier and younger (and that’s exactly how I feel).
    You owe it to yourselves to break free from the constant manipulation and abuse.
    Nothing will work unless the PA person decides it will.
    And that they will never do.

  4. I have to agree with Karen. Negotiating with terrorists never works.

  5. I am completely surprised by the “solution” by Mr. Warner. PA partners “don’t have a hard time expressing themselves”. There is no trade-off,ie, as stated – perhaps he can help his overburdened wife with other things if he doesn’t want to do the laundry…

    PA partners are all about control. Period. The husband in this example didn’t do the laundry because he didn’t want to do laundry, he didn’t do the laundry because she WANTED him to do the laundry. Laundry has nothing to do with it.

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