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.