Passive aggressive men share certain ideas about what makes a man "man"
We know that passive aggressive behaviors originate from childhood pain and an inability to deal with painful emotions, and that way men interact with women, especially in the home, is often dictated through a system based on control and domination.
Let’s say that the stereotype is that the man calls the shots and the woman (at least to his face) is supposed to submit to those shots.
Many times, the man getting a little tough is natural and even expected, because he is the dominator in this relationship.
What if that expectation gets switched?
Steven Stosny, Ph.D. makes a good point:
Men who bear the brunt of their wives’ resentment, anger, or abuse have the added social shame of “cowardice,” for “letting her get away with it.”
If he fights back he becomes the primary abuser.
If he takes it, he’s “pussy-whipped.”
For men who grew up in a home where men are supposed to be large and in charge, being in a relationship where the woman is often more assertive (or even aggressive) can create the need to respond back and put the situation back in his control. How can he get the control back from the dominant woman? Well, he can ignore her, retire to silence and proceed to sabotage said wife. Sounds like passive aggression, doesn’t it? It’s a story we hear a lot from passive aggressive men: “She crossed me, so I had to make her see her mistake.” We often seek to control the situation when we’re afraid of it or feel threatened by it, and in that case it makes sense that men who feel threatened by a more dominant wife will respond in ways that may at times resemble passive aggression.
It then makes sense why the passive aggressive feels that a “crazy making” situation is “fine” and that you’re “overreacting.” To him, he has regained his status of the dominant one (even if in reality, he’s acting like a child). He has reasserted his role as the male in the relationship and avoided the shame of being dominated by his wife.
Here, we have a clear vision of one type of passive aggression game. How does it help you? Well, one thing you take from this is see the game for what it is: your husband avoids the shame and pain of his past by making you subjected to his whims. You then are made to feel like the victim (and victims are victims because they’ve been dominated, right?) You can break this game by refusing to participate in it - it’s that simple.
Don’t be afraid to show your partner that he cannot always get what he wants by acting this way; take control of your own life, of loving yourself, of dreaming your own dreams and going for them; achieving what you want, instead of focusing on the various ways that your husband has victimized and controlled you. Take back your life, and put a wrench in the game! This helps your husband, too, to see that the game of control he is trying to play is merely an illusion.