How do you get to this barren, desert place where there is nothing but self-defense and contempt?
"My Husband and I can barely have a discussion about anything without us getting thoroughly annoyed with each other (subject matter can be anything from the most mundane to the most sophisticated) because we are both hurting and feeling unloved and unfulfilled by the other....so there's not much of an effort to really engage. Or interest, or excitement about the other person's ideas or feelings anymore.
The bad communication, constant traveling, blame blame blame and hurt hurt hurt followed by silence silence silence and loneliness loneliness loneliness all happened first and then you add that to a passive aggressive type A constantly working business man who is blameless and always focusing on "facts and data" vs. emotions and feelings....and you get to this place."
We need to be talking first about the shared responsibility to keep communication alive in a marriage.
To avoid getting to this place, women usually try to ask, demand, invite and cajole husbands into "better communication." They even make appointments with counselors and therapists and priests to get help.
The more they press for communication that includes reference to feelings (husband's feelings) the more he is in alien terrotory and more and more distraught by the request. Isn't it enough to bring home the bacon? what else does she want, that he can't or will not provide by his own will?
Of course, the usual response is more silence, more isolation and more defensive talk about how she is pushing him or forcing him to something that:
- Is not his responsibility.
- It is obviously in her sphere of action (the feelings talk).
So, why is he forced to say things he doesn't feel/know/care about? Is better to clam up, and wait for the storm to pas! Or, if he is forced, he will promise anything, only to get her off her case. End of story!
Finally, they can be truly bewildered at how frustrated the wife gets with them.
They say 'yes' when they mean 'no', or 'Sure! No problem! ' to even a benign request so that she moves on thinking it is all good .....but habitually they don't do what they agreed to. Because they never meant to go through, but wanted to end a demanding conversation, and the only way perceived to end it is agreeing verbally, and forgetting everything about the promise afterwords.
Or perhaps, only perhaps they could be hurt when confronted with the unfulfilled promise, because they were still thinking about getting to do what they promised, but procrastinated so long that they either became irritated about it hanging over their head, becoming angry at you because you requested something, or react to your frustration by eventually making such a useless attempt at it that you wonder why you ask them at all.
If confronted with their intentional non-compliance, and the sad result of their efforts that doesn't solve the original problem, they will bemoan bitterly that "you're so demanding or impossible" and that "nothing is ever good enough for you."
An impossible trap?
Of course it is! when are wives going to learn the lessons and stop requesting cooperation to do some domestic tasks, if they realize that they will get nothing in return? The final point is, let's be aware that we are looking at a battle in the war for control. The passive aggressive person is fighting a hidden war for "who controls this relationship," by using his own tactics, of which she is unaware of. Perhaps framing this as a fight for control could help understand such a destructive behavior.