End the Power Battle in Your Passive Aggressive Marriage


Are you doing the power battle in your passive aggressive marriage? End up feeling lonely and disconnected?

Communicating your ideas in a passive aggressive marriage using a firm but still respectful way is an art that takes years to learn. We have to learn how to squash that frustration and/or hurt that pops up when we think, “They should already know what I need.” In most relationships, each person comes from a different tradition, with different ideas about what people need.


In a passive aggressive marriage, this is even more frustrating because the passive aggressive person shirks responsibility out of childlike resistance, not just different family values.


So, how do you get across what needs to be done without turning your marriage into the power battle that your passive aggressive husband wants?


To start, the way that a request is said can change the tone in a second. Said properly, you can assure yourself that you acted correctly, even if your husband’s response is still passive aggressive. By keeping the tone peaceful (“We need to do this together today”) instead of commanding (“Do this today, and do it right this time!”) you may avoid triggering his sensitive self-defense, the one that makes him crawl into his cave out of anger about you disrespecting/rejecting him.


By keeping your cool, you will show that you are firm about making the house run smoothly, but you aren't going to be a whip-wielder. Here are some steps for asserting your needs (and moving on if he doesn't deliver):

 Here are some ideas to get a passive aggressive marriage under control:

Ask for help: “How can WE solve this issue? WE need to get the car to the mechanics this week, before Friday at 6:00 PM”

Confirm: “I will ask you no later than Wednesday night,”

Say what will happen: “Please let me know if there is a problem getting the car there, because I will lose my client if I can’t drive to see them.”

Alert him: “Do you think you can do this for me? If you can’t, let’s decide now what we should do instead.”

Close the deal: “I need to know that I can trust you with this project, very important for me.”

Finally: Keep in mind that you need to have also a Plan B, for if he fails to deliver at the last minute.

If things go well, you can praise him and show your happiness. If there is a non-delivery, then you go to Plan B without any warning or other conversation. Be fast, act in a sure way and don’t leave any possibility for him to imagine that his non-delivery will stop you from doing what you need to do. This will send the message that his “sabotage” doesn't work.

Everything one step at a time!

Some families have had success with these methods in particular, because they allow the husband to feel like his space is being respected, which makes him get more involved instead of sulking over imagined slights.

After several repetitions of this dance, perhaps you can begin again with the requests, this time with more adult messages, such as: “Now that we both know that certain tasks need to be done regardless what we would like to do, and can’t be stopped, I would like to know if I can trust you with this new task.” Gradually, you can try to work in messages about responsibility - but moving too quickly in the wrong direction can scare your husband off the trail to recovery.

 Have you thought of asking for your free coaching session? We will work together to create a plan to get more peace and happiness to your life. You will leave this phone session renewed, and inspired to finally end with confusion and inspired to achieve a change in your marriage!  And you can manage your narcissistic husband better and faster!

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