We have this exciting partnership with this blog: PAdontstandforpaloalto.wordpress.com
and some days ago I sent to Ladybeams, its owner, a 10 questions survey to answer. She posted the questions in her own site, and the answers are coming, strong and clear.
There is a lot that you can learn going through other women's experiences, right? I want to invite you by posting here one of the completed answers, totally anonymous, of course. I will publish the others in short notice...
PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE HUSBAND STORY NUMBER 1:
1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?
It took me a LOOOONG time (14 years) to fully comprehend that this was the way things were going to STAY. We had a baby together 9 years into our relationship; that was my ‘aha’ moment; co-parenting with a passive aggressive brings a whole new set of circumstances into play.
What or how did you feel about that?
I’m embarrassed about it. There were so many, many, many things that I should have paid attention to- but I was to busy RESCUING HIM and HELPING HIM and BEING THERE FOR HIM. Bleck. I take my accountability for it – I stayed too long, allowed too much, hoped for some sort of change and payoff for WAY TOO LONG.
2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you? Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?
I am guilty of ‘career spillover’. I work in a career of helping people. I spend my whole workday on the mindset of ‘help this kid get this done and help this kid make this change’. I thought it was great that my PA guy and I had this relationship where I was ‘helping’ him. Helping him, cheering him on, supporting him… what attracted me to him was what ‘could be’ not what actually ‘was’. I say now he is like a giant slot machine or a junk bond; you never truly get back what you put in but you spend a lot of ‘hope coins’ on it.
3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
I learned, and I evolved. I got divorced and I attended therapy to unravel from the marriage relationship. We have a kid so I had to change my interactions with him to work toward holding him accountable for his co-parenting responsibilities. I’ve learned A TON.
4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
I was very, very angry for a few years because it really sucks to invest all that into a person (relationship) and have it iliterally ignored and dismissed, but this last year has been like a brand new life – really what it feels like is that I’m finally back to the ‘me’ that I was prior to him; grounded, independent and stable. I can say this (shout it actually) I’m LESS LONELY alone than I was married to a PA. In a marriage, you EXPECT intimacy, etc. so when it’s absent you feel so very ‘cheated’ of it. The hardest part now is knowing that I’ll never get to experience co-parenting with someone who isn’t playing emotional dodgeball. Tackling every issue regarding parenting is like negotiating with a sullen teenager.
5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?
Best strategy EVER – disengage emotionally and deal with each issue with facts, expectations that are measurable, and document, document, document. I now do most of my communication with him either through non-emotional email (i.e. ‘I paid this amount of money for this item for our kid; you have paid this amount of money for that item. OR ‘You stated this … and the follow through is ….) or I communicate with him in front of a third party; counselor or judge. Sticking to the facts, disengaging emotionally, and stating the good things when they happen has been productive.
6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?
I didn’t stay married to him, but have remained in a co-parenting relationship with him. I’ve come a LONG way baby and I anticipate that my future is full of more of the same direct, nonemotional, documented interactions.
7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?
I know I’m the only one who has ever actually ‘tackled’ the PA behaviors of him; all others in his life simply give up or just circumvent him because it’s so exhausting to try and actually stand toe to toe with him on a responsibility he’s thwarted. Most just go dormant, go away, or get PA themselves! I don’t have that option; we have a child together and he has responsibilities to uphold.
8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?
I find them elsewhere – and it’s glorious when that finally ‘clicks’ – when you finally move on from the ‘slot machine’- there’s a giant, glorious world out there!
9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).
I always say that my time with him was akin to being a frog placed in a pot of water- there’s that saying that a frog placed in water that is slowly, slowly heated up will sit there until it is boiled to death. That’s life with a PA. It happens so slowly; things get less comfortable and more harmful for the partner at a very slow pace so by the time I started to feel the ‘wait, this doesn’t feel good; this doesn’t feel BALANCED’ – I was already in scalding water but blamed myself!
A PA’s greatest ‘weapon’ is TIME. You invest all this TIME and energy and devotion and commitment into this person and this person’s happiness that you feel like you have to stay. Ultimately, you need to leave the slot machine and cut your losses; that machine ain’t never gonna pay out.
10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?
I have a great future ahead. Old age for me includes travel, family and enjoyment of the world. Him? Beats me. Right now the path he’s chosen includes more of the same patterns for him… someone else took over my seat at the slot machine.
AMAZING ANSWERS, RIGHT? Here we have intelligent women telling it as it it for them. Would you like to learn from them?
There is always more help to deal with passive aggressive husbands!