Passive Aggressive Husband

 If your husband represses emotions, what is left for you to do?narcissistic husband

We, women, spend much time talking about how we feel. Men instead are used to repress their emotions.  We keep sharing our emotional reactions to life's situations:  who did what to us and add a description of how we feel about it.  Sometimes, perhaps we talk and talk about our feelings as the focus of our connection with others...This is not common to both genders at all. Men have been socialized in a different way.

Most of the men are afraid to really experience their feelings because it's equivalent to losing control, and they are afraid of the pain involved in feeling their emotions, (feeling loss or failure or worst, abandonment),  those are the main dangers to avoid by closing up.

If there is a risk of feeling too deep hurt as to cry, men can't allow themselves to go there.  So, how can you know when and how your man is repressing his feelings?

  How We Repress Emotions by Denial

Life is always offering us experiences that can be scary or difficult, and we don't know how to deal with pain, or hurt.  We can choose to block the experience by getting busy, drink more, or deny the challenge in multiple ways. It helps if we "forget" the pain and bury it. Perhaps we can believe that it's gone, but repressed pain feelings have a way to stay hidden in different body locations...feelings can persist localized in our muscles, ligaments, stomach, midriff, or lungs. If we manage to repress emotions long term,  probably we will discover the pain coming back as some  body damage. A broken heart by abandonment gets translated years later into a heart attack.

Normally, the methods people use to avoid feeling their emotions are like:

  • Watching too much TV, keeping conversations superficial, not personal
  • Eating heavy, not nutritious food
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Using prescription drugs such as tranquilizers or Prozac
  • Exercising compulsively; working too much, keeping always busy or in motion
  • Constant intellectualizing and analyzing
  • Rejecting or avoiding emotional movies, books, or stories

 If he Has been Repressing Feelings for Ever, What are the Symptoms of Repressed Emotions?

Keeping negative emotions repressed is a long term battle!  and it takes constant vigilance to keep them buried...and hard work: you have to be always protecting yourself from the emergence of those pesky feelings. It takes some energy, every day, to keep repression in place.  If your man has mastered this habit to the point that he doesn't even recognize he is doing the active repression, what do you see?

  • Fatigue and lack of interest in life's joys;
  • A lack of ambition or motivation
  • Depression without an apparent cause
  • Loneliness, few or not personal friends
  • History of hurtful relationships with his family
  • Making a big drama of a minor incident, sometimes very late after it happened
  • Inability to express himself and/or talk about his feelings or personal matters
  • Having a chronic knot in his stomach, headache or throat congestion
  • Cynical, distrusting, and distancing attitude towards others and himself.

In this context, is impossible to share deeply personal ideas and feelings...She feels isolated, alone, and abandoned to her own devices. She has no way of separating a chronic emotional denial from the voluntary repression of meaningful communication called "silent treatment"...which will force her into resentment.

In this last situation, we have a silent marriage which could be devastating...No marriage survives this isolating tactic with the connection intact.

Please, share your comments below? we answer and provide our best suggestions!


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9 years ago

Lisa, I can completely relate with everything you have said. I have been married to my PA manipulative husband for 39 years. After years of depression and guilt I have come to realize (with working with my therapist for several years) that I’m looking for emotional love and intimacy from a man who is just incapable of giving it. I am in the process of moving out. I have stopped trying to defend myself or trying to get him to admit to his behavior because when I do that i lash out, get angry and that just gives him fuel. It’s difficult. I have years of frustration and anger in me – but I am not going to get any validation from him.
I think that your therapist sounds wonderful. Use this forum as a sounding board. Read other posts and you will begin to trust yourself again. I’m still working on it. Even within a few minutes I can swing from knowing I have no choices left but to move on and then a feeling of guilt will overwhelm me. I think this is normal, but the guilt starts coming less and less.
I’m very scared. Been married to him since I was 19 and I’m now 58. I have few friends. But, I know I have to do this if I love myself.
Hang in there. You can get through this. 🙂

Reply to  Lisa
9 years ago

Dear Lisa,
I’m delighted with this comment of yours…we always wanted to be a friendly and supportive help for people like you…
“This is one of the reasons I started psychology because I want to know if he is really PA or am I just bad and manipulative as he says. I think I know deep down that I am not that bad but I am looking for professional help to be reassured that it isn’t me. Currently, she has given me homework where I have to make this website my best friend, I have to fill in a life history inventory and a personality assessment inventory questionnaire before my next session with her. I’ll let you know how I go.”

9 years ago

Good morning Admin,

Thank you for your reply. I don’t have any family because that all go affected by my relationship with this PA man and I’m not sure on how to repair it because I was so much down in my mind, I did do something that was unforgivable, well I did try to apologise but it all fell on deaf ears about 2 years ago. I do have a friend or 2 but my best friend said to me that other day that if I go back to PA man, she is basically going to cut me off because she can’t handle me being treated this way any further. I think that was a big thing for her to say because usually she doesn’t get involved in anything. This is one of the reasons I started psychology because I want to know if he is really PA or am I just bad and manipulative as he says. I think I know deep down that I am not that bad but I am looking for professional help to be reassured that it isn’t me. Currently, she has given me homework where I have to make this website my best friend, I have to fill in a life history inventory and a personality assessment inventory questionnaire before my next session with her. I’ll let you know how I go.

Thank you

Reply to  Lisa
9 years ago

Dear Lisa,
congratulations in having a psychologist helping you! it’s time that you begin the job of rebuilding your self-esteem. Regardless of what he can help you with, you need to make the decision to take yourself seriously and make a plan for your life. It’s a great part that you already don’t live with him. Please, think on how you are going forward without him, or his non-existent help. You have enough with taking care of your children, and can’t spend any energy trying to raise him. It’s no surprise that you got depressed after the birth, because the reality of your non-marriage hit you in full force. Perhaps you can work in therapy how to detach from him, how to do a good co-parenting agreement, while you are very strong in protecting yourself from giving him more of your energy and/or love and support. I mean, from this moment on, only talk about how to plan a new, different life for you and the children…and ask all the support you can get from family and friends. You are not crazy, but this relationship is crazy-making, and the only way to manage it is to walk away fast. Just let me know if you need more support in the future…and keep sharing with us your progress in your new life!

9 years ago

How my husband represses feelings

I’m with a passive aggressive man at the moment and we are currently seeking help with a psychologist. That’s if he makes it past one session. I am currently not living with him as it was affecting the children, especially my daughter. My man has got all the symptoms stated in your blog except, I haven’t heard any hurtful relationships with his family but nether to say, his family is always hurting a lot of people anyway and they aren’t very close at all. They only get involved once, I’ve had enough and react in such a way that everyone around me knows what is going on. They are very quick to defend PA man for some reason, but they are never around to help with anything else. I have been with this man since 2010, before being with him; I was confident; successful (yes I did have debts like any other family or single parent family); I had a beautiful family in which always communicated with me and I wasn’t dependant on anyone. Now I am always doubting myself in my job in which I have been doing for the last 18 yrs; I’m doubting myself as a mother; I’d even doubting if I am a good person or not. Hence the reason, I have chosen to seek help and I have said to PA man if he doesn’t seek help properly, then I am not pursuing the relationship and I am moving on.

He is very good in suppressing his feelings to the point that he honestly believes he didn’t do something when he did and believes he did something when he didn’t. While I was pregnant with his first baby, he didn’t seem to connect or try and have any involvement in the pregnancy other than going for the scan to see if it was healthy and if it was a boy or a girl, once he found out it was a boy he was over the moon because this will make his father so very happy. When the pregnancy was nearing, I kept saying to him that the baby can come soon as I have had 4 pregnancies and the last 3 had come early but he kept saying that we have heaps of time and it’s ok, stop stressing. Then yes my waters broke and I was 3 weeks early and we didn’t even have a basinet set up of the baby to sleep in or even a car seat to take the baby home. Him and his father had to do it on the day that baby was born and I went home with the baby the next day. I suffered real bad post natal depression in which I couldn’t do anything other than to look after the baby and my daughter but all I did was cry every day all day and my PA man didn’t even notice and even his father didn’t notice, they just expected me to do everything while they supposedly worked downstairs in their workshop until 6pm at night. But when I did say something and I was crying so much, he would just say nasty things and put me down so much and left me crying and did not comfort me or even say everything will be alright, he would just go on with what I can’t do or not doing. I didn’t notice I was suffering post natal depression until I lashed out on him in front of his friends and I couldn’t understand myself in why I did that, so I went to the doctors the next day and they diagnosed me with depression and put me on medication in which I am still on because I don’t know if I am coming or going with this man. He hates responsibility as soon as there responsibility he finds a way of not doing it and has a an excuse or fights to get out of it, or he finds someone else to help or do it for him, for example at the moment; I’m not living with him and he is to take his son every fortnight to spend sometime with him and be a father, but he has 2 friends constantly around to help out with that. He hasn’t got any ambition to better his life and I feel that he is trying to relive his parents life in which I do not want to live like that as I have different morals and dreams. He doesn’t have any new friends other than the ones from school and he is a 41 yr old man, I always found this strange and he never wanted to meet my family or friends unless it was forced upon him, but then he will have anxiety attacks, he will even get anxiety attacks if we went anywhere at all.

Before having my session with my psychologist, I didn’t even know about passive aggressive. And she has asked me to make this blog as my best friend. So this is my first comment on here and I hope it wasn’t too long. I feel a little better knowing that I am not crazy now and it isn’t in my head. Thanks for reading

9 years ago

I was married to a passive aggressive man for 25 years. I just got a divorce two months ago and I believe that time was his greatest weapon against me. It takes so long to finally figure out that you’ve been hypnotized by the charm and deception that go hand-in-hand with these master manipulators.Once I discovered what kind of person he really was I was finally able to set boundaries and separate. In typical fashion he promised to get help but never did just found someone else to use as his puppet. The only problem now is that everybody else thinks he was the victim because he plays that role so well. My kids and those closest to me finally understand he is a complete mystery Full of self-pity and deception. I am slowly regaining my sense of value after 25 years of silent covert abuse. I urge anyone that is in relationship with the passive aggressive man who refuses to seek help on his own to get out. I was addicted to hope and so completely codependent myself. I’m so thankful for this site because it helped me to finally wake up and realize I couldnt fix this relational cancer without the willingness of my ex-husband to get honest.
Thank you

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