Passive Aggressive Husband

 How do you understand marital conflicts, as a nuisance or as a tool?

marital conflict





When facing the task of sharing my ideas around...there is always this question before me: who would be interested?

Let's assume that you are interested in this short reflection?

Speaking about conflict is a gray area...people normally don't want to focus on it, but when confronted with painful situations that demand a response now...That is the moment when you want to recall or know the strategies to manage this overwhelming situation...and you don't have them

In my own life, conflict seemed to ambush me. Unexpected situations where others were upset at me, about reasons I could not understand...silly behaviors done without any bad intentions, done out of routine decisions, were interpreted as purposeful offenses. I didn't know how to deal with those sudden confrontations, coming out of the blue!

What I never saw coming, was the impact that my own actions could have on others. It was as if I was inside a bubble, only accountable to myself, going along in a world where nobody else was connected with me. People wanting to confront me felt as if they needed to shake up my bubble by screaming at me...or so they told me! 

Has it happened to you? people telling you that whatever you are doing, on your own, however stupid or banal, is for them an offense, an attack or a sleigh of hand? 

I was forced to look at the inter-connectedness of all people...if I go to my office dressing in this or that way, how are people going to react? what kind of message, conscious or unconscious am I sending them? The impact of this perspective is sometimes too much! I want to say: "whatever others think of me is their own business, I don't have to care about their experiences with's all in their imagination!"

Now, please, imagine the same scenario between two married people...and the possibilities are dizzying...  There is no easy escape hatch: I can't say: it's all in his/her imagination...because that imagination is an active part of the marriage deal: I see you, you see me; then, I see you seeing me, and imagining or interpreting Z, but is really X, (I said: "No dinner today, I will not cook") and you saw my laziness when I wanted to express my being so tired...You see me seeing you, and coming up with a view of you that is insulting, or demeaning, or denigrating my intentions...

Of course, you know what is coming...I had to begin sending messages and a disclaimer at the same time:

HERE IS THE MESSAGE: "Can we get take out food tonight? Can you get something fast?"

HERE IS THE DISCLAIMER: "I'm telling you this, because I want you to understand my (feelings: I'm dead tired today ) and we need to come up with the best solution to get dinner on the table fast"

I don't have an easier solution here. Only the option of explaining myself all the time, (for a looong time...) up to the moment when the other person, just by looking at me, will infer the right reason I'm doing this moment, perhaps this is the best definition of a good marriage I can come up with: "a permanent situation where the other person can see my motivations in the right way and go along, without me having to explain myself all the time."

Now, wouldn't it be a good thing? It looks like being recognized as the person I am! such a wonderful thing...So much, that I'm ready to fight if I don't get it!



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Reply to  Janet
10 years ago

Janet, you found this great truth:
we are in this life to learn important truths through relationships with others….basically conflict is the main tool for learning. You get to know what your needs are, how to go about solving them, who is your friend and you can depend on, who will not help you, etc….
When I see myself embroiled into some family drama, I go to the mirror and ask myself: “why in hell do you need this kind of conflict now?” As soon as it is clear the reason I need a conflict, it loses its excitement….and becomes one more of my questions: “now that I have discovered that I need some appreciation from people I respect, how do I go about getting it”?
My joke to myself goes as this:

solutions: can I buy it? nah…
do I ask for it? could be, but it’s not the same…
then? oh, well, will write a new posting, then!

11 years ago

Prior to therapy and self-awareness conflict scared me because I now realize it was pushing my early buttons…..I didn’t push away from conflict regardless though….I am more of a solution-oriented person….however being unconsciously stuck in my issues and all issues come from fear to some degree no effective solutions were forthcoming…..overall now I realize conflict is a learning tool to discovering our true self….a tool that is there to help us become more whole….it’s taught me that life is full of perspectives and making assumptions about another person based on our reaction never usually resolves anything.

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