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Passive Aggressive

My husband very very very often throws that phrase at me when we argue. And yeah, I'm aware that I have my moments, but I was just doing some reading about "The Passive Aggressive Man," and OH. MY. GOD. It is him. Completely and utterly.

I'm not sure why I feel so shocked by it. It seems like common sense now. The forgetfulness, the withholding sex, the seeming perfectly happy one minute then pouty the next... Implying that I am controlling and unreasonable for not, for example, thinking it's okay for him to disappear to hang out late with friends when he hasn't given me ANY advance notice (we have two small children). Complaining and moping about how tired and depressed and miserable he is for MONTHS and then acting like I'm insane when I ask if he'll see a doctor/therapist for his depression. "I'M not depressed! Are YOU depressed???"

Just wow. Lights, coming on over here.
liltree liltree 31-35, F 10 Responses Jan 18, 2013

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Wow its like i wrote this x

This was a huge, huge turning point for me.

I have just googled and googled .... He ticks every single box ... Mood swings, withholding sex, nothing is ever good enough for him, nothing makes him happy etc etc the list is endless. Trouble is we have 4 children age 13, 8, 2, and 5 months only the younger 2 are his x

How do you recover after years of it tho .... I actually feel damaged. How can i ever progress to a normal healthy happy relationship with anybody in the future ????? I don't even know myself anymore!!!

It takes time. Honestly, moving out was the biggest best step in that regard. You don't realize how much tension they really put on your everyday living until you solidly get away from it.

In the short term, stop considering him. Take care of YOU. Get hobbies, build a support system, work on you and on your ability to earn $$. You CAN do it.

Thanks ... I live like i am treading on egg shells, i don't know why cos nothing is right / or good enough anyway!!!!

Oh how I have known that feeling. And it rubs off on the kids. As much as you hope it won't, they are affected by the tension.

Absolutely and completely. The whole house is tense. Its just horrible...i struggle not to cry infront of them. I don't want my children growing up thinking this is what a relationship should be like ... It just doesn't bear thinking about

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Dysfunctional marriages **** with your head, get you thinking weird ****, get you making uninformed choices which then feed back into the dysfunctional loop.

Very hard to bust that loop whilst you are exposed to the toxic environment, harder still when within the environment there is a spouse who is very keen to keep your thinking addled, and (your last story) who intimidates you.

Any chance you can take a break from the environment ? Some time by yourself will go some way to unscrambling your thinking. Maybe get you started on the difficult task of starting a policy of "me" thinking as you wean yourself off "we" thinking.

"Me" thinking is the only thing that is going to move you forward here. There is no "we" in your dynamic.

Tread your own path.

I am taking a brief "break" in a couple weeks and will have a good and trusted friend with me to help me sort some things out. Circumstances that my family is currently in have lead the toxicity doing a huge jump over the past few months. As awful as that has been, I'm certain it has led to me seeing what exactly is going on here.

I, honestly, haven't given up ALL hope yet, but I absolutely see which behaviors MUST change and which boundaries MUST be respected if this marriage is to continue. He made quite the mistake when he pushed this so far that I finally saw "behind the curtain."

I suspect that the likely eventual divorce will be messy b/c he will force it to be. My task now is to position myself such that I can walk out rather than climb out, if that makes sense.

A break, and a mentor !! Excellent idea.

Two classic symptoms from my own spouse.

Lots of silent treatment when she wasn't happy about something.

and...

W: Let's go out for dinner.
Me: Sure, where do you fancy going?
W: Oh, I don't care, wherever you like.
Me: [The standard Italian].
W: No, not quite in the mood for there.
Me: Fair enough, how about [the fancy Italian]?
W: No, not there either.
Me: Ok, [the French place] is always decent, I fancy that.
W: Naaah.
Me: I'm up for [Indian].
W: Nope.
Me: [Tapas], the wine's good and we can pick up a few plates of nice things.
W: No, it's not comfy.
Me: Ok, so what are you thinking?
W: Oh, I don't care, wherever you like.

Ah, the memories
Example #1 - When our eldest was about 5. Her saying to him - "Would you like a McDonalds....I bet you would...mmmm....wouldn't that be nice (getting the kid nicely revved up)... yesiree, you'd love a McDonald wouldn't you (ramping it up into a frenzy, the kid starting to get real excited)...yes indeed I'll bet you would really enjoy a Macca....... (pregnant pause) ..... Daddy will go and get you one" (!!!!!!! WTF ?????)

#2 - me getting home from work after a tough old day, play with the kids for a while, mebbe read a bit. At about 8pm or thereabouts, her swanning through the loungeroom - "I'll LET you get you and the boys something to eat"

These two bits of comedic brilliance used to get played out many many times.

yup. i first started learning about PA behavior form Gibby, who wisely counseled me on the ways of the PA man. it's really scary when you start looking at criteria and definitions and then the lights come on. hang in there. i can tell you from personal experience, i'm divorcing my PA husband who's been withholding affection, intimacy (on all levels) as well as sex for the last 9+ years. we do have kids, but i wanted out WAY before that. my advice to you is to read up, and also consider leaving NOW before you have children with this man. i can almost guarantee that it will NOT get any better than it is now. get out while you can.

YOU CANNOT CHANGE OR FIX HIM. EVER.

You might want to read up on divorcing a passive aggressive if things are heading in that direction because holy crap can they make things difficult (says the woman living in the same house as a man who she decided to divorce 6 months ago because he would rather stay and ruin her day than leave)

Yeah, I can totally see that. I've suspected it, I guess, for awhile (hence my caution when it comes to what I write).

Wow! Are you me?! ;) Throw it up to the universe and put more of your day-to-day household chores and child care tasks into your partner's hands. A little PA for PA has been my way to keep sane in a very similar and very awkward situation. Kids always know the jig the older they get so stay strong for them.

No "we" here.

Tread your own path.

Laurel, please read here very widely. As you read the stories and forum posts, you will learn much more about Sexless Marriage. And it is this knowledge which can help you make informed choices about your future.

May I suggest you Google "Are You Living with a Passive-Aggressive Partner?" as I think you might find it useful;. Also, it has some additional sites for you to read.

does aversion to intimacy fit in there too?

My dudes a little ............ Passive agressive too. How dare he withhold sex...(talking to self)

It now makes much more sense why withholding SEX is what he has stuck to, too... I see now he has tried withholding many, many other things, and still does, but the sex is the one that's most effective in making me miserable/punishing me.

YES. YES. AND MORE YES. ;)