Sanctuary for the Abused

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Passive Aggressive Personality


From Living With A Passive Aggressive Man by Dr. Scott Wetzler

*FEAR OF DEPENDENCY - Unsure of his autonomy & afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs - usually by trying to control you.

*FEAR OF INTIMACY - Guarded & often mistrusful, he is reluctant to show his emotional fragility. He's often out of touch with his feelings, reflexively denying feelings he thinks will "trap" or reveal him, like love. He picks fights to create distance.

*FEAR OF COMPETITION - Feeling inadequate, he is unable to compete with other men in work and love. He may operate either as a self-sabotaging wimp with a pattern of failure, or he'll be the tyrant, setting himself up as unassailable and perfect, needing to eliminate any threat to his power

*OBSTRUCTIONISM - Just tell a p/a man what you want, no matter how small, and he may promise to get it for you. But he won't say when, and he"ll do it deliberately slowly just to frustrate you. Maybe he won't comply at all. He blocks any real progress he sees to your getting your way.

*FOSTERING CHAOS - The p/a man prefers to leave the puzzle incomplete, the job undone.

*FEELING VICTIMIZED - The p/a man protests that others unfairly accuse him rather than owning up to his own misdeeds. To remain above reporach, he sets himself up as the apparently hapless, innocent victim of your excessive demands and tirades.

*MAKING EXCUSES & LYING - The p/a man reaches as far as he can to fabricate excuses for not fulfilling promises. As a way of withholding information, affirmation or love - to have power over you - the p/a man may choose to make up a story rather than give you a straight answer.

*PROCRASTINATION - The p/a man has an odd sense of time - he believes that deadlines don't exist for him.

*CHRONIC LATENESS & FORGETFULNESS - One of the most infuriating & inconsiderate of all p/a traits is his inability to arrive on time. By keeping you waiting, he sets the ground rules of the relationship. And his selective forgetting - used only when he wants to avoid an obligation.

*AMBIGUITY - He is master of mixed messages and sitting on fences. When he tells you something, you may still walk away wondering if he actually said yes or no.

*SULKING - Feeling put upon when he is unable to live up to his promises or obligations, the p/a man retreats from pressures around him and sulks, pouts and withdraws.

A passive-aggressive man won't have every single one of these traits, but he'll have many of them. He may have other traits as well, which are not passive-aggressive.

"Imagine this: You've been invited to a party, but you realize on the day you're pretty sure the party is happening that your not sure what kind of party it is or what time you should arrive. Well, you're smart and you'll give it your best shot.. So you dress in a kind of neutral casual-dressy style and show up at seven.

As you come up the walk, you can hear the sounds of a party: music, laughter and you think, "This is going to be a great party." When you come up the stairs you can smell aromas coming from the house and again you say to yourself, "This is going to be a great party."

You ring the bell and your host emerges wearing a bemused, enigmatic smile... and a tuxedo.

"You're late," he says. "Im sorry. You didn't tell me what time the party was." "I thought you would figure it out" he says. "Well I am here now" you say . Your host looks you up and down. "That may be true, but you are not dressed properly." You look down at your elegant, if casual, clothing and then at his black-tie formal wear. "Yes, that's true. But I'm not that far from home. I can just go and change quickly and be right back."

You desperately think about what's in your closet that would fit with formal wear and how long it will take to press it. You add up the travel time, wonder what you'll have to do to your hair to look right, how to change your make-up.... after all this still seems like it'll be a great party......

Your host shakes his head. "But then you'll be really late." Dinner will be over and I was COUNTING on you to sit right beside me at the head table."

Your heart sinks. Your one chance and you blew it! Inside your head, you say several unflattering things about yourself, your abilities, your intelligence, and your potential, but out loud you declare, "Honest, I'll be back in 45 minutes. I'll be perfect. Can't you wait? You cannot imagine how you'll be back, but you want so badly to be the guest of honor.

Your host shakes his head. "Well, I don't know. But what are you planning to bring to contribute to the dinner? I've told you how much I like those special, individual nineteen-layer cakes you bake. I thought you'd know to bring one for every guest."

Behind him you can still hear the laughter and the music; you can still smell the exotic foods, and you can still see the champagne in his glass. And you still think it's the greatest party ever and you still want to be the guest of honor.

That is what an emotionally unavailable relationship FEELS like. You're just never quite good enough to get admitted to the party. You get seduced by the clear, often indirect and unspoken, message that something is just a little wrong. If you can fix that, the implied promise goes, you'll be the guest of honor and win the door prize: love...

But when you "fix" what was "wrong" the first time, something else is a little "wrong." and when you fix that, something else will appear.

Your host HAS NO INTENTION OF MAKING YOU or ANYONE the guest of honor. Your host also has NO ABILITY to make you the guest of honor - or even to open the door to let you in. Your host is suffering form emotional unavailability. This is the inability of a person to reach out and make a heart connection with another person.

What is so unsettling and painful is that you end up with the CLEAR belief that this somehow YOUR fault and that it's YOUR responsibility to fix it by being perfect. If it isn't fixed, you're not perfect enough.


You say to yourself that you would never get caught in a situation like that, it seems obvious... until - you are in the middle of it..... IT DOESN'T START OUT WITH UNREASONABLE DEMANDS of perfection. If it did, you'd walk away after the first five minutes. We all get sucked into emotionally unavailable situations because the process is subtle and progressive. The demands move a little at a time, inching you away from your power base, shifting control of the situation to the emotionally unavailable person. This person doesn't want love as much as he or she wants CONTROL. Emotions are unsafe; control gives the illusion of safety.

It is perfectly reasonable to expect an emotional connection with someone with whom you are in a relationship. We expect police officers to enforce the laws, teachers to teach, etc.. These expectations put us into a particular mnd-set when we're around those people.

Over time you expect a relationship to grow and deepen. When your partner turns out not to be making an emotional connection, it causes trauma; THAT IS WHY THESE RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO PAINFUL. The trauma then does further damage as it undermines your expectations about yourself and YOUR abilities to make connections. As illogical as that may seem, it's human nature to look for the flaws in ourselves when things don't go as we expect. We end up being traumatized twice in these relationships; once by the loss and abandonment and again by the loss of our own confidence in ourselves. That is why the end of these relationships can be so much more painful than the end of a fully realized relationship.. We ruminate about what we could have done differently to make it work...."

from the book "EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY" by Bryn C. Collins.


NOTE: Passive Aggressive Behavior is now known to be a component of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and has been eliminated from the DSM-V and combined with NPD.

While written in the male, females can be P-A as well.

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shared by Barbara at 12:31 AM



I think women should not expect much when it comes to men. Emotionally they really are not there and do not care. It just isnt in them. Well some may consider me a cynical man-hater but I have seen this in male friends and others. In the past women had more extended families around them where they had mother, aunties, sister, friends around them, instead of every nuclear isolated family in overly mobile society. Men cannot give women emotional sustenane. Is that controversial maybe.

1:20 PM  

With Passive aggressive abusers/emotionally unavailable men, they will NEVER, NEVER blame themselves for anything wrong that happens in a relationship. It is ALWAYS yours or someone else's fault. When you start blaming yourself, or keep questioning what you may have done wrong or could have changed, you are playing into HIS delusional way of thinking. In a sense, you are agreeing ith the person who claims never to be at fault for anything. DON"T DO THIS!!! Know that with these types, there is no such thing as good enough and no matter how much you do for them, they are NEVER happy. Know you did EVERYTHING you could, and that the inadequecies lye in HIM!!!

3:54 AM  

Over the past five or so years, I've visited this site numerous times. It's been a source of great comfort for me. I always knew my estranged spouse was passive aggressive but, somehow, felt confused because he is quite narcissistic and rages at me when the sulking doesn't work for him.

I studied psychology in college a long time ago and left with the assumption that passive people are rarely narcissistic. So, I doubted my perceptions until I saw the note you put at the bottom of this page. Thank you. Sometimes it is the little things that help give understanding.

2:40 AM  

What about the p/a woman??? does all the same apply?

8:10 AM  

I think the touches a critical point - "This person doesn't want love as much as he or she wants CONTROL. Emotions are unsafe; control gives the illusion of safety."

I find my self doubting all that I knew at times and wavering in a number of different areas. Its good for me to see and address these things overall but now its seems more amplified.

8:27 AM  

yes - the P/A women is basically the same

9:42 PM  

p-a's always give a tiny drop of affection to keep someone hanging on, and thinking there mightbe hope for a relationship.

2:09 PM  

This article has been very helpful.... Thanks.
I was wondering if anyone has experienced depression as a result of being in this type of abusive relationship? I am suffering it now. The abuse is so subtle that it has taken me years to figure out whats going on. Its so difficult getting some people to believe me because he acts so calm and innocent and denies everything meanwhile I lose my cool because i know his behavior and what he is up to. I wasnt always so angry but its built up over time.

5:00 PM  

My daughter has suffered in this type of relationship for 2 years now. He plays hot and cold with her. She loves him but breaks up with him when he starts acting cold and shady. Once they're apart for a few weeks, and he sees that she's trying to move on and be happy, he contacts her again and showers her with warmth and affection. Then she returns to the relationship, against our advice, thinking he has changed. A couple of months into it, he starts acting cool and shady again, same pattern repeated. She is totally giving in the relationship, waits on his plans, receives nothing thoughtful or romantic from him,he rarely brings her on dates unless he's trying to get her back. Seems to want to keep the fact that he's with her discreet from any social media. He tries to display a party type image. One breakup was over the fact that he cheated and the girl that he cheated with tagged him in all the pictures on facebook, humiliating my daughter. He even liked some of the pictures, but called my daughter crying a few weeks later. And much to our surprise, she took him back even after that. This has happened 6 times now. Not the cheating, but the shadiness- ambiguous about plans, always starting off good, then ending up giving her crumbs of effort and time. But it seems he always comes back- is the first one to make contact to restart the sick relationship. Any advice would be helpful. I want our daughter to be happy, and she's on an emotional rollercoaster. :(

1:00 AM  

Thank you, this was so helpful. I've been dealing with p/a people on online communities. I realize now why I'm such a good target, because I don't hide my feelings. I admit I'm prone to feeling learned helplessness, and p/a people love to use a person who is prone to self-blame. Thanks for helping me finally realize it's not my fault, that's why I could never please them, they didn't want me to please them, they just wanted to see me upset.

9:42 PM  

I been going through it 7 years two days ago is the first I hear of this and omg this is what he is he makes me lose my cool he pushes my buttons snd then backs up and tells me y I take everything to heart... im really going crazy out of control like im the crazy one obsessed hurt angry we broke up last week.. he had me begging him to stay with him... second guessing myself what did I do to him to makr him leave me my self respect is gone and I hurt over it.. I've had relationships but never did it hurt like this... I've never been so weak I know my strength im a strong minded women with a temporary set back...I don't want to be with him so now im on my way to recovery

7:40 AM  

Thanks for posting this. May I add that soem of these behavior scome with other disorders too? I for one recognize some in myself. I'm not PA, but I have Asperger's and borderlikne personality disorder. I can seem emotionally unavailable and have the procrastination and forgetfulness too. None of his is intentional. (Of course it could be I'm PA and not willing to admit it. You won't know since you've not spoken to my partner or family.) Ultimtely, not all people who can be a pain in the butt are psychopahts or narcissists. Actually, some people without known disorders can be a pain in the neck.

9:08 AM  

I am in a 30 year marriage of this and am so exhausted and broken. My son and I are always trying to win his affection for us. It is impossible. I believe he really tries to love us but it's all too much effort for him. I only just last night began realizing that he opperates in p/a behavior. When I saw this article, it broke my heart. I am realizing that I may live my whole life mostly alone. He refuses to take me on dates. I am never deserving enough. Everyone and everything else is more important than our son and me. He can't finish things for us. Our home is broken down and half built. He feels needed other places away from us. He ALWAYS turns everything around and makes me look wrong and crazy. ALWAYS ALWAYS. I have to be main bread winner, and do everything emotional including all discipline of our son and homeschooling. I have to take care of the home and all family responsibilities that require emotional or spiritual support. He tells me it is wrong of me to expect intimacy from him and dates, etc. He is dearly loved and respected in public. They think he's wonderful. He will give his shirt off his back to a stranger. He punishes us with the silent treatment. Longest length of this was 4 years. He does not believe he's punishing us and tells me I don't understand him. I think it's very cruel. I am going through a bad spell particularly now as he wants all rights and very little responsibility. We are both Christians. I had to leave our family church because he ignores us there so badly, he caused very uncomfortable problems for us there. He often sets up relationships to where he is loved dearly by people and those people end up treating my son and me badly. When the people talk badly about us to him, he doesn't stop it and doesn't tell them the truth about us or stand up for us. He enjoys it. It's like we are his victims. I have always felt neglected and abused. He very intelligently shows me what a good guy he is and how wrong I am. He refuses marriage counseling. He purposely stays in relationships he's saboutaged for us. He says he is demonstrating to them what a good guy he is to be kind to them even though they hurt his family. Christian love. He also has Aspergers tendencies. A professional called it a personality disorder. I feel like nothing - very, very small. He makes me feel like he's being very generous to me (mercy and grace) to continue in this relationship because I am such a bad person. He has broken most of his promises to our son and to me. How does a person stay committed to the marriage and survive? I'm serious - because I took my vows seriously to God and to my husband.

7:47 PM  

The only thing that worked with my PA-NARC husband: DIVORCE .

I spend almost 10 years trying yo "fix" all that was wrong WITH ME, while he skipped through the relationship, giving me crumbs, killing my self esteem, making me doubt my own sanity only to realize that I cant fix what I didn't break.

He gained too much from his maladaptive behavior and has convinced everyone that "hes the harmed party, who only wanted to love me." Yeah, cry me a river.

And quite frankly, anyone who believes him--especially those who I informed about his abuse and crazy-making-- can likewise, kiss my ass.

The one thing about these guys is that they will eventually show their true colors. And the folks who had their back, are targt #1 for his wrath.

9:48 PM  

I also am living with a passive aggressive husband for 30 years. I started dating him at 18 years old and I will be turning 50 this year. Four years ago we started counseling to try to repair our marriage after he had an affair, which by the way, the counselors called an exit affair for her, and he has used that to have a pity party for himself and anger for being used. He says he takes responsibility, while still blaming her. Ultimately the affair was just a continuation of the blatant disregard and disrespect that he has shown me on a daily basis for years. His father's mother died when he was three and I believe he was emotionally abusive to his wife, my mother-in-law. She had a brother die on the day she was born and her mother never celebrated her birthday. Consequently, she has no empathy and is very practical. Their marriage had NO intimacy and I begged my husband not to treat me the way that he had treated her. Their dysfunction has severely impaired my husbands ability to have an intimate relationship with anyone. He is conflict avoidant and passive aggressive. He blames me for my anger, and uses a defense mechanism the counselor calls oblivion because he says he has no ill intentions, he just says he cannot connect the dots. His behavior did not start to become so emotionally abusive until I became a stay at home mom 21 years ago. I had a career in public accounting. We have four children all of which I have homeschooled. One is in college at an ivy league school, another is ready to go to college and then I have an eight and four year old. I would love to find a support group to be able to talk to someone about how to set boundaries and manage his passive aggressive behavior. I just had a friend tell me that all husbands act like my husband and I was overreacting and obsessive about it. He, like all the people described here, is charismatic, funny and a people pleaser. You would never know how he treats me outside of our home. I don't think our children even know what he does to me. He will make mean comments in a very casual calm way like "I wish I could squander my time the way you have done the last 20 years." He said this to me while he was in the middle of the affair but his behavior says much the same to me on a daily basis. I would like to find a healthy way to manage what I am dealing with. Does anyone know of an online support group? I need help recognizing the patterns, and then extracting myself. He will argue with me until all hours of the night, he will badger me with indirect and vague comments and then claim innocence or lack of bad intention. I need to find a way to get some help. Counselors have been consumed with his issues and basically say they cannot help me until his issues change. They say I have justified anger, and that my outbursts are normal but that does not really help. I have conflicting feelings in that I need to leave to escape his behavior and at the same time feel that I cannot because of guilt over what it would do to my children, and fear of trying to manage everything on my own, I also feel I made a covenant before God but also feel that empowers him to continue the abuse. I haven't worked for 21 years. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

11:27 AM  

To you women and wives out there complaining that you have a PA husband & are not doing anything about it ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS...I don't feel sorry for you. To me, it's the same thing when you hear about a child getting abused by the father & the mother does NOTHING! It's the same exact thing. Do you love your child so little that you are willing to show your child that crazymaking & rugsweeping is ok. You son will grow up to do the same to his wife or your daughter will end up picking someone like her lovely PA daddy. IT IS NOT OK! Put your effing BITCH BOOTS ON & 180 his ass. If you don't know what the 180 it. This man doesn't deserve you or your children, better yet YOUR CHILDREN DON'T DESERVE THE ABUSE because no matter how you slice it, it is abuse...indirect abuse but still ABUSE!

4:20 AM  

I don't think we are looking for your pity, we are looking for solutions! If you study the information on divorce you will find that women are more apt to live in poverty, the children have higher risks of even worse issues like incarceration, and what is to say that the PA husband will not fight and retain custody? Walking out the door, doesn't necessarily solve the problem nor is it an option for some women. Furthermore, in divorce, the father is entitled to visitation where the child will not be protected from the father's behavior. All of the PA behavior will be directed at them because a PA needs someone on whom to take out their frustrations.

Here is some information on the effects of divorce on the children so you an gain some understanding on the real dilemma.

Research comparing children of divorced parents to children with married parents shows:

Children from divorced homes suffer academically. They experience high levels of behavioral problems. Their grades suffer, and they are less likely to graduate from high school.2
Kids whose parents divorce are substantially more likely to be incarcerated for committing a crime as a juvenile.3
Because the custodial parent's income drops substantially after a divorce, children in divorced homes are almost five times more likely to live in poverty than are children with married parents.4
Teens from divorced homes are much more likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, as well as sexual intercourse than are those from intact families.5
Before you say, "Not my kid," remember that the children and teens represented in these statistics are normal kids, probably not much different from yours. Their parents didn't think they would get involved in these things, either. Again, we're looking at increased risks.

10:12 AM  

A few more statistics to consider:

Children from divorced homes experience illness more frequently and recover from sickness more slowly.6 They are also more likely to suffer child abuse.7
Children of divorced parents suffer more frequently from symptoms of psychological distress.8 And the emotional scars of divorce last into adulthood.9
The scope of this last finding – children suffer emotionally from their parents' divorce – has been largely underestimated. Obviously, not every child of divorce commits crime or drops out of school. Some do well in school and even become high achievers. However, we now know that even these children experience deep and lasting emotional trauma.

For all children, their parents' divorce colors their view of the world and relationships for the rest of their lives.
Wallerstein Study
Psychologist Judith Wallerstein followed a group of children of divorce from the 1970s into the 1990s. Interviewing them at 18 months and then 5, 10, 15 and 25 years after the divorce, she expected to find that they had bounced back. But what she found was dismaying: Even 25 years after the divorce, these children continued to experience substantial expectations of failure, fear of loss, fear of change and fear of conflict.10 Twenty-five years!

The children in Wallerstein's study were especially challenged when they began to form their own romantic relationships. As Wallerstein explains, "Contrary to what we have long thought, the major impact of divorce does not occur during childhood or adolescence. Rather, it rises in adulthood as serious romantic relationships move center stage . . . Anxiety leads many [adult children of divorce] into making bad choices in relationships, giving up hastily when problems arise, or avoiding relationships altogether."11

Other researchers confirm Wallerstein's findings.12 Specifically, compared to kids from intact homes, children who experienced their parents' divorce view premarital sex and cohabitation more favorably.13 (This is disturbing news given that cohabiting couples have more breakups, greater risk of domestic violence14 and are more likely to experience divorce.15)

Behind each of these statistics is a life – a child, now an adult, still coping with the emotions brought on by the divorce.

As Wallerstein put it, "The kids [in my study] had a hard time remembering the pre-divorce family . . . but what they remembered about the post-divorce years was their sense that they had indeed been abandoned by both parents, that their nightmare [of abandonment] had come true."16

10:14 AM  

Just a book recommendation to all--I have started reading Living with the Passive Aggressive Man by Wetzler which does not have to specifically respond to gender as I know some of you are dealing with a passive aggressive woman, however, it does give advice on how to interact. The back cover says avoid playing victim, manager or rescuer, and how to get the anger and fear into the open, etc. It is very helpful so far.

11:19 AM  

Married 27 years, I stayed. He has most of the symptoms, but not all. I homeschooled too, and decided to stay for my children - none are from a broken home! Because I covered for him, they do not really know what a jerk he was. I also stayed because for a long time I really loved him, and though I no longer do, I do not want to hurt him either. I suffered, am heartbroken and lost my health which I am now working to recover. I have Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, and chronic migraines, and he really doesn't understand at all. Very odd, he has lived with me all this time, I used to be the picture of strength and health, he should have seen it coming especially as I told him! LOL - they never see it! Their favorite topic is never you, it's themselves!

By the way, if you can not allow your situation to emotionally impact you, if you can deal with it or shrug it off, if you can live with a PA and care about him in spite of his treatment of you, you do not have to be heartbroken or have ruined health. It is not a given, I was just ultra sensitive and quite frankly - stupid. :o)

You can choose for yourself - stay or go. Each has its merits and problems. It was hard, it is still hard, but my kids are better off. I chose to play the numbers game: I can be in a tragic marriage but my kids are not too bad off, or I can sacrifice them for myself. It was not all that difficult a choice for me when I looked at it this way. If I count him, that is 4 people for 1 person - and thrown into this mindset is the fact that while I do not love my hubby, I do love my children. Divorce always has collateral damage that cannot be foreseen. Plus, I don't want to be divorced, I just wish I was less naive when I dated him!

Please do not think I hate my hubby, I do not, I am simply no longer in love with him. That can get squashed out of a person, I found. Perhaps someday it will reverse, but likely not. Still, anything can happen with prayer. I have to say, we came to a huge crisis last Spring and he seems to be a little more "human" now, and it has been 8 months. For a PA that's a long time to maintain any sort of a change if you ask me. He asks me out on dates now - huge change for the better. It's a little thing, but seems real. Now I have to do my part and be kind (even when I don't want to be) and accept. We always have a nice time, and actually don't argue. I have learned not to need to know all the details, so I don't annoy him, and it actually works. If he messes up, it's nothing to do with me so he can only blame himself because I've stepped out of the picture - this works for me. Sometimes it takes a big "fall" to wake a person up to reality.

Pray, God will guide, read the Bible. This helps me. Online sites help as well, especially if they are Bible/Christian based.

God Bless.

11:37 PM  

Good site. I think the last lady, Anonymous, married 27 years, has it right. She lets him take care of his own failings. She stayed and raised positive children. Now, the tables are turned and he has to pursue. Thank you.

5:42 AM  

im in the same boat as anonymous. its been 17 yrs of racking my brain trying to fix us. today I gave up. I am from a divorced family and I will never put my kids through that. for them I am going to keep going on. I don't love my husband either he sucked the life out of that emotionally and never cared back. he is happy always happy mr nice guy outside the people pleaser at work and with his friends we have no friends together. no interests no us just him and his job as the boss and me alone at home with the kids. every single day. im the nag fish wife and I became that just for wanting some attention. he strikes every point on the list above. im emotionally and physically drained of his mind games. and hes sitting pretty watching me crumble looking like the poor victim of a never happy wife. I find it impossible to switch off thinking of how I can make him see what destruction he causes. like I said when I get pushed to my limit of the silent treatment and dont ask me for anything im just a nice guy paying the bills..poor me.. I flip out and I fall no sorry get zingered into the trap again. im the emotional wreck and hes just as he is everyday normal light and breezy there's no problem with me its all in your head im off to work now bye bye scenario. I feel sick to my stomach my mental health is destroyed and yet I keeping thinking in my stupid head if only I could get him to see what hes doing it might just stop and we could be normal. sometimes I wish he would just leave but we are stuck in negative equity with no money (but money for every tom dick and harry that asks mr nice guy) and I have no money being the home maker. so what do I do ..nothing...theres not a damn thing I can do without distributing my kids life negatively. I have no money nowhere to go and he knows that. and I hate him for it and so he gets to keep the family image that he doesnt want and still be mr nice guy boss man and everyone's best friend that hasnt asked to be. everyones friend except mine. because I had the nerve to want that from him.

5:53 AM  

I am a man and I watched my parents marriage crumble over the years due to his PA nature and her schizophrenia, which she took from her mother. My dad proved in many ways to be the example NOT to take, and as an adult I just don't treat women this way. Nothing destroys a relationship faster than mind games. Ultimately *I* was the one that hired the attorney and had a divorce drawn up for them both to sign. At some point every child must mature and realize that mom and dad might just be happier apart and maybe they'd have enough sympathy for their needs to allow it? You are not the PA man's property or kick toy. I hope you all find the strength to get on top of this, whether you divorce or not, at least begin to analyze, challenge and counter his mind games without letting him get to you emotionally. Remember that the only true advocate you have for your own happiness is yourself.

11:58 AM  

Ask to turn music down, he turns it off. Ask him to read in living room as I can't sleep w light on, sleeps on couch. Took out garbage (his only job) puts big scratch in my car door. Resents being an adult, acts like a spoiled teen. Only child who was never disciplined or yelled at so cant handle any kind of disagreement. Over it.

6:53 AM  

You may say all those words but easier said than done. Aren't you kind of being an abuser telling these women that if they stay they deserve it! Real encouraging words. You should probably be a counselor. If you know that it is abuse and you stay you have been victimize so long that they are programmed and not deserving it!!!! Get your head checked!

8:40 PM  

What about the women who know that their husbands behavior is alarming and these women go and have another child with this man!!!

9:01 AM  

Great post, good for you and your growth and choices that had u break the generation to generation dysfunctions that are often passed on...Brilliant last line, indeed we are responsible for our own happiness,no one else x

4:59 PM  

Hi All
I've been Divorce and separated 6 years and have three boys to my ex-husbands. We share 50-50 custody. Over the years I've learnt that the children's father is PA and even though we are no-longer together he still continues his PA abuse. I have confronted him on his PA abuse in front of a counselor and what he is doing to his children. However, his behavior is still remains very much PA. I have tried going to the courts with his abusive behavior. But there is little change of getting full-time custody of the children as it the courts are all about evidence base. Every week I hand over my 6, 7 and 9 year old into a cycle of PA abuse. I know try and give my children healthy skills to deal with this, but it does not stop the abuse. I've gone to counselors, schools, Child Protection and because of the nature of PA abuse nothing stops my ex-husbands behavior. Even though I am teaching my children skills to live with PA it does not shield them from abuse. It seems the family court, counselors and other support units do nothing to help me protect my children. Not anything meaningful and practical. What I do know is I call him out in front of counselors and also call the counselor out if by saying You know that I have to hand my children over to PA abusive environment. When my children ask me why I didn't protect them I will say to them here are the years and names of people and places I told who chose to do nothing. I will continue to call my ex-husband out on his behavior and those who allow this abuse to exist, every time. Because without the support of our peers PA abuse thrives. Lets start talking about this more to others and maybe the Family Court will recognize PA abuse just as significant as violent because it is.

1:46 AM  

Hello, I do so understand what all you ladies are going thru. Your stories are so much like mine. I have been married 22 years. This is a second marriage for both of us. When we met we were both in our late 20's and had full custody of our children from the previous marriage. I very much liked the idea of having a family again as mine felt jerked out from under me when my first husband left me for the lady he was having an affair with.

I noticed things were not right from the start but every time I asked a question like, "are you sure you want to be together, you don't seem interested," I always received an answer that pacified the situation and then I would continue to focus on the kids, the home, my career.

3 months after we married he denied me sex. The next day I asked why. I had not felt it was because he didn't want it. I had been the initiator 85% of the time. he told me he wanted me to know what it felt like to be denied sex. He told me he would not beg for sex. I was shocked and had no idea what he was talking about. I was the one going to him and the only time I ever turned him down was if he tried to initiate sex while I was sick or in the middle of the night when I was asleep. he claimed this was not so.

Drinking, porn addiction, lusty eyes and caught up in fantasy relationships with other women, he had no interest in helping care for the children, not even his own.

Once married he became a totally different person than I had known. he knew that my first husband cheated on me and he thought that was terrible but yet he was caught up in this one sided emotional affair with this gal he was chasing down just to get her to laugh at his jokes. It was obvious how he felt but he denied it.

We did go to counseling for all the above reasons. He admitted to 3 emotional affairs....yet still no initiating sex with me, no conversation, no help, no pursuit of me. It was like I was his housekeeper and nanny and he was trying to live life like he was single.

The man is obsessed with finances and at times when we have been in between moves he starts complaining about the bills or things that are bought. he even sat the kids down and told them they had to use less toilet paper.

I saw his dad treat his mom the very same way. His dad completely ignore his mom, sat for hours playing solitaire. Husband does the very same.

I have had close friends I have talked to about my marriage but they cannot see what I am talking about. When we are with people he is nice and does join in on conversation. he has even said to other people that he had not been a strong even dad and I shouldered a huge burden but he only says this stuff with people around, he has never said anything like that to me. He does not tell me he loves me but he will text it. I have told him I want to hear this to my face but he continues to text. He is a hands off man, no touching, no hugging but yet he hugs his guy friends and calls them buddy, tells his parent and siblings he loves

It has been a very lonely existence. I am so tired of all his blame.

This man plays victim very well. When I met him he claimed his first wife was having an affair. I later found out that she was not. He would not speak to her, called her a B, filed custody of their children and did not let her have anything from the house. Angry, and for what? He was the one seeking other women, he was the one leaving his wife at home alone while he would go out drinking with his buddies and would not even call to let him know where he was.

When we went to a marriage counselor and all this came out. Husband
s response to his behavior in both marriages was, "I thought this was typical male behavior." Typical male behavior but yet he divorced his first wife because he "thought" she was having an affair.

6:18 AM  

I felt like my ex had a rage side, but he never showed it until we broke up. 3 years together, and he never knew how to argue constructively. Always a silent treatment, and then he would SWEAR he wasn't mad; meanwhile he knew I'd be broken-hearted, waiting days for him to come around. He finally did it once too much and I ended it; he wanted to stay "in my life" of course, and keep the door open for him.

I moved on and started dating; when he found out, his wrath sent me to therapy. He began spreading lies about me and people started to cut me off, his "loving" parents returned a holiday gift I had previously sent, and then I recieved an anonymous package of FECES in the mail. I cried to my family; what had I done wrong to deserve this?

I'm now still in therapy for PTS, anxiety, and depression. I feel like a shell of my former self and I hate him.

1:24 PM  

I just left my passive aggressive partner and father to my now 7 month old daughter. I don't want this beautiful, content little girl seeing his behaviour, experiencing the silent treatment, the deprivation, the unavailability, the manipulation, the occasional calm violence. No. People can hardly believe what I've been put through but I realised I could tolerate it no more and had to leave before it was too late. Sound advice from the original poster. A bit harsh but sound

5:04 PM  

It's been one year since I walked out on my marriage with a passive aggressive man. The marriage didn't even last a year. It became a nightmare the second week in and I'm still trying to pick up the pieces of my self-esteem from all the confusion and mind games I endured. It was literally the most crazy I have ever felt in any relationship and I wish it wouldn't continue to haunt me like it does.

11:34 PM  

I have just stumbled on realizing my husband of over 6 months has P/A. I have been in conflict in dissolving my marriage from the time we married. We had gotten married on my birthday and he didn't care to remember to get me a gift. Recently found out he regularly gets stone on pot. His step dad is an alcoholic and have always ignore his mom. His mom now resents her husband and they are married on paper and both live their own life. So true, my husband model after the example of his mom & step dad.

My husband always is there helping everyone else. Cares about how society views him. We have been married for 6 months and we have no milestone happy times that I am able to think of. He is always late (30minutes to an hour late) for dinner. Blame shifts me. I have questioned my ability. Wonder what I can do to make my marriage better. I have anxiety, stress, depression, feeling lonely. My husband desires a 2nd child (my 1st marriage, his 2nd), but withholds being intimate. I have asked him, "You desire a 2nd child, right? So, what is the one thing we need to do to be blessed with a child? Have sex!" He's a great guy when he is not in his P/A state. But he is in P/A state most of the time. He doesn't have close net of friends. He withdraws from me and sleeps on the couch. We rarely have a sex life. We go through days not seeing or speak to each other. He calls me his enemy. He gets furious if he doesn't get his way. He is unable to sit down when there is conflict and work through it. He'll pick fights and leaves and tells me I have anger issues and he is unable to live with such a person as myself. He is super nice one minute! Next, I am to blame and set him on fire. He never owns up to his stuff. He'll blame me for him smoking pot. He has smoked it since he was a teenager. We are in our late 30's, so I was not around him in his teens or college years, smoking pot. I call him out on everything now. He just smirks.

My advice is if you dissolve your marriage to a P/A. Do not do it out of anger. Weigh everything out. Know you did everything in your power to make your relationship work. I have been thinking about divorcing the love of my life for 4 months now. We have been weekly fighting and arguing. Told him every chance I make to make him and his son happy, I feel it weird he gives me a hard time. He has not made or marriage 1st. He still only cares what makes him happy and in control. He recently told me he does not like me telling him what to do and it has to be his idea or he will not do it. Told him I have not told him to do anything. I only suggest and told him he distort everything in his head and he smirked. At times, when I call him out, he smiles like he knows. I believe he enjoys tormenting me. I have told my family, friends and strangers about his behaviors. Everyone told me to leave him to save me from insanity. Everyone says he's unavailable. We have sexless marriage and it should not be this way the 1st year. Everyone has pointed out, we are married and drive separately to gatherings and married couples is a coupling of 2 people that think and do things as 1, especially attending the same event. Everyone tells me he is selfless. I have been thinking and reflecting and honestly, we have no milestone happy memories to keep us together. He uses any situation he is in and blames others. His family is distance from him. Since we have been married, haven't seen his step dad and he lives in the area. I would sit in the same room with my husband, while he engage in something else. I know my head tells me to divorce, but my heart tells me to stay and fix and heal him and not give up. I am at my end. So tired and exhausted. Good luck to everyone going through the same thing.

2:17 AM  

I just want to say that I understand Anonymous's comment. I am in a 42 year marriage. You understand psychology has come a long way in all this time and I only found out that my husband had this problem, maybe, 5 years ago. Personally, I have PTST from a particularly abusive childhood and didn't have enough self esteem to know what was happening to me. I was just confused. Now I know that he has these problems and that if I'm careful and very strong, I can manage to take responsibility for my problems only. He may never... but I'm going to heaven or hell on my feet, not his.

7:58 PM  

Does anyone know of a support group in Northern California for spouses of PA's? I was fortunate enough to come across an article by Scott Wetzler.

I have similar stories to those I read here. Although much of our marriage seemed wonderful, there was always something I couldn't quite put my finger on. After 20 years I asked him to move out. All I could do was think about wrapping a belt around my neck, it had gotten that bad. I didn't know exactly how or why. He said I was fat, lazy, inconsiderate....a bad mother...he wondered what I did all day. This is the same man who also told me I was a goddess, an amazing mom, that I worked too hard, that other women couldn't hold a candle to me. WTF?!? I thought I was losing my flipping mind. So many mixed messages. At one point he said. "Well maybe it's all true." Omg! Wow!

I highly recommend Living With A Passive Aggressive Man by Dr. Scott Metzler
Also, The Silent Cry of Christian Women by Dee Brown (if you're not Christian, it doesn't matter, this book is wonderful)
Putting Kids First
And, just to help keep your sense of humor through this bizarre period in your life, pick up a copy of: I Used to Miss Him But My Aim Is Improving. Funniest breakup book on the market.

After I read Dr. Wetzler's article an it was like someone saw into my private life, I was stunned! This simply can't be, not after two decades with this man, how could I not see this behavior?!
I thought. "Oh I'm just searching for a reason for this to make sense." I poured through other books. Maybe when facing a divorce they all fit? But no, other books did not hit home the was this did.

I got a copy of Dr. Wetzler book. That was my first move to sanity. To open it up and read "You're not crazy! It's not you." My marriage counselor said the same thing, and my personal counselor. PA is real. You're not crazy. I actually think it's worse than physical abuse, because it is so controlling, elusive, hidden. There are no bruises on your body, you can't prove a thing and he knows it, but it will tear out your heart and soul. Get out if you can. Get out, get help, and enjoy the rest of your life.

2:19 AM  

To all who share the burden of being married to and having children with a passive aggressive, bless you. May you find happiness in your life at some point no matter whether you choose tough it out for your kids or run for your life. Only you know which path is best for your family and for you. As a survivor of 25 years of this kind of relationship, I can totally see how a person might choose to flee despite the issues caused by divorce or to stick around even after realizing you can't fix the relationship that causes you endless heartache. The PA individual differences could make it darn hard to know from the outside which choice is the best one. And depending on your own self esteem, ability to handle the crazies thrown at you, and level of alternative financial & emotional support, you may or may not have the tools you need to survive and ensure your kids are supported in either situation. So do your inventory, get as much help as you can, and let your own conscience make the choice. If you are early on though and you think it will change, know that you are fooling yourself. It's okay to stay for the kids, but it will take suck every ounce of your strength and you will likely suffer tremendously in your own mental and physical health. For those that think the kids well be better off in a divorced situation, you have no idea how insidious and therefore impossible to combat some PAs are. Though the price was high and though my kids never got to see a healthy relationship, they know this was not it and they know they have challenges ahead of them because I was able to protect them enough to ensure they have a fairly healthy sense of self. If I would have left, I would never have been able to fight the crazy passive aggressive behavior and I am absolutely sure they would have been more confused and unhappy. Some of these PAs are that good at appearing to be innocent bystanders.

11:13 PM  

Anon, where is your blog? Wow, your comment is 100% more honest and helpful. I hate the isolating nuclear family structure...why did we do away with our extended families!!?

12:07 PM  


I just stumbled upon this forum and was wondering if it is still active and if people are still responding to posts? The times a post is submitted is listed, but not the date, so I wasn't sure if it was OK to post questions here for those who seem to know about being with a passive aggressive person. Is it OK for me to post here to get some help and advice?


3:04 PM  

Anon. When married to my abusee i went into hospital for depression. I had a rash, bald spots that began appearing too. My hair grew back, rash went away after he left me and I was free. I still deal with the depression stuff, but Im healing. Its a loss of hopes and dreams when you find out their live is not real. Its a blow, an injury to your heart and soul.

3:32 AM  

I did too. I even convinced myself I didnt honor him because i didn't trust him. He had had 4 affairs by then but it never crossed my mind he didn't deserve my mistrust until after the 5th affair. He used my vows against me. Expecting me to obey them but not doing so himself.

3:44 AM  

The data shows the same from families with conflicted homes.

My child is happier, less reactive and academically excelling since my marriage ended. And he is not seeing me abused anymore.

3:48 AM  

I too am in an abusive marriage. I have endured years of physical, emotional and verbal abuse (the only thing he hasn't been until now is financially abusive but I've been so trained not to think of myself and do things for myself that he had little concern I'd even take myself out to lunch). I have five children, the youngest is five years old. I decided to divorce him and I am currently in an extremely high conflict divorce which has resulted in some if my children wanting to go live with him. Those children love and adore him. Those children have seen so many years of abuse and they place little or no value in me. Why should they since I've placed no value in myself. I've had enough. However, inspite of being what I think is emotionally prepared for my entire life being dismantled, there are moments where I feel my knees starting to buckle and wonder which is worse-my divorce and my children leaving me or the slow seeping to poison which was my marriage. The Hindus have a god if destruction. This god is not a bad god in that only through a complete destruction of something evil can come something good. I understand that many people in destructive relationships have no emotional energy left to let the chips fall where they may i.e.: children you have loved and raised who have seen your sorrow go live with the abuser, the home you have cared for, primed, wallpapered and cleaned for years now be sold. But in order to really get out and mean truly get out you need to be prepared to let water flow to its level, sell that house, let your life as you knew it burn to the ground. I see people married to these spaths leave only to allow their children to abuse them, take the place of their spath, or deal with horrific visitation problems. In my view, not eliminating the problem just putting it on simmer. I could not bear my children continuing the abuse where he left off. One day my children will find me and he can't alienate them from me forever. Until then I will go find some happiness and contentment and peace with the children who remain with me. Short of essentially walking away with those children who are behind you and not allowing the abusive to continue on any level, my advise is to get a job, even part time, get yourself out of the pressure cooker even if it's a few hours a day. There are no medals at the end of the day for enduring the abuse and your children will respect you for helping yourself. Once you get out of the house and work and earn a little money you will feel much better and you will continue to make decisions that empower you and your children. Hopefully you set your compass to North and just continue walking due North right out of hell. Good luck.

9:20 AM  

I can proudly say I just walked out on a stage 4 lung cancer lover...and am allowing myself the freedom of NOT enabling him...
I feel bad about his way of dying...but it is his...

he kept playing with his meds , and OD-ing.5 times in the Er over a 6 months period!..ALL self induced over doses..and last week he killed himself accidentally with another overdose..I did CPR till the medics showed up
the medics saved him ...
2 days later...He moved out of my house and of course he DID NOT tell me,
he is back with his ex wife..and daughter..
I think he is now going to punish his ex wife and his grown children...

The reason i think he will try this pitiful call of desertion is..he cant stand being healthy or lack of attention..
, he told his ex brother in law he only had till christmas to live...and that isn't true...His cancer is really in control and not giving him any symptoms, his cancer won't kill him for another 6 months to 2 years!!! the only symptoms he has is from his over dosing of his meds ..and he took out all of his savings..

So, now I look for the gift he gave me
The gift was...he moved out on ME!! even tho it was to teach me a lesson...and now he is STUCK...i won't take him back..
and now
7 days later, i am now alone, i can mourn, picking up my pieces of my lost life and looking forward to moving on...
I had to mourn him one way or makes me sad it is while he is alive, but..

I need to MOVE on
I like the PEACE i feel now that he isn't burdening me with his Self Pity, VICTIMHOOD or his I am HANDICAP" whine all the time

5:40 PM  

Christian married 24 yrs, exhausted, weary, battered, worn down, isolated, no family, no friends, health declined as he watched/kept me in toxic house/environment (CFIDS/ME, neuro-lyme, near death) alone. Believed, trusted, prayed all these years, set up for more pain, disappointment. Too lengthy to expound situation and his behavior. Not a weak, sit on butt, feel sorry for self woman. Childhood was crazy, learned to survive, didn't have anyone, needed to fend for self. I've become his victim/slave. In christian marriage, husband is to love and sacrifice for his wife....not sacrifice her for his wants. It's all so painful to keep trying, hoping. Don't know how to do this "marriage" anymore. I seriously have no one. Crying out to God for decades; don't know how, why pain, isolation hasn't killed me by now. Finally out of toxic isolating house, but now isolated in hotel for couple years in two states, everything in storage. More control. He's textbook PA. Is there anyone else out there that doesn't have "friends and family?" Thankfully have little sweet dog, he is my family, my company all day...and sleeps with me at night. No longer share same bed, PA behavior/neglect too painful to endure even in bedroom. Though in same bed was still alone, that's even more cruel, hateful, painful, punishing... and for what? He got everything he wanted. Wherever he wanted to work, live.
I've taken care of him in spite of his hatefulness. I've been a wife, even though he doesn't treat me as a wife. Pushed me away right after honeymoon; verbally, physically, emotionally. Kept trying to reason, to love, to be a family, wanted to honor God. Continues to get worse; if God doesn't guide after all these years and show mercy than what??? Need help already. Love....not his hateful, sarcastic poisin. Purpose. Kindness. People. Need God to answer already. Is this the answer? This is just the way it will always be and I must endure to the end? Sorry for rambling; it's too much, day after day, year after year, so lonely, so tired. I want to feel laughter in my soul already. So sad.
Never posted anything anywhere ever. So please excuse any ramblings.
Oh, one more rambling: was in store, male employee approached me asked if I was married, said yes (while everything inside was screaming out in pain...married? This is married?) He then said, does your husband know how lucky he is? Normally would be shy and embarrassed by that, but responded differently this time and said: No, he doesn't. He then said, if he's here I will make sure to let him know. When husband walked up, employee made lovely comments about me. Husband had big grin, saying yes he knows how lucky, blah blah. He's abusive, been celibate most of marriage, but in public what a nice guy. Forgets how lucky he is when we're alone. Walks in his bedroom and closes the door. Cold. Mean. Cruel.

His behavior makes me feel weird, crazy, sick. Makes promises, never keeps, hoping believing next time will be different, only next time worse. Silent treatment. Isolate than ignore, neglect; pushes and pokes until can't mentally take it anymore and explode from the insanity.

The pain of all this is palpable. Is not describable actually. I'm getting older with no companion by my side sharing life, as we promised in our vows.

I'm living as a widow in this marriage, grieving over my husband that I see everyday, grieving over the lost years, but mostly over the lost hope, and what will never be...Us.

4:36 AM  

Penelope (pseudonym)

If I had the money and support, I would have left this passive aggressive abuser ages ago. He's destroyed my health, our house is like a dump, but he earns the money, so I have to be kept by a parasite. Which is what these passive aggressives are: parasites. They feed off us, leech away our health and lives, leave us depleted and exhausted.

If you are in a relationship with a PA, and you have money, a job, and supportive family and friends, please leave. Don't stay and become so ill that you cannot work, and cannot do much for yourself.

PAs are not worthy of our time and love. They are psychopaths I think. No empathy, no care, no emotions really, only pretence. They do not kill a person instantly, but they do do this slowly, over time, a painful and protracted life of misery, loneliness, anger, sadness and humiliation.

He keeps me alive, just so that he can kill me over time. How ironic.

6:20 PM  

Shall I leave now. I been with my partner 16 months and I'm broken and I have a son from a previous relationship

3:42 PM  

Hi I'm in the same situation with no money and no support and poor health

4:23 PM  

My husband's passive aggressive tendencies makes him detach himself from me and not talk to me for days. Every answer will be an "OK", or and " I don't know". I've become deppresed because of this. I will cry excessively and he won't even care.

2:56 PM  

I am considering this result for me & my teen sons, so conflicted, but so distraught over the severe damage that has been caused & inflicted upon all of us by my husband of 27yrs...

10:37 PM  

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