Passive Aggressive Behavior

Please note:  I did NOT write this page.  I compiled the information on this page from various sources, with credit given below each section.

Passive Aggressive Behavior Defined:

Passive Aggressive behavior is a form of covert abuse. When someone hits you or yells at you, you know that you’ve been abused. It is obvious and easily identified. Covert abuse is subtle and veiled or disguised by actions that appear to be normal, at times loving and caring. The passive aggressive person is a master at covert abuse.

Passive aggressive behavior stems from an inability to express anger in a healthy way. A person’s feelings may be so repressed that they don’t even realize they are angry or feeling resentment. A passive aggressive can drive people around him/her crazy and seem sincerely dismayed when confronted with their behavior. Due to their own lack of insight into their feelings the passive aggressive often feels that others misunderstand them or, are holding them to unreasonable standards if they are confronted about their behavior.

Common Passive Aggressive Behaviors:

  • Ambiguity:  I think of the proverb, “Actions speak louder than words” when it comes to the passive aggressive and how ambiguous they can be. They rarely mean what they say or say what they mean. The best judge of how a passive aggressive feels about an issue is how they act. Normally they don’t act until after they’ve caused some kind of stress by their ambiguous way of communicating.
  • Forgetfulness:  The passive aggressive avoids responsibility by “forgetting.” How convenient is that? There is no easier way to punish someone than forgetting that lunch date or your birthday or, better yet, an anniversary.
  •  Blaming:  They are never responsible for their actions. If you aren’t to blame then it is something that happened at work, the traffic on the way home or the slow clerk at the convenience store. The passive aggressive has no faults, it is everyone around him/her who has faults and they must be punished for those faults.
  •  Lack of Anger:  He/she may never express anger. There are some who are happy with whatever you want. On the outside anyway! The passive aggressive may have been taught, as a child, that anger is unacceptable. Hence they go through life stuffing their anger, being accommodating and then sticking it to you in an under-handed way.
  •  Fear of Dependency:  From Scott Wetlzer, author of Living With The Passive Aggressive Man. “Unsure of his autonomy and afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs, usually by trying to control you. He wants you to think he doesn’t depend on you, but he binds himself closer than he cares to admit. Relationships can become battle grounds, where he can only claim victory if he denies his need for your support.”
  • Fear of Intimacy:  The passive aggressive often can’t trust. Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone. A passive aggressive will have sex with you but they rarely make love to you. If they feel themselves becoming attached, they may punish you by withholding sex.
  • Obstructionism:  Do you want something from your passive aggressive spouse? If so, get ready to wait for it or maybe even never get it. It is important to him/her that you don,t get your way. He/she will act as if giving you what you want is important to them but, rarely will he/she follow through with giving it. It is very confusing to have someone appear to want to give to you but never follow through. You can begin to feel as if you are asking too much which is exactly what he/she wants to you to feel.
  •  Victimization:  The passive aggressive feels they are treated unfairly. If you get upset because he or she is constantly late, they take offense because; in their mind, it was someone else’s fault that they were late. He/she is always the innocent victim of your unreasonable expectations, an over-bearing boss or that slow clerk at the convenience store.
  • Procrastination: The passive aggressive person believes that deadlines are for everyone but them. They do things on their own time schedule and be damned anyone who expects differently from them.

The Passive Aggressive and You:

The passive aggressive needs to have a relationship with someone who can be the object of his or her hostility. They need someone whose expectations and demands he/she can resist. A passive aggressive is usually attracted to co-dependents, people with low self-esteem and those who find it easy to make excuses for other’s bad behaviors.

The biggest frustration in being with a passive aggressive is that they never follow through on agreements and promises. He/she will dodge responsibility for anything in the relationship while at the same time making it look as if he/she is pulling his/her own weight and is a very loving partner. The sad thing is, you can be made to believe that you are loved and adored by a person who is completely unable to form an emotional connection with anyone.

The passive aggressive ignores the problems in the relationship, sees things through their own skewed sense of reality and if forced to deal with the problems will completely withdraw from the relationship and you. They will deny evidence of wrong doing, distort what you know to be real to fit their own agenda, minimize or lie so that their version of what is real seems more logical.

The passive aggressive will say one thing, do another, and then deny ever saying the first thing. They don’t communicate their needs and wishes in a clear manner, expecting their spouse to read their mind and meet their needs. After all, if their spouse truly loved them he/she would just naturally know what they needed or wanted. The passive aggressive withholds information about how he/she feels, their ego is fragile and can’t take the slightest criticism so why let you know what they are thinking or feeling? God forbid they disclose that information and you criticize them.

Inside the Passive Aggressive:

The passive aggressive has a real desire to connect with you emotionally but their fear of such a connection causes them to be obstructive and engage in self-destructive habits. He/she will be covert in their actions and it will only move him/her further from his/her desired relationship with you.

The passive aggressive never looks internally and examines their role in a relationship problem. They have to externalize it and blame others for having shortcomings. To accept that he/she has flaws would be tantamount to emotional self-destruction. They live in denial of their self-destructive behaviors, the consequences of those behaviors and the choices they make that cause others so much pain.

The passive aggressive objectifies the object of their desire. You are to be used as a means to an end. Your only value is to feed his/her own emotional needs. You are not seen as a person with feelings and needs but as an extension of him/her. They care for you the way they care for a favorite chair. You are there for their comfort and pleasure and are of use as long as you fill their needs.

The passive aggressive wants the attention and attachment that comes with loving someone but fears losing his/her independence and sense of self to his/her spouse. They want love and attention but avoid it out of fear of it destroying them. You have to be kept at arms length and if there is an emotional attachment it is tenuous at best.

The only hope for change in the way they deal with relationship issues is if they are able to acknowledge their shortcomings and contributions to the marital problems. Facing childhood wounds, looking internally instead of externally to find the cause of problems in their life will help them form deeper emotional attachments with a higher sense of emotional safety.

(Source:  http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/abusiverelationships/a/Pass_Agg.htm)

Passive Aggression Abuses Your Rights

There are many ways in which people use power to control and abuse others. This is especially true of passive aggressive behavior, which is often about making the PA look his best, while taking power from others and making them look or feel bad. Which of these ways is your passive aggressive husband using to control you?

There are four main things a passive aggressive person will try to control or violate, in order to protect themselves from rejection and/or confrontation.

  • The Right to Know
  • The Right to Feel
  • The Right to Have Impact
  • The Right to Space

When he violates your right to know, he gives you unclear information, withholds information that you don’t “need” (like the finances), or gives you too little or too much information. With too little, you are left shaky and uncertain, realizing after he leaves that he didn’t really answer your question, or in fact made the situation look worse than you thought. This is where you may feel as if you’re expected to draw your own conclusions or “mind read.” With no information (“the silent treatment”) you feel like you’re walking on eggshells – or a mine field. When you are given too much information (anger attacks or blaming), you are not given time to speak, defend yourself, ask for clearer information, or set boundaries.

Your right to feel is violated when he tells you what you’re feeling, what you’re about to do or how you’re going to react. He may make claims about how you “always overreact” or how you’re just being “emotional.” He’ll make emotional demands about what not to feel (“Don’t cry”) or what you shouldn’t feel.

Crazy-making situations really start to show when your right to impact is violated. This is when he denies (by ignoring you, by overriding your needs with his own, by refusing to meet your needs) that you have an impact on his life. We measure our existence by how much impact we have on others, both physically and emotionally. If you feel like you don’t matter to him (don’t have an impact), it’s like being told you don’t exist at all! He can make this worse by “thinging” or objectifying you. He may treat you like a piece of furniture, coming to you only when he has certain physical needs. He may also deny your impact on him by denying contact – in other words, anything you say about his faults will bounce off and come back as something to use against you.

The last way he may violate your rights is to deny your right to space. In many ways, this is your right to individual power – the thing he wants you to have very little or none of. He may violate your right to emotional, physical, time, or mental space by saying that you doing x violates his right to do y (thus painting you out to be the bad guy, every time). For example, your right to be alone in your office violates his right to come visit you. Your right to have friends and family over violates his right to privacy and quiet. And so on, and so on.

These are the four main ways a passive aggressive husband exerts his crazy-making control over his partner and other people. Looking at them as your rights helps to understand this behavior as abusive – a denial of your personal rights to sanity and respect.

(Source:  http://passiveaggressivehusband.com/passive-aggression-abuses-rights/)

 

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

Definition:

Passive Aggressive behavior is the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive, passive way (such as through procrastination and stubbornness).

Description:

Whenever resentment and contempt lurk beneath the surface of a dysfunctional relationship, passive-aggressive behavior is the foam that rises to the top. Passive-aggressive behavior is a mechanism to express anger without openly admitting you are angry or confronting the source of your anger directly.

It is common for a person to express passive-aggressive behavior when they are in a position of low influence or control over a person with whom they are angry. People who feel powerless, inferior or afraid of a person with whom they are angry will frequently resort to a passive-aggressive style. This person may be a figure of authority such as a parent, an older sibling, a boss or a teacher. They may also be a peer such as a spouse, partner, sibling or friend over whom a person has little authority or who dominates or assumes the lead position in the relationship.

Passive-aggressive behavior is also common between Personality-Disordered Individuals (PDI’s) and their family members, spouses and partners of personality disordered individuals (Non-PD’s):

Personality-Disordered Individuals or PDI’s often feel a great deal of pain over their own situation. Because of the way their emotions can overwhelm their rational thinking, they are prone to destructive behaviors, emotional outbursts, making poor choices and having feelings of self-loathing, powerlessness and discontent at the state of their own affairs. Faced with this, it is common for PDI’s to look for a person who is willing to share the burden, help clean up the mess and help them feel better about themselves. Family members, spouses, partners and friends are prime candidates for this role – a role which they sometimes accept willingly, hoping to make a positive difference in their loved-one’s life but may unwittingly create over-optimistic expectations for what they can accomplish. When they inevitably fail to solve all the problems and fill all the voids, it is common for the PDI to feel disappointment, disillusionment and even resentment towards them. Filled with anger towards those who have disappointed them, yet consumed by fear that they will be abandoned by those who have loved them the most, the PDI may develop a pattern of passive-aggressive behavior towards the Non-PD.

Non-Personality-Disordered Individuals or Non-PD’s are often confused about the erratic state of mind of the personality disordered individuals (PDI’s) in their lives. They may feel anger and hurt towards the PDI because of the way they have been treated by them, while at the same time they may be afraid of future outbursts. The Non-PD may be fatigued from taking the “high ground” over contentious issues while at the same time angry with the PDI whom they deem to be taking the “low road” or taking advantage of them. Non-PD’s may develop a pattern of passive-aggressive behavior towards PDI’s as a way of registering their disapproval while trying to maintain the “high ground” and trying not to provoke further aggressive behaviors from the PDI.

Some Examples of Passive-Aggressive Behavior:

  • Withdrawal - of material support, contribution to shared goals, Re prioritizing alternate activities and goals, “go-slow’s”, procrastination or targeted incompetence are all manifestations of passive-aggressive behavior.
  • Silent Treatment, inappropriate “one-word” answers, inattention, making yourself generally “unavailable”.
  • Off-line Criticism – propagating gossip or criticism to a third party in an attempt to negatively influence the third party’s opinion of a person.
  • Sarcasm, Critical and “Off-Color” Jokes – Humor which targets a specific individual is a form of passive-aggressive communication.
  • Indirect Violence or shows-of-strength such as destruction of property, slamming doors, cruelty to animals in the sight of another is passive-aggressive.

Despite being a common result among both groups, passive-aggressive behaviors and communication styles are rarely effective in getting people what they want. Passive-aggressive behaviors are more likely to add fuel to the fires already burning. An assertive approach to managing conflict is far more likely to get both parties in a relationship what they want.

(Source:   http://www.outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/PassiveAggressiveBehavior.html)

 

Passive–aggressive behavior

Passive–aggressive behavior a personality trait, is passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following through with expectations in interpersonalor occupational situations. It is a personality trait marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes and passive, usually disavowed resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations.

It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible.

Signs and Symptoms:

The book Living with the Passive–Aggressive Man lists 11 responses that may help identify passive–aggressive behavior:

  •  Ambiguity or speaking cryptically: a means of creating a feeling of insecurity in others or of disguising one’s own insecurities.
  • Chronically being late and forgetting things: another way to exert control or to punish.
  • Fear of competition
  • Fear of dependency
  • Fear of intimacy as a means to act out anger: The passive–aggressive often cannot trust. Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone.
  • Making chaotic situations.
  • Making excusesfor non-performance in work teams
  • Obstructionism
  • Procrastination
  • Sulking
  • Victimization response: instead of recognizing one’s own weaknesses, tendency to blame others for own failures.

Passive–aggressive personality disorderwas listed as an Axis II personality disorder in the DSM-III-R, but was moved in the DSM-IV to Appendix B (“Criteria Sets and Axes Provided for Further Study”) because of controversy and the need for further research on how to also categorize the behaviors in a future edition. As an alternative, the diagnosis personality disorder not otherwise specifiedmay be used instead.

The DSM-IV Appendix B definition is as follows:

A pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and passive resistance to demands for adequate performance, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicted by four (or more) of the following:

    1. passively resists fulfilling routine social and occupational tasks
    2. complains of being misunderstood and unappreciated by others
    3. is sullen and argumentative
    4. unreasonably criticizes and scorns authority
    5. expresses envy and resentment toward those apparently more fortunate
    6. voices exaggerated and persistent complaints of personal misfortune

(Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive%E2%80%93aggressive_behavior)

When asked to respond to the needs and desires of others in work and social situations, individuals with passive-aggressive personality disorder appear to comply or act appropriately, but actually behave negatively and passively resist. This personality disorder is a chronic condition, meaning that it lasts throughout life.

A personality disorder is a set pattern or persistent way of behaving and acting that is usually rigid and inflexible. Individuals with personality disorders have a tendency to have a difficult time getting along with others. They are not able to respond properly when circumstances or situations change. This behavior is so persistent that it affects day-to-day functioning.

Symptoms include:

  • Contradictory and inconsistent behavior—An individual with passive-aggressive personality disorder may appear enthusiastic to carry out others requests, but he purposely performs in a manner that is not useful and sometimes even damaging.
  • Intentional avoidance of responsibility. Some behaviors that may be used to avoid responsibility include:
    • Procrastination—to delay or postpone needlessly and intentionally
    • Deliberate inefficiency—purposefully performing in an incompetent manner
    • Forgetfulness
  • Feelings of resentfulness towards others
  • Stubbornness
  • Argumentative, sulky, and hostile, especially toward authority figures
  • Easily offended
  • Resentful of useful suggestions from others
  • Blames others
  • Chronically impatient
  • Unexpressed anger or hostility

(Source:  http://www.doctorsofusc.com/condition/document/96685)

Quotes:

“The passive-aggressive man may pretend to be sweet or compliant, but beneath his superficial demeanor lies a different core. He’s angry, petty, envious, and selfish.” (Living With the Passive-Aggressive Man,  by Scott Wetzler)

“Bullying is not limited to physical violence. It is a prolonged pattern of negative and repeated behaviors that overwhelm the target, degrading him or her to the point of powerlessness. It is an imbalance of power that, over time, wears down the victim.” (“In the Bully’s-eye” – vision.org)

 

225 Responses to Passive Aggressive Behavior

  1. Lana says:

    This article is rough for people who are being healed from passive-agressive disorder to read. I know I’ve caused people to feel crazy around me. I’ve been on medication for 3 years now for the bipolar. My question is, what else can I do to change? It’s not like I don’t try but if I keep quiet and try to be submissive to the authority of my parents, my pastors and church leaders, and the managers on my job the anger boils over. When I do say how I feel I’m accused of being argumetative. Ok, so what is the answer for me. It is easy to tell someone what is wrong with them but can we as a society give them the answer for them to work on the problem to make the necessary change?

    • Hi, Lana, I am not a doctor or a therapist or a psychologist or anything. I just write about what is happening in my life. What I have read says that if a person recognizes that they are passive aggressive and then seeks help, seeks therapy, that a person can understand better where the hidden anger is coming from and can learn better ways to handle situations rather than in a passive aggressive way. Keeping quiet often is not an effective way of handling anger. But I do understand that it is tough when you are then told that you are being argumentative. As I was growing up, I wasn’t really allowed to express my thoughts or opinions. That is not healthy. Do you have a therapist or a counselor who can help you learn techniques for addressing situations that are difficult for you?

      • susan thompson says:

        I would like to know how a person can help someone get the help that they need? and there are children involved too.

      • I would suggest researching therapists in your area to find one that understands passive aggressive behavior. And then try to get the person who is passive aggressive to the therapist. Be warned, however, that there is a good chance that he will refuse to go. Also, even if he does go, he may not change. One of the characteristics of passive aggressive behavior is that they blame others – therefore, there is no reason for them to change since it is someone else’s fault and not their own.

    • Mark says:

      Lana:

      I too am not a psychological expert or a therapist, but I do know something about human behavior through experience. The first thing I should say is that if you are a passive aggressive they you are well on the road to recovery. Why? Because unlike most passive aggressives you have recognized that you have an issue that requires resolution, and that is a huge step forward; hence, you should be commended and thanked for you are not the problem. Most passive aggressive people never (or rarely) admit that they have a problem, and choose instead to be the victim and to blame all of their problems on others.

      If you have recognized that you have these tendencies then you are a part of the solution, so major kudos for you…well done.

      • nickie says:

        I had to leave my PA boyfriend after 2 years .. I realized he will never change.. I am blamed and shamed for everything .. I have been physically sick because of him.. he never called or emailed me after I left him. i have been in a crazy making behavio way to long. when i wanted to communicate.. he would stonewall me ..ignor me and could never make up his mind .I was.so Frustrated with him .. if i got mad ..i would get the shame look and he would be so condesdending .. then he would punish me .by not calling me back withhold gifts ..the list goes on and on .. please ladies get out before you get sick emotionally and physically .

  2. Citrus says:

    Great article! I was struck by the comment about how passive aggressives need someone who has low self-esteem and makes excuses for their bad behaviour. Here I think I am being understanding and supportive but I am really just setting myself up to be a door mat. I need to find a balance between being loving, kind and forgiving but also knowing when to leave a realtionship before I go too deep. Also, doesn’t everyone have low self-esteem to some degree? I thought I was normal but maybe I do need to work on my confidance. I did leave a passive aggressive so I have that much strength and courage going for me. I really don’t want to end up in another relationship like that again.

    • Thank you for your comment. Yes, I think many people have low self-esteem, but not everyone has self-esteem so low as to allow themselves to be mistreated. Hopefully, since you now recognize passive aggressive behavior, you won’t get into another relationship with someone who is passive aggressive! :)

    • Mark says:

      Citrus: You and me both. I fully understand the “door mat” analogy, but please don’t misinterpret low self esteem for being understanding and supporting. Passive aggressive types will also target the loving and supportive too. Why? Because a passive aggressive is usually only concerned with themselves and how well they can manage life…they typically don’t really care about the well being of others; hence, if there’s a loving and supportive person that they can exploit, so much the better.

      I too fell into that trap and that is one of my weaknesses too…being supportive and not worrying about returns for my kindness. Was I ever wrong, but now I know :-).

  3. Brilliantly written and informative article! Thank you

  4. annbrander says:

    What a resourceful article. In my marriage I was always told that I was “controlling” but since my husband and I separated and through counselling I found out that my husband was the real “control person” but he did it in the passive aggressive way. I was always the “bad guy” in our marriage. Unfortunately, my husband was taught to lie by his parents. I now realize that most members of his family live in denial and take little responsibility in the way they hurt others.

  5. Emma says:

    I have felt really drained, sad and angry for a few days now. My realization that i may be in an abusive relationship is relatively new and comes after 3 years of great sadness. The anger is new. I have left him about 2 months ago but couldn’t stand being away from home, so returned after 5 days in which i had been otherwise very happy. Now I feel increasingly hopeless that i will ever get away. Since i left and the returned he is trying to “heal” the relationship but is still telling me what i should be doing, what i am thinking, not respecting my wishes etc. At least he is not angry anymore, not openly criticizing, mocking, blaming, minimizing. He won’t go for counselling (I have been for almost 2 years), won’t accept a temporary separation, does not agree that i might have a right to spousal support (I have been a stay-home mom for 10 of our 22 years of marriage and never worked full-time due to a medical condition), thinks I am mentally ill etc.

    Why do i feel so drained of energy, why can I not just walk away and be done with it?! A good friend of mine is worried I am slipping into despair and another is asking whether I am becoming depressed.

    Anyway, i was wondering whether you have read “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft. It has been a defining read for me.

    Wishing you all the best!

    • Suzanne says:

      Get away from him ASAP! Otherwise you might get suicidal. I speak from experience.

      • bratgirl17 says:

        Suzanne you are right. After too long, one becomes very hopeless. I have come to believe that I am not lovable. My pa has sabotoged my relationship with my now adult daughters, sabotoged my job, and the relationship has led to me being disabled. When all hope was gone, I failed an attempt at suicide and probably did more physical damage. Those of you still living with or under the control of the pa, please get out and get help. I am still under his control and hostage as I am not able to work. Dont let this be a life sentence as mine has after 30 years. I honestly think he is worse than a sociopath.

    • Crystal says:

      I have the exactly same situation and very stuck with it. I have over 3 years relationship with my boyfriend and cant leave him even if I had couple of months break I got back to him, is there any way that you can contact me?

      • Hi, Crystal. Thank you for reading my blog. I keep all my conversations here on my blog. That way they can benefit other people who are also struggling with passive aggressive behavior. If you keep going back to him, please consider going to counseling or attending Al-Anon or attending CoDA. Also, the books, “The Language of Letting Go” and “Codependent No More” are very helpful. Please believe that you deserve better than to be with a passive aggressive man. You are worth much more than that. You do NOT deserve to be treated that way. Be strong enough to walk away and stay away. PLEASE take good care of yourself!!!

      • Crystal says:

        I finally decided to break up with my PA boyfriend. 3 weeks ago, as we had a discussion about his anger, when I became very ill, he didn’t care about me at all. I stayed next to his room for days by myself. He was silent for long time and he didn’t ask if I need anything. Then I realized I had enough of that bulls***. Although I was very sick, I decided leave the house and went to my friend’s house in another city. She looked after me well. At that time I rented a room and following week I went back with a van to get all my stuff from his house..Now I am living in another city and until now there was no message from him. He didn’t ask where I was, although he saw I was leaving with a small luggage from his house, he didn’t care. It is hard to believe how these people change in time and show their real face only to you. PA people look so sincere and friendly when they are outside with their friends that no one ever thinks there might be a problem with them. They make you feel like you are the faulty one by not taking responsibility of how they hurt you. It was a 4 year relationship and I started searching about anger management problems after our 3rd year. Then I discovered,he was a PA. Although I feel a bit depressed now, as I am frustrated, I believe I made the right decision for the rest of my life. I certainly know I did nothing wrong to deserve his strange behaviors..I did everything to make him happier and more successful in his studies but he was the most negative person I have ever seen. I used all my light for him. Now It is time to take the control of my life and move on. I think, unless PA people take professional help, there is no way they can change by themselves. I feel pity for all the girl who will be caught by his charming looking and smile.

    • Tish says:

      It’s call divorce court.

      Seriously, why do you think it’s usually NOT the men who seem so unhappy with us who are the ones who want to leave?

      Because they NEED us to off load their own discontent on. It us themselves who they are unhappy with.

      Don’t allow him to bully you. Take his butt to court. Serve him with papers and he will be MANDATED to provide spousal support.

      My STBX told me all the same things. He now pays >$3k a month in maintenance and CS while I work to get back in the workforce and heal myself from his malignant abuse (YES, PA IS ABUSE LADIES).

      Best of luck!!

  6. redwallthoughts says:

    This is very well put together and informative. This could be what I was looking for as an explanation to the relationship my friend is in, which I explain more about on my blog. My question is, if I can see my friend is in a destructive or abusive relationship but she will not leave, what can I do? Any thoughts on what more I can say to her?

    http://selfcensorshipbegone.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/i-dont-know-what-to-do/

    • As I’m sure you already realize, if she won’t leave, you can’t make her. But maybe ask her why she won’t leave. Is it a belief thing? Is it money? Is it fear of being alone? Maybe if you could reason with her from that angle and help her find the support she would need if she did leave, maybe it would be easier for her to leave. Let her know that you care so much and that she doesn’t deserve to be in an abusive relationship. It is destructive! And if she has children, it is destructive for them, too. Also, her staying makes it “o.k.” for him to continue to be abusive. I haven’t looked at your blog yet, but I will.

  7. Pingback: I am Guilty of being Passive/Aggressive « I Won't Take It

  8. Pingback: Control Issues – Overt vs Passive Aggressive | Ann Brander's Blog

  9. mickcgorman says:

    We are all guilty of behaviour that could be construed as “passive aggressive” at some time or another, it is called being imperfect. I notice 2 from the last segment that even apply to what I have read from you. It is better to address individual issues as they arise than to form a syndrome from them and label a person.
    I confess that “blaming” was the one thing that stood out for me but I will blame my shortcomings on the sky being the wrong colour if I am in a bad mood, but never to manipulate people.

    • justwait says:

      I get your point, but you need to wait until you have had to deal with one of these individuals before you swipe away the research and expertise that you don’t understand.

      • mickcgorman says:

        You need to wait until you know someone’s own experiences of being bullied and abused before you dismiss their point of view. As a point of fact, your own reply to my comment would be defined as passive aggressive. I find it better to question so called expert research than to attack individuals life experiences, I haven’t lived their life.

  10. That's my life.... says:

    Had You not mentioned You collected this information from various places, it would be like You wrote about the last 16 years of my life.
    I always thought my husband had a reason for being the way he is seeing how hes been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and combat PTSD.
    Wasn’t until this last couple of weeks I’ve suspected him being a PA.
    I’m no doctor but hey, if the shoe fits!
    Some of the things he does that really make no sense are lying, about everything no matter how small it may seem.
    With holding intimacy. I mean, no kisses or hugs or holding hands and sex is only when he says so.
    I have to account for every single thing I do, place I go and dollar I spend yet he can do as he pleases and money is frequently “misplaced”.
    He NEVER takes any responsibility and EVERTHING is always my fault. He’s recently began point his anger at the children and blaming them for his moods.
    God! I feel so trapped and isolated.

    • When I first started reading about passive aggressive behaviour, I couldn’t believe how everything I was reading matched up exactly with what I was living with. I COMPLETELY understand the trapped feeling! I have felt that way for years and years and years. See if you can get help for him and/or for yourself. Take good care of yourself!!!

  11. Great post. Very informative, indeed.

  12. Gavin says:

    I’ve just ended a relationship of two years with a passive aggresive woman. I always knew something wasn’t right with her behaviour but couldn’t put my finger on exactly what it was. Until I discovered passive aggresive behaviour and it was as if what I was reading someone had written it about her. Her lies were rediculous and I couldn’t believe anything she said. The sulky child like moods when something was said she didn’t agree with were unbearable. I felt I was losing my mind always being blamed for everything. I had to be forward thinking of what I said or done not knowing how she would react or if it would cause a sulky mood which could go on for days. Then some days she could wake up and be the most loving person ever and I would be thinking to myself this wont last and it wouldn’t. I’m glad I’m out of the relationship I also felt trapped and like I was going crazy. Now I’m trying to get my head round how someone can claim they loved me so much and wanted to be together forever as a family but behave the way she did. Trying to understand it is as nearly as mind bending as living with her was

    • Living with someone who is passive aggressive really is crazy-making. You try to live like a normal, reasonable person and they are not normal, reasonable people and it makes you crazy! You try to play by the rules and they make up their rules as they go alone and it makes you crazy! You did the right thing to end the relationship. Good for you!!! And, yes, from what I read, it does take awhile to get over the insanity from being in a relationship like that. But know that you aren’t crazy! Just take good care of yourself and do what you need to do for you. I wish you well!!!

    • Jen says:

      Gavin,

      I totally understand what you mean. I spent 2 years with my boyfriend trying to figure out what was wrong with him. Now we have broken up and it’s been a month and I know what’s wrong with him he is PA but, I still am trying to understand it. I felt like I was going crazy being with him. Now I wish I could just accept that I will never understand. It’s hard to think that everything could be do intentional to illicit a reaction from me. But it was.

  13. jan says:

    This article describes my husband to a “t”. My husband was in a horrible accident 6 years ago and suffered a mild head injury. I believe he was somewhat passive aggressive before the accident, but it has been exasperated since the accident. We cannot have a conversation without him getting irritable, as simple as it may be. We have two sons 20, and 21 years of age. They don’t live with us, but they do need their dad and its hard for them to truly grasp that he can’t be there for them when they need him. My husband secludes himself totally, has no friends and doesn’t want any. Trying to get him into a support group is impossible, he won’t go. I have also shut many people out of my life and want to get him and myself the help we need. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  14. Pingback: My Passive Aggressive Husband | Tales from a Sex Starved Wife

  15. TrappedDad says:

    What is the best thing to do when living with a PA wife, who has witheld pysical and emotional intimacy for years but there are children involved? Virtually every article I have read says get out but it is not that simple when children are involved. Part of you wants to get out but part of you could not live with the guilt of what it would do to the kids.

    • Oh, I feel for you!!! Let me say, though, that passive aggressive behavior is terrible on kids, too. The man my mom married after my dad died was PA and my two youngest siblings, who were still at home when she married him, left home as soon as they possible could because of his PA behavior. My own daughters have no relationship at all with my husband/their dad, because PA behavior didn’t develop those relationships. My younger daughter still lives at home while attending college, but she won’t even be in the same room with him. She hates him so much. Leaving your wife may be hard on your children, but staying with your wife may be hard on your children, too. And no, it’s not simple. It’s not simple at all. How old are your children? They may already realize that things are wrong. I tried to hide it from my daughters that my marriage wasn’t good, but they figured it out long ago. When I finally said something to them about him being PA, they said, yeah, we know. I wasn’t hiding anything ~ they could see. I wish you well.

    • Jess says:

      Hey,
      I am currently dating someone who was in the same situation as you, 2 wonderful children and over 10 yrs of marriage. Separated now 2 years and it hasn’t been easy for him in the least, the children have adjusted well now too. Learning that he didn’t have to answer to her or put up with that behaviour is the hardest battle, he is still adjusting and has come so far. The guilt is the hardest part for him, esp when the children don’t understand. The best part about the decision hes made is that his children have one healthy home to go to, one place they can feel free to express themselves and live without being affected by the mood of the house. They are happier now and have a better change of not learning all the same traits or entering into the same type of relationship. Children become what they see.
      ALSO, the ex wife is doing well! She is coming out of her shell and startin to socialize and find her own independence again. Doesn’t blame him as much or expect so much. She has more time to focus on enjoying her children then being upset all the time about emotions she cant figure out.

      I hope this helps to at least let u know ur not the only one.

    • Suzanne Fanning says:

      I painfully understand everything you are saying. My husband refuses to accept adult responsibilities and complete important tasks for our family, hold a job, or show even the smallest degree of intimacy and concern towards me. We have four precious and beautiful daughters at home and he knows I will not leave. I have asked him so many times to write down what I ask of him and he just refuses. He avoids any action where he could actually beheld accountable, such as writing down when taxes are due and the necessary reminders to actually get them completed. It’s now October 2013 and the taxes for this year have yet to be started, let alone completed and submitted. It’s not that he isn’t smart enough — as he has an engineering degree, a MBA, and a Ph.D from Purdue University. However, he frequently lost his jobs for lack of performance, yet every time he clearly accused his employer of unfair treatment and claiming his, ever-so-frequent role, as the poor and pathetic victim. Quite unfortunately for me, he has trained me quite well by now — if I want our home to be free of contention and peaceful, then I can’t ask him to do anything. The reason he gives for not doing chores or necessary paperwork, is that I used the wrong tone of voice to ask him. If I just let him sleep until noon, and then play video games all night, all is well at home. My husband is 64 years old and blames me constantly for over-reacting to his incessant procrastination and lack of performance.
      Is there any possible way, that I can just co-exist peacefully with him and not resent his “teen-age” rants and irresponsibility without dying inside a little more each day. Currently, we have a two-story house and I pretty much live upstairs and he lives downstairs but the tension is felt throughout the entire home by everyone of us. His consistent solution to the despair that I feel is to take additional anti-depressants until I feel better. I find that I am so happy and energized when I am away from home and then dreadfully, the time comes…I have to go back home and the feeling of despair and incompetency engulf every cell of my body.
      Tomorrow, the first thing I am going to do is purchase the book regarding “Passive-Aggressive Men”. I know that I’m not going to leave him and devastate my daughters with their parents separating, but I wish I could go back and un-ring this bell and live my life without his oppressive actions and behaviours. How do I simultaneously remain stuck with my child-like husband and yet be joyful and complete? I am so desperate to find a solution!

      • If you truly want to stay, I would suggest attending Al-Anon or CoDA. I would also suggest reading “The Language of Letting Go” and “Codependent No More” and “Boundaries.” And maybe even “Desperate Marriages.” These books and organizations can help you learn about detachment, which is what you would need to peacefully co-exist with your child-like husband. But maybe you might want to ask yourself why you want to stay. I know you said you have four beautiful daughters and a house. Is the house worth it? Is this the example you want for your daughters, to be with someone who does not value the relationship, who does not treat you well? Please understand – I am NOT criticizing you!!! I’m still here with my husband!!!! Even if I had left already, I would not criticize you. I’m merely suggesting that you examine your own heart as to the reasons deep down that you stay. It’s a really scary process!!! But in the end it would be worth it! Let me know how things go for you. Take good care of yourself!!!

  16. TrappedDad says:

    The damage has already been done. I have spent 20 years being driven insane by everything being my fault. My only outlet, and I am not excusing myself, has been to lose my temper and shout and name call when she has failed to follow through on her promises for the 1000th time. That has had a destructive effect on the older kids (and my wife) who have grown up and are now leaving home. Now I understand that my behaviour was the worst thing I could do, but I have only just discovered my wife is a passive aggressive who has been controlling me with her ambiguity, blame, victimization and withdrawal of physical and emotional intimacy. Our marriage has been her way or no way. The descriptions of living with a PA on your website have been my marriage for over 20 years. I feel a massive omission in your otherwise excellent website is this vital article which also explains the devastating controlling effect of a PA withholding intimacy.http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/abusiverelationships/tp/Withholding-Sex.htm

    How can you keep your sanity when a woman you love and who tells you she loves you does this to you, for years? I have no right to my space and my time and my own silence if I am hurting or feeling angry and don’t want to argue. It is so pointless expressing any opinion of my own as nothing is ever her fault and she is always the victim. She will skew time and history to justify her own behaviour to the point where I think my head is going to explode. Since we were first married over 20 years ago she has followed me around the house and into my office until I am hemmed into a corner at which point she sometimes even gathers the children around her like a mother hen and lets them have a go at me as well. Is it any wonder I lose my temper when I am not even allowed to do the only thing in my power to escape the endless blame she has heaped on me?

    This thing has always been my fault. She has never taken responsibility for having destroyed me emotionally. I have no support structure and my self esteem left home years ago.The broken promises, the failing to follow through on joint decisions as parents. She withdrew from sex and intimacy years ago. On the rare occasions that we have any good periods, I have to initiate any intimacy – maybe once or twice a year if I have behaved myself. There is more bad baggage in the marriage than good now.

    She tells me she loves me. Somehow, we managed to produce another little one which we both know is the only reason we are together. This is why I am TrappedDad and this is why I am miserable.

    • TrappedDad says:

      Oh and btw, don’t ever mention divorce, even if you have got to the end of your tether, as that gives the PA even more reason to blame you and be the victim. The whole thing is like Groundhog Day. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing time and time again and expecting a different result…

    • I think you should move out. You need the peace, the calm, the space to be you again and work on the things you realize about yourself without also having to deal with her. She needs to realize that things simply cannot go on like that. She is unwilling to make a change so you must be brave enough to make that change. And she will play the victim whether or not you are in the same house, so separate and let her play the victim. Maybe it will help her to face up to what she needs to face up to. The same for your child. He/she will be hurt whether you are together or whether you are apart. It will be hard on the little one, but it still might be the best for you to move out. Still be a daddy to the child as much as you possibly can. Is there a counselor or therapist you can speak with? Do you have Al-Anon or CoDA in your area? These could offer you some of the support that you need. If you like to read, Codependent No More and The Language of Letting Go are excellent books and I find them helpful and encouraging in my struggle to deal with my life.

      My husband, too, says that he loves me. But the actions do not match the words and THAT creates the insanity. I will add the article on withholding intimacy. That is huge, huge, huge frustration in my life, too. It about kills me!!!

      Take good care of yourself and let me know how things go.

  17. eloise cann says:

    I am unsure if i am in an P.A abusive marriage or not as having taken the blame for so many things now, I am unsure if it is really my fault, you start to question your self beliefs, at least I am.
    I ask my husband to do things for me or at least I used to, he would agree and get started my problem, but somewhere along the way, the process would slow done, he would work back and forth to get a tool, take a measurement and I would get angry, he would profess ‘well can you do if not shut your stupid face’. I would feel that I was to blame. Then I noticed that we would go somewhere in the car, he always drove as I dont like driving when he is in the car as he criticises. We would do the same route again and we would get lost or he would say he didnt remember they way or he didnt know thats where i wanted to go. My daughter pointed out that he was game playing and he hadnt forgotten at all. There are so so many instances of him doing things that got me angry then he wouls play the victim, not talk to me, sulk, hide and run away. He then started to text other women on a chat site, exchanged photos of himself and other parts and he recieved them too. I knew he was doing it but couldnt prove it until agter a year i found the phone, he cried and begged forgiveness etc etc.
    Today I have finally told him I want a divorce. His he a P.A personality? I cant take anymore blame for thibngs i know that.

    • Sounds pretty passive aggressive to me! You don’t need to be blamed for his bad behavior. I’m glad that you are getting out. Be strong and stick with it! I’ve heard that passive aggressive behavior can get even worse while you are going through the divorce. But now you see that he is not good to you. Don’t let him weasel his way back in. Take good care of yourself!!!

    • bratgirl17 says:

      I know that I am married to a pa. I have been married 27 yrs but we have been seperated for 10 yrs. He has done everything possible to hold off the divorce. Just last summer he promised marriage counseling if I would consider re-uniting. Of course he procrastinated and then backed out, saying that he would go when he had assurance that I was definately take him back. He has exhausted me. I feel like I am a hostage living in our family home while he controls my life yet to this day. It has caused me great physical illness and I have no hope left. During our marriage, one thing I have not read about the PA is that he suffered premature ejaculation, common among PA’s. Just another way of making sure your needs are not met. He use to lock all the doors when I was out and put chains on them so there was no way of getting in without 20 minutes of pounding. Then frustrated, I would look like the crazy one. Well I guess I am crazy now. I would rather take a beating than deal with this abuse. He has used our children as puppets and torn me down. He colludes with our oldest daughter who has become very manipulative and deceitful. I have pointed that out to him and he feels no guilt. He doesnt tell me about health insurance changes which end up leaving us with big bills. Then complains about the cost of my health care. He controls all the money. Some of my health problems are a result of unnecessary stress that I live day to day. I have been in bed 23 hrs a day for the past month. I feel hopeless.

      • I am so sorry, Sweetie. I know it is so tough. Hang in there. Be as strong as you can and take care of yourself as much as you possibly can. I am thinking of you. And you are NOT crazy!!!!

      • bratgirl17 says:

        Thank You for your reply and encouragement. It is tough not to feel crazy. I have become so discouraged that I no longer work, and that further makes me feel worthless. I have had bouts of crazy anger a few times. Thanks again.

  18. surfer says:

    Thank you for your time in getting this all together. I have marked this page to remind myself I am not to blame. I have detached myself from him emotionally and have begun to make friends once more. The lady above states about her husband getting lost or going the wrong way. That was true of my husband on 4th of July coming home from fireworks. He never slowed down to turn to go home he just kept going. Even our oldest daughter claimed, “Daddy, what are you doing?” But I knew he would miss the turn even before we got there. He claims of course he missed the turn and that his head was hurting. Recently he claims he (forgot) to put me down as a dependent for new insurance. If it was not for the eagle eyed human resource person I would have not received a card!! (I thank God for her!) He claims he was just thinking of the kids. (I have been a homemaker for years now) how could he not remember me? I know, it just another way to get at me for his PA. Of course he laughed this off.
    Thank you for listening as this is the first time I have ever written this down.
    (married for over 20 years)

    • Drained says:

      We refinanced a few years back and my husband removed my name entirely. At first he said he forgot, but like you, luckily the broker called me and asked me if I removed myself on purpose. My husband then told me that my name didn’t have to be on anything because we were married and I would be entitled to everything. I did have my name added back.

  19. Reilly says:

    I think that my supervisor at work has this personality disorder to a t and would like to know if anyone else has ever met someone like this. She is an assistant director at an after-school program and I should have followed my gut instincts when I first met her at orientation and bolted. We went around the room and spoke of our strengths and weaknesses and she said that she has to work on being “warm” and to not “judge people so much”. Ok, I knew something was up. During the first two weeks working under her she was constantly glued to her computer and would not have any motivation or care to help me with the 20+ kids in the room during snack or lunch time. It was like it was beneath her and asking her for help was even more painful b/c she really didn’t do anything, just bark orders at the kids. Fast forward, I brought a coloring book to use for the children since we teachers bring lots of supplies for the kids. When I brought it, I could tell that she was leering at me and low and behold, the coloring book was near her desk the next week and then it vanished. On top of that, she would say a lot of passive aggressive comments if children were fighting across the room while I was attending to other children. This woman, refused to help us in any cohesive way and would rather spit her negative words to us instead of help us. The year before, it was her first year as assistant director and now I know why 4 out of 5 employees came back. What made it even more difficult was the the main director would sshuss her whenever she said passive aggressive comments to me but would defend this woman as well, so I just decided to get through the year and avoid this woman. I have never in my life met someone this conniving and belittling in a school environment. Honestly, of the few job responsibilities that she did have (fewer than the average assistant dir mind you), she didn’t do them very well. Is this passive aggressive controlling behavior? She also had a very hard time even complimenting her employees, I think she would rather stick needles in her eyes than to acknowledge her awesome employees.

  20. Norbit says:

    Like many of you I also am with a passive aggressive. My gf and I have been together for 4 years and I can say I don’t love her. I try to make it work for our kids but I don’t want to expose them to an unhealthy relationship growing up. It’s my and the kids house so she’s not leaving. Reason I stay is I don’t want to go live with my parents. Also all of my good friends all moved far away in past 12 months. And I live in CT and its so crazy expensive I wouldn’t b able to afford a place on my own and child support and whatever else. These arent complaints rather valid concerns but after reading Trapped dads comment I know I need to make a decision and not look back. Sorry if this is choppy and all over the place. I really could go on and on about how she is but I don’t feel like wasting more of my time on her. While reading the articles I thought maybe if she reads this she will understand. But then I realized a passive agg would never get past the first paragraph before denial and her saying lets see what kind of personality u r. Life’s too short to waste with a PA person.

    • No, she won’t understand. I keep thinking – even this morning – that if I could explain it in the right way, then he will understand. NO. It’s just not going to happening. Yes, make a decision. Yes, life’s too short. I wish you well. Let me know how it goes.

    • D says:

      Hi. I have just read your story. Please believe you are deserving of kindness and love – and please be the one to offer that to yourself!

      Create a new life where you are your best friend and allow others to join you. Make those that join you be the kind of people that like and care for you the way you are! Do this now and let your inner desires, strength and self belief guide you.

      I learnt the hard way too, until I realised there is truly no way of living with a passive aggressive who has no insight. Make your life about you and share your love in a healthy way with your family and children.

  21. going in circles says:

    How do you deal with passive aggressive in-laws? My partner’s sister and husband have always been frosty to me. They didn’t “approve” of me for a long time. I put up with cold behaviour and being asked to step out of family shots, told to stay inside the house so the rest of the family can have a farewell together on the doorstep at the end of a family night, etc! Once my partner raised this and they just denied it. Flat out denied, but didn’t further enquire, just said, “No, we’ve never done that.” Then changed the subject and my partner was convinced. But it did nip their behaviour in the bud a bit, but our interacted were always awkward.

    I dreaded attending their wedding. I was right to. They didn’t do anything to me, which was exactly the point. It was like I wasn’t there. I was acknowledged by the bride n groom very late in the day, only because I bumped in to them passing the courtyard. I stopped to wish them well and they initially weren’t going to stop. They hesitated, were very curt and moved on before I’d really finished talking.

    I know people are busy at weddings, but any time in the day I made eye contact and smiled, they look away or shudder in the case of the groom, GLARE at me.

    I pointed out to my partner how I felt and so he mentioned it to them and they denied it flat out.

    My partner concluded it was all in my head. I’ve been going back over the day and I know how I felt, but I feel like I”m going mad. But I guess this is classic passive aggressive behaviour.

    • Wow! I guess you’ll just have to detach and do your best not to let it get you. Obviously, you can’t make them happy, so make yourself happy! And don’t worry about what they think! You have better things to do with your life than trying to please them, right?

  22. Buttermilkgirl says:

    I spent 15 years married to a PA. Have you ever seen the movie “Gaslight” where the husband drives the wife insane on purpose? My ex honestly had me believing I was going crazy with his procrastination, forgetfullness, and his denial of ever making promises to do things in the first place. He also withheld sex and had emotional affairs with multiple women over the years. He would “brag” about what great friends they were to my face! Yet when I confronted him about how abnormally close he was to them, he would accuse me of being jealous and paranoid. After 10 years, I woke up and started planning my escape. Now I am completely divorced and independent of him, but he still continues to try to anger me by fighting me over child support for our younger child, of whom I have full custody thanks to his poor parenting. Four months ago I cut off all communication with him. It has been the best four months of my life! The child support is court ordered and I will let the court deal with him.
    To anyone dealing with a PA-run like the wind and don’t look back. They are emotional black holes that will suck the life out of you! But there is hope and happiness for you I promise!

  23. Mary says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! ALL OF YOU for sharing this information and your experiences.
    My whole life I have had PA men in my life, starting with my Dad, I thought I was being loving, patient, kind, understanding to my two PA husbands… I have lived with chronic medical issues for the last 13 years that almost killed me….all from stress. I had no idea this was PA. I thought he maybe was a psychopath, or Bi-Polar, etc. but the factual information provided at this site could have said his name! It is against my belief to get divorced, but we have been separated on and off for over half of the last 13 years of our 20 years together. He always manipulated his way back in…somehow, a baby step at a time. There were several books mentioned above, are any of them really helpful so that I can learn ways to not only deal with him when I have to, but to keep me from falling prey to those types of personalities in the future.
    I attend a very Spirit filled Church that is allowing and helping me feel good about myself and see my worth as God sees me. But I would still like to have the ability to verbally stand up for myself when I need to.
    I very much appreciate everyone who has shared their experiences, knowledge, and encouragement! It has been a real God Send and Blessing!
    Two requests:
    Books that are really worthwhile to read to help me verbally respond correctly, but firmly.
    Is there any treatment to help these people, or do any of them ever get better to a reasonable level of mutual existence?

    Thank you again and God Bless You.
    It Ends Now!

    • Hi. Manipulation is such a good word here. That is exactly what they do!
      For books, you can read “Boundaries,””The Language of Letting Go,””Co-dependent No More,”and “Living with the Passive Aggressive Man.”
      For treatment, find a therapist who actually understands passive aggressive behavior and its causes. And, be warned, he will only change if he, personally, sees the need to change. If he will not acknowledge that there is a problem, he will not be willing to do the work to change.
      Let me know how things go for you!

  24. Jules says:

    I have just read this whole site. I am in a very shaky situation coming to terms with my PA partner. We have had an on and off relationship for nearly 4 years. I met him after a traumatic divorce where my husband cheated on me with his secretary. my self esteem was obviously low. now it is non existent. My partner has cheated consistently, lied and led a double life, The vague and ambiguous messages made me feel I was going mad, If I dared react to his mixed messages, lack of affection, lateness or lack of getting on with anything, his silences or ignoring me for days on end he would accuse me of being needy or bonkers! I would leave him and then he would gradually crawl his way back. I have just really come to terms with the fact he never really cared about me or respected me and that is hard. I felt worthless when with him for so much of the time and now I am finding it hard to realise it was his problem and not mine.
    He is never happy. Always going on about what he has not got and how others have so much more. He is always jealous and resentful of so many. It would be very waring. He also moaned all the time about how hard he worked and how incompetent his bosses etc were. Again it was so waring and hard to try and deal with. He also just put me down all the time. He called it banter. He made it seem a joke. Dare I return the banter he would get really sensitive and hate it sulking! He hated me having success. Everything he did had to be complimented and seen to be so good. I felt I was dealing with a child and put it down to insecurity.
    We would go away, have a wonderful time and on our return he would disappear for days and totally ignore me. Last year i could not go on holiday because of work so he took his other woman behind my back. He would tell me he could not end it with her because he felt sorry for her and it was a battle constantly. He told her exactly the same messages as He did me. It only ended because I told her what was going on. He was so very angry at being found out but i just saw both of us being used and both of us getting hurt. i did not really realise either that he had been leading this double life and he lied to us both and made us both believe we were the one he loved. But he came back. We got engaged in Feb and it was so romantic but two months later the silence began and no affection. Again when I questioned him it was my fault. I had put on weight and was needy he said. After over 3 years I broke it off. I knew it was affecting my whole life. I let it get so bad I could not cope with my high powered job and took a lesser role. He was unavailable to support me emotionally saying it was life and get on with it and then made me feel bad when I later told him I had resigned. He sulked because I had not confided in him. How could I have when I knew I would get no emotional support. This added to my feeling I was going crazy.
    I am left now feeling so depressed and struggling to find the resilience to smile. I have really positive days and bad days. He is a heavy drinker and when cornered verbally abusive.
    I just need reassurance I am not mad and just want my life back.

    • Sweetie, no matter what he says or even does, he is not going to change. You need to leave him once and for all so you can get your life back. You KNOW what he is like. You deserve better. Don’t let him do this to you. You don’t have to stay with him. Do not let him back in your life. You do not need him. You are not crazy!!! Trust me! You are NOT!!! Do what you need to do for YOU. Take care of YOURSELF. Do what you LIKE to do. Focus on what makes YOU happy. I wish you well.

  25. Mary says:

    Jules, the first step for me was a Church Series I attended. You can get it for free at Mars Hill Church website and choose Sermons, then choose Ephesians “Who do you think you are?” Start at the very beginning. It is an amazing journey into your self worth through the eyes of God. Until I saw myself as worth anything, I could not stand up to my husbands manipulation and abuse. YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN WHAT AND HOW THIS MAN TREATS AND ABUSES YOU!!! SO VERY MUCH MORE!!!!
    Until you see your REAL worth, you won’t walk away…. I know, I have been in these kinds of relationships my WHOLE LIFE and I just turned 60. But no more! I would rather be alone than in this sick relationship. But instead of being alone God has sent people, support, and answers to help me on my road to wholeness, self assurance, physical, emotional, and mental health. I pray the same for you!
    There is only one other thing that would still be beneficial to me…a mentor. Like AA…someone I can call, or connect with online, in my moments of weakness when I need someone to shore up my strength when my urge to talk with him feels overwhelming. I am still looking for someone who has won this battle, understands, and in Christian love can be there for me. I know that God will provide.
    I will pray for your journey and strength Jules, as you discover your TRUE worth in yourself and in God’s eyes as well!!! God Be With You!

    • Mary, thanking for leaving this info! :}

    • Debbie says:

      I also am a Christian and 60 years old!’
      I have been married 19 years and getting a divorce from passive aggressive man! I am getting my life back and going to counseling at my church. I left my husband for 9 months left the state but continued to talk with him after 6 months he talked me into coming back, I went back and things were worse so I left again and stopped communicating with him. I wil be divorcing soon

    • DagnyT says:

      I am about your age and have been married 20 years to a passive aggressive man also. I am thinking/planning to leave him soon. I can’t quite yet because he got fired from his job two years ago and didn’t get another job until I refused to continue supporting us with my credit cards. Now I have to wait until he pays me back the $25,000 in credit card debt I racked up – I had to fight and scream (crazy behavior) to make him get the money out to pay off that debt. I am waiting to get them paid then I intend to speak my mind more bluntly and I expect the marriage will end.
      But in the meantime, I would be happy to be friends with you. I can’t be exactly a mentor since I am still living with this but we could provide each other with support and reassurance.

  26. jules says:

    Thank you for your comments. It is my birthday today and I am having a lovely day,the first of the new me, with my children and friends. Needless to say this week he made me angry with him as he sent me immature texts to wind me up and instead of ignoring them I reacted so now he has conveniently turned the tables on me and I am to blame. Surprise, surprise he is sulking and ignoring me. But I am being strong today and each day I get through without any contact from now on will be a day nearer to knowing I am ok. I will read those sermons because I am not religious in the Christian sense but am very much a believer in always trying to better myself in how I think and behave.
    You are so kind to have spared the time to reply and I am very appreciative.

  27. Mary says:

    Jules…glad you had a good Birthday! Hang in there! September 7th is my oldest Grandson’s Birthday too…

  28. Cindy says:

    I have been dealing with my PA husband for 28 years. A few years ago I did research too on mental disorders to find out he is passive aggressive. I’m emotionally tired of it. I know i should leave but find it so hard to and i’m not sure why. I guess it’s manipulative because he comes off as the sweetest person at times. I don’t want to hurt him by leaving but i’m at my wits end! The latest (of many) He started texting me for sex, even if i’m sitting next to him. I asked him why he did this, he said he didn’t know and apologized. I then asked him not to do it again and he agreed not to. But here it is two weeks later and he’s texting me for sex again. I just don’t want to continue to deal with this when i’m old. I want to get out now while I can still enjoy life and this is not enjoyable.

    • Part of it is that he is manipulative. Part of it is because we are tender-hearted. Part of it also is that it is what we know and what we are comfortable with, even though we are miserable. And leaving would be venturing into the unknow. Yes, please do get out now while you can still enjoy life!

    • Mira says:

      @ Cindy and others,
      It t is really difficult to leave because such a person keeps you ‘hooked’. But don’t worry, you CAN. At least, I did, and I don’t have magic powers so…
      I know what it is like. You simply cannot believe you will never get the love, respect or intimacy from them that you crave for. And hey: sometimes you get a crumb! That’s when he needs something from you or he wants to make sure you’ll stay available for his games.
      You give and give and give and find yourself analyzing him and his childhood or whatever events in his life that made him this way, explain yourself, plead and beg until you’re hollowed out to the core. [ I hope I 'am comprehensible, English is not my mother tongue]. You are afraid to leave because of these ‘crumbs’ you still get. Afraid of what life will be like when you’re ‘alone’. Also: It is highly frustrating and exasperating that you’ll never get him to understand or acknowledge your needs, emotions, values, opinions, intentions..; you feel time and again you did not yet find the right words or the right approach. That makes you want to go on communicating and trying.
      So you try again. Or you get in a vindictive state of mind and act aggressive in a desperate attempt to make him feel what it is like to be abused. Because that what it is. AND he knows it. He is not being defensive, he is plain offensive. Although he will play the wronged victim, or the one sane, sensible partner in your relationship. Or he will say something like: let’s not make a big problem out of everything, your problem is that you’re so over sensitive, let’s make up and enjoy the moment (have sex maybe), without addressing any of your issues. Minimalizing, avoiding, denying. That’s manupilation.
      From my experience: it is like sitting opposite a stone, assure the stone of your loving intentions and asking this darling stone, not only to talk to you but talk to you in a loving way, hold you, revealing his true tender feelings, caring for you. Have you got the picture? That would be weird, wouldn’t it?
      The way out for me was: finally realizing the relationship would never, ever, change. Very important. Asking myself, can I handle that, do I want this for the rest of my life, how and where will I be in the next 5, 10 years? (if I stay: even more worn out, no inspirational perspective, or practical perspective, bitter maybe, depressed, ill, and then he’ll probably leave me). Why do I stay? (afraid of being alone and without love) What is my part in all this? (much to dependent, not doing the fun- or serious things that I want, not achieving my goals, being) .What do I really want? (a life that is satisfying, where I can also be happy doing the things I can myself, be independent, for income, also). What am I afraid off, what will happen when I leave him? (love lost, maybe passion lost, being alone, lonesome, having an unsatisfactory life). Then I thought I have to stop analizing and make some active steps.
      Did a few courses to enhance my job skills and also a photographing course where I met a nice woman who is a new friend now. Got much more active, at first feeling out of my element, now enjoying it. Did not let me get engaged in arguments any more, changed my attitude : have it your way, but I’ll do what I think is right. Did not expect his support (love, care understanding…) any more, learnt to see him from a distance. I connected with friends and family whom I thougth would sympatize and help me in any constructive way, but without endless complaining.( I also stopped complaining, to myself). More to get some practical help. Well, they more than understood, had seen it coming and were glad of my decision to leave. I found a place to live temporarily with a (woman)friend. [We have a very fun time, talking, watching tv, gardening, cooking, gaming, often hilarious! ]
      Then I talked to my husband, managed to stay cool, just said that he was who he was, -and I regretfully did not understand him- and he would never understand me. A pity, but there it was. Therefore there was no foundation to stay together. Not the end of the world. Of course he made all kinds of moves, accusations, pleads how great and passionate our love was, then again threatening I would never make it on my own, etc. (I just said: sure, sure, but I’ll do it anyway). This one time I was the stone. Wow! I felt such a relieve !
      I changed my lifestyle up to a point, and got more outgoing and active, developed my interests, I changed my hairstyle and got some colourful cothes.. . Of course, now and then you’ll need to reflect and maybe feel a pang of grief. That’s understandable. Because you have experienced a ‘disaster’. But it will get less and less necessary and you’ll enjoy life more and more. If it is too tough in the beginning you can always get some professional help. Choose well, I mean, shop until you’ve got someone who really helps you. You deserve it. But don’t go on for too long because then you will get dependent on your therapist to have a life.
      About 6 months after I left I met a man at the opening of an exposition. Expressed my opinion and asked his. Felt very bold at the time, but we date now. And: it ‘s a normal guy! I’ll not deny that it wasn’t like the great ‘passion’ and exitement I felt when I met my husband. But I am more than happy to be able to give and receive true affection, cordiallity, honesty and attention. To carefully build a genuine attachment, respecting eachothers needs, opinions, activities is an exhilirating experience in itself.
      I would say: if you are in a poisonous relationship: stop wanting to mend it, stop analyzing, don ‘t try to change the other – change yourself, get some action … and run!
      Good luck, you are never alone, and ‘bon courage’ to you all.

      • cindy says:

        Mira, I’m glad you commented. It’s definitely what I needed to hear. And it’s so true. I remember when I first realized that this is it and its all its going to be. No real intimacy, no real relationship, no deep connection, only surface level conversation, just going through the motions. I was devastated after realizing this. If I do bring up something he does that irritate me, I give him an example, he say it’s in the past, thus minimizing. He also have selective memory and looks shocked when I point out something he did. I think it’s the niceness thats so deceiving and manipulative, I’m trying to get over that. Something else that is really really strange, he mocks everything I do. If I order a certain food, he orders it too. When elections are going on,whoever I vote for, he vote for the same people. If I start painting a room in the house, he does it, etc. But he initiates nothing, has no ideas, no hobbies, don’t hang out with anyone, nothing interesting to say. I feel like I’m married to myself. He recently told me he wanted a normal marriage but he don’t realize his behavior is not normal. I tried to explain the things I didn’t trust about him and it got me no where, he played the ignorant card. Always back to square one. I’m now trying to save money in hopes of leaving and hope I don’t give in to the nice guy tactic, but I must say, its hard. The craziest thing of all, anyone on the outside looking in, thinks he is the nicest person in the world and wouldn’t think for a moment that such a nice guy would do anything like that, which would make me look like the crazy person. I hope to be the stone one day.

      • Debbie says:

        Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. susan thompson says:

    The person I am referring to is my son and he is still letting his ex wife who happens to be bipolar and has other mental problems back into his life and into my grandchildren lives. They both have been in trouble with the law several times for domestic violence. She has threatened to kill them and in fact in front of their nine year old daughter! They also have two twin autistic 8 year old boys! I am very scared and very concerned. I feel that one day she will follow through on her threats. I have tried talking to my son but with no success. I don’t know what else I can do. Thats the reason I’m writing to you for advice. This has been going on for ten long years. Help! Thank you.

    • It sounds like that maybe your son is codependent? If you feel like your grandchildren are in physical danger, can you get a restraining order against her? Is your son related to anyone or have any friends who are alcoholic? If you can’t get him to a therapist, see if you can get him to go to Al-Anon. Is there a pastor or religious person in his life who he respects that he would talk to? You can also talk to social services about what your options might be to protect your grandchildren. Unfortunately, in the end, since he is an adult there is sadly nothing that you can make him do. Ten years is a long time to struggle in this!!! I wish you well and please let me know how you are doing.

  30. susan thompson says:

    Yes I know my son is codependent. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll call and talk to social services,CPS. They have been involved with them in the past. There has never been any alcohol involved. There had been drugs with her and still is as far as I know. As for my son he is on meds for depression and anxiety.

    • Still, see if you can get him to Al-Anon. Al-Anon let me attend with them simply because I was codependent, even though I wasn’t connect to anyone in any way who abused alcohol. Also, there was someone in our group whose adult child had been a drug addict. It’s a similar situation. Maybe even offer to go with him, just to get him there! It’s generally only an hour a week and “dues” are a donation. I usually just put in a dollar. A pretty cheap way to help straighten out a life a little. Al-Anon might help some with his depression and anxiety, too. I’m so sorry you are going through this. Please do keep me posted. I will be thinking about you….

  31. susan thompson says:

    P.S. No there is no pastor he can talk to or religious person.

  32. susan thompson says:

    I have offered to go with him to get some help. He just makes excuses. He has a restraining order against him that is still in effect and his ex wife had one against her until she did some jail time and now has no restraining order against her and I wished that I could have one against her for the sake of my grandchildren but it doesn’t work that way. I cannot do it.

  33. Mary says:

    My son had a similar issue. His ex was bipolar and got addicted to pain medication after a minor surgery. She was totally out of control and my two very young Grandchildren were without supervision for most of the day until my son came home from work. Things were so bad my son finally had to leave or he would have become abusive to her. The house got filthy, he went to pick up the kids one day and it got ugly because he decided to take the kids out of that mess. Police were called and social services forced them out of the house till it got cleaned. She then wound up doing some very stupid things, stealing drugs and money from others and a rental car, and taking off with the kids while doing these things. We (including notifying her Mom and getting her involved) got Police to DO something by reporting it at the Poloce Station and staying till they found the kids, and she was arrested again. At this time the Social Services put the kids with my son until it went to Court. It was a very hard time for all but the kids were given to my son for full custody and they are doing well, it has been almost eight years. His ex went to get cleaned up and she was so devastated about losing her kids, she has been clean since. Praise God! (I still keep in touch with her on social media.) I stayed very involved with the kds and process during all that and the Court appointed CASA advocate relied on my knowledge and records of events to present as an outside view of the situation. I also had to testify in Court.

    My advice is for you and anyone involved in these sort of situations to stay involved, especially extended family. Report unsafe conditions, or comments the children make about fear, anger, threats made to them, etc. if necessary to Police and to Social Services AND keep written notes of who you report it. Also, record and if able document any other statements and situation that is abusive, dangerous, out of the ordinary…and date/time each entry. If the incident was by phone…jot down time and number call was made from as this can be verified by phone records. You can simply pick up a calander with some writing space and jot down a simple note on that day. A small business type calendar is perfect, convenient, is like a thin book, and inexpensive. If you do it consistently IT WILL BE CONSIDERED AS EVIDENCE in Court. Not just “he says, she says”. For both my son’s case and my sisters daughter, this was invaluable and held more weight than just about any other testimony. I cannot stress the need to document threats, verbal abuse, neglect, irrational behavior or actions…these records are essential as evidence. If necessary keep them hidden with a trustworthy friend or family member so the violating person cannot find and destroy them, or retaliate for keeping the records against those already in harms way.

    Very important to give the children security and love when you see them. Do not pry or question them, they will be fearful and defensive about their parents and not want to share outwardly. Just relax, have fun, and little by little they will generally share feelings and incidents when they begin to trust you. When they say something remain calm and in control. A Gentle question about how this made them feel will often get them to open up some.But remain calm and in control or they will turn back off and shut you out.. Do not berate, ridicule, blame, or call either parent names as this is more traumatic for them. Let them know that parents have problems and make mistakes too but that you are there to talk to and they can count on you for help. Remember to later record any of the child’s statements, concerns they may have made, and your responses so they are documented. If there is any report of sexual or physical abuse, or evidence that there has been abuse, IMMEDIATELY contact Police and report it. If you do not, you can be considered aiding and abetting the abusive behavior. But do not loose control, stay calm in front of the children, they need to know they are safe in your care. After all they already are living in an out of control emotional environment, they need to know there is another way to live and handle situations and they need to trust and count on YOU! If you can’t remain in control you will only be making the situation worse for them.

    FINALLY, Remember…if you falsify any incident you record and it can be later proven false, ALL YOUR RECORDS WILL BE SUSPECT and could be totally thrown out of Court. Be honest, consistent, and in control of yourself and your emotions to do the best for the situation and for those involved. God be with you, strengthen you, comfort you, and Bless you. Prayer is very helpful always, but essential in times like these. God really cares…trust Him to help you. He will if you ask and trust Him! I will be praying for all of you Susan!

  34. susan thompson says:

    Thanks for all the advice and info but this has been going on for ten years. I just feel that I’m waiting for a phone call telling me that she followed in on her threat of killing all of them! How am I suppose to handle that? And I have been praying!

    • I have a couple of other thoughts. Is moving farther away from her so it is harder for her to get to your grandchildren an option? Or does she have custody or partial custody? Also, maybe you could make an appointment yourself to talk to a therapist or counselor about the whole situation and see what advice he/she would have for you on how you can help your son and grandchildren. You said that you can’t take out a restraining order on her, but did the police have any other options for you? Does Social Services, CPS have any suggestions for you? It seems like that since the children are in danger that someone somewhere would have something that could be done to help ensure their safety. Maybe there is even someone at their school that you could talk to find out if there is anything else you can do to help protect them. Is there an attorney that you could talk to maybe? Obviously you have been dealing with this a long time and maybe you have already explored these things.
      What Mary wrote sounds like excellent advice, too.
      I’m praying for you and your grandchildren, too. Please let me know how things go for you….

  35. susan thompson says:

    He will not move. In fact I asked him once to take her and move away and he said no. She is right now in his home where they both have stay away orders with each other. They are not suppose to be around each other but they are. It doesn’t mean a thing to either of them. I have not contacted CPS. My son has custody of the children. and no the police did not give me any options.

  36. This is making me hate my partner. And myself more for allowing him to get away with this and trying so hard to do what is very obviously impossible, only I didn’t see that it was, or let him convince me it wasn’t when I already knew that it was. Shame on me.

    I can’t even give in out of defiance just to prove that I could give him everything he asked for and he still would find fault and be unhappy (because I would, just to prove the point, but I CAN’T because IT REALLY IS IMPOSSIBLE TO GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS. Maybe he doesn’t even KNOW what that is, and certainly he hasn’t EXPRESSED it with any usefulness or constructive manner. I know plenty about what he doesn’t want, and it would appear to be ME, but Gog forbid I suggest that maybe he’d be better off without me making him so miserable.

    Thanks for the clarity. At ;east that is something I can tether my sanity to, maybe long enough to regain some of my lost footing again. But OH am I angry now…. Why should I be SO angry NOW, when I already knew this ? Is it because I ignored the things I know ? I should be angrier at ME then… Fine. Whatever….

    Oh maybe. Maybe it is fine now. But no more “whatever” I know what I want. I want a partner I can work with, and he needs to do it willingly without the resentment and the bellyaching, because he needs to want to work with me or I don’t want hm. SImple. Please GOD don’t let me forget that now.

  37. Mira says:

    Dear Cindy, please don’t take offence if what I am going to say is totally wrong.
    It is perfectly possible that I misunderstand what you are dealing with because I only have your two postings to go on and I appreciate you cannot elaborate on every detail of your interactions and your situation.

    Your husband comes across as passive – passive –passive!- aggressive, if I may say so. You know what I mean? He seems not to show a n y initiative and when you begin, broach, something he will follow. But he doesn’t critizise your choice? You have to take the whole load of initiative. Also he asks for sex by texting you, he does not hang out whit anybody, hasn’t got
    a n y interests.. . (has he, have you got a job?). By the way I like your sense of humour: ‘… like being married to myself”… good! Keep your spirits up!

    Now, to a passer by he would look like a man who is primarily afraid to do or initiate something, anything, in case it is wrong or may go wrong, and he does not even dare to initiate sex in a normal, straightforward way out of fear for rejection, sounds to me very submissive for a man. [But maybe this is different in the US than in Europe. If this was his idea of a joke then I would be furious and throw his telephone in the toilet or crush it under my feet. Then if he asked why I did this I would say: I do not remember doing anything, had a black out maybe, or ask him what he meant].
    He either acts or is a ‘shrunken’ man. Can he perhaps be depressed?? [because he doesn’t seem to take pleasure in a n y activity; has he always been like this?].Or does it feel like he is deliberately frustrating you, making you angry, and secretely enjoying it? Do you think he really wanted sex when he texted you or was it just to annoy you? Then it is manipulation. [And I agree with you that ‘forgetting’ about past behaviours (which e.g.?), and when you want to talk about it not paying attention, recognizing it is important because it matters to y o u: that surely is manipulative]. Are you sure the ‘nice guy’ thing is only an act? I mean is he only a ‘nice guy’ when with others, whereas, does he sulk, is he chagrined, shout to you, is sarcastic, or ignore you when at home? When he helps you painting a room, is he really helpful or does he frustate the job and is he criticizing your skills or the significance of the job? That would be passive-aggressive and very manipulative. What is your gut feeling on this?

    But: when he said he wanted a ‘normal’ marriage, how did you react?
    -It’s so good of you to bring that up, I also want a ‘normal’ marriage, what would a normal marriage look like to you?
    -I understand what you are saying, let’s talk about it, what would you like to change?
    -So you don’t find our marriage normal now, I agree, and I would really like to talk about it, I am very glad you brought this up, that’s great! I am prepared to listen to you?

    I cannot give you advice, that would be very wrong and presumptious of me.. Only suggestions. Maybe you have tried talking to him time and again. Maybe, and understandably so, you are completely, over and all & totally sick and tired of him anyway. Then work your way out! There’s life after this, there really is! I prepaired my exit to a certain extent, then leapt. As I pointed out: I don’t have magic powers, but I am so happy now.

    But maybe, just maybe your feelings for your husband are still positive enough to give your marriage one last try. [Does he still, sometimes, say he loves you? Does he admire you for anything? Does he give you any compliments?] I think that you would need professional help then, and: he m u s t be prepared to go along with it. That would be your paramount condition. Very important. You can only convincingly play this last card if you are f u l l y determined to take the consequences if he says no, or if he says to go along but frustrates the therapy process.
    Dear Cindy, I hope some parts of this epistle may be useful to you. I wish you a beautiful week end, hope you find some pleasurable things to do, and hope you will come to a satisfactory solution, and if so, maybe you would share it on these pages. Bon courage.

  38. Cindy says:

    Mira, I am not offended at all. I’m glad you asked. From my post, it does seem like he is more passive than passive aggressive. But I assure you he is very passive aggressive. Let me give you a few examples:

    I got home from work and realized we had no food in the fridge. I didn’t have money at the time so I didn’t go to the store. I called my husband and told him there was no food and asked if he could stop by the store on the way home. He said yes and that it wouldn’t be a problem for him. When he came home, he only had pork chops with him. It is common knowledge that I don’t like pork chops and haven’t liked them for a very long time. He apologized and said he forgot I didn’t like them but didn’t give me money so I could buy me something to eat. Him and the kids ate that dinner that night. I went to bed.

    He also hides or “misplace” some of my things. I ask him if he seen it, he says no then helps me to look for the “lost” item. I asked him if he hides some of my things on purpose. He said, “let me think about it”, then said no and has never done such a thing. I then find the lost item where I had already looked for it, 3 times.

    I found the toilet seat up a couple of times. I asked him to put it down when he’s done. He said it wasn’t him and it must have been our son. (our son has his own bathroom) So he put the toilet seat down but i have to clean up the urine off of it before I can sit down.

    This is my favorite one-I came home from work to find it dark in the house and he was looking depressed, sad, angry and pitiful. I asked him what was wrong and he nodded his head saying nothing. It was so sad, he couldn’t even raise his head up when he spoke. I asked a second time and again, he said nothing. I leave to go to the gym, but when I got down the road I realized I forgot my gym tag so I go home to get it. It wasn’t even 5 minutes later and when I go in the house, it’s a miracle! He was up, talking on the phone, and on the computer, at the same time. The lights in the house had been turned on, and he seemed to be enjoying himself.

    I asked him to go to counseling. He agreed and said he would do anything to save our marriage. We go to couples counseling a few times. He then tells me he don’t like the counselor and he has this bad feeling in the pit of his stomach and he hates going. I suggest he find one he likes and schedule the appointment. He does and this counselor tells us he can’t help us. This was about a year ago. When he told me he wanted a normal marriage, I told him this is why I wanted us to go to counseling, I felt like it would help us through our issues. He then tells me the truth and said he didn’t want to go because she was picking on him. As I thought about what my 10 year old said, I mean my husband, I told him this was because every time she asked him a question, he would start talking about something totally different. She was simply trying to get a straight forward answer. He insisted she was picking on him.

    He do critizise me but only behind my back. I asked him to stop calling my best friend to talk bad about me. He was hurt by this and said he didn’t know we were that close. She has been my friend for over 20 years. My daughter has also told him not to talk about me that way.

    I don’t think he really wanted sex when he texted me. From the look on his face, he was out to annoy me. He says, I love you, just not too often. I’m okay with this, because he used to say it all the time but it felt sickening. He don’t admire me for anything. At one time I thought he admired me for my running but I walked in on him talking about how he don’t understand why I run and it was hot outside. Not often, but sometimes he do tell me I look nice. It’s the crumbs that keep me around.

    When he told me he wanted a normal marriage, I told him that’s why I wanted to go to counseling, I thought counseling could help. At this point, i’m just mentally exhausted. I’m going visit my mom this weekend. I need the break.

    I hope I answered your questions. I didn’t know what this behavior was until about 2 years ago.
    It is difficult but I think I handle it better than I use to. It don’t drive me as crazy as it use to, especially after I found out what it was. I still get angry about it sometimes but I do realize there is nothing I can do about it. I did come to the conclusion that I can only change myself, and I’ve been working on that. I didn’t mind your questions at all.

    • Drained says:

      Cindy, my husband also moves my things all the time. He denies it and turns it into a “poor me” situation. He rearranges everything. One day, he decided to rearrange my kitchen drawers because he liked things in different places. I moved everything back and told him to stay out of my kitchen. He smirks when he gets a rise out of me.

  39. Cindy says:

    I must really be tired, I just realized I repeated myself in the second to last paragraph. I apologize.

  40. Joy says:

    I am currently on the receiving end of passive aggressive abuse from a dear dear friend of mine. Started out with me telling her that she and her husband were not helping with the problem me and my boyfriend were having by constantly inviting him out at the time. She took this as I was blaming her as the sole reason to the problem and got super offended. So offended that she started having panic attacks and walking on eggshells around my boyfriend. I told her I didn’t want her to feel like that, that I just wanted her to take her and her husband out of the equation so I could fix what i needed to fix with my boyfriend. We finally did talk about it and she said everything was cool. a week from then she started giving me silent treatment out of the blue after saying we were good again and having conversations and laughing and such.

    idk if its right to go from cool were still friends status to i’m giving you silent treatment. It puts me in a really hard spot. I literally do not know what to do. Wait for her to stop and continue being her friend or say fuck this and walk away. she has been giving me silent treatment for 2.5 weeks now and doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon. This hurts me very much. All the things i’ve been through in my life with friends and family. I was there for her when no one wanted a thing to do with her and this is my thanks. Punishment.

  41. Living with a passive aggressive person is feeling like I am distanced from them somehow, like a stranger, not feeling accepted, like a constant misunderstanding is present. There is a certain feeling like I have been emotionally beat up on like being stuffed into a clothes dryer, the door shut and the on button is pushed, making me spin until becoming confused. Most of the things I talk about are twisted around and blown out of shape or taken the wrong way by the other person jumping to conclusions too quickly, refusal to listen, stubborn and making assumptions so that what is real is never acknowledged or understood by them. This creates an almost constant low grade stress, and feeling like I have no right to express myself even if done so in a respectful way. The passive aggressive takes the rights of the others away emotionally.

  42. Sissy says:

    I have just come to realise I think my boyfriend is passive aggressive and I was searching for info as I am at my wit’s end and so confused about everything. It is a very long story of how we met 5 years ago and he was so wonderful at first I thought my dreams had come true and moved country to live with him. After a while I started seeing that nothing he said ever happened, including asking me to marry him and then not doing anything about it and blaming it on the fact that my friends did not want to take a plane flight to where he wanted the wedding to be (the country where his family live) he made the wedding to be so unobtainable that it was too difficult and expensive to arrange so there was no wedding and he refused to do it locally because he wanted ALL his family there. Maybe I should thank my lucky stars… Then at times he used to become distant, I had no idea why. I used to laugh and say “oh you’re off with the aliens again!” because he would just sit for hours/days/weeks watching TV not saying much, falling asleep on the couch every night, just seemed to have zoned out of the relationship. In fact he is a TV addict and uses it as a way of ignoring me while he does nothing else. Then when I would get fed up with it he would turn nice again for a while to give me renewed hope. The cycle never ends.

    I can’t go into all the reasons I think he is PA or I would have to write a book. The only thing I wonder about the hidden anger is that he has no hesitation in shouting extremely loudly if ever confronted or caught out with a lie (which he does a lot). He knows I hate this, not only because its abusive to me but also so embarassing to have the neighbours hearing it all. Is that PA behaviour? I myself am extremely quiet and private and it is deeply disturbing when he shouts so loud. I now hide when I hear any neighbours outside in case I bump into them I feel huge embarassment and know they must be thinking what the hell is she still doing with that A#s*-o%e! I ask myself the same question every day but its so hard to break it up again, I think I have a fear of being alone.

    We broke up for 6 months earlier this year and he just left and went back to his family, he was calling me every day saying he made a mistake to leave and wanted to come back. I was so lonely in this country I did want to give it another try and he still made me wait for 6 months struggling to pay the bills while he “saved the money to live on when he got back” only to return with money that only lasted a week. We talked a lot about what would change if we got back together. On his return I can only say that he has not stuck to one agreement we made. One of them was that neither of us would sleep on the couch after an argument as it only drags the problem on to the next day. Within a week of returning he went to sleep on the couch after shouting “I suppose you want me to sleep on the couch now” although I hadn’t said anything like that. I was questioning why his actions did not match his words why he was so distant again. His trick was that he came back to bed at around 3 am. The next day when I said we made an agreement not to do that, he said he didn’t sleep on the couch as he came to bed before morning. Everything just gets twisted to suit whatever he wants.

    I feel like he controls me by doing all the grocery shopping. This only happened after I realised that every time we went shopping it would end up in an argument or also that at the checkout he wouldn’t allow me to load any items on the conveyor belt as he said I did it wrong! I had to just stand there while he did it all so in the end I said to myself, you know what? I don’t need to go through that every week I will just let him do it himself, which he doesn’t seem to mind as then he can tell everyone how wonderful he is that he does all the shopping for me.

    Finally, the most baffling thing I have felt is that whatever he says sounds great but his actions speak differently. He says he loves me so much but creates problems every day that I react to and then I am the bad one to have “blown things out of proportion”. I am the crazy one who is causing problems by getting upset about it. He says I blame him for everything? I think sometimes I see some PA in myself too or at least I know I’m probably a co-dependent type. I think the PA I display is mainly because if I did show my anger he would definitely shout me down so I would rather withdraw which seems like sulking. I do blame him a lot because most of the time its his behaviour/comment/lie which starts the problem.

    I’m glad I’ve found out what passive aggressive means and I hope I can find a way to make a stable life again with or without him. I can’t go on with this craziness.

    • I personally don’t think it is possible to make a stable life with a passive aggressive man. A huge part of their agenda is to create chaos. You need to make a stable life for yourself WITHOUT him! Don’t let him or anyone else treat you like this!!! PLEASE do not marry him! Take good care of yourself!!!!

  43. Mike Wood says:

    I have alot in common with Trapped Dad. My wife is passive aggressive. I have only really discovered the PA syndrome & understood it recently after 37 years of marriage. The kids are grown up & doing well. I have learnt to put up with the silence & lack of intimacy as I know that my wife was sexually abused by her father, her mother fell off a horse in front of her & died & then her guardian (her elder brother) crashed into a fallen tree & died. Recently I met an old flame and the ease of our love making made me realize that I am not impotent after all but immobilized in a sort of no mans land abetted by anti depressants.
    I feel I have a duty towards my wife. She has been an awesome mother. She is very bright & artistic. She doesn’t deserve to be ditched by some SOB just because only now; with my increased understanding of her & my own obvious codependence, I realize we would have been better off if we had seperated before now. Just like the children advised.
    I enjoy her company & acerbic sense of humour enormously when she is able to communicate and come out from behind her protective shell. Then I feel so happy that I can hold her & stroke her even if our lovemaking has gone out the window. In fact I find the silent accusatory withdrawal the hardest to deal with. Maybe I should just keep up with my old flame but I saw the damage that attitude did to my my mum & dad’s marriage. Dammit I think I am “jodido” as they say in spanish!
    Please opine and don’t pull any punches as I am probably missing something entirely….

    • Actually, it sounds like you see it all pretty clearly. She is passive aggressive; you are co-dependent. You hear your kids when they say you should have left a long time ago. There are things you like about her; there are things you can’t stand about the marriage – the emptiness, etc. You saw the damage having someone on the side did to your parents marriage. Are you or your wife in any kind of counseling or therapy? I don’t think that will help the marriage, but it might help each of you individually. Also, does she seem content with the marriage? Has she ever said anything about wanting to leave or not liking the marriage? And about your old flame … first, I’m not one to call the kettle black – after all, I’m being tempted by a salesman who visits our office. But also, there is a book (see link at right) titled “His Needs Her Needs.” His premise is that there are NEEDS – not wants – NEEDS, you know, like we need air – needs in marriage and that if these needs are not meet within the marriage, it majorly opens the door to seek those needs elsewhere. I’m not saying it’s okay to have your old flame – only you can make that decision – I’m just saying that I understand that pull!!! Also, is your old flame content to just me somebody on the side? Is it fair to her that she can’t be your only? Believe me, I feel what you are saying in your comment! I really do! It’s a massively difficult and frustrating place to be! I realize that I don’t really have any answers for you. You have to make your decisions – what will your conscience allow? And, yeah, you are probably right about what they say in Spanish! :} I wish you well. :} Please let me know how things go for you.

      • Mike Wood says:

        Thank you for your perceptive comments. Your last comment “And, yeah, you are probably right about what they say in Spanish! ” cracked me up! (english english?/made me laugh out loud). Humour really does leaven everything.
        Yes we have tried counselling & it did as you say help us individually but perhaps not the marriage much.
        My old flame (don’t really like that word) is flexible; I treated her very badly when we were younger – she became pregnant & I obliged her to have an abortion & pushed her away.
        I had alot of money & no sense – (sort of the opposite of my present situation!) She has powers of forgiveness, warmth & good humour beyond most people’s ability. She makes it easy for me to express affection. ie she’s all over me like a hen on a june bug!
        Then I look at Juliet, the artist, the great warmth hidden away that I can only sometimes tap and it’s heart breaking.
        Oh well – I will have a look at the book you recommend.
        Congratulations on your recent promotion – you communicate so well – I gather you are in marketing with a company you like – horses for courses!
        Thanks again.Mike

      • Mike,

        That book probably won’t do much for your marriage – although you never know! – but I think it is such an interesting book! It explained a LOT to me about why my marriage was so empty. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure it out. (This was even before I learned about passive aggressive behavior.) But after I read that book, I realized that I felt so empty in my marriage because my needs simply were not being met. Period. If you like to read, another book that possibly could be a little helpful is “How We Love.” It talks about how love was expressed to us as we were growing up and understanding how your partner learned love helps you to show love to them in a way that they get. But I have found that all these books – and I’ve read so many! – don’t really work in a relationship with a passive aggressive person. Passive aggressive behavior is a different kind of monster that these books don’t really address. Somewhere I read that the only way to live with a passive aggressive person and be happy in the relationship is to only live entirely in the moment; to take what you have right now, this very second, and let that be enough. Maybe some people can manage that, but I personally have not been able to do that. I just thought I would throw that out there, for what it is worth!

        Thank you! I’m pretty happy about my promotion. :} And I do like the company. It is in a field that I never would have imagined that I would be in, but I have learned a LOT since I started working at this company and I feel fortunate to be there.

        I wish you well!

  44. Debbie says:

    I have been married to a passive aggressive man for 19 years. I left him then after 9 months went back to him and thinks got worse. I left him again its been almost a year and I am getting a divorce. So I know the story about living with this type of person but I decided to take this experience and turn it around to help others that have been verbally abused.

    I have a vision for women 30 years and over that have been verbally abused and have no where to go, who have become homeless due to the abuse. That I will have a place of refuge for hurting women, helping them to reform.
    Repair, restore nd renew themselves with the teaching of life skills

    Please I need help can you help me
    Thanks

  45. Debbie says:

    I have been married for 19 years to a passive agressive man. I did not know until about a year ago. I left him twice to only have the behavior get worst . I am filing for a divorce but I plan to help others dealing with same issue. I had a plan and l have left for good with only 2 suitcases, but it has been worth it! I desire to help other hurting woman 30 and over by having a place to come to and begin to heal by being reformed, repaired, restored, and renewed by bringing beauty out if their ashes. Teaching them life skills. I need help can anyone help me??

  46. sad says:

    I find this interesting when leaving a passive aggressive husband. Spouses think separating/divorcing will be bad for the children. My two grown up sons asked me the other day why I stayed for so long in the crazy marriage. They told me they knew that it was bad since they were young. And they added, dad will never change. I am praying and hoping the bad influence of their father does not rub on them. I have always taught them to ask “why” for everything they do and to express their real feelings, to be honest especially to themselves. I just hope this crazy making behavior ends with their father and not affect my sons. They seem to be positive with life and are happy and enjoying their work. They notice when I am unusually quiet and ask if I am alright. Maybe the vicious cycle has been stopped.

  47. Helpless says:

    Wow!
    What an informative article,all along I thought it was me maybe I ws going crazy!! I am sad and relieved at the same time knowing I can put my finger on this problem or well at least know that I am not crazy!
    I have to leave!!
    I’m isolated,depressed, and suicidal. The crazy-making is the worse, i feel like I’m slipping away. The past year have been the been hell with him, I’ve went through major back surgery, lost my mother two months ago and all he has done has literally made things worse for me by denying me the things i need most which is my right to being impacted he has violated i.e. ignores me, overriding my needs, and refusing to meet my needs. It’s like I do not exist!
    When I had back surgery I was in significant pain and yet hewould literally make me do the things the physically hurt me the most. Two days after surgery I needed bandages for the incision, he refused to go get them for me. Against doctor’s orders with a walker in hand I made my way to the pharmacy because he refused!
    It’s like he finds out what I want or need most and will internationally deny that to me!!

    I jus hope I can pick up the pieces before its too late!

    • bratgirl17 says:

      Dear Helpless. I do understand the sadness and relief at the same time. It sure is bittersweet. I once thought that something was wrong with me for needing/wanting what I could not put my finger on. I handled frustration very well. It is all about denying-I would feel like the message was ‘I will never give you what you want” all the while playing nice. I know how isolating and depressing that this can be, but please see a therapist if you are not already. Suicide is not the answer. I am not all the way through this but I do know that there is life after this. You have been caring for yourself all this time so I know that you are strong. You are not crazy! This is the worst kind of abuse that I know of and have experienced it all during my life. I have been seperated for 10 yrs and still have bouts of sadness for what could have been. Unfortunately, most do not believe that their behavior is passive aggressive. Today is Thanksgiving and I do not get to be with 2 of my daughters, but will be going to one daughters for dinner. You are a survivor. You had surgery and lost your mother without support. Please reach out. I have been suicidal before as well but know it is not the answer.

  48. Resigned says:

    I re-connected to my now husband and then boyfriend after 25 years and a nasty divorce. He was so comforting and familiar as I was surfacing from my awful 1st marriage to a narcissist. I look at myself for making 2 colossal bad choices: 1st a narcissist now a PA. So, the obvious question is what’s wrong with ME? I am 62, have financial security with current husband so don’t see that a gamble on a happier life without him worth it at this point. Have really looked hard at divorce option and decided it isn’t smart. So, my question: how best to endure? Find ways to live apart at least part of the time? I have done this already for family reasons and my husband seems to be very happy with the arrangement. He says he misses me, but is only irritated with me when I’m around, so not sure what he misses.

  49. bratgirl17 says:

    Resigned, there is nothing wrong with you. Passive aggressives are often very normal appearing and it takes awhile to see how they are undermining our success and the relationship with them. We women are nurturing and Im sure that there were things that drew you to your narcissist as well. My first husband was bi-polar, abused alcohol and maybe drugs, verbally badgered me regularly, beat me up, and even raped me when we were seperated. My second husband is emotionally a flat line-I liked that he rarely ever showed any anger and was stable, reliable, worked regularly, was not a hot head, and so forth. I needed stability and safety desperately. Once that need is met and I grew, I wanted more from the relationship. Over time I became frustrated that it seemed that he was not very caring and I was not a priority. For me, I was as invisible as I was to my own father as a child. When we seek answers (sometimes very hard to find), there are reasons we chose who we did for partners. I understand your choice to stay married. How best to endure? I think it is very important to have a supportive network of friends/family and pursue your hobbies, get involved in groups of interest or church. I learned that if you dont expect anything, you wont be disappointed. Of course some PA’s can be very sabatoging while others just ignore us and I dont know your situation. I especially understand your situation as I am 54 and have been seperated 10 yrs. without divorce. I get road blocks every which way. Sending positive thoughts your way.

  50. Julie says:

    I’m so glad I found this website. I have been with a man for the last 6 months who gave me the impression early on that he was either bipolar or pa (or both). I cut him loose today after he insulted me over and over again at thanksgiving dinner (which I cooked), promised to make time to see me this week and then decided to call it off, of course without telling me. I am too forgiving and kept giving him chance after chance, hoping it was just personality quirks. No. He is sick and needs to be alone. I cannot get back the time I wasted on this punk, but rest assured he isn’t getting another minute of my time. He can rot in his own miserable hell for all I care.

  51. This describes my husband to a tee ,he hates me and I don’t talk walk or cry right I’m so depressed I’ve been thinking about taking pills ,knife anything all he loves is to hurt me he smirks every time I cry or want death over the marriage ,2 marriage 1 lot abused me for 23 years got out went school was making it when I meet who I thought my gift from God needless to say he forced me into marriage he likes torcher in me but doesn’t want anyone to know the demon he really is,I pray for death everyday I beg god to stop him ,police thinks he’s a poor man he’s evil and I’m stuck

  52. Mary says:

    Anita I will be praying for you. You are worth so much more than this…. God will help you find a way out… Call United Way TODAY!!!! I love you!

  53. ML says:

    I have been married to a passive aggressive man for 25 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 on 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 actually warned me after we got married and told me don’t let him do to you, what his father has done to me. 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 also very dysfunctional. 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. I don’t think our children even know what he does to me although our only daughter has experienced it to some degree because his issue is only with women. 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. That have told me to disengage which is EXTREMELY difficult for me! 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. He is aware that he has the problem but can only deal with it in retrospect which means I still have to endure all of the behavior only to have him tell me that he gets it, he just can’t prevent it. I am finding that after a few years of researching how to manage living with a passive aggressive person, to disengage works well. Last night he said that he is an experiential learner so when I do to him what he has done to me for years, it helps him to empathize, however, I believe it turns me into a person that I do not want to be. I do not like being unkind and spiteful or selfish, which I think are at the core of his poor behavior. I have started working out in the evening to disengage. I would like to take some classes in the fall to work on a degree that will give me a little more flexibility with my younger children. I think I am finally getting to the place, and this has been a very long road, where I have to stop devoting so much time to helping him, because it is not really helping, and learn to get myself healthy. Any suggestions would be appreciated

    • Mark says:

      ML: I feel for you because the behavior you’re experiencing from your husband I also experienced from my mother. Passive aggressives will always be able to charm people around them, and as soon as “the witnesses” have left the room that is when the abuse with you begins. All passive aggressives do this, and rarely do they ever see their own actions as the cause.

      I have chosen to sever ties with my mother (over 10 years ago) and it was probably the best decision I have ever made. I do have issues myself, probably as a direct result from that upbringing, but my “issues” are not even close to what my younger brother has. From what I can tell he is beyond repair, mostly because the passive aggressive rarely admits guilt or takes action to remedy the situation. However, he also stayed close to my mom, and it is now easy to see what prolonged exposure to that behavior can do to one’s self-esteem and self-confidence.

      You can certainly try to get your husband into counseling in an effort to get him to see that his actions are indeed hurting you. But you might also want to consider some sort of “exit” strategy to save yourself. I have also researched a lot of spirituality over the years and I’m sure God fully understands when victims of abuse take action to save themselves and their loved ones, but only you know for sure your situation and how to help yourself.

      About 23 years ago I saw that I had major psychological issues and that they were all attributed to a horrible upbringing. At that time I was also introduced to self-help literature that really saved me and got me to strive toward a better life. The first self-help person to whom I related was Wayne Dyer. If you ever get the chance to listen to his, “Choose to Live and Love” audio recording I’m sure it will help you better understand yourself and help steer you toward a better life as well. There are literally thousands of self-help books and audio recordings out there…just be careful that you don’t spend too much money on these as this is not necessary…the really good ones are either extremely inexpensive, or even free.

      I hope this helps

      • ML says:

        Thank you for your response. It is so sad and my biggest struggle, that we have to disengage to get healthy from their behavior. It is the only choice we are left with. It actually breaks my heart!

        It has taken me at least 23 years to figure out what passive-aggressive behavior is. I have a friend that told me the average time to figure it out is 20 years! My friend was in counseling with her husband for 8 and he has fully corrected his P-A behavior, however, she left him and he took the tact of working hard to fix his own issues. She said a book that was instrumental in helping them both was how to live with a P-A Man by Wetzler.

        I am realizing no matter how much my husband says that he wants things to work, and how deeply he says he cares about me, the reality is, he has to do that work to fix his own issues for himself, and like most of the literatures says, we have to judge a PA person by their actions NOT their words. I have spent 4 1/2 years going to counselors, searching on the internet, in discussions with him, all in an effort to fix the P-A behavior and it has not worked.

        I am desperately trying now to disengage and learning to set boundaries that will protect me and my children. My 18 yo daughter can see his behavior more clearly than I can. She has told me to leave, however, I do not feel I am in a position where I can do that, so for the time being I am trying desperately to disengage and disconnect from his behavior. I am trying to stop answering his every question that he later blames me for controlling, and I am trying to stop “helping” him. It only has served to reinforce me as a mother role rather than allowing me to be an individual and an adult and has served to keep him in his role as a child. I will be seeking counseling for exactly those things, learning how to set boundaries and to extract myself from his crazy-making behavior. I think I am finally to the point where I can take a good look at myself and figure out how I have become part of his dance and learn to just stop dancing!

        It is good that you became aware, and are learning to recognize it in others (my daughter is afraid of not being able to recognize it). Then you took control for yourself and that will ultimately change the generational pattern. My husbands father was extremely PA and his mother developed VERY poor coping mechanisms to deal with the PA behavior and now three of his four siblings are strongly PA! I did disconnect from his family 3-4 years ago and that does make me sad because they really don’t understand and then I believe they blame me.

        I think as we mature and grow, and we become more aware and strong, then we can decide, what those relationships look like and how much or how little interaction we can have, knowing that their behavior might not ever change, but our choice to engage will be on our terms and with that understanding.

        Thank you again for your response.

  54. Mark says:

    passiveaggressiveabused:

    Well done and nicely compiled. I found this helpful too. I grew up with a very abusive mother and I just could not put my finger on the problem for years. Initially, us 3 brothers thought she just suffered from the martyr complex because she was always the victim, but this explanation never sat well with me because she was constantly trying to hurt her own kids through emotional, psychological and physical abuse (most emotional and psychological).

    I eventually severed ties with her because I just grew tired of the abuse, but I always left the door open if she ever wanted to open that channel of communication again. That was well over 10 years ago now…I’m still waiting :-), but life has been so much nicer for me.

    However, in recent years my younger brother was financially in trouble so I agreed to move in with him to help him out. I was working contract work a lot and spent a good portion of my time working away from the city, so I rarely saw him, but we shared the costs to lessen the burden on him. It seemed to be a mutually agreeable experience, at least initially.

    Eventually I moved back into the house and strove to work closer to home, and this is when I started to notice his bad behavior. We had a couple of arguments and without me even knowing I was getting the “silent treatment”. I just thought he was busy with work (he worked at home) and I just brushed his behavior aside attributing it to our mutually bad upbringing. I was clueless and did not know that his bad behavior was directed at me.

    About 6 weeks ago I discovered that my mother had sold her house and was moved into a senior’s home. My younger brother, who literally lives 20 feet away from me, neglected to tell me this, which is another passive aggressive trait. We had another argument after I brought it up…he has this tendency to have very aggressive arguments whenever his behavior or actions are questioned, which, again, is yet another passive aggressive trait. This is also when I learned that all these recent years he was trying to punish me through the “silent treatment”. In retrospect this brought a big chuckle for me because whatever “punishment” he thought he was inflicting on me had the exact opposite effect LOL. It was a low blow learning that he was going out of his way to hurt me though (dare I say that this too is another passive aggressive trait?).

    So this time I started to research his behavior in more depth because I could easily see that there is a problem there (I wanted to know what I was really up against)…It took me about a week of digging before I stumbled on passive aggressive behavior. I was stunned. Everything that he had been doing for the past 5 years was documented in articles like yours. In fact, whenever explanations of passive aggressive disorder were written I swear to you that they were using my brother as a template for that explanation…it was exact.

    But that is not the main revelation. After reading your article (and others) I can see clearly now that my mother is also a major passive aggressive. She could have other personality disorders (Borderline Personality Disorder comes to mind too), but I’m not a psychologist or psychoanalyst so I cannot say for sure. However, she (and my younger brother) obviously have a major psychological issue that needs addressing. Suffice it to say that articles like yours serve us all well.

    For years I always questioned whether my actions of estrangement were justified, and I have been accused of being so bad toward my mother because of that, and am guilty of so many other heinous things. All such accusations come from people who have no clue that my mother has a serious psychological disorder that continually inflicts pain and suffering to all those around her. Playing “the victim” and blaming all others for her actions is a hallmark passive aggressive trait, so that certainly helps people like me come to grips with my own actions. However, I now realize that none of that blame toward me is correct, and I now know that NONE of my actions since I was a child were ever my fault, and that I am perfectly justified to put as much distance between myself and that horrible behavior. Now all I have to do is get out my my current situation and put as much distance between my current passive aggressive nemesis and I will once again be able to return to a normal life. If it wasn’t for articles such as yours I would never have come to any of these conclusions.

    When I first discovered this “passive aggressive” revelation I had to do some more thinking about my own behavior. I needed to determine whether or not I am like my mother (and brother) or was I the opposite. I read that many victims of passive aggressive behavior tend to be the opposite because they have seen how bad it can get, and they tend to show apathy and acceptance toward others because of this. Unfortunately, this apathy and acceptance, and perhaps kindness and generosity, are also what attracts the attention of passive aggressives. Passive aggressives are only really interested in themselves, so if they can “milk” the kindness and generosity of others to better they’re own lives they will do it. As long as the victim (or potential target) is aware of this though it will never happen to them, which is why articles such as yours are so important.

    So thank you again for explaining passive aggressive behavior so succinctly, and I’m sure there will be dozens (perhaps hundreds) of people who will have one of those “aha” moments after reading articles like this, and be able to take control of their own lives….again :-).

  55. czarsmom says:

    a lot of explanation of what it is, but I’d like to see more concrete practical ways of how to set boundaries with passive aggressives.

    • It is really hard to set boundaries with a passive aggressive person because, essentially, he ignores them. Or maybe he seems to comply, but then he will then “punish” in a different way. There is a book titled “Boundaries” that deals very well with understanding and setting boundaries. I would recommend it. But please don’t expect a passive aggressive person to respect your boundaries. Let me give you a quick, little example. Sometimes, when he is going on and on and on about something – like telling me everything I am doing wrong – I will tell him that I need to go sleep. That is setting a boundary. He ignores what I have just told him and keeps on talking. I wish you well.

  56. Bonnie says:

    Wow, this is exactly my husband. I am 66 and physically and mentally need to retire. My husband makes over 100k a year but will not help me to retire. He hides money, how much he makes and this year has told me he will filetaxes separately because he is afraid of me knowing how much he makes. He “sets me up” to see if I have done thing…for an example. We have horses and if I am going to feed, he will set the buckets in a certain way, put something beside them that will fall if I move the buckets, puts the scoops in the feed a certain way to see if I have touched them. I have always know he does this so now I take a picture with my phone and put everything back the exact way, wait for him to start his accusations that I did not do something and show him the pictures. I would love to leave but don’t know how I would be able to afford to live. The mortgage on the house is in my name and of course, he says the house is not mine because he pays for it. I have not rights. He is, I believe, also OCD. He has 3 rooms full of stuff, has 12 boats (we have never been on the water) always says he is going to sell stuff and never does. 3 sets of golf clubs, has been golfing 1 time. This hoarding is also a way of controlling there is never anyone to come to our house. In 7 years, there have been 2 people in this house. I don’t even try to clean it any more. He says I am trying to control him, all I want is a puppet. He really fools everyone, usher at the church. Mr. Jovial and friendly (especially to women) on the outside. I kept a list of women he had been with sexually (before we were married, we have been married 5 years) there were over 75 women on that list and my name was on the list also. I really don’t know what to do. At this point in life, I cannot buy another home and he will ruin my credit if I try to leave. He is always saying he is going to divorce me and he may be getting ready to do so. I do not have enough money to file. I have been feeling like I need to file my taxes separately before he files. He is not going to get any money back because he, of course, would not take my advise and put his exemptions at s0 with additional being withheld. He is filing married with 1. My name is on the bank account and he does not know that I look at the account on a regular basis and down load the activity. He will let the account get about to 12000 and then he withdraws 10k and I don’t know what he is doing with that money. I have thought about just taking 10k out myself when the account gets up there but am afraid of the repercussions. I really do not know what I should do. He knows how afraid I am of being left alone and basically penniless and taunts me about that. I really believe that he does not care what happens to me. I truly believe that it would not bother him at all to put me into a homeless situation even at my age. He got this great job about 1-1/2 years ago and his behavior really manifested about 6 months after. He said he didn’t hide the money before because he didn’t have anything. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • I would suggest talking to a lawyer. He/she can let you know what you would be entitled to and responsible for in your state. Do you work? If so, then possibly you could support yourself. If you don’t work, you may be entitled to alimony. PLEASE – look for a way out. You can also contact United Way in your area to find out what resources are available to you. I wish you well.

    • michael.electra@gmail.com says:

      Read Byron Katie perhaps as a start?
      Enviado desde mi BlackBerry de Movistar

  57. Christy says:

    What if the PA person is my mother in law? :(

  58. shoeholic says:

    I was so relieved when I read this blog b/c it confirms that I am not crazy. My husband is P.A. He never takes responsibility for anything, blames me for his failures. He tells me that I don’t support him but when I do show him support he tell me that I need to support him the way he wants to be supported (which he never makes clear to me.) He was packed up and left literally 19 times and has threatened divorce the whole time but has never follow through with it. He slept with another woman and justified doing it because he said (at least I admitted it). No concern for my feelings, In our 8 horrible years of marriage, nothing has ever come to our home labeled Mr & Mrs b/c he intentionally left his name off of everything (he is hiding something) In our 8 years of marriage he has owned 9 cars and has sold each one of them (can’t commit to anything) He is jealous of my relationship with my adult daughter & teenage sons and tells me I am neglecting him ( childish). I too took the blame that he dished out and literally turned myself inside out trying to please my P A husband and it was impossible.

    He has angry outburst over the TV being too loud but he doesn’t bother paying the bills or mortgage (too much responsibility involved.) He does whatever he wants with his money and when I ask about it he says “it just got away from me”. He talks in circles and never gives a straight answer. When I try to figure out what he is saying, he tells me I am putting words in his mouth (Im the crazy one) He uses subtle insults towards me in public but if I make a joke back to him his little feelings get hurt. He filed for divorce in May then changed his mind and canceled it in June. Changed his mind Again and refiled for divorce a month later. Then he changed his mind Again and said he loved me and wanted counseling and wanted to move back home and after taking his verbal & physical abuse for 8 years I finally got up the nerve to say NO. The back and forth drove me absolutely insane. Once my husband lost control and I took MY life back, he had the nerve to tell me I need professional help and to never call him again…go figure. I am in the healing process now and it is really hard but I do have a great support system. Its not always easy to “just leave” when you are in a marriage b/c there are a lot things to consider. For all those spouse out there, know that I am praying for you and your situation. Be prayerful (yes it’s real and it works) b/c we cannot depend on our own strength, if we could we would have gotten out of this situation long ago. I had to take the time to reflect on myself and understand why I would take this abuse for so long and it has helped me in my healing process. I also pray for husband & forgive him because I believe P A is an illness and needs to be treated. We are getting a divorce and it is for the best. I am taking care of me…for once. Thank you for this blog it was really helpful.

  59. Debbie says:

    Amen!! I was on the almost the same situation as you but for 19 years!!! I finally left. I have forgiven him and I have moved on to take care of me

  60. Pingback: An epiphany (of sorts) | Maunderings from Me

  61. Lil says:

    I am feeling very confused as I’m 7 months pregnant and having read the article think my partner may be behaving in a passive aggressive away. I get worried though that actually it is me who makes him behave this way as i find myself kind of setting rules all the time. I’m doing this to stop him doing what he does but sometimes when he is asleep the baby wakes me up & i lie there worrying that i’m a controlling person and am abusing him. Our baby was planned but 3 days after we found out I was pregnant my boyfriend changed. He was giving up smoking for us to have the baby but that day started heavily drinking & smoking, had huge rows with me & his ex wife, drunk drove, would swing between shouting and completely ignoring me. At one point he blanked me at home for 5 weeks but when other people were around he would cuddle me. He told me he was leaving me 4 times in the 8 weeks after we found out I was pregnant and went & stayed at the flat he used to live in with 3 house mates. He would complain about me to his female friend & text her at night while he was lying in bed blanking me but when I told him a male friend I knew when I was younger had contacted me he said that wasn’t nice for him. I was being sick every day just before he got home & was struggling to cope when his kids came round (lovely kids but my boyfriend stopped clearing up after them & just drank & smoked lots).his behaviour became so erratic that he’d be awful for 3 days then would say sorry & cry. he went to the doctor & was told he had drink issues and anger issues along with depression.he stopped drinking for a week but then it started again. i told him not to come back one day after we went to the 12 week baby scan & he blanked me all the way thru then came to my house & shouted at me then we argued & I shouted back. My daughter told him to get out & told him he couldn’t come back. He shouted at me down the phone that he didn’t have anger or alcohol issues. He went to a counsellor but didn’t tell her what was really gone tho he did start to address the abuse his dad had inflicted on him as a child. He took me long to one of the sessions & it was hideous as he hadn’t told her how he was behaving so she seemed to feel sorry for him & want to protect him. Eventually we went to relate & he actually told the truth about his behaviour. The relate councillor said he needed to go & deal with his issues then come back to me to see if I could start to trust him again. Things have improved tho he’s still drinking most days (less than before) & smoking when he promised to give up. I’ve tried to support him as he has admitted his behaviour was bad towards me to the counsellor and that he’s been repeating his dad’s behaviour. Things have seemed a lot better but then an incident happened this weekend & I’m now back to feeling worried. His 10 year old son got hysterical & told me his dad calls him names and is horrible to him behind his back. He said when I’m not there he drinks and smokes lots & is more interested in doing that than playing with him. He said he wants to see less of his dad because he feels like his dad is more interested in beer & fags & breaks his promises all the time. it could’ve been me talking!!!!!They then sorted it out for now but I’m worried that my boyfriend’s behaviour hasn’t actually changed he is just hiding it from me. He now says his son is sorry for saying those things to me & that his son made them up. I don’t know what to believe and my head is in such a spin with it all. We’ve had a lovely Xmas & my boyfriend organised a surprise party for me then this thing happened with his son. I feel really worried as I’ve put my house on with an agency to rent it out ready for my boyfriend and I to move into a home together. I don’t know whether to put a hold on that or not now. The baby is due in 9 weeks and I wanted it to be born into a loving family. The procrastination thing talked about in the article is something my boyfriend constantly does and drives me mad! He finds ‘good’ reasons not to get stuff done every day. Last night he told me he was never leaving me on the occasions he went to his old flat & denies that he was being a bully. something that came up at relate was that when we decided to try for a baby we agreed i’d get rid of my contraception & he’d stop smoking. he went & got tablets but only took half & is still smoking. he has now stopped for 2 days. he was really aggressive on the phone last night & said it wasn’t fair he had to change.i said he didn’t & he has every right to live his life the way he wants but him lying about how he lives his life (he said he doesn’t drink lots, only smoked a tiny bit & ate healthily but in reality lives on junk,smokes & drinks) means I’m being expected to live with a completely different person to the one he pretended to be. I know he still eats crap (his choice) but I can’t bear the idea if bringing a baby into a house with him stinking of fags & booze. He says he’s cut down tho. I just don’t know what to do or to believe right now & don’t want to have to spend my life putting in boundaries just so he isn’t ‘t nasty to me. I have gone on & on here but I feel so anxious I don’t know what to do or believe. Does anyone have any advice?!!!

    • Sweetie, you need to leave him and you need to leave him now. DO NOT get a house with him. I know you want a loving home for your baby, but this man is not going to provide it. Period. I know that is tough to hear, but you need to take care of yourself and your baby. Please get away from him. He is NOT going to be good to you. Take good care of yourself and let me know how things go.

    • Mark says:

      I get the feeling that your boyfriend is not ready for a family. However, keep in mind that it is NOT you, especially if the baby was “planned” and not a surprise. But if you’re already experiencing abuse, particularly in the form of passive aggressive abuse, then it probably will not improve. It is probably a good idea to at least start planning an exit strategy. Give him as much time as you feel necessary to allow him to improve his own situation, but for the sake of you and your child it might be best to at least have a plan to spare both of you the grief of an abusive relationship.

    • mery says:

      Run, don’t walk away.Consider the following first: do you have other solid interests? Can you be financially stable? Do you have good relationships with family and friends? If so, get out NOW!!!!

  62. Debbie says:

    WOW!!!!! You need to leave now! Go to someone you can trust a relative or friend maybe a shelter but you need to leave now

  63. Mary says:

    SWEETHEART….Boundaries are exactly what you need for yourself and your baby.
    RED FLAG 1: You said your “Daughter told him to leave and never come back”…she is in touch with who he “really” is. I don’t know how old she is, but if she is smart enough to see him for who he really is, she should be a big help with the baby while you are getting back on your feet. Trust what she knows and sees. Her instincts are to protect you and the baby!
    RED FLAG 2: DO NOT MOVE IN WITH HIM, stay in your home. The news of another responsibility, the new baby, was more than he could handle that’s why the change. He needs his space to decide what and who is really important to him, AND THEN HE NEEDS TO DO THE WORK TO FIX HIMSELF AND HIS ISSUES IF HE REALLY WANTS TO BE WITH YOU! WAIT AT LEAST A YEAR AFTER HE IS WELL, BEFORE YOU EVEN CONSIDER GETTING BACK WITH HIM ON ANY LEVEL.
    BIG RED FLAG 3: He told you, “why did he have to change”….sorry Honey but he is really telling you that he doesn’t want or intend to change. It will only get worse for you and your children…believe me…you don’t want to do this to yourself, much less your children.
    RED FLAG 4: You are doubting yourself, beginning to assume the responsibility for HIS actions, craziness, irresponsibility, broken promises, and even his excuses to deny the abuse to HIS OWN CHILD! I KNOW you love him, but loving someone doesn’t mean they are even able to love you back. Nor does it mean they will treat you with love or kindness, he abuses himself, his own body, and his child, what makes you think he will care for you and yours? I’m sorry this is hard to hear.
    RED FLAG 5: You reported that he even stopped cleaning up after his own children. He left that for his sick pregnant girlfriend to be responsible for that too?
    Honey, there are so many RED FLAGS it is scary. Another BIG FLAG is the drinking…my husband went from PA to domestic battery ONLY when he was drinking and only after the third drink ….
    If you don’t have the strength to do it for yourself….DO IT FOR YOUR UNBORN BABY. Your child’s life and future happiness depends on it, as well as that of your Daughter and yours!!! You are ALL WORTH MORE THAN THIS!!!
    It will be hard, and he will cry and beg for forgiveness and to come back. Forgiveness is acceptable and wise and you can tell him you do forgive him, (if you do) BUT HE ISN’T ALLOWED back in your life until and unless he has HAD therapy, counseling, anger management and alcohol abuse treatment, and proof that he has lived clean for the absolute minimum of one year….two preferably. Think about it this way, if you really DO love him, he NEEDS HELP, and by setting this boundary… he has to face himself and his choices. He can then either choose to get help for himself and his welfare and future, or he can do what he wants and stay the way he is. Your choice is to let him stay in your life and you and your children will be abused, used, neglected, blamed, lied to, and much, much more. OR, you can chose to be treated with love, kindness, respect, and the dignity that God created you have, by first loving yourself enough to not allow someone to treat you so badly. You can’t change HIM…you can only change what you are willing to accept for your baby, your daughter, and YOURSELF! You wouldn’t choose to have your baby on the Street in the most dangerous, violent part of town would you? Don’t allow or invite that danger in your home either!
    Please be proactive and protective….when men like this are given a boundary like this, they often resort to physical abuse and become even more unpredictable. Keep yourself, your baby, and your daughter SAFE! If you can, go somewhere else to stay with someone who understands what you are doing, why, and is willing to help you through the changes, especially with the baby coming.
    I have no formal training, nor am I licenced to do anything but drive a car. My only qualification to give this advice is decades, and decades of being abused, the advice of Counselors I saw, and the broken body, emotions, and spirit it took for me to see the truth and stop it. God be with you and give you the strength and support to walk away from this abuse, for yourself and your children! Keep us informed on how you are doing and just to complain if you need to! Best of Everything and Congratulations on your step to health, happiness, and a future!

  64. Thisgirl18 says:

    I am 18 years old my boyfriend says I talk to him passive aggressively. I have gone through articles and now see that I am passive aggressive. I have trouble expressing myself towards him because sometimes he gets mad at me or gets depressed when I tell him how I feel. The worst part is that he really hates that I give him the silent treatment and that is how I deal with things because I do not want to argue and tell him mean things because it will hurt him. I do not know what to do. It brings me to tears that I have this. He is my first boyfriend and he has Aspergers and I really love him but it is hard sometimes. I do not really want to go to counseling because it costs money. Before I was with him I do not think I showed this kind of behavior; I gave people a piece of my mind. I still do at times. When me and my sister argue she tells me am a drama queen and it really bothers me. I tell her this but she continues to call me that.

  65. ML says:

    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.

  66. Celeste says:

    CTB says: Wow once i started reading this I was really amazed as it was all so true..After two years of being in a relationship with a passive aggressive guy; I still have the willpower to fight for this relationship..I wont say I have low self esteem; mine is just totally opposite of his. Maybe I need the challenge (if that makes sense) or maybe I just need to cut tides and find “My Mr Right”. The thing is all relationships has its ups and downs just like the “passive agressiver”…This article put allot into perspective for me and how does the saying goes..life is all about choices and now I have to make one…”stillthinkingpositively”

    • Mary says:

      Once upon a time felt that way too, but it is stolen and manipulated away from you bit by bit! Yes, All relationships have their ups and downs. Like starting with a big, strong block of marble, some parts chipped away slowly over time, polished, shaped, chiseled to a beautiful piece of ART. With a PA all that remains from that potential marble…is your sweat, tears, exhaustive efforts, sacrifices, isolation, a big pile of chips left for you to clean up! You maybe don’t see it now, but you will. But, Maybe because you know what your getting into before hand, it will be different for you…Good Luck! God Bless!

  67. claire says:

    After 25 years living together and knowing something was wrong, just not what it was I, was relieved to find out about PA behaviour. There’s some good advice out there, basically I ignore his bad behaviour and acknowledge good, a bit like a toddler. He is confused when I no longer react when he tells me at the last minute he’s going away for the weekend, if he turns up late to pick me up I will already be making my own way home, I just get on with the decorating without involving him, let alone trying to persuade him to do it. My decorating isn’t good so he often tries to take over when I start!
    It still isn’t the type of relationship I would want but now I’m a lot more at peace with myself. He ups the ante from time to time and I’m ready for that. I will leave him one day I just can’t afford to at the moment so just get on with my own life. My advice is be strong and PAs can only be so if they’ve got someone around that enables their behaviour.

  68. Babs says:

    Can someone please help me on this, I have been in an out of a relationship with my boyfriend for the last 7 yrs. due to both of us working out our past relationship, that’s what I thought. He was 2 yrs divorced when I meet him. Were both the same age an do have a lot in common an yes I love him with all my heart.
    I will admit these last 7yrs I was a mess being angry an blaming myself crying myself to sleep depressed on what did I do? He would always ignore me. This where I jst started googling why do boyfriends ignore you an was reading upon that it’s passive aggressive personality disorder. Started reading more an more about it an it was like everything matched up. I truly believe that it did happen in is childhood because he told me his dad was always gone an never went on any family vacations. It’s jst him an his brother he is the oldest. Reading all this makes sense to his actions an everything else the ignoring, the intimacy, control etc…. The thing is this last time we got back together I was the one who called him because I missed him an love him. These was the best 8 months together. Yeah we fought but cleared it up due to my past drama. But we getting along great an I know he been looking for a job for a while n boom out of now where all I said was it’s annoying when u call me jack. An was giving me one word answers n said I’m not talking I don’t wanna annoy you goodnight. Have heard from him for almost a week I really wanna help him now knowing I know what this is an an yes still love him. What do I do? Or was this whole relationship a lie I’m lost confused still love him due to the fact I don’t think he even know y he feels this way. I can’t help but lost on what to do an a victim of passive aggressive behavior. Any advice/questions? Babs
    I know I’m a good women with a good heart an deserve better but I’m a fighter not a quitter. I believe in change but it had to come from the person who wants it. Babs

  69. Bebe says:

    Can someone please help me on this, I have been in an out of a relationship with my boyfriend for the last 7 yrs. due to both of us working out our past relationship, that’s what I thought. He was 2 yrs divorced when I meet him. Were both the same age an do have a lot in common an yes I love him with all my heart.
    I will admit these last 7yrs I was a mess being angry an blaming myself crying myself to sleep depressed on what did I do? Why is he acting this way? He would always ignore me. This where I jst started googling why do boyfriends ignore you an was reading upon that it’s passive aggressive personality disorder. Started reading more an more about it an it was like everything matched up. I truly believe that it did happen in is childhood because he told me his dad was always gone an never went on any family vacations. It’s jst him an his brother he is the oldest. Reading all this makes sense to his actions an everything else the ignoring, the intimacy, control etc…. The thing is this time we got back together I was the one who called him because I missed him an love him. Any way I jst wanted to be friends n I fell again to what I thought he loves me. Any way we did an this was the best 8 months together. Yeah we fought but cleared it up due to my past drama. But we were getting along great an I know he been looking for a job for a while n boom out of now where all I said was it’s annoying when u call me jack. An was giving me one word answers n said I’m not talking I don’t wanna annoy you goodnight. Have heard from him for almost a week I really wanna help him now knowing I know what this is an an yes still love him. What do I do? Or was this whole relationship a lie I’m lost confused still love him due to the fact I don’t think he even know y he feels this way. I can’t help but lost on what to do an a victim of passive aggressive behavior. Any advice/questions?
    I know I’m a good women with a good heart an deserve better but I’m a fighter not a quitter. I believe in change but it had to come from the person who wants it.

  70. Bebe says:

    Help, I’m lost! What Should i do? Everything was going good n then started to notice he was moody an was making plans on seeing each other an but do remind you he has been looking for work, and I know that is stressful on him, he would somewhat open up to me about it. Ask me on do you think I put to much into the letter for an interview or would ask me how long before they call me. He would me numerous of times this sucks not working an not having any money. I know he loves working an is a workaholic. He has 3 kids to support an bills an I know that money was becoming an issue for him. I jst did my best on supporting him an giving him hope.
    Ok so were texting n asked him a personal question an he answered to it by saying just haven’t been interested due to not working an I asked so If your not working your not interested. He said no.
    Well here is where I’m lost, every once a while, we call each other names not all the time, names like cupcake, buttercup n jack, which really never bothered me before but this time it did. He kept calling me jack, ( remind you he calls his son that) so I asked why must u keep calling me that n then like a flip of a switch it went south after i said it was annoying n took it as he was annoying me an now won’t talk to me. He answered my text the next day but got one word answers an was like I’m keeping my conversation to a minimum I don’t wanna annoy you. Is what he said. I asked if he wanted to come with me some where an said no thank you, I did not give him any drama jst changed the subject n was answering but then stopped n said not talking I don’t want to annoy you. I did explain myself that it was annoying how you kept calling me jack n haven’t heard from him. I keep reading to give him is space but I’m so lost help. I keep saying that he is do stressed from not working n throwing everything away. What do I do everything was great an a total rapid mood swing help? I haven’t heard from him for almost a week I really wanna help him now due to the fact I don’t think he even know y he feels this way. Me knowing I know what this is an an yes still love him. What do I do? Or was this whole relationship a lie I’m lost confused still love him I can’t help but lost on what to do an a victim of passive aggressive behavior. Any advice/questions?
    I love him with all my heart, an care very deeply about him an don’t want to loose him.
    This where I jst started googling why do boyfriends ignore you an was reading upon that it’s passive aggressive personality disorder. Started reading more an more about it an it was like everything matched up. I truly believe that it did happen in is childhood because he told me his dad was always gone an never went on any family vacations. It’s jst him an his brother he is the oldest. His brother is not married or with anyone. Reading all this makes sense to his actions an everything else the ignoring, the intimacy, control blaming, punishing, never like to argue etc….
    Any way we have been on an off the last 7 yrs an this time these were the best 8 months together. I feel that we made progress.
    I know I’m a good women with a good heart an deserve better but I’m a fighter not a quitter. I believe in change but it had to come from the person who wants it.

  71. Panomore says:

    This post and many of the comments here have given me the determination to follow through with letting my husband walk out the door this morning. We have played out this scene many times in the past 14 years, but always ended up staying together, because I was weak and somehow allowed or even wanted him back – for more emotional abuse. The last time, in September, I actually managed for two months on my own. I felt free and relieved, then lonely and overwhelmed being a single parent, and broke down and invited him back. Three months on, we were firmly back in the same old PA patterns. I kicked him out again two days ago, started wavering and was about to relent, then came across this post. I was actually rereading some of the most encouraging comments when he walked out with all his stuff. I feel alone, afraid and confused, but reading about everyone else’s experiences has convinced me, once again, that this is the right thing to do and that I can do it. Thank you, all.

  72. Mary says:

    Pano more…find a support group near you, and or family and friends to keep you occupied when you are lonely. Or else you WILL GO BACK and it will continue again…it may even be worse. You and your children deserve more. By allowing him to stay, you are silently telling your children that it is ok to be loved and treated this way. Boys will do it to their wives, girls will fall victim to the same treatment. He NEEDS HELP. You can’t do it for him, he HAS TO DO IT FOR HIMSELF! In the meantime, get help and support for yourself and child(ren). Doesn’t have to cost… Seek out Churches, United Way, abused women shelters/organizations, etc. Above all be safe!

    • Panomore says:

      Thank you so much, Mary, for your encouragement. Problem is I cannot find a support group that is not religious. I feel many of them, while offering support, try to take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable and try to convert them. That I cannot accept and do not want to be a part of.

      He left without telling me where he is going. I asked him what he wanted me to tell the girls (12 and 14) and he mumbled something like tell them whatever you want. I suppose it is best to be honest with them, but it is hard to be truthful without assigning blame.

      • You can go to Al-Anon. They do reference a Higher Power, but they should not have a religious focus. Go even if you don’t have family or friends who are or were alcoholic. If you have lived with someone who is PA, you can gain a lot from Al-Anon!

  73. Mary says:

    Bebe…no one said you would be a quitter for walking away. You need to heal yourself first. We aren’t helping these PA persons by enabling them to continue with their PROBLEM! Anymore than helping an alcoholic by cleaning up for them, calling into work, or providing drinking money cause they have spent theirs, etc. Their is a reason you settle for so little in this (or any) relationship, find what that is and get help for yourself. You have given up on you and your needs, dreams, desires, life, etc. You said you are NOT A QUITTER, I agree… You are just wasting your energy on the wrong side of this relationship..do the work to help yourself. I know you love him, but you have to love yourself FIRST. Take care of Bebe, don’t settle for this kind of treatment or life. If he loves you back HE WILL GET HELP, fix his problems and find you. If not, you are SOOO much better off fixing yourself and finding someone who actually wants to AND can love you back! God Bless You!

  74. ana ortiz says:

    I need an advise. Im been married 11 years I just recently been googling about different things and come across different articles about passive agressive behavior and as I was reading I came to the conclusion that my husband its one of them. Our relationship was somewhat fine but as years past by i noticed how controlling he was and his temper was very volatile at times , then the next minute he was loving and caring. I seriously thought he was Bipolar because I couldnt understand why someone can change moods so easy. I been feeling so uncared for, isolated, sad for the past 3 or 4 years and I say to myself I have to leave him, but when I try to do that he always looks for a way so that I can stay. Because of the same situation I been I also have cheated on him more than couple of times if you consider talking to other man cheating cuase I havent been with them personally, just talking AND he caught me each and every time. I dont want to blame it all on him but the way I been feeling its why I got carried away and cheated. I know thats not the answer to my problems and I feel very bad about it. I have also caught him talking to other woman.. I ‘ve told him many times this isnt working but he just doesnt let me go. Last year I WENT to visit my family for a month and told him it was best to divorced he said we should try and work things out and if it didnt then we can split, well now we still last year the whole year was the same, He tells me in front of my kids that my stupid, tells me im not good enough, gives me silent treatment for days, then when I asked him he says he said those things joking, ah really? He gets mad for not reasons at times when I ask why his mad he doesnt answer or says his ok. Im sick and tired of living like this. I get not affection from him whatsoever, he only reaches out for me for sex and most of the time its not even a kiss involved. Now I made the desicion to leave him for good and he says I wont make it alone, that I will end up coming back to him, and makes me feel guilty of it all. How can one continue living like this when the other person shows not emotions or love but doesnt wanna let go either. Im questioning my sanity by now. This is making me crazy

  75. Sally says:

    This web site was very helpful for me. I understand more about this disorder and has taught me some relationships come at too high of a price. Thank you for such detailed information.

  76. Drained says:

    Wow! I read this and realize I am married to a PA for 20 years. I thought I was crazy for years. My credit is ruined because he won’t put enough money into checking account to pay bills. Checks have been bouncing for years. He has his own business and one day I found over 10,000 of uncashed checks in his truck, one was over 6 months old so he couldn’t cash it. He would do work for people and not bill them. I would get yelled at for not helping with billing when my kids were all infants, so i told him i would help, and he refused my help and told me that the finances were none of my business! We have four children and I have been afraid to leave for years, I still am. He doesn’t pay and file taxes on time. He is delusional about facts. Denies everything. Claims he doesn’t understand what i am ever talking about. He doesn’t stick up for me. When I became pregnant with our fourth child, he told me I had to get an abortion or he would kill himself. I would not get an abortion, (btw, he is still alive), but he wouldn’t talk to me for about two months. Needless to say, after the birth, our sex life has suffered tremendously. He is not affectionate, and is always good for giving me that look of shame. Communication has always been a big problem in our marriage. He just doesn’t open up at all. I love to talk to and listen to people, have fun and laugh. He has omitted all of that in my life. I now have panic attacks because of all my stress. I feel like I am suffocating!!!

  77. Drained says:

    After reading my above post, I had to clarify some things. Regarding the bad credit, I stayed home to raise my kids. I started a home based business to bring in some extra money, but I certainly was not bringing in enough. I had suggested a monthly amount for him put in checking account to cover bills. He would tell me he was going to put that amounting, but didn’t. Hence, when i found those checks in his car, i didnt understand why he kept uncashed checks in his truck, when we clearly needed the money in the bank! This marriage has handed me too many false promises. When I asked him why he behaves this way, he tells me he doesn’t and that I am imagining it all. He will double talk and then deny everything. There has always been a reason for him to avoid conversing with me, I have heard them all…it’s too early to talk…I am gong to be late for work…. I am at work… I am busy at lunch….not now, I just got home from work…..not now, I want to eat dinner….not now, I just ate dinner and want to relax….it’s too late, I am tired and want to go to bed…ugh!!! He cannot stay in the same room as me…he always walks out when I walk in. He still doesn’t communicate, but will find articles that he thinks I should read and leave them on the counter. If I ever need cash, I ask him, he will get it and leave it on the counter. I have asked him to hand it to me, but he still puts it on the counter. By me asking him to hand the money to me, he will accuse me of picking on him. He takes the credit for everything and barely gives me any. He has every excuse in the book why he won’t do something for me. My youngest is in middle school now, and I need to find a job and leave this marriage. I haven’t worked out of the house for years, and I still do have my home based business, but there is nothing I do that is ever good enough for him. He always expects more. And makes me feel like I haven’t contributed at all. I am always looking to make extra cash and have been doing ok, but it’s not enough for him. Actions speak louder than words, and in 20 years, his actions have never matched his words.

    • Canuck57 says:

      Sorry…I put my reply in the wrong spot….:-):

      @Drained

      I should start by saying that just because you are talking to another human being does not mean that you were “cheating”. If you were ever told that you were being “unfaithful” because you were having a nice conversation with someone then the person who accused you of such definitely needs their head examined.

      You also have to consider that your husband has lost that spark…or that the love in the relationship has dissipated. This happens to many people…you are not alone. What you may be alone experiencing is that you’re married to a person who has no understanding of this himself, and that he may simply not have the skills, or the courage, to sit down with you and talk about it.

      This doesn’t mean that you’re not dealing with a passive aggressive person though…I have dealt directly with passive aggressive people, but of course at the time I had no idea what a “passive aggressive” person was, so I could not thoroughly evaluate the situation.

      However, if you are dealing with a passive aggressive person (and he is exhibiting passive aggressive traits for sure) I feel, unfortunately, that your best option is to put as much distance between you and your husband as possible. Passive aggressive people are generally quite ambiguous, and the proverbial “silent treatment” is a classic trait. The fact that he seems incapable of close conversation with you also indicates passive aggressive tendencies. Blaming, fear of dependency, and of course, fear of competition, all seem to be what you’re experiencing in this person…all negative passive aggressive traits that you need to avoid as much as possible. A true passive aggressive will probably never agree that they have a problem either; hence, bringing it up with them will probably not work…they are usually always right, and you are always wrong. You mentioned divorce, so I’m getting the feeling that you already know what’s best…perhaps this is your subconscious exit strategy?

      An important aspect that you need to understand clearly is that you need to protect yourself emotionally and physically, and in our cruel world in many cases this is solely up to each individual to do. This doesn’t mean that you need to do this alone…there are many support groups, friends, and of course family that are there for you. You just need to make the decision; you have a responsibility to save your emotional and psychological state, and if you’re not getting that support from your husband then you need to take action yourself. But above all NEVER believe that any of this is your fault. It is not. You tried and he failed you…and he continues to fail you. I grew up with a very passive aggressive mother and it took me decades to figure this out…but once I did it was the most empowering and relieving feeling ever.

      You mentioned visiting your family for a month…that might be a good start. Would they be able to offer you some support and advice? I realize that such a decision is one of the most difficult choices we humans need to make, but it’s also human nature to know when to “throw in the towel” and start life over. It’s never too late to do this, and I somehow get the feeling that when you take that leap of faith you will not only feel 100 lbs lighter, but you will see a smile return to your face shortly thereafter. There is a lot of love in this world, and it will find you as soon as you smile again :-).

  78. Rada says:

    OMG ! This is my bf to the “T”
    I need to get out of this relationship
    ASAP !!!! Ty so much for your information .

  79. Canuck57 says:

    @Drained

    I should start by saying that just because you are talking to another human being does not mean that you were “cheating”. If you were ever told that you were being “unfaithful” because you were having a nice conversation with someone then the person who accused you of such definitely needs their head examined.

    You also have to consider that your husband has lost that spark…or that the love in the relationship has dissipated. This happens to many people…you are not alone. What you may be alone experiencing is that you’re married to a person who has no understanding of this himself, and that he may simply not have the skills, or the courage, to sit down with you and talk about it.

    This doesn’t mean that you’re not dealing with a passive aggressive person though…I have dealt directly with passive aggressive people, but of course at the time I had no idea what a “passive aggressive” person was, so I could not thoroughly evaluate the situation.

    However, if you are dealing with a passive aggressive person (and he is exhibiting passive aggressive traits for sure) I feel, unfortunately, that your best option is to put as much distance between you and your husband as possible. Passive aggressive people are generally quite ambiguous, and the proverbial “silent treatment” is a classic trait. The fact that he seems incapable of close conversation with you also indicates passive aggressive tendencies. Blaming, fear of dependency, and of course, fear of competition, all seem to be what you’re experiencing in this person…all negative passive aggressive traits that you need to avoid as much as possible. A true passive aggressive will probably never agree that they have a problem either; hence, bringing it up with them will probably not work…they are usually always right, and you are always wrong. You mentioned divorce, so I’m getting the feeling that you already know what’s best…perhaps this is your subconscious exit strategy?

    An important aspect that you need to understand clearly is that you need to protect yourself emotionally and physically, and in our cruel world in many cases this is solely up to each individual to do. This doesn’t mean that you need to do this alone…there are many support groups, friends, and of course family that are there for you. You just need to make the decision; you have a responsibility to save your emotional and psychological state, and if you’re not getting that support from your husband then you need to take action yourself. But above all NEVER believe that any of this is your fault. It is not. You tried and he failed you…and he continues to fail you. I grew up with a very passive aggressive mother and it took me decades to figure this out…but once I did it was the most empowering and relieving feeling ever.

    You mentioned visiting your family for a month…that might be a good start. Would they be able to offer you some support and advice? I realize that such a decision is one of the most difficult choices we humans need to make, but it’s also human nature to know when to “throw in the towel” and start life over. It’s never too late to do this, and I somehow get the feeling that when you take that leap of faith you will not only feel 100 lbs lighter, but you will see a smile return to your face shortly thereafter. There is a lot of love in this world, and it will find you as soon as you smile again :-).

  80. Panomore says:

    I have just “thrown in the towel” after trying for fourteen long years, and wow, @Canuck57, your words really spoke to me. Yes, I feel empowered and relieved and 100 lbs lighter. I am slowly beginning to see the abuse for what it was, the man for what he is, and the wreck I had become and still is. Without making a clean break, @Drained, you will not have the space or the energy to embark on the path of rebuilding your dignity. I tried to leave so many times, but he always had me back, not because I had any love left for him, but because I was full of fear and he fueled my self-doubt. So a month away may be a good start, but he will get you back for more. Looking back, no one could have helped me in my struggle for freedom until I myself was ready. Reading about others’ experiences helped prepare me and bolstered my determination, but you alone are going to have to make the decision and stick to it.

    @Drained, keep reading, keep sharing, we are rooting for you. Be good to yourself, because he never will. Good luck.

    • Canuck57 says:

      @Panomore…good for you…I am glad that you have made the wise decision to help yourself and to improve your life. I am getting this feeling that you will not regret any decision. If you could also keep reading this forum and continue to share it would be great for everyone here…I’m sure this forum would love to hear how your life improved.

      Stay in touch.

  81. Cindy says:

    Drained – I totally understand and I’m glad someone knows how I feel and can relate, I appreciate your comment. Everyone has their, I had enough moment, I’m still not at that point but I know I’m close. I’ve been in therapy for almost 3 years to help me deal with things and it does help. I don’t like hurting our families so it’s been hard to let go. I’m not sure where you are but I hope you’re able to let go and get on with your life, I hope to be able to do that one day as well.

  82. celiece says:

    Thank you. It’s true what many have been saying. It’s a former of invalidation. Invalidation is a silent killer. It’s the worst type of abuse one can administer another without physically lifting a hand to strike. And since the passive aggressive behavior is somewhat “invisible” one might think nothing is wrong. If not recognized and taking the proper action, the “victim” will start showing physical signs of sickness that progress to worse after time. Even if you’re a relatively healthy person. The emotional being can also only take so much before that negative energy manifest into something “real”. I’m stuck after 5 years. If only it were that easy to take my own advice. 5 plus years and I’m getting sicker and weaker. Although I have started meditating and getting my grounding and self confidence back- slowly. But it’s amazing how one episode from the PA can make me feel as if I’m right back at being helpless again.

    • Canuck57 says:

      Celiece: I feel for you, but I feel that some research might be able to help you. Research on-line exactly what makes a passive-aggressive tick…there is a lot of information on-line about this. When I did this I found this to be very empowering. As soon as I learned what motivates a passive-aggressive I felt much lighter…the stress was gone. Once you understand what makes a passive-aggressive animal function you will learn how to deal with them. You will also realize that there is nothing they can do to hurt you…in fact, what I found is that most of their antics and behavior is very childish and pathetic. I mean, “the silent treatment”? Really? Isn’t this what an 8-year-old might do? Invalidation is also very similar to “the silent treatment”, but as soon as I learned what it was the passive-aggressive tactic was suddenly rendered powerless…it no longer works.

  83. Mary says:

    Canuck57… You are correct about something…once you realize what the PA is doing it holds less power, but I believe unless you have some other positive input it still remains emotionally and physically draining. Does anyone know of a support group that you can find in your location, that does this, or are there any? Thank you!

    • Canuck57 says:

      Mary: So true…learning what a PA is and what makes them “tick” is only one step. I was fortunate in finding self-help information years ago, and when the Internet became what it is today I just continued to follow what I could find. It was very helpful to me. I just followed a simple “rule-of-thumb” when dealing with self-help information. If it costs less than $25 then it’s worth it :-). The best self-help information is all on-line for free though.

      A PA’s behavior can be very draining, both emotionally and physically. All I was suggesting is that once you understand what a PA really is then you are armed with information that will help you better deal with their abuse, but you’re absolutely right…there has to be other positive input…mine just came from self-help. Self-help is what allowed me to inject my own positive input into my circumstances, and it worked. It does take effort though, and perhaps even retraining one’s mind, but it can be done.

      There are counselors available everywhere for therapy though…of course, this costs money and may not be for everyone. I would just Google therapists in your area and I’m sure many will appear. The person must also be able to find a therapist who will help “you” and not try to convince you that reconciliation with your abuser is a step worth exploring. It’s not about the abuser…just you, especially if you’re paying :-). However, a great place to start would be visiting places like the YMCA/YWCA, or to join clubs or groups that interest you (www.meetup.com/). Making new friends, or hanging out with current friends is a great way to “escape” the abuse of a PA. You don’t have to talk about your problems with them…just hanging out and “being” is all it takes to enjoy people who love you (i.e. appreciate you) for who you are (i.e. instant validation)

      One lesson I learned years ago is that one must learn to be totally comfortable being alone. This doesn’t mean “lonely”, but rather simply enjoying solitude, where you can just do your own thing, or to meditate. You can tell if you’re at this stage in life if you feel that you no longer “need” to have human company or companionship all the time. If the thought of going for a nice peaceful walk outdoors by yourself excites you, or if the thought of curling up on the couch with a good book is enticing, you’re there. If you are totally comfortable being alone then you have a place to go when a PA gives you the “silent treatment” or marginalizes you through invalidation. It also helps, I find, that once you learn more about PA behavior that these people are extremely selfish, self-serving, and are perpetually looking for ways to bring you down. It’s their way of bringing themselves up (i.e. validating themselves); hence, all of us need to distance ourselves from such abuse. We need to start by surrounding ourselves with positive and optimistic people, not those who are bent on dragging us down to their level.

      I hope this helps a little

  84. Panomore says:

    So true, Canuck57. The process of putting a label to PA behavior, identifying the patterns, learning that it is a form of personality disorder, and most of all reading about others’ experiences helped me see my own situation objectively. Only then did it become clear that the endless attempts to analyse and explain away his treatment of me and others, as well as his attitude towards life in general, were a waste of time. I kept researching and then all of a sudden everything made sense. It took a while for the emotional self to catch up with the intellectual awakening, but once there, the sense of liberation and empowerment gave me the clarity of mind and conviction to know, after endless years of self-doubt, that I would never be drawn into his emotional vortex again. So Celiece, do the research, read, share and keep reading.

  85. Sarah says:

    I’ve been in a PA marriage for 20 years. I just learned about PA about a month ago and I’m still reeling with how exactly it spells out my husband’s behaviors. I am not afraid to be alone. In fact, I fantasize about living by myself in a little house, meeting all my own needs and having my own life and friends and work that I love and a community that I feel connected to. The biggest worry I have is our kids. I just don’t know what to say to them about it or if leaving him now while they are about to graduate high school and have so many stresses on their plates would make it more traumatic.

    When I found out about PA behavior, I made my husband get a book I found on line that had tools for him and a book with tools for me to get healthier. When I read mine, I felt so discouraged. It made me see how hopeless it is and how the rest of my life might be composed of coping with his behavior and doing without–as the previous 20 years have been. When he read his, he was shocked. He said he’d never heard anything so true about how he feels. He started making changes on his own. That lasted about three weeks, then he started slipping, as he does 100% of the time. I called him on it and he said being a grown up is hard to want to stick to. I guess I saw where this was going. I suddenly had NO patience for it anymore. I couldn’t deal one more second of this kind of thing. I know that when a person heals, they will have good days and bad days, but I realized that I have no idea how to know the difference between honest trying and more excuses. His saying he wants to get better is almost more painful than him saying he doesn’t care because, I can’t tell if he’s stringing me along or if it’s just the clumsiness of learning a new way of thinking and acting and dealing with others.

    I spent the morning on Zillow looking at houses for sale in places I’ve always wished I could live. I like where we live now, but it’s far from my family and my roots and I get so homesick that it’s really painful. We live in the same town as all his family because he is unable/unwilling to do anything else, even if it hurts me and the kids. I imagined myself in one of these tiny, sweet two bed/one bath homes in the town I was born in. I imagined painting the kitchen, painting the bathroom and choosing a pretty shower curtain. I imagined making an art studio for myself in the attic. It just felt so good! I began to feel what it must feel like to be able to choose what you want in life and just go do it and not have to wade through the muddy swamps of someone else’s drama and sabatoge, but to just go get it.

    I have no idea how all of this will play out in the next months and years, but all I know is as of today, I’m holding on to that feeling of the little house and the life of my own. As of right now, I’m spiritually and emotionally divorcing my PA marriage. From here on out, I am either going to have a better one, or no marriage at all.

    • Good for you!!! That’s awesome! I wish you well.

    • Canuck57 says:

      Sarah: Actually, visualizing what you want in life is a great way to get there…good for you. I have been doing that lately too, and have actually laid out a schedule/time table for me to accomplish what I need to do. I’m currently unemployed but am very close to landing work again. Once I find that elusive work and build my finances again I’m gone :-).

    • Panomore says:

      Sarah, I can relate to where you are at. I was married to a PA for 15 years. The thought of breaking it to the children and the fear of turning their lives upside down at each juncture in their lives stopped me for years. There is never a good time; as long as you have a strong relationship with them, they will be ready when you are. With hindsight, I should have left FOR the children’s well-being sooner rather than later.

      I finally enrolled them in boarding school last year, in a far-off country (they are 12 and 14 years old). You would think that would be the worst time to break up the family, but I kept them close (moved there myself to be with them), took it one step at a time, and everything fell into place. It has only been a few months, but we all feel a sense of liberation from his controlling, PA ways, allowing us each to flourish.

      Rebuilding my life has been and continues to be a challenge, but the emotional part of it has been so much easier than I had anticipated. Like you, I had divorced him emotionally while I was still in the marriage, and the healing process, I now realize, had begun once I had taken that step. Like you, I was suddenly left with zero tolerance for his behavior, but fighting back was just as unhealthy as playing along; either way, even with ignoring his tactics, you can only live reactively and cannot escape the drain of “wading through the muddy swamps of someone else’s drama and sabatoge”. I love how you put that.

      Hang on to you lovely dream. I am in a way living it. I devoted the first seven months to ensuring my children were fine – they are happy and well-adjusted, like never before – and now I have just moved back to where I am from, and am setting up my home. I am picking curtains and furnishings just the way I want everything to be. I am moving in tomorrow!

      I am still adjusting to this new identity of an unmarried person. It is not all smooth sailing, but never for a moment do I doubt that I am in a much, much better place today than I had been when I was with him, and the initial uncertainty of whether I would break down and ask him back has been dispelled for good. I did it – a life of my own, in a home of my home, and my children are thriving.

      Best wishes to you, Sarah.

  86. mery says:

    The issue is that many women married to PA’s come from families of origin in which they were also abused, marginalized and not supported. I am one such woman. I lost so much because of an insane family member who ruled the family in my FOO (and influenced my friends, no less) that I really have no place to go. I’m healthy now, but older, sicker and not employable during this depression. Yes, I can enjoy alone time, but I need people who are close to me too.

    • Yes, I think we all need positive, loving relationships. We need people who care for us and whom we can love in return.

    • Canuck57 says:

      Mery: Yes, having people who are close to you is crucial to happiness and success. I was merely suggesting that we all need to feel comfortable being alone so we don’t fall into that trap of “needing” to have people around. Once you have overcome that need to have company you will find much more happiness for sure.

  87. Rada says:

    RUN!!!!

  88. Thank you for your very informative article that I stumbled on while looking for something else.
    Never have I seen my ex-husband’s behaviour described so accurately.
    If there are any single ladies reading this, please don’t make the mistakes i did.
    My ex-husband was a shift-worker so I didn’t really spend that much time with him before we got married, even thought we were dating for a year. So, in effect, I didn’t really know him.
    When we got married he wasn’t there most of the time because of his shifts, so I put up with him forgetting to pay bills, not finishing jobs about the house etc etc. When he was there he was often sulky and withdrawn and I put it down to his work. ( he wasn’t like this when we were dating) If I complained he made me feel bad because I was “nagging” or “didn’t understand how hard he worked” (the fact that I was working f/t didn’t count, apparently !)
    After 5 years I couldn’t stand it any longer and told him I was fed up with a house that looked like a building site, with his moods and if he didn’t do something I was leaving him.
    He came off his shift-system and I had high hopes for us.
    Nothing changed. In fact it got worse. He now had no excuses for not fixing things or having time for me but still refused to engage with me lovingly.
    I asked him why he was being so mean and hurtful to me? His answer was “I don’t hurt you, you only hurt yourself”, and like another poster said, he had a smirk on his face when he said it.
    I ended the marriage soon after this and it was the best thing I ever did, but it took me years to recover my damaged self-esteem.
    He has now been re-married several years and his new wife has been hospitalised twice for depression and has had one suicide attempt. So it would appear that his behaviour has impacted severely on her mental health.

  89. jazikoff says:

    Omg this is awesome this has my boyfriend all over it I can’t believe how everything from top to bottom is him I haven’t understood until this an yes the blaming an finger pointing an it seemed like everything he was doing he was blaming me an trying to keep manipulating an no matter what its the same fighting over an over like a broken record an hours an hours go buy an he won’t stop an its like hes a hypocrite hes the one doing it but yet he blames me says things I never said or feel make up situations and assuming is a big thing with him dose it all the time an will fight to the death when I tell him I never said that or felt it an when he finally knows hes wrong it I hate u get out of my life an the belittling of name calling I had surgery couldn’t move an boy I became a victim real fast words u never should say to a women is there a cure for this or is he stuck like this an I should just move on 10ys im so done plz someone talk to me my email m.jazikoff@aol.com help im all alone

  90. jazikoff says:

    Omg this has my boyfriend all over it I can rewrite what I just said I guess I didn’t know how to log in right an the huge post was lost but from top to bottom its all him is there a cure for, him , any help 10yrs of this bs I can’t take any more he sleeps like a baby while im up all night stressed out an crying so he doesn’t see me as a person? We don’t reslly have much of a relationship we all have are own rooms been that way from the beginning he went to a doctor for bipolar an he only was worse on the meds I kept thinking bipolar don’t act this way what hes doing anit the sighs of what I read it said happy sad up downs an that isn’t this guy at all , im so happy I found this it help me big time is there a cure or should I just go 10ys of this crap I can’t take it no more someone email so we can talk I need help m.jazikoff@aol.com plz plz im a single mom at home 24-7 with this monster ive been trying to recover from surgery this guy out of control thank you O:-)

  91. kattt says:

    I feel ill just reading this, it describes my 24 yr marriage, things are getting worse, and at a complete loss at what to do! im now fearful that he will is driving my 3 beautiful children away! Im just so miserable

  92. crazyaboutaquas says:

    I am so glad I came across this and many others.

    Fortunately…I have only dealt with this a year. We pretty much have been fwb…so I didn’t see it. I started having feelings and asked for more. Its true…every request I have made he has denied. A few months into our fwb though…he took me out on 3 dates. Asked me to start dating..to be his girlfriend..and when he went on a 2 month trip..said how much he missed me and when he gets back he would like to be in a relationship. I bought it. Then nothing changed when he got back. I then realized he had a moment of weakness and since he was gone…possibly a way of control since that text was on a Friday at 5..lol

    Nine months later here we are. We see each other less. We used to be a weekly thing now its maybe monthly. He does the lies…the excuses…over the dumbest stuff. Its usually using his son as a shield who he claims he has every weekend all weekend long. But there have been times he has called me up..when he has dropped him off early on a Friday or Saturday night.

    Our contact has always been limited…a few text a week..maybe a call. We have broken it off 5 times. 3 times him and the rest me. He comes back. He has asked me to dinner more times than I can count..never hear from him. Infamous for cancelling. I called him out on that after the third time..hasn’t done it..but now we hardly see each other.

    I am sure there are other women involved. He doesn’t talk about it. He doesn’t ask me. Which is immature and the benefits part stopped 3 months ago. He has tried…but been denied. Which brings me to 2 weeks ago. I text him and said I honestly don’t know what if anything you want with me anymore. Blah blah blah..his response was I do miss you and sorry you feel that way. He never talks feelings. Never says where we stand. I have never met family or friends. Everything is on his terms. He calls when he wants to see me and that’s it anymore.

    So two weeks ago..he says want to hang out. I said sorry…he says for??…I said not tonight. Well that’s when it all started. He says oh you must have a hot weekend date..
    I said you date…you have made it clear you want nothing more from me…and so on. This went on for HOURS. He finally quit responding. Two weeks of no contact…which I am OK with…except he owes me some money. This would have ended 2 months ago had he not owed me money.

    But..I don’t feel I blame myself…he couldn’t make me feel that way. I know its his issues. I am looking at this as a cool off period. I am going to play nice guy until I get the money and its see ya. But I am starting to feel he may be using this to string me along. Then I really messed up two weeks ago by saying..I will just get my money and say goodbye. So now he knows its coming.

    What he is planning from here I have no idea. His no contact is doing wonders because I don’t care. I am so used to a few days to a week of this from him. Every time we break up..its usually two weeks…so I expect him to turn up any day now…and if not…I will force the issue with my money by getting the police involved if need be.

    Luckily..he has no clue where I live or even my last name..haha…not even after a year. So that’s the good/odd thing. We also live an hour apart.

    He did make me crazy…the first 9 months. Now I just don’t care. I tried to show him what we could be…he resisted me to the point I want nothing to do with him. I have stressed we need to go out..he is always out and about. Nope. I Even said what would you think about dating..we can work on that..nope.

    He was my dream guy from the word go. He has his own place fun to be around…blah blah blah. Now that I have seen his true colors…someone else can have him. He has been in ltr’s before. He has been married…and in 3 serious relationships lasting almost 4 years. Now the second relationship was his sons mom..of course she was the crazy one and still is. The last girl he was with 4 years. She got a job and moved across the country. After a year or so she got married. He has admitted she hurt him the worst…he said she was my twin..but I can’t blame her. So initially I thought he was just a commitment phobe… way more there.

    My heart goes out to all of you…it tough. I still don’t think he is done..he will be back…I just know how to handle this better.

  93. Dyno says:

    It seems most people’s experience is from men being the PA aggressor. But I can tell you that my experience with a female PA (wife of 11 years) coupled with the manipulation is nothing short of emotional violence. This is not a men’s thing, it occurs across humanity. Beware of the indicators and keep vigilant, as its extremely dangerous to your emotional health.

    PS – social media is the PA’s playground!

    • Canuck57 says:

      I can relate to that for sure. For me it was my mother growing up, and my brother has learned exactly how to behave just like her. I find it astounding how people can revert to a behavior pattern that is just as destructive to themselves as it is for those around them.

      I have since put as much distance between my mother and myself as possible. I have not spoken to her in years; however, should she ever decide to contact me (which has never happened) and repent her sins for all those years of abuse (which will probably never happen) the door is always open.

  94. Confuddled says:

    I am really surprised that their are so many people going through this. I have just ended a 20 year relationship (18 yrs married) with a man I now assume is PA. As I sit and read others comments I feel sick. I feel sick at the thought of all the years I have wasted on a relationship with a man who was never going to meet me half way. The years I have waisted in therapy trying to fix me in the hope that it will fix the issues in our marriage. Struggling with the thought that I may actually be bipolar as I would be a caring and loving person one moment and a crazy raving looney the next and back again, while my gut and head would be in conflict over what was causing my erratic behavior.
    My husband would never face issues of conflict not even with his parents which saw me standing up to his father before and after our marriage on our behalf. I just thought it was because I was outspoken and was raised differently to him (my non church going upbringing v’s his devoted religious one), that made me stand up against what I considered to be manipulative and condescending behavior by his father.
    I managed to get my husband out of our house 7 months ago after finding information that eventually lead to him confessing to 8 yrs of adultery. Adultery that he had denied for years causing endless undefinable frustration which would leave me angry and demanding a divorce as a means of ending the emotional tornado I was constantly trapped in. My gut was screaming run and he was so loving when cornered with the truth ( a defensive move to distract me from the real issue) and I wanted to protect my kids so I hoped that what ever it was would pass and we would reconnect. My stating I wanted a divorce was always met with a passive argument that I really didn’t want a divorce I was just not seeing things clearly or was just upset at something that I was having trouble identifying and therefore was projecting my anger and emotion onto him and how could he help me to deal with the REAL issue. So post separation I am looking into these issues and have found that his cheating is the least of it. The lies, the withdrawal, the lack of real emotion, the procrastination, the manipulation, the forgetfulness (just to frustrate), failing to give information but expecting to be given information. I have had a constant saying for many years now, ” you only care about things of importance if they directly effect you, if they don’t you don’t care! That is not true, would always be the comeback but the old saying actions speak louder than words is true in my case.
    What has been said in earlier posts is also true in my case, I have recently come to the shocking realization that I married a man exactly like my mother (my primary parent). To be constantly referenced as the source of all the woes in a persons life, to be the fixer, to shoulder the responsibility when things go wrong. Even thought in your head you struggle with it as you know you did not do anything to create the end result, but it is presented as yours to own. Being set up in public to be seen as the crazy one. A saying that my mother use to use in reference to the relationship between myself and her mother was, “she makes the arrows and you shoot them”, and now as I type this I realized that in my marriage this has been true, Because my husband was not willing to show his own emotion in relation to issues or the action of other people, he would lean on me and I would act out in those situations or towards certain people, which often regrettably was not pretty and then he would align himself with them and point at me. Often with a look of what’s wrong with you? or he would sarcastically then reprimand me in front of people leaving me wondering who’s side he was on. and if I mentioned to him later that his actions had hurt me he would respond with, “it was not meant to hurt you that is just how you took it” and if I pushed for an apology wow. in the beginning of our marriage I would get an apology pretty quickly but as the years drew on the apologies would become an issue in them selves. OMG it was like waging war on a daily basis you never knew from which direction the next wave would come from. And because he has always presented as the ‘nice guy’ and I as the looney outspoken one, People don’t understand why I am not willing to fight for my marriage.

    I am so emotionally confused and exhausted by all of this.

    • Canuck57 says:

      I’m curious about your therapist…did they never ask you questions about your husband to get a better idea of what you were going through? Was it just assumed that you were broken and needed fixing, or that the fault was simply yours? Did you ever learn with whom your husband was having an affair?

      If there’s one thing I have learned about PA’s is that they are very sneaky, devious, and quick witted. They are masters at confusion, ambiguity, blame, obstruction, forgetfulness, procrastination, stubbornness, negativity, and hiding their anger. They definitely fear dependency, intimacy and competition (i.e. being around others who are succeeding at anything where they feel they are failing), and they can be very argumentative, especially when they feel they have been “discovered” or are cornered.

      There might be definite reasons for their behavior, but they will never let you know what those are. My personal thought on this is that they are simply cowards with little to no self-confidence and can never tell their spouse what the problem is, or even end a relationship on their own. They then make life miserable for everyone with the hope that the spouse will eventually terminate the relationship, which then would effectively take care of the problem for the PA. Of course that only makes life a living hell for the victim, when it could have ended years (sometimes decades) earlier, and then have been better for everyone involved.

      • Confuddled says:

        I have thought about your questions and have been surprised by the answers. I have had 4 therapists over the years, the first was during the year following the birth of our first child. He had a good reputation, but I realized today that he was organized through the woman we shared a house with, she and my husband use to align themselves and poke fun at me for being a stay at home mum, and the struggles I had being a first time mum, she was like a mother figure to me (older woman with no children of her own) and had even been present at our child’s birth. I know that she had discussed with him her opinion of my issues prior to me seeing him as he did it as a favor to her. The second therapist I had was assigned to me when our third child was 18 months old. Due to depression I ended up in hospital on suicide watch all because of the delivery of a stupid wardrobe that I spent months searching for and specifically asked the sales clerk if it came in pieces as it would not fit in the house otherwise (which I was assured it would ) The day it arrived it was in one whole piece and as I suspected it would not fit through the front door and my husband was happy for them to just brake the top off it to try and get it in. I just lost it yelled, screamed, cried, got angry and then left the house with a large carving knife. I got to the end of the street and stopped the car and thought to myself “what on earth are you doing? what is wrong with you” and with that I turned myself into our family doctor. My husband was called and it was discussed that I would have to go to hospital voluntarily or I would be committed. So I went voluntarily for three weeks but once home again nothing was any different, accept I knew I had to work on me for strength because if I did not strengthen me I was stuffed. I continued to see a psychologist I met at the hospital who ran a few of the group session and she was very helpful, the one I had while in the hospital not so much. Non of them asked me about my husband because at the time if you had asked me I would have been the first to state how amazing he was he was loving supportive. OMG he stood by me while I was in a Psych hospital wow how many husbands do that? But since then my life has been hell, yet the hole time his attitude has been undefinable. I was very grateful and remember saying to him ‘ I can’t believe you stayed with me back then?’ and he responded with ” I did think about leaving but thought better of it? And the way he said it made me think I should be more grateful than I am. How do I deserve this person. How can I ever live up to this level of love and commitment. But I never felt easy. He became more and more distant and would not have sex, was disconnected from me emotionally, from our kids (especially our son, the eldest) I then began to wonder if he had been unfaithful and so I confronted him and he denied it. Every time I questioned his fidelity he would sweet talk me and would fake reengaging with me both emotionally and physically but it would only last a few days, week at most, and then he would withdraw again. This then became a pattern, disconnection, me confronting, him denying and then reconnecting for a few days (long enough for me to think there may be hope for us) and then pulling away again. This pattern has gone on now for years. In November I came to the startling discovery that for this entire time my husband had been sexually active with multiple other men. At the moment he is submitting himself to disciplinary action from the leadership of the church we both attended up until this discovery ( I have since left). Although the knowledge that my husband has been with other men is devastating I have come to realize it is only part of a much bigger picture that they can not see as he is still presenting as the nice guy.
        Therapist No# 4 is awesome I have been seeing her since the discovery and she has been helpful, she is currently on holidays and I have not had a chance to discuss with her the possibility that my soon to be X husband may be PA.

        Just for the record I have not taken any medication for depression since being in the hospital for those three weeks, 8 years ago. Since my husband infidelity was discovered our youngest daughter was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 9, I have changed churches and lost my job, I struggle some days but none of my current struggles even come close to the emotional turmoil I felt sharing the same floor space with that man.

  95. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! It is almost identical to my used to be situation, but I just could not put in words! The only difference is I have been married 20 years and getting divorce this year. We have been separated 2 years and I live in another state! Once again thank you!!! God bless you!!!!!!

    • Canuck57 says:

      If there is one thing I have learned from all of this (plus all of the PA research I have done recently) is that this knowledge is truly liberating. I think this is because we have gone through most of our lives believing that we are at fault in some way, and that we bought into the passive aggressive’s view of the world. However, after learning exactly what makes a passive aggressive tick it then becomes more than evident that NO ONE who has ever been involved with a passive aggressive individual is at fault. ALL of the blame is directed toward the PA.

      Once the true victims realize this they not only feel about 100 lbs lighter, but they are then free to forgive, forget, and simply move on without ever looking back, and without the burden of guilt. Whoever said that “the truth will set you free” is absolutely right, at least in this incidence :-).

      • Confuddled says:

        Canuck57, A few of my friends keep saying that phrase to me “the truth will set you free” but in my case I have learnt that for many the truth or to be truthful is a negative thing and it is doing my head in.
        It is like my being truthful about my situation is interfering with my husbands reality and as he cannot understand why I am so hurt by his actions it is as though I am using the truth of our situation to attack him. that I have wounded him by being honest. It has taken one friend 6 months to get it through my head that I have been in an abusive relationship and I am not the abuser. That my losing my temper at this emotionally void individual does not make him the victim.

        All our relationship my husband has been a victim.

  96. Debbie says:

    If your spouse is a PA then they don’t understand or accept the truth about themselves so the truth won’t set them free. Your friend for 6 months was trying to tell you the truth but you would not accept it, but now that you have, you feel a freedom. When people don’t accept the truth it does not mean the truth is negative, it means the person is regarding what ever truth it is. The truth will set you free of you let it

    • Canuck57 says:

      I totally agree with you. I think when “the truth” was discussed above it was referring to the victim, not the PA though. The PA will never (or at least very rarely) ever admit that they have a problem; hence, it won’t matter how many times they hear it, or from how many people. The victim though is a different story. They are usually completely confused or frustrated by the PA because they do not realize that this person has a major psychological problem. However, once they realize the truth that the PA, even of that PA is a spouse, has a major problem then they will come to realize that none of the problems experienced in their relationship is (or was) their fault. They can then be freed and move on in life without the burden of thinking that they did something wrong.

  97. Would Rather Remain Anon says:

    I worked with a PA over 10 years ago and upset him and he is now contacting the place I work at to discredit and harrass me. The workplaces know and some are more supportive than others. Do I confront this person (in email – he lives in a diff city). I’ve done everything to get away from him but he tracks me down online (and finds out where I am working and never directly confronts me but contacts my coworkers to trash me and ruin my relationships at my new job.

    • Canuck57 says:

      I would avoid contact with any PA. They never change, and their only purpose in life is to punish those who disagree with them in any way. What you could try though is contacting people to whom this PA has contacted (i.e. at work) to try and either get what they said in writing, or have them come forward as a witness. There are very strict libel and slander laws in North America that would be easy to present in court with the right evidence :-).

      • Would Rather Remain Anon says:

        Thank you for responding. Carrying this inside has been tough so I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      • Would Rather Remain Anon says:

        This guy hacked my iPhone and somehow people at work could either see or hear me in my own home. It’s almost too crazy to believe and I struggle still with affects of this. I am wondering if this guy is crazy. I need a witness but no one want to get involved. It’s very invalidating to have someone covertly abuse you. I’ll never be the same after encountering this person in a workplace over 10 years ago. Sorry for rant.

      • Canuck57 says:

        Would Rather Remain Anon: Wow…hacking your phone is stunning. Can you get a new phone, or did he actually hack your service? Perhaps you can change carriers?

        I have researched passive-aggressive behavior a lot recently because I discovered that my brother, whom I helped out financially 6 years ago is extremely passive-aggressive. I didn’t even know what the term mean before last December…but now I realize that our mother is the cause…she too has serious problems. Because I was so rebellious as a child I never accepted her behavior and always fought (I loathe bullies).

        However, what I have learned from my brother is that they rarely forget what bothers them. My brother was iterating a story to me in 2008 about some guy he met that really aggravated him. He was getting very angry just telling me the story, with his face turning red, popping a vein in his temple, getting loud and obnoxious, and jamming his index finger into his hand to get his point across. He wasn’t angry at me…he was merely showing me how much anger and hatred he had for this guy. So after he told me this story I just assumed that this was a guy he interacted with on the job a week or so earlier, so I just casually asked him, “who was this guy?”. He told me it was a guy he new in high school. I was stunned. My brother left high school in 1980, and here he is telling me a story about a guy who still angers him today over a really minor incident that happened 28 YEARS EARLIER!!!

        So suffice it to say that if you don’t take some actions against this guy who hacked into your phone, and try to “disconnect” from him, he will probably be hounding you for the rest of your life…PA’s have a terrible problem. Also consider that passive-aggressive behavior is often a modus operendi of someone who also suffers from one of many other personality disorders, so you could could be dealing with a really sick individual. I would also be considering a restraining order.

    • Would Rather Remain Anon says:

      Thanks for answering. My brain goes to “what causes this / what’s the issue with this person”. I have a strong analysis brain and kicks in when I think of this person. He finds out where I work and then the trashing starts again – contacting ppl where I work to trash me. You come across as some w v good insight into this condition. I really did not need people at work knowing what I do in the privacy of my own home. I’m thinking he is crazy but I am agreeing wit you that I’ll never escape him. He’s 70 now so I’m hoping he gets sick and dies soon. Terrible to say but after 13 years of harassment there is no sign of this letting up.

      • Canuck57 says:

        I feel for you…I’m going through an ordeal here too that I’m hoping will end soon, but now that you have revealed to me how technically abusive people can be I might be facing the same issues here (with my brother passing along false information to potential employers – which is not much different than what my mother did when I was a teen living at home). I cannot prove this right now, so time will tell.

        All I can suggest you do is try to find a way to prove what he’s done and then approach a lawyer. A restraining order might help if you can prove that he has been trashing you to your colleagues. If you can get one person to step forward as a witness you will have something to start with, and perhaps even bring slander charges against him. Changing phones and phone carrier might be worth investigating as well.

        What bothers me about this type of passive aggressive behavior is that you would think that these people would get a life. Is it really that important to them that they torment someone for years (and potentially decades) after the fact? After listening to my brother about his friend in high school I have to say yes – pretty sad. And all it took for my brother to behave that way was him feeling frustrated getting a point across to someone in high school. – with me we had 3 loud arguments in 5 years, so I have to think that he will NEVER get over that and take that hatred and resentment to his grave too (considering that he has now been out of high school for over 34 years).

        And to think that passive aggressives will never admit that they have a problem; hence, they will never get better on their own :-).

      • Canuck57 says:

        Oh…one more thing. This is something I learned over the past 3-4 years. Never list your current employer or experience on your résumé or LinkedIn…only your past employers and experience. This way people like that will never be able to research where you are, only where you’ve been. So if you have your résumé on various job sites, or as a part of your LinkedIn profile, start editing. Besides…you’re never going to need your current employer on there until you leave anyway, right? :-).

      • Would Rather Remain Anon says:

        All excellent suggestions. Have been through this now, I wish I knew then what I know now about PA’s. I really appreciate your comments and chatting w/ you about it. You are great.

      • Would Rather Remain Anon says:

        Canucks57 – Just want to again say thanks for the discussion about this. I thought about it today and appreciated your support. I hope your situation improves or is resolved in your favor. Enjoy your evening.

  98. Rada says:

    Omg NO!!! This is exactly what he wants you to do. His power comes from You , Your reactions of anger, confrontation, tears , whatever…… Bottom line is , this person is going to trash you anyway , no matter what you do . The reason you may not want to respond by email is he will use your own emails to “prove ” what he/she had to contend with and thereby showing to all who is his audience that what he/she is saying about you is all true. With these monsters all you can do is don’t feed into his covert devious plans . Eventually he will find himself another unsuspecting victim. Be strong stay completely away !!!!!!

  99. Pingback: A Confession | Empowered Grace

  100. lacey says:

    If a passive aggressive is a alcoholic aswel.. is it dangerous to be around them.

    My boyfriend is a “recovering” alcohol. Thats what he tells people he is far from recovery. I have lost my boyfriend to alcohol. I have grieved for him but its too much for it all to go back to the way it was.

    He is perfect & can do no wrong. He takes me for granted. Accuses me of cheating. I can’t speak to ahy other guy. Just as a friend or anything anymore. He doesn’t like me to see family or friend. But he can do what ever he wants. I feel trapped. I can’t afford to live on my own. Because I have no children and I work fulltime! Also a UK resident. The government will not help me out if this situation.

    Rent is high and wages are low. He has to cause shit with someone everytime we are not in work. He checks my phone the lot. I just want to leave so bad.

    I don’t love this angry nasty alcoholic. I love the person he used to be, it makes me sad because I miss that person so much. He was best friend too. Make me cry all the time.

    He has issues from his childhood. I have tried helping. It doesn’t work. Its like he can tell me all his problems but I am not allowed any, or to tell him. Ive gone through much worse but I don’t act like this. I get angry at him for feeling so sorry for himself when I have gone through hell and I don’t treat people like this. He repulses me when he is drunk. I don’t want him near me then. He is making me ill with his selfish ways and possessiveness.

    Part of me thinks. There is 3 options. Suicide, cheating and finding someone else. Or live in this hell forever.

    • Canuck57 says:

      Being around any alcoholic can be stressful and dangerous. Whether this person could be considered “dangerous” or not really depends on what sort of issues drove this person to drink in the first place, and whether they have any other psychological issues that need to be addressed. Passive-aggressive people are not necessarily “dangerous” to one’s physical well being as the name does suggest “passivity”. However, what passive-aggressives do (and enjoy doing) is causing major emotional and psychological stress and damage. I suppose when one is pushed to the limit of their stress levels one could become violent though. But why wait to find out? You need an exit strategy.

      However (and this is just my opinion), when one is in a situation like yours at the very least you need to start planning your escape. I realize that money is an issue too (I’m in a similar predicament) but if you are feeling threatened in any way there is usually help available. If you have friends (or colleagues at work) who are not in contact with your boyfriend I would start talking to them. Ask them if they know of anyone who could help you out in any way (you’d be surprised how well networking works). I’d be willing to bet you that there are at least 20% of the women at your work that had similar experiences to yours at one point in their lives.. If you feel your situation is more urgent I would contact the nearest women’s shelter and start asking them for advice. If you do not know where one is you could always search on-line at work (so your search history cannot be viewed at home – ask your boss first though so you don’t get punished at work for using their computers for personal use). Failing that you could also visit the local police station and tell them about your situation and then see if they can point you to someone who can provide you with advice or help.

      The main thing is to get away. You’re obviously in distress about this entire situation and feeling trapped…by at least planning your escape this feeling will dissipate. A counselor at a women’s shelter, for instance, might also be able to help you find other women with whom you could share accommodations etc.Your only challenge at that point would be moving out of your current place without causing a confrontation, but that might be easier than you think too.

      A passive-aggressive personality is a terrible way to live, both for that person as well as the victim. It is both physically and emotionally draining, and it will affect your life, especially at work. The sooner you get away from that situation, and surround yourself with people who are kinder and more sympathetic to your needs, the sooner you will begin to thrive again.

      Does this help?

  101. Hope says:

    I feel so much better now, I guess I need to work on my self esteem, thought I was going crazy! I’m in my second PA relationship, so I guess that makes me a dope! I always wondered why the current relationship had sooooo many similarities to my other one 14 years ago! I’ve had a couple of good relationships since thank god, so there’s hope,
    The first one I was with for 6 years, and I loved him to pieces till the day I left, but he made me ill and broke me, I found the strength, packed my bags and left
    The current guy, I’ve been with 2 years, he has a very dominant mother, who shouts a lot and is too much in out relationship, she is a good person but has issues, and so now does he, I love him loads, and feel for him, yet I know now what he’s doing is wrong, I guess I’m trying to fix him? He beat me senseless about a year ago and never really apologized, he’s not touched me since thank god, but sometimes I know he wants to, so he shuts himself away to stop himself, when we have a heated row or I bring it up, he says I deserved it cause I’ve got a big mouth?! I know I didn’t deserve it, I know he feels guilty tho and it scared him, a few days later from the swelling of the ribs, I couldn’t breathe and were furiously looking for a hospital to go to, but my breathing regulated, I’m at my wits end, cause I’m afraid of being without him, not meeting someone else, I’m 41, yet I know this can’t go on…..

  102. Rada says:

    Hi I read your post . So sorry that you went thro that physical abuse once but it will happen again , it’s just a matter of time. Get out plz ! Don’t delay .
    You said he beat you ” senselessly ” about a year ago. I have a feeling he has beat you since , but because this time it wasn’t ” senselessly ” it doesn’t qualify as a beat down in your mind .
    Whenever you bring it up ( the beating) he replies that you “deserved it”
    You said he felt guilty about the beating. If you deserved it , believe me he never felt guilty. Pls for your safety , get that out of your mind .
    He hit scared when he realized you were looking for a hospital because of the damage ( swelling) to your ribs. He removes himself so not to repeat the beatings again cause he feels guilty? No, he doesn’t feel guilty at all. He doesn’t want a homucide on his hand. That is why he got scared . It has nothing to do with you, it’s all about him. It’s about him getting convicted for assault and battery . He was not in the least bit concerned about your damaged lungs and your not being able to breath. Again, pls pls get out.
    Think about it … If he has pushed you , shoved you, spat at you, held you down against your will, kicked you , put his face up against your and verbally threatened you, threw objects at you , all of this constitutes assualt! Pls don’t out it into your mind that as long as you weren’t severely beaten where you are frantically looking for a hospital then you are not being assaulted , then you are ok and he loves you . Pls get out .
    If you can’t for whatever reason , at least make a police report where there are records . These records will come in handy . He will try to talk you out if it , but …….
    Take care of yourself , remember you deserve better because you are a worthy individual

  103. BostonLaw says:

    I need some advice from yourself or anyone who wants to offer:
    I am a 34 year old female who believes I am dating a PA male. We met almost one year ago. He can be the nicest guy especially in the beginning…..he will go out of his way to get me food, but me clothes, spend time with me. Then there’s the negativity. He often criticizes my clothes, hair, etc. but when I told him his comments are weighing in me he said. “I am just playing, I wouldn’t do anything to intentionally hurt you and I joke around a lot”….??
    He will not argue and I have worked hard on myself to learned what battles are worth fighting and which are not so I don’t expect to “fight” about everything. He will tell me I didn’t speak to him about important subjects like my fragile, chronic medical conditions when I know I have! He just chooses not to remember…..yet he can remember things like every Texas Hold’em schedule known to man. I don’t feel like I can cry with him yet he often makes me feel horrible inside…..like I met an amazing guy but he there is just something that may be too much for me to ignore. He did open up to me finally to let me know he was physically, mentally, and emotionally abused in his 15 year marriage. He was cheated on several times and something very important to him now is he feels like he has a very small penis (his ex wife and two women he dated before me were very insensitive about the size of his manhood. He is 6’5″ about 275 and African American. I tell him I am very happy in the bedroom and he should stop comparing himself to Porn Stars! I don’t know what to do??!!! Should I leave or try and talk to him?? When I try to have serious conversations about my feelings now he cuts me off and says everything is “okay” “he loves being with me” “I’m fine” “I need to stop overthinking things and have fun!……I believe in fun but as I have told him on more then one occasion….I feel I am dating someone that treats me like a queen with his left hand and a piece of crap with his right. I told him it feel like “I” am not special to him…I could be any women in the world and he would treat me/them all exactly the same. I don’t feel there are genuine, individual, loving felling a for me. I don’t know if I should run now or give it time??!!
    He has trust issues and that I know but how long does he expect me to deal with the PA behavior?? Maybe he will never change??!! I care about him but I feel like I am changing who I am just to be with him. I am willing to bend on something things like my need to control everything a working 90 hour weeks without making time for him….
    I just want him to be able to talk to me, recognize when I hurting (I’ve had surgeries and deaths in the family and he seems to not care!!!!). I just don’t know what to say to address how I feel and that I am feeling worn out…….confused. I come from a abusive family and have dated horrible guys before him. I don’t want to compare him or “run” as soon as things get hard. I was single 4 years before meeting him because of my search for perfection……I’ll take any advice.
    Thank you!

    • “I feel I am dating someone that treats me like a queen with his left hand and a piece of crap with his right. I told him it feel like “I” am not special to him…I could be any women in the world and he would treat me/them all exactly the same. I don’t feel there are genuine, individual, loving felling a for me. I don’t know if I should run now or give it time??!!”

      RUN!!!!!!

      I don’t have time to say more at the moment and you will probably get responses from others, but run, Sweetie, run.

    • Mary says:

      Please do yourself a favor…think about what you wrote and ask yourself if you want to give up your ENTIRE LIFE, HEALTH, EMOTIONS, FREEDOM, FAMILY, FRIENDS, and then WORK TILL YOU DROP and still BE BLAMED FOR EVERY BAD THING that ever happens… WITHOUT EXPECTING or RECEIVING ANY LOVE, COMMUNICATION, EMOTIONAL or FINANCIAL SUPPORT???

      If you want that for yourself and you answered that “yes” you are willing to give up EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING for this man, stay and prepare to be destroyed slowly. YOU are only in one year…it gets WORSE EVERY DAY!!!! See what you feel like AFTER 20 YEARS if you live that long. This kind of stress is devastating on the body, as well as your soul, emotions, mind, and all other relationships!

      Life is struggle enough without carrying someone else’s baggage and responsibilities the entire way. They (Pa’s) don’t change because everything is about them, their fun, happiness, wants, needs, etc. and they don’t change because they are damaged and don’t want to do the work to fix it… anyway… you are taking care of him…why should he bother? The harsh TRUTH IS YOU CANNOT CHANGE OR FIX HIM….EVER…HE MAY SAY HE WANTS TO FIX IT, and MAYBE EVEN GO THROUGH SOME ACTIONS LIKE HE IS DOING SOMETHING….BUT IT IS SIMPLY ANOTHER PLOY TO GET YOU TO STAY, IT ALWAYS GOES BACK TO THE SAME OLD LIFESTYLE. ALL FOR HIM, TOO BAD FOR YOU. NO MATTER WHAT HIS MOUTH SAYS, HE WANTS IT THE WAY IT IS!!!!

      I WON’T tell you to run, because others told me to run and I didn’t. You won’t either unless you BELIEVE you are worth being loved, cherished, cared for, and listened to. After 20 years I am alone, disabled, have numerous medical issues, financially destroyed, but content and at peace living by myself because HE couldn’t have what he wanted from me anymore and left again. I had to learn myself by living through hell!!! WHAT ARE YOU WORTH??? No one can decide this for you. The CHOICE is TOTALLY up to YOU!
      God Bless and be with you!

    • Canuck57 says:

      There’s many a true word spoken in jest…so even though he may say that he was only joking, the fact is he said it before he told you he was joking. That’s what was on his mind; hence, this is really how he feels. He’s just quick on the “uptake” and as soon as he felt that you were sensitive to what he had said he changed his tune without an apology or a real explanation.

      Unfortunately, many people feel the need to cling to one person even though they may have a few negative traits. In many cases these “negative traits” can be overlooked because they are indeed minor. However, if you find yourself feeling continually bad about the way you’re treated, or because of things that are said (i.e. underhanded, surreptitious or under one’s breath) then I would say that the problem is more serious than what you’re making it out to be.

      I would suggest that you take a serious look at your relationship and if you feel that it’s not right for you then by all means do not feel scared or bad about ending it, regardless of how he makes you feel about that thought. If you can learn to be comfortable about being alone (which we all need to do) then you will thrive…and this is when others will find you the most attractive. Now there’s a thought for you to ponder.

  104. Marie3 says:

    I have been married for almost 20 yrs to what I just recently discovered is a pa. When we met he was the most charming, personable person I had ever met. He followed me around and was always taking my picture which I thought was odd, but it was new love so I really brushed it off. After we married it wasn’t long and it became all about him. I started noticing bills that weren’t paid, etc. but he was the king of excuse makers. The more the time went on I thought he was very selfish and moody. He became less and less affectionate to the point where we are now, he won’t even give me a hug or tell me good night unless I tell him first. I always thought something was wrong with me until just last week when in a silly gesture as we were joking about something, he jerked away, not wanting me to touch him. His odd behavior has escalated over the years. It finally dawned on me, that someone who is that selfish, and fearful of affection, has some kind of deep down problem. It is kind of freeing actually that the truth has finally hit me. He NEVER takes me anywhere, yet he goes where he pleases, fishing, hunting, etc. I do go places on my own, because I refuse to let him boss me like I am a child. I searched men that are withdrawn and not affectionate and that is how I found pa info. For the first time in almost 20 yrs I understand what is going on. Now I am just biding my time before I make a move. I am in my 50’s and don’t intend on spending no more time wasted with him than I have to. I am tired of being his hostage in his emotional prison. To his friends I doubt they really know the extent of what I am going through. Pray for me, for wisdom and strength. Thanks and God Bless.

    • Canuck57 says:

      The first thing we all need to learn is that none of this is our fault. This is particularly difficult because the PA is usually blaming everyone else for their actions, so most of us live our lives as though we too are to blame. However, passive-aggressive behavior is not really the cause of most situations, but rather the symptom. It is the tool that these people use to get them through life because they have no other way of knowing how to deal with situations about which they are not comfortable. This still doesn’t make it right, and it is just as painful dealing with such people regardless of the reasons. We all have to come to terms with the fact that we experienced this behavior because the PA probably fell out of favor with us, and their ridiculous way of dealing with life only makes everything worse….but to them they think they are doing the right thing.

      They are certainly sick; this should never be overlooked. Their behavior is insidious and very damaging to everyone whoever comes into contact with them. Their behavior also only really serves to hurt them the most in the long-run too. Let’s face it, most PA’s are cowards and do not know how to confront anyone about anything…and in 99% of the time they will never learn how to do this either.

      Your husband may have been put off by you in some way years ago, but to a PA it’s all about punishment. Whatever you did, no matter how small or insignificant, they will feel the urge to “get even” with you, or to continually punish you for years. If you ever learn what it was that turned him off it could be something like you didn’t smile at him the right way when he needed it 19 years ago, and he’s still punishing you for that. It’s still not your fault though…no matter what you did, because relationships are supposed to be all about communication and unfortunately a PA simply does not understand how to do that. They just retaliate in very sneaky, underhanded and surreptitious ways that most normal people will never understand. One might notice the behavior, but to most normal people we typically never understand why they are behaving the way they are. To them this is something we need to figure out ourselves because they don’t know how to tell you.

      As mentioned, the first thing we all need to do then is to not blame ourselves for any of it. If we did something that bothered the PA then it’s up to the PA to tell us what bothers them, and not hide like a coward behind some creepy and sneaky form of punishment that no one but them would ever understand.

      My brother is a massive passive-aggressive and a few years ago I remember him relating a story about some guy that simply got him all frustrated and angry. While he was relating the story to me he was becoming visibly angry, agitated and frustrated, to the point where he was yelling, turning beet red in the face, and that tell-tale vein in his temple was bulging. He wasn’t directing that angst at me; the story he was relating to me was simply bringing up all of this anger and hatred that he had inside of him. So after he finished telling me the story I walked over to the coffee machine to pour myself a coffee, and nonchalantly just asked him who this guy was. He replied, “oh, just some guy I knew in high school”. Yikes! Did I mention that at the time my brother was 48 years old? Did I mention that this “incident” took place in high school about 30 years before?!!! He had all of this hatred and anger inside him over an incident (and a relatively minor incident I might add) that happened about 30 years before…something of which would have dissipated in a normal person 24-hours after it occurred about 30 years before!!!

      And herein lies the problem with a PA. They rarely (if ever) forget little incidents that happened to them that also bothered them. They are typically bothered by any incident, no matter how small, for years, sometimes decades. A normal person may have forgotten about such an incident hours after the fact, but a PA will let it dwell and fester inside them for years. And guess who that hurts the most? It will affect all those who are in contact with such a person, but such negativity only serves to hurt the PA…to the point of causing a host of other psychological problems like depression or psychotic behavior. But if you’re married or living with such a person their behavior will also affect you in a very negative way, if not solely because you typically do not have any clue what is going on in their head.

      So the solution to the dilemma, regardless of what your beliefs are with marriage or even loyalty, is to sever ties with such people and put as much distance between yourself and the PA. Zero communication is typically the best way to save yourself from further damage for the first few years too. We all need a few years to recover from such behavior because we have all been either blamed for their actions, or we are blaming ourselves for them, when in reality none of this is our fault. This has a huge negative impact on each of our lives, not unlike how PTSD affects others who have been affected by severe trauma.

      A good place to start would be to get some type of therapy yourself. You probably don’t have to get much…sometimes just hearing from a therapist what you need to hear is good enough. Learning that none of this is your fault, and all of it the fault of the PA from a professional is sometimes the best therapy in the world. It’s never too late either…and always a good idea to start as soon as you understand the problem.

      Severing ties is in itself great therapy too…getting some alone time with yourself can be incredibly rewarding and peaceful. However, sometimes just hanging out with close friends is a great way to start too.

      I hope this helps

      • Marie3 says:

        Yes, it helps greatly. I do have my alone time, quite frequently. As I mentioned, we never go anywhere together unless it is to the store. He goes fishing about every other weekend and hunting during hunting season. When we first got together we went every where together. But, it was only what he wanted to do. He hates the beach so when I go I go with my sister. I just took a week long vacation by myself back in May. It’s almost as though the gig is up now that I know the facts. I really don’t think he will ever get me to the screaming point again. That has happened 3 or 4 times in our marriage because I am not a screamer or a yeller. He has only raised his voice to me once that I can remember in 20 yrs. So when I read about the pa being so calm because their satisfaction comes from getting you angry, I knew right off it was talking about him. To his friends, he is Mr. calm, cool and collected. He is very laid back, or seems to be. The truth is he is a volcano ready to explode but instead uses me for his anger. Just about every description of the pa fits him. Mr. nice guy but unable to show affection or emotion. He hasn’t even kissed me or hugged me or touched me in any kind of a way in years. It’s amazing really. I have always wondered what type of disorder he had because anyone knows that if someone can’t show affection or emotion, something is not right. I heard about abuse in his childhood, his father never showing emotion, his grandfather beating him with razor straps. It is odd that someone like that can appear so normal to the outside world. When we were dating he couldn’t keep his hands off me, followed me every where I went, and took my picture every time I turned around. He seemed like Mr. perfect. I remember telling myself over and over, you’re not real. He couldn’t pamper me enough in the beginning. He cleaned house, did dishes and laundry, which by the way, he still does. He has always been very helpful around the house. I always thought that was his way of making up for the void. He will cook supper and set the table and do the dishes afterward and I will tell myself, there is my hug and kiss. Now that I really feel like I am set free from allowing him to get me upset, I wonder how he will respond? Time will tell.

  105. Debbie says:

    I have left a my husband after 20 years who is passive aggressive. I had to make a plan to escape. I left 2 times he sweet talked me to come back and I did. It was good at first then it got worse. I left the first time without a plan the second time I had a plan. I am getting a divorce this year.

  106. Hanks says:

    Dear friends here,

    I am a 45-year old father of two small girls living in Sweden. They are my everything!! I was in a marriage for 7 years with a PA-woman and we divorced a year ago. As soo many say, it is hard to put the finger on it at first but once you understand its like looking at the “manual” how these people operate. All the storries are just about the same with minor diffrences. I dont need to say that the marriage was very lonely and full of blaming of all kind?? I am doing pretty fine but stuck with bizzare “withdrawal symptoms”. It is like a fight in my head where logic and reason says “phew, glad that it is over!!” and another emotional side wants more of the “love” (abuse). This is very confusing since my relation never had any moments of real love (like kind words, spontaneous kissing or affection etc). Anyway, I wanted to say that this is a great site and that I hope all of you here can move on to a better life. You sure deserve that so well for yourself and for your kids!

    Best regards and hugs :-)
    Swedman

  107. Hanks says:

    Hi again friends!

    Just wanted to add another personal understanding for those of you (like myself) sometimes think about: Can they change (with theraphy etc)? As I understand it (and this pill took some time to swallow indeed. Well more like bend over and brace yourself kind of ;-) Personal disorders, like PA, is deeply deeply rooted in their character. Its not some “psychic cold” that blocks the real “loving” person underneath. It is EXACTLY who they are and this programing started in early years (most likely). There is nothing or no one to be rescued here besides you! (Keep repeating that to myself!). Its like a doubble tradgedy. Your pain caused by them and their childhood abuse. The bummer is that the person you sat next to on the bus called “marriage/life” never really was there. It was a loving illusion produced and sustained by a good hearted person (fill in your name here….). I bet that not many people need to grow the strength (and I dont wish that upon them!) to deal with these insights and emotional wounds . On the benifit side, personally, I find that I grow most as a human when faced with challanges out of the ordinary. This sure is!

    Sorry for the rambling guys & gals :-)
    Swedman

    P.s I would like to get in touch with fellow men who have or are going through divorce or breakup from PA wifes.

    • canuck57 says:

      Swedman: PA’s can improve through extensive therapy, but for the most part you are correct. It’s typically a lost cause, especially once they have reached the age of 50. The ONLY way a PA can improve with therapy is if they ever admit that they have a problem and then seek help. Of course, the caveat here is that a PA rarely ever admits that it is they who has the problem. A PA is usually always right, and everyone else is always wrong; hence, it is usually ALWAYS everyone else who has a problem…never them. It is for this reason alone that therapy is rarely successful.

      My mother is an extreme PA and so is my younger brother. Both of them have openly admitted frequently that they are not on this earth to learn….they are only here to teach. this is really sad when you think about it because all of us are here to learn :-), but such is the ego of a PA :-). This is even sadder for those who come to know them because they can easily see that they are so steeped with faults and problems, it’s almost humorous :-).

      • Hanks says:

        Hello Canuck57!
        Thank you so much for your response :-). I hear what you are saying (you should know!). May I ask what it is like to grow up with a PA-mother? I am very concerned for the sake of my small girls who live with their mother every other week. I dont know if my x spouse if full blown PA but i suspect that she is. All components are there: Lying, blameing, troubble at work, depression, never sorry for anything she does, generally very shallow and negativistic about life etc etc etc. I have actually never hear her say a possitve word about anything in 7 years, just complaining about trivial stuff and a shitty attitude to go with it. So my question is what I can do and watch out for to better support my girls growing up. And you are so right – it is amazing how warped their behaviors is! It is so contra-productive, like a race horse going the wrong way on the track with a smile saying “I am smarter than all of you!” ;-) (Um, are U sure??)

        Best regards
        Swedman

        P.s Many hugs to all of you including the author of this site. Amazingly strong woman!

    • canuck57 says:

      Swedman:

      I didn’t have an option to reply to your reply, so I will reply here :-). What was it like growing up with a PA mother? It took me decades to figure out what her problem was. I started researching PA behavior and visiting discussion groups like this when I started to question my brother’s odd behavior. It took me about a week before I stumbled on passive-aggressive behavior disorder, and when I finally learned this I FINALLY learned that my mother was also a major passive-aggressive. Needless to say this was also a MAJOR revelation for me; EVERYTHING that I had experienced with my brother and with my mother growing up suddenly made perfect sense. It was a huge relief and helped me immensely to learn that NONE of what I experienced with her (or my brother) was my fault. My only regret was that I didn’t seek professional help decades ago…I could have saved myself a lot of grief. I sought self-help and although it did eventually work I probably could have improved much quicker had I sought professional help and had this all explained to me when I was still in my 20’s.

      Suffice it to say that it was an incredibly abusive upbringing. Thankfully for me I was very rebellious, which is about what one needs to be to fight a PA parent. If you take the abuse and not say anything you run the terrible risk of becoming a PA yourself; hence, save your children. I am definitely NOT a PA, but I was very much emotionally and psychologically affected by her abuse. My brother is MUCH worse off than I ever was though. I think I have most of my issues are under control now…but it just took too long.

      Most of the abuse was emotional and psychological, but there was physical abuse too. My mother could very well have suffered from other personality disorders (much like my younger brother too) as many other personality disorders also have major passive-aggressive problems as well (it’s how they were conditioned to deal with the world). However, I am also not a psychologist so it’s almost impossible for me to determine if she has other psychological problems. Having said that, and after researching passive-aggressive behavior, I can say with confidence that she continually, and perpetually, exhibited passive-aggressive behavior traits all of her life.

      However, to best answer your question, consider the main traits of a person suffering from passive-aggressive behavior disorder. My mother and brother definitely exhibit ALL of these traits:

      • Ambiguity
      • Forgetfulness
      • Blaming
      • Lack of Anger
      • Fear of Dependency
      • Fear of Intimacy
      • Obstructionism
      • Fear of Competition
      • Victimization
      • Procrastination
      • Stubbornness
      • Negativity
      • Argumentative, sulky, and hostile

      Ambiguity comes from their fear (and paranoia) that they do not want people to see their true self. They fear that there is a conspiracy to make them look bad, or to prove them (and their behavior) wrong. Because they are always right and never wrong, they cannot risk being wrong in the eyes of others, particularly their children. This probably stems from the fact that they understand at a subconscious level that their behavior is bad and wrong, but they don’t want to draw any attention to it. So I had a mother who was never open, and always hid her emotions from everyone. If you tried to pry she would get angry, and start calling you names, ridiculing you, and projecting her bad traits on to you. It didn’t take long then for us kids to stop that line of questioning. Both my mother and my brother also firmly believe that they were not put on this earth to learn…they were only put on earth to teach, which probably stems from their “always right” attitude.

      Forgetfulness usually comes from when they are either confronted by someone about their bad behavior, or they will use it as a weapon to get even with you. As a weapon they will inadvertently on purpose forget things that are important to you (anniversaries, birthdays, meetings with friends…or anything that would bring you joy). If they do not exhibit forgetfulness then I would at least expect procrastination, particularly if they have agreed to do something for you. When confronted with anything you have to continually remind yourself that the PA is always right…you are always wrong, and they will be stubborn as hell defending that position. Whenever I confronted my mother (or brother) about her (or his) bad behavior I would start to wonder if they had onset dementia or alzheimers. This was more pronounced with my mother though, and if she did have onset dementia or alzheimers, however, then she always had dementia and alzheimers; hence, her forgetfulness was obviously her escape or punishment mechanism for her PA behavior.

      Blaming is one of their favorite tools too. It’s always someone else’s fault, even if they are the ones who caused the problem (which they usually are). With blaming comes victimization too….the PA is almost always the victim, particularly if all of the fingers start pointing at them as the cause of a problem that others had to face. So whenever my mother would do something wrong, cause a problem, or say something regrettable it was ALWAYS someone else’s fault…never hers, and she would always try to turn it all around to make herself appear to be the real victim. But it would always be more than just “blame” too. A PA will typically include psychological projection to ensure that everyone is aware that you are a horrible person; hence, deflecting any accusations and blame from them.

      Rarely do PA’s exhibit any anger…unless you confront them with irrefutable proof that what they did was wrong and immoral…then all hell will break loose and they will use weapons such as psychological projection to convince anyone who will listen that you are the one with the problem, or they will simply blame you for everything. Never forget that with a PA it’s always someone else’s fault. Suffice it to say too that they will get loud and angry to prove a point when it’s their last resort.

      Even if they are not angry they are usually always argumentative. Much of this stems from their fear of competition; they loathe being around anyone who can (in their eyes) make them feel inferior in any way. Consider this with a mother who fears that her children will be smarter and more intelligent than her. She will typically stop at nothing to bring their children down to her level (or lower), and then deny ever having a hand in it. When others are around to witness her behavior then the opposite will happen…she will admire her children, say wonderful things about their well being and intelligence. But as soon as the “witnesses” have left then the opposite will happen. I never heard my mother say anything nice about any of her kids to us when we were all alone. In fact, she also ridiculed us on occasion when she had company over and we were not around to hear it. I heard much of it because many times she just didn’t know I was in the other room and could hear everything. I think this is one of the reasons why few of my mother’s friends ever remained “friends” with her. When my dad passed away in 2004 only 2 people phoned with condolences, and none came over for a visit ever again.

      Another problem with my mother, as with most PA’s, is that she had a distinct fear of intimacy. This stems from a fear of showing dependence on someone else for anything, but the real victims are always the children. The PA parent will feed and clothe them, but I would not expect any love. Consider that when leaving children in long-term care with a PA. An in your case I would be worried about a PA mother exacting revenge on you through the children.

      Another horrible experience being around a PA (particularly a mother) is the constant negativity. They are usually the most pessimistic people and will teach their children to give up rather than to try, partly because they do not want to see the children succeed where she may have already failed. My mom always had a negative outlook on life…I was the only one who confronted her on this (my rebelliousness), and she despised anyone who had a positive outlook that contradicted her own world view. I only recall seeing love and caring up until the age of 2-3…then it all stopped. She started a baby-book for each of us kids (a scrapbook of momentos that were collected as we grew up). My book stopped at the age of 6. So something major must have happened to her back then, and she obviously never recovered. It could have stemmed from the time when her mother (my grandmother) visited the first time. My grandmother was also a PA and a bigger witch than my mother. My grandmother had great control over my mother. But it could also be something as simple as one (or all) us kids hurt her feelings, and once the PA is put in that position they will seek revenge for the rest of their life. You may never realize that they are punishing you (it’s always surreptitious and covert), but you will perpetually feel terrible about the relationship. When bad things happen and a PA is present, you can be sure that the PA was involved.

      Also keep in mind that a PA is probably the most selfish person you are ever going to meet. My mother was certainly no exception here, primarily with any form of emotional and psychological support. It was non-existent…and a child needs that support to grow and learn. A PA will almost always think of themselves first…if you point that out to them then they will use psychological projection to convince others that you have worse faults, and/or blame you for everything that has happened (i.e. I had no choice because you’re so bad). Once a PA has figured out a way to be angry at you, they will keep this secret from you and punish you surreptitiously and covertly for years. You may never realize that you are being punished, but you may continually wonder what the hell is going on. When you confront the PA about any of this you will be met with, “I don’t know what you’re talking about”, or “I don’t recall saying or doing that”. When you confront them with irrefutable proof, then anger and psychological projection will be the weapon of choice.

      Whenever my brother got angry at me (after I would confront him) I was always left totally confused at his accusations. It wasn’t until I discovered what passive-aggressive behavior disorder was that it suddenly dawned on me. He wasn’t accusing me of my bad behavior…he was accusing me of his bad behavior, which is why none of it ever made any sense to me. Things of which he was accusing me were things that he had done, not me. I knew what psychological project was, but I have to admit that after his arguments it was the first time ever that I saw it in action. Initially I thought he was simply delusional, but when I learned what was really going on in his mind that’s when it made 100% sense to me.

      A PA, and a PA mother is NO exception, will always work in the background to hurt her people and prevent them from getting ahead, learning, and succeeding (fear of competition again). They will never do this overtly…always covertly. This is because the PA needs to have perpetual plausible deniability when confronted. They need to be able to say, “who me?”, or “I don’t remember doing or saying that”. When friends or other people would visit my mother would always be on her best behavior…she typically came across as the “angel” who could do no wrong. This is why so many people who met her could never fathom that my PA mother was a witch…to them she was always “so nice”, and they would usually believe her stories about her kids. Her evil behavior would only come out when others were not around to see it. Only once in a while would my mother let her guard down and put down her children in front of her friends. My mother even went as far as to give our teachers at school a free pass to beat us whenever they felt like it. School was basically like an extension of home for us, but it took us decades before we all learned that; one day, years later after we were all adults, she just let her guard down and told us that’s what she did. That is insidious, but par for the course because she was always told by each teacher that we had such great potential. She went to great strides to make sure that “potential” wouldn’t happen. However, it did not happen to me because I fought her at every chance I had. I was the only child to complete university, and a postgraduate degree. Neither of my parents ever congratulated me for my achievement, none showed up at convocation, and they told all of their friends that my academic achievement was useless and a waste of time. They would certainly praise their friend’s children, or friend’s of her children about their achievements though….anything to put down her own children was “open game”. However, by this time in my life I had already severed ties with her so I didn’t really care anymore what she thought or said. She was only hurting herself, not me. But again, it took me a long time to figure all of that out and reach that stage in my life…too long.

      When growing up it also took me a few years to learn that when I applied for a job that I should NEVER use my home phone number for a contact number [this was long before cell phones :-)]. My brother (who is also a major PA – which stands to reason because PA’s will also just stand around and watch others suffer without saying anything or helping) told me years later that she would simply tell employers who called not to hire me. My mother would then berate and belittle me when I didn’t get the job. She did the same thing when girlfriends would come over to the house…it took me a lot less time to figure that out though :-). One day I got extremely suspicious so I experimented, and I applied to about 14 places in one day for work. I had a job by the time I got home that afternoon because on that day I had used a friend’s phone number for a contact number, and his mother called me about the interview :-). By this time in my life I was fully aware that other families were treating their children with dignity, love and respect…so I knew full well that something was wrong. It just took me another 30 years to figure it all out, and to learn precisely what the problem was.

      When I was 12 I had a newspaper route, and my mother took it upon herself to contact all of my customers to let them know that if service was ever bad to call her…which was just more reason to beat her child. This is a very “passive-aggressive” thing to do…very sneaky, behind one’s back, and of course very abusive. I had 2 nasty customers who took advantage of that whenever it suited them. When I was taking music lessons I would be smacked on the side of the head with a piece of wood if I wasn’t practicing the way she thought I should be practicing. She had heard from my music instructor that I had a lot of potential and could really succeed if I practiced more. She also saw that I was succeeding at running my own business (paper route). She was not going to allow any of that to happen because now I know that she simply saw that as a threat to her. Needless to say it didn’t take long before I quit everything I had started because she was always involved and it was becoming increasingly abusive…and I’m not one to quit anything (another trait about me that I learned years later). I looked deep inside one day after I had left home to try and determine why I had quit everything I had started. Then her interference came to me; self-reflection is very important therapy.

      I remember my first semester at university quite well too. I didn’t have a desk in my room at home so I had all of my notes from all of my courses laid neatly in piles on the floor in my room along a wall. That semester I would tell my mother about my experiences at school and how great it was (my mistake). One week before my first midterm exams I came into my room to do some serious studying to prepare….all of my notes were missing. When I confronted my mother about that all she told me was, they were on the floor and she had to throw it all into the garbage. That was the last time I took any homework home, and I had to drop 2 of those courses. Again, a passive-aggressive is terrified of competition, and she was not about to help her child succeed at something that she was in no way capable of doing herself.

      I could literally write a book about my experience growing up with a PA mother…no sense going into all of that here as I’m sure what I did mention so far pretty well gives you a good idea of what it was like growing up with such a person. My dad was no better though…he was not a passive-aggressive, but he did always look the other way and said nothing about the abuse. It took me 30 years to overcome most of that, and that is solely because I’m the only sibling who both stood up to her, and also severed all ties with her. My mother never contacted me by phone ever anyway, so it’s not like I was doing anything new. When I was married and my wife was pregnant we suffered a stillbirth. We were devastated. My mother, who was also working as a hospice at a hospital at the time, took great pleasure writing my wife a letter calling her a murderer and an abusive mother. Again, the PA loathes competition, and to my mother (in some feeble and sick way) thought that my wife would get more sympathy for her suffering than my mother would ever get; she would simply get more attention because of our loss. Suffice it to say that my wife has never forgiven my mother for that, and she too has never spoken to her again. And that pretty well sums up what it’s like growing up with a passive-aggressive mother.

      I hope this helps :-).

      • Hanks says:

        canuck57,
        What can I say other that that I am shcoked what you went through…and deeply thankfull to your detailed explanation. It is very likely that your information will help two young girls have a better chance of not beeing victims (they have a VERY caring father with the “bals” to go the distance to protect them at all cost!! Rest assure :-). May I ask if you have looked at NPD (Narcisistic Personality Disorder) as a cause to your mother/brother behaviour? (I guess you have but anyway…). I might still be in the “fog” and have a hard time realizeing the underlaying brutallity. Fog, well like I still “just” understand the tip of the iceberg of what I have gone through and all this PA-stuff. I did see a counsilar (sorry about the typos!) today and she was amazed that I still was standing after I told her my story. Well, beeing a child of an alcoholic mother and emotionally distant father makes you kind of reciliant, for good and bad. Anyway, I have dug in at No contact (my bunker is sealed) as much as I can beacuse I fear that the X will try to reconnect. I can see the tell tell sign in her emails (regarding the children).

        Again, thank you soo much dear friend! If you have any further advice about “what I might expect” you (or others) are more than welcome to help a dad here in Sweden!

        Cheers friend!
        Swedman

    • canuck57 says:

      Swedman:

      I’m glad you appreciate the information…hopefully it will help you. When growing up we pretty well always felt abused but we also didn’t know any better either. To us when we were really young our mother’s behavior was considered “normal”. We did not have any other way of comparing it to something else until we were around the ages of 12-14…then we were able to see how others were treated by their parents. This is when we really began to realize that something was not right. I also started drinking at the age of 14, but I was never addicted to alcohol. By the time I was old enough to drink I had pretty well stopped drinking…it was just no longer a novelty :-). I’m not sure what the drinking age is in Sweden, but in Canada it’s 18-19. To this day I only have about 1 drink a year…if that.

      Because I severed ties with my mother years ago I was able to evolve and grow (albeit slowly) without any further interference. A lot of damage had been done by then, but when I compare myself to my siblings (I have 2 brothers) I am light-years ahead of them emotionally and psychologically. It also took me 30 or so years to realize that not all women are like my mother…and I can now treat women with much less suspicion. My younger brother is a lost cause though. He refuses to acknowledge (of course) that he has a problem, and he will surreptitiously and covertly go way out of his way to hurt others. He will never admit to that of course, but I shared a house with him for 6 years and saw first hand how he lives :-). 5 of those years he gave me the “silent treatment” for something that was said in an argument. It took me 3 years to discover that he was actually giving me the “silent treatment” LOL…I had no idea. I think I was just enjoying the peace and quiet LOL.

      In any case my goal now is to help others survive the same fate I experienced, so I will always try and take the time to answer people’s questions in forums such as this. Much of this “survival” comes when one has forgiven the abuser. Forgiveness is an entirely different discussion, but suffice it to say that it has nothing to do with reconciliation with an abuser…that is entirely left up to the abuser. Forgiveness is purely for the victim and it allows them to move on in life without any further resentment and hatred, which always just hurts the victim more. In essence, forgiveness allows a victim to understand that the abuser has a serious problem and that there is nothing the victim can do to change that; hence, all one can do is to forgive, forget, and then move on. It’s an excellent healing tool for sure, and what I have done to survive. Why let the abuser continue to abuse for the rest of my life? :-).

  108. Sue says:

    very interesting read. This explains Covert abuse from a friend I’m having trouble with. She’s cunning, baffaling and powerful . She’s dangerous. She needs to constantly need validation, praise. If I don’t she will lash out. She has devalue and discarded me with no remorse

  109. Excellent article! Would you mind if I took excerpts of this (crediting you with a link) for my blog? :)
    I look forward to your reply.

  110. Debbie says:

    I am stating a non profit organization for women who husbands. have been passive aggressive ages 25 and up. I had been married to a passive aggressive man for 20 years. I left for a year went back it got worse left again for good. We have been separated now for a total of 3 years in process of divorce. I need to talk with you

    Thanks

  111. Chowderhead says:

    Could you do me a huge huge favor and delete my original comment? It would be much appreciated. Thanks for the article. :)

  112. Sure ~ but it was a really good comment!

  113. Michele says:

    I’m devastated realizing I’m in a relationship with a man like this having gotten the courage to date again after 2 years of Therapy after my divorce from an abusive and confirmed Malignant Narcissist who tried to kill me after I finally had the courage to leave him after 18 years of marriage.

    I thought I was going crazy AGAIN and as you can imagine when I developed PTSD, my PA had a literal field day choosing ways to “accidentally trigger” me.

    The pain I feel coming to terms this man is abusing me also is so severe right now. I am not sure I can endure.

    I’ve been dating him for almost 16 months.

    I feel he intentionally leading me to believe the relationship could be permanent someday too.

    Now I clearly have learned the truth.

  114. Marie3 says:

    Michele, if you are dating him and not married, run. As fast as you can, get away from him. You definitely will not change him. It took me 18yrs of marriage before I found out my spouse was pa. That was the biggest revelation of my life. For years I thought something was wrong with me because of his laid back behavior, his refusing to raise his voice to me and show anger, his lack of affection, etc. To the outside world he looks like the perfect husband, he cooks for me, does housework and laundry, etc. He appears to be the calmest person on the planet but the truth is, he is a ticking time bomb. He never would raise his voice at me but get him in a car and his road rage is unbelievable. If he knocks something over, or accidently runs into the wall, any kind of minor accident, he has a yelling cuss fit. Yet he wouldn’t raise his voice to me if someone paid him. Rather, he expresses his anger at me in covert ways. He with holds affection, he refuses to take me anywhere, he makes little remarks trying to get me angry and explode. It won’t work anymore. When I called him out on it and told him he was the angriest person I have ever known, and I know now why he doesn’t yell at me and why he with holds affection, he suddenly became the quietest he has been in 18yrs of marriage. I told him about his anger while driving and during minor accidents and that with holding affection wasn’t normal. I also told him he would not anger me again because I am wise to his abuse now. Now he is scared to show anger at anytime, he is extremely quiet during times that normally he would blow a fuse. We know what the result of that will be, eventually that anger will come out in some way. He still has regular conversations with me like always, but that is part of his game of appearing normal. My husband is a sick man.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s