Living with a passive aggressive man
will make you feel crazy.
Thankfully, when I figured out that he was passive aggressive, it went a long way in helping me realize that I wasn’t crazy! For about three or four years before I found out he was passive aggressive, I started saying to myself and to my daughters that I felt like I was going crazy. It was such a relief when I could see that, no, I wasn’t crazy and that there really was something else going on.
That being said, last night would have been an example of something that would have made me feel crazy in the past, because it is so hard to define. It still makes me sad, even though I can now see what is happening.
I went out with my co-worker/boss/friend from work last night and we got our nails done. She had received a gift card to a day spa as Christmas gift so she said it was her treat. As I was driving home, I was thinking I really didn’t want to go home, that maybe I would take myself out to dinner, but I decided to go home.
I was looking for something to eat and my husband said, I thought you were having dinner. I told him, no, we just got our nails done. And I showed him my nails.
He said, “Why did you pick that color?” But the tone was, “That’s ugly. What were you thinking?”
I heard the insult in his voice, but I just said, I let B pick it out for me and I think it’s cool.
I have to tell you. This is the first manicure I have ever had. I don’t wear nail polish. So this was just fun for me. The polish is a dark, sparkly grey and I do think it is cool.
I end up making myself a couple of pieces of toast. I ask him how his mom is doing. I ask him about his work for the day. He asks me if I want to go out to lunch tomorrow. I ask him what time and he says, lunch time. So I ask again, what time. Then he sets a time. Then there’s nothing left to talk about and it’s only 8 o’clock. I start feeling really sad. And I’m still hungry.
So I got my coat and purse and told him I’d be back. He asked where I was going and I told him, just out. He asked, why. I told him it was because I was sad at home. He said we could talk. I told him there was nothing to talk about. He said he wanted to spend time with me, to share life with me, to do things with me. I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t say, well, you’ve had 24 years…. I have said that plenty of times before. I brought up the other day when I told him I was concerned about the work/money thing. He said, well, I can’t work all the time. And then he said (which he always does when I tell him that he ignores what I say to him) that sometimes when I talk to him, he starts thinking and gets distracted and forgets to answer my question and that I should just ask him again to remind him. I told him I didn’t want to be a mom or a teacher to him, that he should respect me enough to address things that concern me. And that he never came back to me and said, oh, I forgot to answer you. Let me talk to you now. So he brought up that we had a lunch date. I said, yes, but I tell him about the difficulty of trying to set what time, saying that “lunchtime” for him is anywhere between 11:30 and 3:00. Then he said, we used to play games together, so I told him I would play Scrabble with him tomorrow night.
Finally, I told him I had nothing more to say and I left and went to a little local restaurant (the same place we’re going for lunch) and had a couple of tacos.
When I was checking the time on my cell phone at the restaurant, I saw that there was a text from him, sent while I was out with my friend, saying “Dinner?”
See, the crazy-making thing is, this all could be absolutely nothing! Or it could be a lot. If I had said something about the insulting way he asked about my nails, he would have denied it. When I brought up relationship issues, he defended himself rather than seeing that something needs to change. And texting me while I’m out – he likes to text me when I’m with other people. Maybe it’s insecurity, maybe it’s self-centered, maybe it’s a way to try to insert himself, assert himself.
It’s all so stupid!!! I feel so stupid in just writing about it. So many women suffer so much more. This morning I was lying in bed, wishing I had a place to go to just be able to think straight. And I was thinking of other women who need to get away but don’t have money and a place to go, just to breathe. And I was wishing I could make a retreat that wouldn’t cost a woman anything just to have a nice room and some pleasant meals for a few days to give her some breathing room. Well, maybe when I am rich, I can find some other people who will support a project like this, and I can create a retreat like that for women like me and other women who need it.
While I was out, I was thinking, even in making an effort to be closer to him – lunch, Scrabble – it’s not going to work. I’ve lived with this long enough to know there will be a backlash. Probably not something mean. Just a subtle, perfectly acceptable way to pull back. I would bet you on it. I’ll keep you posted.