This post consists of a couple of comments from two different readers.
The first one is from Paula. She pretty much sums it up:
“He does the absolute minimum to ‘get by’ and let’s you do the heavylifting it seems. And he knows you’ll do it and that he doesn’t need to be bothered. He’s playing you like a violin. He is driving you to be frustrated and unhappy while he merrily goes about his existence being happy. What a master manipulator! I’m sorry.”
The second comment is from a reader, ‘G. This comment was left on my blog in January in response to this post, and it explains a whole lot:
“Given that the husband is passive-aggressive, it means he is passive first, and then has hidden anger mixed in.
“Passivity, as defined by John H. Lee, is ‘the compulsion to pursue the opposite of what we say we want.’ It can ‘manifest itself as self-sabotage, settling for less, deferring dreams, or turning to denial or substitution.’ John Lee says ‘I exercised my passivity by being a workaholic and telling myself that I was doing it for the benefit of others. I spread myself so thin that there was almost nothing left at the end of the day for me or for my loved one.’ Passivity ‘is not to be confused with apathy, laziness, or procrastination.’ Passivity ‘is what leaves many people feeling like they are giving up, defeated, settling underarchieving, or perpetually unsatisfied.’
“’Unfortunately, many people have developed a connection to loss and feeling less than; they settle for unfulfilling relationships or careers that never quite let them achieve their creative potential. Surviving rather than thriving has become the state that many of us are not only used to, but compelled to pursue.’
“’Passivity compels people to wait in a state of suspended animation until something or someone outside themselves “rescues” them from their current circumstances; only then will they have the full life that has been eluding them. This knight in shining armor–whether a person, the world, society, etc.–is supposed to bring them something they feel they have lost or had taken from them. That something could be hope, energy, love, trust, or faith. It could mean a perfect job, an unconditional lover, winning the lottery, or good parents. It is a psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual condition that plagues even the most educated and self-directed people, and therefore the whole person must be addressed.’
“Thus, the passive husband is accustomed to being rescued, and has learned that if he waits long enough, his dad (his knight in shining armor — or overalls), or wife (princess in Daisy Dukes) will step in to fix his circumstances. Already, just by being passive, he has gotten a new bathtub, exhaust fan, dishwasher (not that this really matters — he doesn’t wash the dishes anyway), crawlspace ventilation, drainage system, clean air ducts, and souped-up machinery. If he is passive a bit longer, his wife may even pay for a new roof — though he may take it out on her (passive-aggressively, of course) because on some level he resents that she is more capable than he is. But he is comfortable enough with his living condition, and has learned that if he plays his cards right and waits long enough, someone else will improve it for him. Not a bad gig, if you can get it, eh?”