What works for me…

Boundaries and detachment.

When he asks me to do something or when he wants something, I will only do it if it is good for me.  Not in a selfish, spiteful way, but in a healthy way.  If I have time to do it, I will.  If I have energy, whether physical or emotional, to do it, I will.  But if it, whatever it may be, is more than I have to give or, sometimes, even more than I want to give, I tell him no.

I used to give, no matter what.  But that was taking everything from me, especially since my “tank” was never “refilled.”  The life was being sucked out of me.

And I detach.  His problems, his dramas are his.  They’re not mine.  I have better things to do with my time than sort his life out for him.  I’m not his mommy.  He is a grown man – in theory, anyway!

I do try to be kind and considerate.  I try to be reasonable.  But I also try to recognize his tactics and not be drawn into them.

I’ve learned that I need to do the next best thing for me, whether it is exercise, or laundry, or email, or time with my daughters, or a hobby, or whatever.  I try to focus my thoughts, my energy, my time on things other than him.

I try to be as healthy – mentally, emotionally – as I can.  I don’t do these things perfectly by any means!  But this is what I strive for.

Does this make the relationship better?  I don’t know.   Can a relationship with a passive aggressive person be better?

Is it better for me?  Yes.

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12 Responses to What works for me…

  1. tt says:

    this is very good advice. you have to follow peace….. not the crazy they try to create in every little detail of what they do… It is as if, every action is carefully planned and they are masterfully manipulating every detail of their life and yours.. The only way exist with some level of peace is to stop cowering to it and rise above it. When I am able to sustain this behavior, I am more healthy minded, but like you I am not perfect at it… But when I turn my eyes back to the Lord and off my problem, I am better able to keep a healthy perspective.

  2. tt says:

    Just a question …. do you ever feel that his PA has caused you to start reacting in PA ways? I feel that over time all of the crazyness has rubbed off on me… so because his wheels are always spinning, Im always wondering what it is (so my wheels are always spinning too)….and when he is passively angry, becuase I sense the anger, I become angry in a passive way – becuase I dont want to confront him for fear of the conflict….. And so when he notices that something is wrong and ask me about it, I tell him NO IM fine, which is exactly what he would tell me if I were to ask him what his problem is… NOW THAT MY FRIENDS IS CRAZY… JUST SAYING….

    • mo says:

      Dear tt, I hope you don’t mind if I chime in here with an answer, but I’ve been wondering the SAME thing! It seems I have picked up his PA tendencies over the years … But I think the difference is, I don’t use those habits of procrastination or financial irresponsibility, etc. to hurt him or control him in some way, or because I’m suppressing anger toward him. I always tell him what I’m feeling, when I feel upset or confused, etc. He NEVER comes to me to let me know he needs to talk about something; I’m always in the dark about what he’s feeling. And yeah, he does that thing of “Everything’s fine” when I know it’s not and it drives me crazy. Well now I’m getting off on a tangent … but it seems as if you and I are doing the same thing — we picked up the PA habits (some of them), but not for PA reasons. (Does that make any sense?) …

      • tt & Mo, I have a few thoughts on this topic, so I will blog about it for you tomorrow! :)

      • tt says:

        Yes….it makes perfect sense….Lon ago, Long before I realized his nature (was still getting to know him) and what was going on and before I knew of PA and its characteristics, I was way more confrontational and we would fight so terribly, EVERYDAY A SCREAMING MATCH and then because of the sulking and silent treatment, I learned how apologize for things that I did not do, to make peace…As time went by I learned, you are not allowed to confront him, so to stay on on his good side I would just choke back what was right, good or fair and just suffer and so did those I loved most. Through all of this I became beat down, very submissive to the point, my children suffered greatly in their early years,my relationship with my parent was strained as well. As time went by and I grew weary with the sufferring of those around me, I started doing what I needed to do take of thing or whatever I needed to get done in secret, but still never confronting becuase it was pointless, but I was very angry and was beginning to loose the passion/love/caring feelings that I once had. (I began being sneaky,covertly dealing with things, sulky, quiet, angry but never speaking to him about it- this made me feel as if I was doing the same things he had done to me for years) Dealing with a PA is a no win situation most of the time… NOW! I have become sick and tired of it all, and I am no longer going to allow the covertness, sulking, game playing to control my every move or my emotions. I AM going to confront when behaviour is not NORMAL marriage behaviour (which is 90% of the time) and I REFUSE to live and move and breath and have my being in SECRET ANY LONGER…. I HAVE made my decision just here recently….. CRAZY! I AM GOING TO BE IN YO FACE!

  3. mo says:

    To wp and tt … I am having a very hard time being peaceful :-(. I did great at the peace thing when I denied there was a problem … but now that I see what’s going on, I am having a hard time containing my anger. I try to meditation and breathe and all that good stuff — to no avail. If I could quickly describe something that happened yesterday, I’ve been dying to run this by someone to see if it’s PA behavior or all in my head. I wonder if I’m overreacting to things now. He makes me think I am CRAZY to be upset! But here’s the story … the Comcast man came over yesterday to “switch our phones back to Comcast.” But I knew that our internet, TV and phone were all bundled together with Comcast, so I told him he must be at the wrong house. He read our address, and said, “yes that’s me, but our phones are already with Comcast.” The guy insisted he was supposed to be here between 2:30 and 4:30, and asked if he could come in and just look. So I said okay. It turns out the weird phone on my husband’s desk that I asked him about several times was an “IP phone” — meaning we had some kind of phone service that connected to the internet. I knew NOTHING about this. My husband made some lame comment about the phone just being something he got when he was working on a project … blah blah. It turns out that he had switched our phone service over to something called ACN several months ago, and never told me! I never saw a bill for ACN, but comcast bills still came in so I just assumed we still had comcast. The ACN bills were going to my husband’s email address! It’s like he was trying to hide this from me. THere were a few times our phones went down and I told Dave I needed to get in touch with Comcast, and he never corrected me. I confronted him about all of this today and he is acting like it’s nothing — he kept making excuses for things, and when none of his excuses were holding water with me he said, “YOu need to focus on your healing right now, on the important things.” But I said, “IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE AN EQUAL PARTNER IN THIS MARRIAGE. AND NOT BE LIED TO DECIEVED.”

    There’s a little more to the story but that’s long enough … I just can’t believe he’d do something like that behind my back. I don’t know WHY he would keep something like that from me. It’s DUMB. I felt like a total fool with the Comcast guy there, not knowing that our phone services was through someone else. Oh — that’s the other thing — my husband told Comcast that he would switch the phones over himself, and he was out getting a switch install kit when the Comcast guy came. It was a free service for the comcast rep to switch the phones, so I have to believe that my H wanted to do it himself so I wouldn’t find out about it! The Comcast guy came because there was a miscommunication … thank you God for that, because I know it was meant to happen. Otherwise I never would have known all of this had been happening behind my back.

    So here’s the question: Is this an example of PA behavior?? Am I overreacting? I just think it’s something a husband and wife discuss together — changing phone services. And even if that’s not an issue, why all the lying and deceiving me about it over the months when the issue came up? I wouldn’t have blinked if he had just said to me, “Oh yeah — I changed the phone service to ACN because it was cheaper.”

    This makes me wonder, what else is he keeping from me? What other lies has he told? Of course he says there’s nothing, but now I can’t believe anything he says. Another thing happened today and I went ballistic (See — not doing a good job on the peace front).

    Thanks for reading this — sorry so long :-( — I am so confused and heartbroken. I emailed a therapist today to see if she dealt with PA abuse. I need help with this! I hope I can see somebody soon.

    • mo says:

      p.s. I just read over my manifesto — ugh, it is littered with typos! I hope you can make some kind of sense out of it!

    • Mo, Yes, my husband does stuff behind my back. Usually it’s small things, but, yeah, there is not openness and honesty, like there should be in a marriage. It could be P.A. behavior – maybe fear of dependency? ambiguity? forgetfulness? – but I don’t think you are wrong to wonder what else he is keeping from you. In a marriage, you do expect that your husband would at least tell you about things like that! About the peace thing… it is easier to be at peace when you don’t know there is a problem! :) Your anger is understandable; you feel betrayed by his p.a. behavior. Rather than going straight to breathing and/or meditation, do something to release your anger. I find that writing out my feelings helps me to “release” them. I just get a piece of paper and start writing whatever thoughts come into my mind. Usually after a page or a page and a half of writing, my mind has calmed. I don’t think detachment and peace have to do with glossing over the problem. It is more like acknowledging that it is there – for the time and space needed – and then releasing it. I think if you go straight to “peace,” it doesn’t work. And be patient with yourself! :) You are dealing with so much and this p.a. stuff is new to you. Give yourself time! :) Hopefully you will be able to talk with a therapist who will be able to help. :)

    • tt says:

      As far as anger…. Jesus got angry and Jesus confronted people. So I dont feel bad about being angry… IM angry too… but I am also in a place of peace, becuase I have made up my mind to no longer let his PA to control me. I am going to live my life and I do not care what his PA personality thinks about it, says about it, or sulks about it. I am going to live my life to the fullest. I have changed the way I pray, becuase I just cannot bring myself to pray for him any more…so I pray Gods will be done in my life…and just live in spite of him.

  4. childofthetruth says:

    WP,
    I hope and pray what you are doing will help your marriage and I would love to know how it will go between you and PAH. I also agree with you all that we do pickup their PA behavior ourselves and it is a vicious cycle. I’ve read about the boomerang effect. Mo, I wonder “why” he is hiding something simple as changing phone (bundle) service. There maybe something else going on. I know I have hid things from my husband such as bill paying, monies, and even decorating the house (haha) because of retaliation. We would argue over simple things, such as my suggestions on how to pay bills (since I have a better way of handling the bills) and if he didn’t agree, I did it anyway. Once I let him pay the bills to show me how he would do it, and I thought I was gonna lose it. He was paying them as soon as they showed up in the mail. I said that has no reasoning. What if you run out of money and a bigger bill comes in that is due now? He couldn’t explain it, so I took over again. Now about decorating the house, anytime I came to him about my ideas, they were usually shot down for whatever reason, ie: furniture too heavy, looks ugly, color not liked. So, I got to where I would do it when he was out of town or whenever and did things to see if it would at least work and if not, put it back. But if it did look good, I left it and then he would say that looks good, but he still would argue if I approached him again. (the merry go round AGAIN) I got to where I would wait a long time about doing anything because my confidence level was so shakey. That’s how I would feel for a long time about alot of things. Because of the constant tug-o-war, I lost my confidence.

    WP,
    I told my PAH last night that I was moving out. I had being fearing this day for quiet some time and was nearly a nervous wreck. I prayed constantly and went through waves of anxiety and then calmness. I believe God is with me through this and yet I still wonder if I’m doing the right thing. I know no one can really tell me if I’m right or not. He was surprised and yet while discussing the reasons, he understood, but switched back and forth with excuses and understanding why. He even said we have had this problem our entire marriage 25 years! He would say that I’m not wrong in how I feel, but yet blamed me for my “out there” explaination of PA. Not once did he admit that he has a problem but did say he isn’t perfect. I listened calmly (which is what I prayed for) and watched his reaction and words during the whole conversation. It is done! Now, the next step whatever that may be today. I work later so I can focus on something else today. I’m exhausted, afraid, sad and yet determined to know the truth. I thought about Jesus’s words….”The truth shall set you free.” John 8:32 I pray for the truth and I pray to be set free.

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