This comment was left on my page, The List. I wanted to share it here, not because it is unique, but because it is what so many feel and go through. And maybe you would want to leave encouragement for her and for others who are facing the same thing and feeling the same way.
I just found this site. I have been married to my passive aggressive husband for thirty tortured painful years. Five years ago I started having panic attacks and had a near break down from his covert psychological and emotional manipulation and abuse. The lies, the gas-lighting, the silent treatment, the punishment. He rarely raised his voice to me, in fact, he drove me so crazy I would be the one to rant and rave out of frustration. But he tormented me just the same. Anything I dared ask for I was sure not to get, whether emotional or material. He would nag me to tell him “exactly” what I wanted for a gift, and then give me anything BUT that. If he did something or said something that made me happy and I told him how nice it was that he did that, or how happy it made me feel, he never did it again. Anything I asked him NOT to do- he would do more. If I said something he said or did upset me or hurt my feelings- he would do it more. He claimed never to be angry, only “frustrated’. I got into therapy when I almost had the break down and after TWO years I finally told the therapist what was going on in MY house. I never told anyone. Everyone thought we were the perfect couple, the perfect family. My husband treated me so well, on the surface. I didn’t think I anyone would believe what I said. How really cruel he could be, while still smiling. My therapist believed me. And I started to read. And there it was Passive Aggressive, but he is also narcissistic and sadistic – because he enjoys causing me emotional pain – I think all passive aggressive’s are – they KNOW they are causing you emotional pain – if they had empathy – if they had a conscience – if they didn’t enjoy it – they would stop. I told my husband the marriage was over. And all of a sudden he decided he would finally start talking, and go to therapy, and change and all the things I’d asked him to do for years. Well, it’s three years later, and he’s gone to therapy for three years and been on an anti-depressant for a year, and swears he’s changed, and every week or two he STILL plays some manipulative abusive “game’ on me. He STILL mocks me, taunts me, with holds what he thinks I like or want, does things just to upset me, pretends he can’t hear me, or talks quietly so I can’t hear him, games big and small, aimed at making me feel foolish or stupid or angry or hurt, all while smiling and “acting” like the best husband on earth. All while telling me he “loves” me. And when I call him on it, he lies, denies it, plays ‘stupid’ , but I won’t back down anymore so he’ll admit it then try to blame it on me, I tell him that’s not going to work , then he tries to make me feel sorry for him, then he says I have to “help him through it”, he tells me he’s changed so much (when he JUST did it again) that he just had a “slip-back” says he’s sorry it’ll never happen again, when I point out that he said the same thing last week he plays the defensive game tells me that I just want to look at the negative-what about all the positive changes he’s made – on and on as if that lets him off the hook for doing these things. So in reality, nothings changed, he has not changed, he’s not going to change. Why am I still here? Because I’m 51 years old. I’ve worked my whole life to have a 100 year old house that we still owe $60,000 on and a 20 year old boat. I have a full time low paying job and no skills to get a higher paying one. I have no family that can help me. If we split up neither one of us can afford to keep the house or afford apartments and the associated costs. So where does that leave me? TRAPPED. I’m so tired of living with this and being treated this way. And of course, no one should tolerate being treated this way, but its not as easy as saying well, I’m leaving and it’ll all work out. There are many reasons why women don’t leave, and my reason is one of the main reasons. And I can tell you, it’s a horrible life to be at the mercy of someone who treats you this way because you don’t have the money to escape it. My children are young adults , and I try to focus on them, find joy in them and being a good mother to them, but inside I am heart broken and beaten down by having to tolerate this abuse in order to have a roof over my head. What words of encouragement can someone give to a woman in my position- I am so desparate to hear from someone who understands.