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Readers Respond: What Passive Aggressive Behaviors Have You Seen In Your Spouse?

Responses: 395


Charming Passive Aggressive Husband

I am weary of my husband's passive aggresive behavior. I know that his passive aggressive behavior is a reaction to his abusive childhood. It seems to be getting worse as he ages. He has a distorted understanding of facts and manages to twist everything to be my fault. He works overime to sabatoge himself and only appears satisafied if he can ruin my day, week or an event. He went through slamming tantrums and breaking things. He stopped most of it when I told him I would call the police. When he starts on a tantrum, I remind him of what my next step will be and the slamming and breaking things stops. We have been to marriage counseling because he had an affair and that was the only way I would consider not divorcing him. During the counseling, it came out that he had also been the victim of sexual abuse as a preschooler. I have tried to be understanding and compasionate, he has been offered many opportunites to get one-to-one counseling. In public he is charming.

I Am Finally Set Free

This article solved the riddle that's been slowly killing me. Four with a man I considered the love of my life. We live minutes apart. Year 1 was fantastic - at 45, I found someone passionate, easy going & very much in love with me. Year 2 he forgets dates, makes excuses, leaves me waiting and allows his kids to disrespect me. When I bring it up, he twists things so I am to blame and leaves me hating myself for complaining to such a great guy! I stuff my needs. Year 3, I realize I'm giving 90% to his 10% and my needs are unimportant to him. I breakup saying I need more than he is willing to give. But somehow he charms me back into his web and nothing changes. By year 4, I have broken up with him more times than I can say, only to end up apologizing later - he has me conditioned to think I'm high maintenance and insecure. This is the 4th holiday season I am alone because of a fight that he "plans". Before repeating an insane pattern, I researched & find you. I can take my power back now.

It is so Subtle and He Gets Away With it

I left my boyfriend 2 days ago, we were together for 2 1/2 years. He can be and is often the kindest, funniest person. The last year his anger is getting worse. He snaps at me for any reason, I will ask him how his work is and he looks at me like I'm mad and says 'same as ever you know that I've already told you.' Sex is a chore to him, he is so obviously not into it, he has retarded ejaculation problems and erectile problems but will not get help. He thinks it's not a problem! We don't live together as he will not commit he always says 'one day we don't need to think about that yet but it won't be in my flat it's too small' he kept his own flat when he was with his ex wife and kids and lived elsewhere with them! He criticises me so subtly if I pull him up he says I'm being over sensitive and always trying to sabotage the relationship. He constantly tAlks over me in front of friends. Silent treatment if I question the behaviour. I really hope I don't go back this time.
—Guest Kj

Why do I Still Care?

Thank you, I am so glad to know I am not alone. I have spent many nights crying myself to sleep. I have been married for 24 years. It has been one thing after another. Their was 10 yrs or so of his internet cheating. These women are always out of the country. He has sent them presents, money,and cards. I have found savings accounts where he has hidden money. I found p.o. boxes. New internet lines and phone cards as well as cell phones. When he gets caught he will tell me it is the last. He can't go on without me. Twenty four years and not one anniversary or b-day present. I buy everything for him. I do everything for him. We have gone to therapy over and over he lies his way through. I feel used, unloved. I have a heart condition, he could care less. He will push every button to get to me, and then tell me he doesn't want anything to happen to me. Help, I feel like I cant break free. WHY? How can I still care? I know things will never change.
—Guest left empty

I Knew There was Something Wrong

I have been married 27 years and knew there was a problem. Then my counselor said he was passive aggressive. It took me 4 yrs to go online and check it out. I empathize with anyone in this situation
—Guest mliz007

I'm Free After 35 Years

Wow! It's a year since I found out he was cheating & 6 months since I divorced him. He left without saying goodbye to anyone, even his kids. Now it's my fault that the kids (adults) are not talking to him. But then pretty much everything was my fault. It's all so clear now. He lied constantly, spent money we didn't have, racked up debt, drank & gambled. I finally told him I wasn't prepared to live like that anymore so he went out & had an affair. And he was surprised when I told him I was going to file for divorce. I had to do all the work for the divorce but it was so worth it. I even had to pack up & ship the stuff he demanded in the property settlement. Now that I'm out of it, I can see how passive aggressive he was & still is. I'm much less lonely than I was when we were still together. I'm doing things that benefit me, instead of banging my head against the passive aggressive wall. Don't know if there will ever be another relationship for me but that doesn't matter, I'm content to be on my own.
—Guest paty

Married to a Passive Aggressive Man

I've been married to a passive/aggressive man for 26 years. I only just learned about this personality type. After reading about it on the internet I realized that the information was exactly like my husbands actions. Sometimes after a bout of him ignoring me we make up and he is OK for a couple of weeks or so, almost like what I would consider a normal husband would be to a wife but then his behavior begins to worsen and its quite suttle and I always try to make things right because I hate arguments or hostilities but nothing ever helps. He will begin to jibe at me basically nitpicking to wind me up and if I continue to pacify him and he does not get me going then he will think of something else and go into a rage about a very minor thing (once it was because I pulled a piece of bread off a loaf to give to the dog!!) . He punishes me by withholding sex, forgetting to buy something that I specifically asked him to get from the shop. Also our home/garden is full of half done work.

I Left for the Kids

All of these thoughts have been supportive. People ask is it better for kids for you to stay married or leave your passive aggressive. I left and even though we struggle for money, my kids are learning by my example how to communicate, follow through and work hard and express love. They are learning that Dad "forgets" all kinds of things, treats their mother badly and that he is very much less effective than I am. Having separated, now I have the space to be real with them instead of protecting myself from that PA all the time or creating a toxic home full of fighting, anger, hostility and resentment. The kids are going to learn how he is either way but I'd much rather they learn about it every other weekend than suffocating in that environment every day. I was afraid to leave too but once I did, I have never for a single day wished I'd made a different choice. Ask yourself are you afraid to leave because he's trained you to be? The more your kids are with your PA, the more he will shape them. Ew.
—Guest MomWhoSplit

Do I Keep Trying?

I've been married for 2.5 years and I am so frustrated with my hubby!! I just researched 'Passive-Aggressiveness' and I was appalled!! I truly believe that my hubby has all these characteristics =( I KNOW this wasn't normal behavior. Now I'm in a tough situation b/c I don't know whether to divorce him or to stay?? We've been together a total of 7 years & I am really big on my faith and that is why it's difficult to file for divorce. As of right now, he's promising me the world so I can give him another chance but after reading this makes me lose hope. I honestly don't know what to do!
—Guest GAM

Reply to "I'm Passive Aggressive"

I am glad that you finally recognize your problem and your wife must be happy. In my case, my husband has refused to recognize all his contributions of my bad behaviors. Thank God I learned how to make my self better and found this website. Now, I don't feel bad anymore because I know that I am not crazy and my behaviors are part of my frustration from his passive aggressive syndrome. He went out to see another lover and had been calling her almost 24 hours. I am sad but I will keep my self strong and healthy for my children. I can only do my best and he must understand his real problems. Otherwise the cycle will go round as merry go round. Thank you for sharing all your stories.
—Guest pat

Controlling Passive Aggressive Boyfriend

I am angry with myself for having stayed with and put up with being in a relationship with a passive aggressive for too many years. We had a long-distance relationship for about 2 years. We met at least once a month for a wonderful time together. But the phone calls in-between those times were very stressful. He would call me ALL THE TIME. If I didn't answer he would accuse me of avoiding him. Eventually, I told him I could only talk after 9pm because I was going crazy with the cell minutes. So then he came up with a plan for us to talk over the computer. If I wasn't online for him to talk to, he would again accuse me of avoiding him. I would try to tell him that I would like it if we didn't talk so much because I felt I was chained to my phone and computer, then he would be all like, "I'm sorry I'm such a bother," and would shut down on me. Then when I tried to get him to talk about why he was behaving like he was mad at me, he would say, "Just drop it." And I would drop it.
—Guest Left the State

Passive Aggressive Boyfriend

I threw him out the first time. He'd promised marriage. That's the only reason I let him move in. He did not support me financially. Made a lot of broken promises - procrastinator - obstructionist, etc. etc. We split and then I felt sorry for him. Gave him another chance. Just moved him in. He almost immediately cut off our sex life. Rarely touches me. Likes to embarrass me by "honking" my boobs ( only sexual contact we have) and he laughs about it. Tries to prank me. Last night he thought I was asleep on the couch. He says under his breath.. " You make me sick". I have brought him into my home, expected NOTHING, he comes/goes as he pleases and is a workaholic - working 7 days a week - 16 hrs a day. I thought it was just avoidance of intimacy. Nope. He TOLD me he preferred the company of some guy he "works" for who NEVER pays him.. but said.. "He brags about me. He's a good guy. I don't care if he pays me. But if it makes you feel better, I'd rather cuddle up to you at night".
—Guest LuceeD

Passive Aggressive Married to Bipolar

I personally was passive aggressive- the terror of dependency, the power in keeping your mouth shut- but it was also punishment not to reach out. So when I met my husband, we both understood what it was like to live under someone else's thumb- (neither of us were allowed to be angry) The best part is, you know how passive aggressive folks can create havoc by NOT doing? Since he's bipolar (on meds) he doesn't need to stop taking his meds, he just becomes helpless in the face of his impulses. Learned helplessness and mania do not make good partners. Thankfully he is aware, and we are also aware of some narcissistic traits from his abusive home as well. It ain't easy, but he is working on it because he wants his marriage to last. It is possible to have a passive aggressive change- I couldn't play that game when I really wanted a good marriage, and it was hard, and still is. I wish I could sulk. I miss it. But my toddler and my husband are more important to me. THEY have to choose.
—Guest briggiebabie

Husband Can't Let Go of His Ex-Wife

My husband was divorced 3 years before we got married. But he had stopped having sex with his ex-wife only about one year before we got married. Every situation we go through, he has to bring her up. "I've already been through this before, I'm sick of women doing this and women doing that. I'm sick of women complaining. It's not like I'm beating you. I pay the bills, right? Some women get abused and have to pay their own way. All you do is buy groceries! That's nothing. Who pays for the kitchen that you put the groceries in?" He tells me to kiss his _____, but he says he loves me. He values everyone else's opinion over mine, including his ex wife. He has even mistakingly called me her name on numerous occasions. When we go through something, why does he have to blow his stack? I had nothing to do with his failed marriage, so why does he ignore me and cuss me and blame me when all I want to do is talk? I guess I'm paying for what happend 12 years ago with his first wife.
—Guest Mother Of 2

Chronic Destructive Passive Aggressive

after 25 year I tried everything to save my marriage. When my husband complained I was controlling him I backed off and tried to give him the space to "be himself". When he complained I wasn't taking care of him I tried to find out when he would be home and make something special. There was no thank you or appreciation, no I love you or tenderness. The truth is all the conflict was about avoiding giving up anything of himself. I know he has abuse issues in his childhood so I tried to be patient but in the last few years he has become a chronic destructive passive aggressive, basically being absent emotionally and physically most of the time, not contributing emotionally and very little financially. I finally accepted I can't fix this. My health was so bad I could hardly walk. I had to leave, I felt like I had not choice. It was leave or die. Since I left three months ago he still has not said one word, even when I've tried to talk.

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