The Passive Aggressive Man: He is All About Control

passive aggressive men pictureIf you were married to him, you know what I’m talking about. If you weren’t be on the look-out because chances are you will cross paths with a passive aggressive man?

Who is the passive aggressive man? He is that guy who avoids responsibility and conflict through passivity and withdrawal. He is the “Nice Guy” who reels you in with his adoration and once you are in the game he turns the tables so quickly your head will swim until you decide to take a hike. But what is passive aggressive behavior and how do you recognize passive aggressive men?

The Passive Aggressive Man…

  1. Withholds to Punish: He says one thing but means another. Sure, he wants to go to a movie. He even appears to enjoy himself until later that night when he rejects you sexually. You see, he didn’t want to go to a movie but, his passivity would not allow him to own it. His fear of conflict means punishing you in covert ways for something you “made” him do. What better way to punish than withhold something he knows you want?
  2. Fears Conflict: He will do anything to keep from arguing with you. He has been taught that anger is unacceptable. Well, expressing anger in an open, honest way is unacceptable and not something you will get from this guy. What you will get is a relationship with a man who avoids solving relationship problems, avoids taking responsibility for problems in the relationship and most importantly avoids making an intimate connection with you.
  3. Plays The Victim: This poor guy can’t win for losing, in his mind anyway. He will not show for a dinner date but find it unreasonable that you are upset. It is after all his bosses fault for making him work late. He could have picked his cell phone up and called but calling isn’t nearly as pleasurable as letting you sit and wait. You waiting on him gets his angries out at you. He gets to punish you and blame his boss…he is off the hook, a “good guy” who is the victim of an unreasonable woman who expects too much from him.
  4. Is Forgetful: He forgets birthdays, anniversaries, anything important to you will be forgotten by him. My ex used to forget he needed something from me until the last minute.  If there was a social event related to his work, I would get notice the day before. I spent a lot of time running around trying to prepare from something in a few hours that would normally take days.
  5. Is Afraid of You: They want you but they don’t want to become attached to you. He is in a constant battle with himself to pursue then distance himself.  According to Scott Wetlzer, author of Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man: Coping with Hidden Aggression – From the Bedroom to the Boardroom. The passive aggressive man is “unsure of his autonomy and afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs, usually by trying to control you. He wants you to think he doesn’t depend on you, but he binds himself closer than he cares to admit. Relationships can become battle grounds, where he can only claim victory if he denies his need for your support.”

You have a lot of anger toward the passive aggressive man you are involved with. You just can’t figure out exactly what you are angry about. He is sweet, kind and loving. He never argues, does exactly what you wish. There must be something wrong with you or such a good man would want to have sex with you, remember your birthday, put effort into solving the problems in the relationship or just show up on time every once in a while.

And that is the trap women who are involved with passive aggressive men fall into, they become responsible for all that is wrong in the relationship.  He keeps you hanging in by doing for you when he doesn’t want to, by never arguing, by being such a nice guy.  All those puzzling behaviors that send the opposite message that the other negative behaviors send.

That is why they call it “crazy making” behavior. The passive aggressive man is very good at appearing to be calm, cool and collected while you are going off the deep end. It isn’t his intent to frustrate, offend or cause you to feel guilty. He truly does only want to help.

The only issue, the kind of help he has to offer comes with a price. He has expectations he is unable to openly express and when you don’t meet those expectations you get resentment and covert punishment. And, you should never expect your expectations to be met, not even when you’ve expressed them in a clear, easy to understand fashion.

Want a relationship with a passive aggressive man to last? Become a mind reader and keep your expectations low.

More About Passive Aggressive Behavior in Men:

Setting Limits and Boundaries With The Passive Aggressive Man

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Recommended reading:
Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man: Coping with Hidden Aggression – From the Bedroom to the Boardroom

Comments

  1. 1

    Karen says

    By the time my ex and I divorced I thought I was losing my mind. He could do NO WRONG. He never wanted to have sex. He never followed through with any promise. He never had an opinion about ANYTHING.

    I took care of everything! If I didn’t nothing would get done. After 17 years of marriage I was exhausted. I was responsible for his feelings, my feelings, the direction the relationship went in.

    I was responsible for everything but had no control over anything. That is not a good feeling. I felt like I was constantly spinning my wheels and his unwillingness to open up to me about ANYTHING sabotaged everything I did. And he did NOTHING.

    There isn’t a word to describe what living with this kind of person will do the you. Toxic is not strong enough.

    Can you tell I’m glad to be out of that marriage?

  2. 2

    says

    Hey Karen, yes, you do sound glad to be out. It is a tiring way to live isn’t it?

    Good luck and enjoy your freedom!

  3. 3

    KC says

    @Karen, I was in the SAME situation. I literally thought I was going insane. I was doing EVERYTHING while he did nothing (unless you count playing Xbox at 40 years old, “something”). LOL

    He wouldn’t engage, wouldn’t talk about anything and if I wanted to, I was “unappreciative” and he couldn’t make me “happy”… I swear.

    SO GLAD I got out after 16 years.

  4. 4

    Abby says

    Father abused his mother, while he watched ‘I didn’t know’ liar he knew but didn’t care. Then he abused me.
    Ruined the lives of two innocent people (me and my son) who he should have cared for, supported and protected.
    Even when had a child of his own on the way it’s ‘nothing to do with me’….. unbelievable. Thank god that kid never got born it would have been another person to ignore and destroy.
    Not interested in any problem, nothing to do with him, doesn’t want to be involved, just want his own life. People are here to meet his needs, no-one else must ever need anything from him.
    He’s perfect, no matter what happens around him he still believes in his own perfection and innocence. How dare other people not see him as perfect it’s not fair.
    To cowardly to ever look at himself, to cowardly to acknowledge any problem, to cowardly to be involved, too cowardly to take any responsibly, to cowardly to be a man.
    I don’t know who I hate more – him or me.

  5. 5

    Deborah says

    I left my PA husband 9 weeks ago and took our children with me. I am enjoying the freedom in my head, not physical freedom but mental freedom! Not waiting for him to give me a look that i am supposed to decifer and follow the unspoken demands. Not feeling like i am loop the loop and expecting too much. He has gone to pieces, wont speak to me verbally but continuous text messages and e-mails telling me how devestated and suicidal he is. He has realised how he caused most of our marital problems and wants me to attend therapy with him! I agreed if only to get closure on things. Now he thinks he is doing me a huge favour by going for therapy! He came to visit me last night to collect a parcel i had taken in for him and within 20 minutes he was fast asleep on my couch lol! I wonder if he did that to spite me? Its too many head games for me!

  6. 6

    says

    Deborah, it does sound like he’s playing games, though who knows what exactly his intentions are. Please proceed carefully. You sound like you’ve had enough of his passive aggressive bahvior and want to move on – but he might try to keep you within his clutches, even if by pulling the sympathy or some other kind of control card. Take good care.

  7. 7

    Deborah says

    We are attending counselling therapy together tonight! At his insistance because he has now told me he needs help as he realises that 99% of our problems during our marriage were down to him and HIS resentment he feels towards his own MOTHER that he has acted out on me because he is scared of her! Basically he has admitted to being PA and wants help. He has admitted to despising his own mother and felt helpess to do anything about it! She is a bigger PA than him infact his whole family are PA!

  8. 8

    says

    Hope everything went as well as you might have hoped Deborah…you sounded relieved and optimistic in your message. Let us know when you can, fingers crossed for you!

  9. 9

    Deborah says

    went to counselling and i came home feeling really drained. His perception on issues we faced throughout our marriage were really skewed. He told the counsellor i wouldnt allow him to bond with our children when they were born and pushed him away and out of our lives! The life i led taking care of my alcholic mother until she died 7 years ago bored him almost to death! I was always a jealous and possessive wife that led him a life of misery! to the point he now how no life because i chipped away until he has nothing left! Apparently i control him emotionally and never ask what he wants out of our marriage! because its all about ME! Probably he never heard a word i said to him over the last 7 years i dunno and yeah the big revealling thing was that i give him the silent treatment! Still in shock this morning because he described himself to the counsellor and named it Deborah lol x

  10. 10

    kayeni says

    @deborah. when you mentioned about him going to therapy it reminded me of this: (though before i start i just wanted to give a bit of info on my relationship).

    i have been in a relationship with a PA man for 4 years. i have tried to leave many times. but no, i couldnt. ive been through the everyday fights of me being unreasonable. me being dramatic. i am a “drama queen” he says. “dont make a scene” he says. and many times i look in the mirror and ask myself, what the hell is wrong with me? why am i like this… etc.

    ANYWAYS. every time i try to leave him, he would somehow manipulate his way to get me to stay. and i did. ive been through the phase of thinking, “im the one who will break through that thick shield.” “i am the one, the only one who can help him”. im over that. thats why i stayed.

    last summer, i went to visit my parents in california for a few days. for the first two days, i spoke with him. but the rest of the 3 days, i couldnt get a hold of him. no txts answered, no phone calls returned. no email responses. after i return, i find an email stating: “he is leaving me” (we been living together for 4 years). i return to our apt, he had packed everything and took it to his work.

    HOWEVER, since the “breakup”. he comes home every day after work. he invites me out to dinners. he said: lets go to couples therapy. @deborah, this is where the reminder comes from. I find the therapist (just like I found our apt. I moved. I packed. I unpacked. I clean. I do everything in our relationship) and we go. in our session he says: “i dont want to be with you anymore. i only suggested that we see a therapist is because im trying to tell you that YOU need help. YOU are the one that needs a therapist.”

    i simply looked at him and asked “who are you???” and of course, the reasons for him to break up with me… its ALL my fault.

  11. 11

    says

    Deborah, the first thing that went through my mind when I read your update was that his approach in counselling might have been a manipulative ploy. Reading what Kayeni wrote, alarm bells are really going off now – maybe his sole purpose in going to counselling was to confuse you into thinking YOU need help, not him; to bring YOU down so you don’t dare to move on without him.

    My concern for you right now is that you might be buying into this and sitting there wondering, How awful am I? I caution you not to get stuck in that. That’s where he wants you. Even if all that he described was very real to him, it is not your job and has never been your job, to allow him to find his sustenance by stealing and feeding off your sense of value and worth. Please do not allow that to happen. Relationships, HEALTHY relationships, should not feel this way…and some part of you knows it.

  12. 12

    Deborah says

    I know exactly how it is. The therapist did seem to fixate on him more than me though and told him about his arrogance. She did keep asking him why he would even want me back since i left him in the first place and told him that if he thinks he wants to change just to get me back then he is mistaken because it wont work. She allowed the whole session to be about his feelings and she quite slated me a lot of the time about my behaviour whilst in her room. My body language apparently was that of a very angry woman that did hand gestures like i was constantly putting things in boxes and organising my feelings like a filing cabinet. She said i chain link every issue together and dont deal with one thing at a time, said i talk way too fast and act like i am wound up ready to let go with a huge bang. My hubby did defend me a lot of the time we were in there each time she said something negative towards me. He did actually tell her that he has done far more damage to me than i have ever done to him. She didnt seem at all interested in anything i had to say but seemed solely focused on gaining my husbands trust. I actualy came out of the therapist room more confused than when i went in because i felt like i had been placed in a corner and talked about as if i werent there.

    My husband said he thought it had helped quite a lot and insisted on making another appointment immediately. I am going to wait till next time and see what she pulls out of the bag then. Maybe she could see he was manipulating and thats why so many questions were asked? Maybe she was trying to trip him up and get a response?

  13. 13

    Deborah says

    Just like to add that she didnt seem very interested in what i wanted from our marriage but more wanting to hear what his expectations were of me. He didnt have any!!!!! He kept avoiding the question!!!! He just harped on and on about my insane jealousy but failed to add that he had an affair 10 year ago with his best friends wife and that he had a gambling addiction that was carried out behind my back and the first thing i knew is when a £6000 bill landed on our doorstep!!! Yet he sat there and said “i dont know why she cannot trust me”! He also said he didnt realise things were so bad in our marriage till the day i left! then admitted that i had given him the silent treatment for 12 weeks prior to leaving! I didnt of course! I explained to him that things were going nowehere and i had detached any responsibility to him emotionally as his wife, that i would do the necessary like cook and clean but otherwise i was not available to him. He was the one that gave the silent treatment back in response to my explanation of what was heppenening in our marriage! By that time i didnt care, i was enjoying the peace and quiet! x

  14. 14

    says

    So Deborah, do you have another appointment scheduled? Or maybe you’ve decided you need time to process all that was said in this last session. Do you have any hope as to this being resolved and you and your husband one day being happy together again? Or do you think the counselling has happened too late? I can only imagine at how your head must be swirling.

  15. 15

    Deborah says

    Yes i have made another appointment to see the counsellor but i am just staying kinda sat on the fence at the moment. Making no commitments to anyone and listening to things that are being said. I dont know whether we could ever be together again at the moment but i must admit he is trying really hard to express his feelings in a more open way and trying to be as well behaved as he can. Will it last? I dont really know if it will but i am not going back to him based on a few bunches of flowers and a handful spoken words. I will wait and see what counselling brings. I am not worried that the counsellor seemed to slate me at every turn in the road because i seem to think this was a ploy she uses to get men to open up, gain their trust and allow them to express skewed perception of things in a non judgmental environment in order that she can help them deal with the way they process information.

  16. 16

    Deborah says

    He rang me on sunday evening and asked if i would go visit a mutual friend with him as this guy was struggling emotionally after a relationship break up. I decided to go and found this friend in a very bad way, crying and almost out of control with his emotions. I did what i always do with anyone in such emotional turmoil, i gave him a hug! Hubby sat there for 2 hours not speaking and once we returned home i received a text message from my seperated hubby asking if i had enjoyed my cuddle with his friend! He had got himself into some kind of jealous rage and accused me of wanting this mutual friend of ours. Totally ridiculous in my eyes. Last night i took our kids out for a meal and invited seperated hubby to join us as both kids thought it would be nice to go out as a family. Hubby had already asked if he could come round to my house to visit the kids so i thought this would be a good idea. He didnt speak all evening! Ate the meal, never offered any conversation, came back to my house for coffee and still didnt make an effort. It felt as if he didnt want to be there. As soon as he returned home to his house i received lots of text messages saying he was struggling being without me and being on his own, told me he felt lonely and depressed, said he felt sad that i had left him! I explained once again my reasons for getting out only to be told that i had caused his bad behaviour by asking him questions about our relationship and his moodiness towards me! Had i not asked him about his behaviour apparently he would have been the perfect husband! What planet is he from?

  17. 17

    says

    There’s no doubt your ex is messed up Deborah. But how his behavior is not only ill-effecting you, it’s happening if front of your kids too. (I’m sure they sense it) As you two go through this difficult time of counselling and making concrete decisions, I think it’s important you not only proect your kids but yourself as well – you can draw boundaries. His behavior is not acceptable no matter if he’s messed up or not. Unil such time as as he can act like a father during a ‘family dinner’ I’d recommend they not transpire. You may want to consider telling him you think if best if you two keep contact to minimum until your couselling sessions progress – otherwise, his bahavior will keep you in overwhelm and coping mode.

  18. 18

    Deborah says

    You are right i am stuck in the coping mode right at this minute. He keeps telling me how he wants my help to change and asks for suggestions on how he can become a more sociable and thoughtful person. He doesnt take a blind bit of notice. He talks a good talk through his text messages but once infront of me he just cannot seem to help but be totally silent and acts kinda bored with it all. Being pleasant and happy doesnt seem to come into his vocabulary at all.

  19. 19

    Deborah says

    I have been for round 2 of counselling with him and i say round 2 because it feels like i climbed into the boxing ring with the counsellor! Hubby sits there and acts like a rabbit caught in the headlights when i speak and comes across as a very passive and terrorised man! Of course the counsellor feels terribly sorry for him and tells me i am an over talker, i take responsibility for all of his actions and basically control by doing too much for him! His answer to that was he has never been allowed to do anything in life because i continually “take over”. In reality our problem always was that he does exactly as he pleases, never stopped to consider anyone else and rode rough shod over everyones emotions just to get his own way. According to him i give out the silent treatment and he cannot handle it! I am aggressive and he only defends himself because he is scared of me! Not physically i might add but verbally! He told my story and changed the characters! Obviously the counsellor seemed to believe every word he said and painted me out to be a right villain. It made me feel sick to the stomach watching him come across and talk like a really abused victim! Yeah he is a victim, a victim of his own abuse. Since then i have told him to give me time and space because i am going to seek out individual counselling to help me!!!! He has cried none stop since i told him this and is now accusing me of messing with his emotions, playing him like a yo yo!

  20. 20

    says

    Deborah, I definitely think you’re wise to do individual counselling. You have to trust your instincts around your husband’s treatment of you as well as whether or not this counseller knows what’s she’s doing.

    My concern for you right now is that you’re walking around feeling like you’re a horrible person on top of all your upset around your husband’s passive aggressive behavior. Don’t just automatically buy into the counseller’s assessment of you and your marriage’s dynamic. You need to assess it with a clear head, even though I know that’s a tough thing to do right now (though seeking out individual therapy will help).

    Regardless of what he and the counsellor said, your feelings are real; your hurt is real. One step at a time Deborah. Sometimes things get worst before better; sometimes we’re tested in ways unimagined, ie, perhaps you’re being challenged to beleive in yourself. Food for thought.

    Rest well and take good care,
    Delaine

  21. 21

    Notsosimple says

    The labels are certainly helpful in 1 respect. But unfortunately it’s not that simple. The dynamics of such relationships often include an element of passive aggressive behavior by both parties as well. Passive aggressive couples often find each other. So why it’s convenient justification, the truth is that the more you can identify, classify, and categorize passive aggressive behavior, the more likely you are to be one yourself.

  22. 22

    says

    Notsosimple,

    When I review my cercomstances and how I and my cheating wife deal with things I find truth in what you say. On the phone she has been one way {talks and I sence there is a possibility) but in person she is completely different( shuts down ) I’ve spent a year and a half feeling lost, hurt and like a sence of emptyness.
    Recently I’ve been feeling anger, the woman I felt so much for and respected… now I find myself thinking her as scum and a whore and skank. How does this happen ? I don’t know, I’m not proud of it but I have a sence of disrespect for her and I don’t trust her in the slightest way at all… Maybe I am passive agresive,I think I’ve delt with things in our marriage incorrectly. This may be why she has been refusing sex and intamacy for the past 11 years.
    I’m pretty sure my wife is Passive agressive. I wonder if all cheaters are at times.

  23. 23

    says

    “the more you can identify, classify, and categorize passive aggressive behavior, the more likely you are to be one yourself”

    notsosimple, I’d be interested in knowing how you came to that conclusion. If this is true then therapists who diagnose someone as passive aggressive must be passive aggressive themselves?

    I suggest you do a bit more research. Start with Scott Wetzler and Mark Kantor…you might learn something.

  24. 24

    Crystal says

    I have been married to the same man for 17 years and I was so relieved to see that there was a label for him. As I read the description, it described him to the “T”. I’m so glad there are other women out there who knows what I go through.

  25. 25

    rebelrose10 says

    I would like to give my opinion about being with someone who is a passive aggressive abuser. I was married to one for 26 years. He never took responsibility for anything. I did it all! Then the tables were turned on me and I was made to look like I was the control freak.

    @ Joe, if you were not a PA before marriage….you might be one after marriage. You develop that as a defense mechanism to be able to make sense of it all. @ Deborah, I hate to tell you this but no matter what you do, say, think and no amount of counseling is going to work……..this man is not going to change until he wants to change. I did so much therapy until one day I realized that therapy was his way of manipulating me to change while he continued living his selfish life. The only question here is how long are you going to allow it to conitnue ffecting you and your children. Believe me, there is a life after and it is a much more peaceful and quiet life! No more emotional roller coasters for me!

  26. 26

    StaceyB says

    I was wondering if withholding sex is a common thing for a PA man to do? I have been in this relationship now for almost 5 years and for the last year.. no sex. I am so baffled by this. I feel no compassion from this man and he is always quiet when it comes to any discussions.. he simply has no opinion or nothing to say. He tells me he loves me but his actions so say something different to me. I love this man but am starting to see more and more the PA behavior in fact.. Im starting to act just like him. He was my high school sweetheart and it kills me to leave.. but Im starting to think with all the emotional issues Im going through this is never going to work… is it true they never change? Why do they withhold sex? I dont get that.. I dont get any of it really.

  27. 27

    says

    Stacy, it isn’t often that a passive aggressive will change. They have to recognize the behavior and how destructive it is to the relationship and it has been my experience that few are willing to admit to being the problem.

    As for sex, some withhold, some cheat, it just depends on the person and how they choose to punish a spouse. The passive aggressive is angry but can’t express that anger. They punish the one they are angry with by withholding something that person wants.

    It can be sex, money or something as simple as holding hands or giving a hug. And it isn’t uncommon for those involved with a passive aggressive to also take on those same behaviors. I know I did during my marriage.

    I went from someone who communicated about problems to someone who buried how I felt. I learned that talking fell on deaf ears. It is very frustrating.

    I suggest you buy Living With the Passive Aggressive Man by Scott Wetzler, read it yourself and than ask him to read it. Maybe he will recognize himself in what is written and want to work on changing the negative dynamics in the relationship.

  28. 28

    Zipp says

    Hi, I have been separated for 7 months from a Passive Aggressive , I have 2 children 5 and 3. The pain is , after getting my own confidence back and realizing that I had in fact worked really hard for years on our relationship, THE CHILDREN. Fair Dinkum , passive aggressives are shallow, cold, heartless, irresponsible, childish etc etc when it comes to their own children. I am a forgiving person, I do believe people can ALLOW themselves to be changed. I do not know what the future holds, one thing is for sure. There will be a huge change on his part, or no relationship. I can’t believe their behaviour, so nice in front of people one minute, get in the car to go home and change in an instant, or the extreme, belittle you in public, knowing full well you won’t respond in front of other and in particular the children. I am an intelligent person and for too long felt like I was going insane. I have a heart condition and had a pacemaker implanted when my youngest was 7 months old. He had time off work to do EVERYTHING for me , gggrrr hung the washing out ONCE, made sandwiches ONCE. I passed out when my daughter was a few weeks old, HE WALKED OVER THE TOP OF ME. No apologises, no remorse, no feelings. He has a lot of changing to do. Good luck, love and blessings to all women that have had their lives sucked out of them by the PA.

  29. 29

    Zipp says

    What is the answer, are there success stories. What affect does this have long term on children (I can only see negative for them)

  30. 30

    says

    Zipp, the answer is distance and self-care. YOU have to focus on yourself and your children, not on him and whether or not he will change. Do this will give you your best outcome.

    Success stories? Yes there are BUT it all depends on the passive aggressive and how insightful they are about their destructive behavior and how much effort they are willing to put into developing new coping and relationship skills. You say you have been separated for 7 months with no change from him. If it hasn’t happened by now I don’t see it ever happening.

    As for the long-term damage they can do to children, well, it can be devastating. My two sons have suffered beyond description since we divorced. His covert passive aggressive punishment of me did more damage to our boys than to me. They suffered collateral damage and their father could care less.

    My oldest once told me that it was like he, his brother and I were on a football field, busy playing the game and his Dad was way up in the stands waving his arms and screaming because he didn’t like the way we were playing the game. He said, “Dad doesn’t want to be part of the game, he doesn’t want to be part of practice before the game and he doesn’t want to contribute in a positive way to the game but he wants control over the players in the game.”

    My children have emotional baggage they will carry with them the rest of their lives. It will play a role in every aspect of their lives. They will pay because I chose to attach myself to a wounded man.

    Don’t let this happen to your children!

  31. 31

    Jane says

    So, having been through a couple of miserable relationships with passive aggressive men now (one lasting 18 years), you’d think I’d be better at spotting the signs. My ex boyfriend (just broke up last week for about the 10th and final time) came across as such a great guy in the beginning that I thought I’d hit the jackpot, only to find out a year later (and living together) that he was nothing like his persona he presented when we first met. It was all very confusing. Why do I seem to attract this type of man…am I giving off vibes? I grew up with an alcoholic mother and I seem to get into relationships where I am the one doing all of the work…the rescuer, I guess. I can’t stand this dynamic anymore. I’m 46 and I’m afraid I’ll continue to attract this kind of awful person forever. How can I get myself healthy so I don’t do that?

  32. 32

    says

    I am now discovering that my husband is an AP and on top of that he was a cheating man blaming me for his mistakes. I was going crazy, I even versioned myself drawing but I got a grip and many of my friend took me to church and gave me support. This is still fresh about 3 weeks ago. We been married for 7 years have 3 small children and at this point I am searching for answers because it just didn’t seem right. I was doing everything to make this work, holding a full time job raising kids doing everything for the house while he workout and plays with the guys. I read some of the stories and its scary because I really want this to work out and I love him but I don’t want to be in it 17 year and it goes nowhere and I get bitter. Right now, it’s my fault according to him. His giving me the silent treatment because he knows I love to talk and laugh. At this point I’m figure out what to do for me and the kids. I will not have my kids all mess-up because of his AP.

  33. 33

    Mitzy says

    33 years, knew something was wrong, totally dependant (his jobs prevented me from having one) 4 children. No help with counseling (not geared toward PA or narcissistic behavior at all, assumes both parties “normal”.)

    Wanted to address the long term effects on children. They will “feel sorry for him” no matter what he does, as he demands it. They will think you are crazy and out of control. You will get there eventually, you cannot have normal anything with these guys. Backstabbers, withholders, hypocrites, will do very cruel things to you in “nice” ways, always forgetting, blaming, and cowardly. Covert abuse, will takes it’s toll, children will hate you for being “mean” when in reality you will be having normal reactions to abuse. They will not KNOW the difference like you do as they will know nothing else but what the pa man wants them to see, you are mean and he is “innocent”. Do not trust that they will be able to tell who is “guilty”, poor guy doesn’t know, forgot, or you didn’t tell him bs will RUIN all your lives. Cut run no happy for anyone. My darling girls side with his “poor me” no matter what ugly, mean, juvenile or shitty thing he does. Why, who knows. They see me cry, scream and get angry, he plays dumbshit Mr. Magoo and the feel sorry for him.

    Get out get away do not let his “disorder’ pollute your entire family, the hurt delivered by proxy of your own children is unbearable. Trust me, I stayed and paid dearly.

  34. 34

    Mitzy says

    Myra, Your kids will be messed up and much of that will be directed at you. Why? This is the favorite mo of a pa, use of third parties to abuse, anything to get the “blame” or heat off them, they will create backstabbing, abuse to get you. They will use your own children to do this with lies and your feelings (hurt, anger, resentment, confusion, fear, no security, no trust, no support, and protectiveness of self and children, to turn it into weapons to hurt. There will be no “don’t go there” with a pa. EVER, no matter what you do. They control all by using normal human compassion, empathy and behaviors to turn them into your own and your childrens undoing. They will never care or understand why they shouldn’t do this. Give up They were already “damaged” you didn’t do it but you WILL take the blame, they will create your own undoing, and use your children to do this. No one will believe or trust you, due to the pa manipulations to make you guilty and unloved……yes, even turn your own children

    into your enemies if they can and they can if you react “normally” to anything. Living with someone so EVIL will take its toll on you all.
    Please don’t think you will be the exception to the rule, you won’t be, EVER. When you finally figure it out, all will be lost and too late.
    I would have NEVER thought my kids even as adults, “couldn’t see the truth” but they can’t due to years of evil brainwashing by PA behaviors.
    I cry for you and yours……I wish I wasn’t so devoted to making it work, and now know it worked “for him” just fine. The rest of us, damaged beyond control. Please sweetie, don’t waste a minute cutting the cord and hope he finds another victim, not you and those you love.

  35. 35

    Mitzy says

    The is no evil as awful as these persons. No matter how much they “play dumb” they KNOW what they are doing they don’t know why and don’t care, not one bit as long as they can, they will. You do not have to sacrifice your loved ones, please end it. They manipulate everyone horribly. It will cause you more hurt and harm and eventually you will even think suicide is the only answer to escape the pain they will rain on you “innocently” of course from everyone you love, and everything you care about. Please heed my advice, I should have listened to others, now no one cares, not my mother, or my own kids. It is the most horrible form of abuse and all experts agree, it is incurable in 99 not to one, maybe. Yours will not be the one, do you like those odds? GET AWAY….get counseling for the kids by someone who KNOWS what this is, obviously your counselor doesn’t and her treatment of you is more abuse, Pa knows this the “innocent act” is a good clue she is missing. He will manipulate counselors too. Believe me, it is hard to be hard on a “nice guy” that lies with no guilt. Stop all contact and counseling NOW. Go to an abuse shelter. They may help you understand. You need validated……in real life. Save your children or you will lose their love or understanding through years of brainwash. Projection of his “sickness” will be your curse to wear if you don’t get out now. Oh please please see how serious I am. It is a horrible way to “die” and yet have to walk around shamed by everyone you know, because of them.

  36. 36

    Belinda says

    Cathy,
    I just finished reading a number of your articles on passive aggressive men/marriage. What an eye-opener. I knew it wasn’t me, but I couldn’t see what I was missing, he seems so darn nice and sincere, but then why do I feel so awful and angry all the time. I saw a divorce attorney last month, and I plan to start the procedure in a couple weeks after we finish getting our house in shape to sell (I know if I serve him before the house is ready, it will never get ready.) I have been thinking of divorce for almost 18 years, putting it off, doubting myself, wondering what was wrong. 5 times in marriage counseling with nothing ever changing. This clarifies my situation so well, my doubt is gone, I’m 110% certain I’m making the right choice now.

    Thank you for writing all the articles on passive aggression and divorce (I’ve been getting your Divorce Support emails for three months now.) You are a wonderful help!!

  37. 37

    says

    Thank you Belinda! If you haven’t you should read “Living With The Passive Aggressive Man.” Talk about opening your eyes.

    I wish you well but will give you a warning…your “nice and sincere” husband will probably turn into someone not so nice or sincere once you file for the divorce. Passive aggressives have a tendency to become ugly so please protect yourself legally with an attorney who has experience dealing with such issues.

  38. 38

    Patricia Vynchester says

    My man doesn’t care what I look like, heck he hardly really pays much attention when I dress up nice with make-up on and hair done. He doens’t care about that type of stuff at all. He likes when I do cook for him… At least I gained some points with my cooking and oral sex, because since I read Jacks Blowjob Guide ( http://www.jacksblowjoblessons.com/ ) I’m pro ;) He will always despise my movie tastes as long as it includes a “chick flick” but for the most part we can agree on movies to watch…

  39. 39

    Michele says

    Well, I’ve just learned that I can say NO & Mean It. I can walk away from someone who is PA & it feels very different for me today. I like knowing I didn’t buy into his stuff & I explained to him that he doesn’t hear a word I say. Nor does he take appropriate action. He plays the victim repeatedly & it’s everyone else’s fault for everything. I am saying no to this today.

  40. 40

    Scientific Exorcist says

    This article is pretty hypocritical in my opinion. For these reasons.

    “1.Withholds to Punish: He says one thing but means another. Sure, he wants to go to a movie. He even appears to enjoy himself until later that night when he rejects you sexually. You see, he didn’t want to go to a movie but, his passivity would not allow him to own it. His fear of conflict means punishing you in covert ways for something you “made” him do. What better way to punish than withhold something he knows you want?”

    Uh… a lot of women are known for using this tactic as well. Witholding sex in order to get their spouse to do something or to passively express their anger towards them. Yet this behavior is more tolerated with women than men. Which is a double.

    ” 2.Fears Conflict: He will do anything to keep from arguing with you. He has been taught that anger is unacceptable. Well, expressing anger in an open, honest way is unacceptable and not something you will get from this guy. What you will get is a relationship with a man who avoids solving relationship problems, avoids taking responsibility for problems in the relationship and most importantly avoids making an intimate connection with you.”

    We should remember that there is a difference between avoiding conflict and avoiding unnecessary conflict. Sometimes people get that confused with avoiding conflict all together. However, if he decides not to argue it doesn’t mean he is afraid to express his anger just that it is not something worthy to fight over. Conflict in a relationship is healthy but constant conflict is not.

    3.Plays The Victim: This poor guy can’t win for losing, in his mind anyway. He will not show for a dinner date but find it unreasonable that you are upset. It is after all his bosses fault for making him work late. He could have picked his cell phone up and called but calling isn’t nearly as pleasurable as letting you sit and wait. You waiting on him gets his angries out at you. He gets to punish you and blame his boss…he is off the hook, a “good guy” who is the victim of an unreasonable woman who expects too much from him.

    This is where you lose me. Sometimes these things can’t be helped and would not be able to contact his significant other. Things happen that is beyond anyone’s control. His boss could be jerk or he wasn’t able to get to phone in time. It’s unfair to say that it always his fault every time something goes wrong.

    “4.Is Forgetful: He forgets birthdays, anniversaries, anything important to you will be forgotten by him. My ex used to forget he needed something from me until the last minute. If there was a social event related to his work, I would get notice the day before. I spent a lot of time running around trying to prepare from something in a few hours that would normally take days.”

    Okay, if he is intentionally “forgetting” birthdays, anniversaries, etc to be hurtful then he is being passive aggressive. If he is genuinely forgetful of those things then he is not being passive aggresive. This is actually quite common for men to forget such things, but I don’t think that most of them are doing it purposely to be hurtful.

    ” 5.Is Afraid of You: They want you but they don’t want to become attached to you. He is in a constant battle with himself to pursue then distance himself. According to Scott Wetlzer, author of Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man: Coping with Hidden Aggression – From the Bedroom to the Boardroom. The passive aggressive man is “unsure of his autonomy and afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs, usually by trying to control you. He wants you to think he doesn’t depend on you, but he binds himself closer than he cares to admit. Relationships can become battle grounds, where he can only claim victory if he denies his need for your support.”

    So he fights his dependency needs by binding himself closer? That doesn’t make any sense. Please explain how that makes sense. It is very hard for me to believe that any one sane thinks this way.

  41. 41

    says

    OK, let me respond to you point by point…

    1. Yes, women do this also but this is not an article about passive aggressive women, it is an article about passive aggressive MEN. As far as the behavior being more tolerated in women, I don’t think so. Just browse the internet there are plenty of men like you whining over such issues. Just as many men whining as women.

    2. It isn’t about refusing to engage in “constant” conflict. It is about refusing to engage in any conflict. The passive aggressive man views ANY conflict as unnecessary conflict.

    3. You are right, sometimes those things happen. With the passive aggressive man though, those “things” happen often, more often than not and there is always an excuse. Once or twice a year…OK, every week…not OK.

    4. Genuinely forgetful? There is no such thing! Not unless he suffers from ADHD anyway. If I care about someone and their level of comfort I am going to remember to fill them in on important issues and not wait until the last minute. People who “genuinely” forget, forget because they are not concerned about the inconvenience their forgetting causes their significant other. They are too wrapped up in themselves to give the other person or their needs a second thought.

    5. It doesn’t make sense, there is no explaining it. If it could be explained it could be cured and dealt with in a rational manner. It is insanity. It is push, pull, push, pull behavior. They pull you to them, then push you away. It is deep seeded, learned behavior that is a coping and protective mechanism used by people who desire attachment but at the same time fear it.

    I’ll tell you what my ex once told me when I questioned him about his behavior. “How can I explain something I don’t understand myself?” There is no understanding it. There is learning how to respond to it so you don’t go insane right along with them though and that is what this article is about.

  42. 42

    Scientific Exorcist says

    Let me respond to this point by point

    1. Yes, women do this also but this is not an article about passive aggressive women, it is an article about passive aggressive MEN. As far as the behavior being more tolerated in women, I don’t think so. Just browse the internet there are plenty of men like you whining over such issues. Just as many men whining as women.

    To me this is dodging the issue. Shouldn’t this article address passive aggressive people as opposed to only passive aggressive men? Yes, passive aggressive in women is more tolerated than passive aggression in men. Although, men complain such issues they talk as if this is common tactic among women and not anything unique. Passive aggression in women is generally more tolerated both socially and culturally. From television, to movies, to books passive aggression is not only tolerated but expected. Also, it funny that you call men who complain about passive aggresive women whiners when your wrote an article complaining about passive aggressive men.

    2. It isn’t about refusing to engage in “constant” conflict. It is about refusing to engage in any conflict. The passive aggressive man views ANY conflict as unnecessary conflict.

    Okay, first let me say it never healthy to intentionally seek conflict under any circumstances. People who do think it is healthy are usually dram queens or extremely argumenative. Addressing a certain problem or issue in the relationship is healthy as opposed to saying “I’m going to fight with my wife today.” There is a middle ground between conflict and non-conflict that you seem to be missing.

    3. You are right, sometimes those things happen. With the passive aggressive man though, those “things” happen often, more often than not and there is always an excuse. Once or twice a year…OK, every week…not OK.

    Once or twice a year? If someone is working long hours and has very high demanding job then it would probably happen more often then that I’m sure. If they choose not to call then that is being passive aggressive if they are unable to call then there not being passive aggressive. A easy way to find out which is which is if they’re sincerely apologize for it.

    4. Genuinely forgetful? There is no such thing! Not unless he suffers from ADHD anyway. If I care about someone and their level of comfort I am going to remember to fill them in on important issues and not wait until the last minute. People who “genuinely” forget, forget because they are not concerned about the inconvenience their forgetting causes their significant other. They are too wrapped up in themselves to give the other person or their needs a second thought.

    Yes actually there is such thing as being genuinely forgetful. To say otherwise is kind of ignorant no offense. Many thing causes memory laspes stress, sleep disorders, or just simply not paying attentions to the date. Lots of people forget birthdays and try to do something at the last minute. If they truly didn’t care they probably wouldn’t try anything at all. Also, how do know that they was not warp up in something just as important that cause them to forget? Usually they don’t mean to forget but things happen to cause them to forget.

    “5. It doesn’t make sense, there is no explaining it. If it could be explained it could be cured and dealt with in a rational manner. It is insanity. It is push, pull, push, pull behavior. They pull you to them, then push you away. It is deep seeded, learned behavior that is a coping and protective mechanism used by people who desire attachment but at the same time fear it.

    I’ll tell you what my ex once told me when I questioned him about his behavior. “How can I explain something I don’t understand myself?” There is no understanding it. There is learning how to respond to it so you don’t go insane right along with them though and that is what this article is about.”

    So you don’t expect it to be cured and dealt with in rational manner yet you expect to learn how to respond to it? That even makes less chance. If you can’t deal with it in a rationale manner what makes you think he can?
    This why we have therapists because a better understanding leads to better responses.

  43. 43

    patricia says

    I am so confused and exausted and depleted of all my energy, sanity and can hardly find the energy to keep breathing . im so so hurt and rejected and totally blown away why anyone would or could do this to another human being let alone someone that they supposedly love it isn’t just a psych. problem it is a soul problem because, and im not exaggerating, it seems like the devil himself is in possesion of them. I cant even find the words to tell you the cruelty and twisted heartbreaking elaborate scripts they write to exact on us and the amount of time, precision, malice and passion that drives them. It is without a doubt the most sociopathic inhuman behaviour ive ever had the misfortune of experiencing. almost 8 years of this hell that i cant seem to escape. i have left again and i know that i cant allow myself to even see him its like some creepy messed up power that he has to make me turn into his puppet he showed up here where im staying and the second i seen him my heart leaped in my chest and i was full of hope and love and forgiveness but within an hour of being with him he had picked me up from despair and then slammed me back into its depths again. i have always been a strong independant capable woman who was never dependant on anyone except maybe my mom and that wasn’t unhealthy she was my best friend in the world and the most loving kind generous woman in the world. When i met this man i was in a horrifyingly tramatic point in my life my 2nd husbad had left me and my three children from my first mairrage and three weeks after that my 18 year old daughter was hit by a drunk drive and was near death for 3 months in the ICU and was now a quadrapeligic. her two younger brothers were 13 and 15 it was unbelievable and so hard and i had no support from anyone but my mom but she didnt even drive so it was hard with the amount of time i was spending at the hospital with my daughter to even go to see her she was and older parent my mom and dad were 45 when they adopted me at 2 months old so when this happened to my daughter my mom was already 83 years old. i was basically looking after her as well. so when this man came into my life it was pretty easy to be the knight in shining armour. little did i know it was actually a retard in tin foil!!! no i guess more like a predetor waiting to pounce before i even realized it i was sunk i ended up losing my house my career and most important my self esteem and my sanity and any chance at peace and secuirity. i still cant believe that any of this is real its such a nightmare im not sure if i can fight this last battle to make sure i wont go back to the hell i have with him.

  44. 44

    patricia says

    i should also add that my beloved mother passed away last august just shy of her 90th birthday. she beat cancer 4 times since the age of 75 the last 2 times was after i had met this man. she was so sick and the both times told she wasnt going to make it but they would give her small amounts of chemo to prolong her life and give her a little more time. well both times they could hardly give her thye amount they would give a child because she was so frail and tiny, but both times she beat it, the doctors were amazed and when ask how she did it by the oncologist she simply stated well i had to my daughter still needs me! she didnt like this man and she had hoped and prayed for me to find the strength to get away from him. as she said im sure there must be something that keeps you trying but i dont like him hes so mean to you. my mom didnt die of cancer im happy to say she was just very tired and she passed peacefully. now with everything this man has seen us suffer thru and knowing how lost i am feeling and the pain a suffering my kids and i have endured HOW CAN HE POSSIBLY IF HE HAS ANY HUMAN IN HIM DESTROY ME EVEN FURTHER? thats so sick and wrong and i cant even wrap my head around it it isnt human.

  45. 45

    Jackie says

    I left my PA boyfriend of five months just a few weeks ago. He was almost divorced after a long and acrimonious divorce process. The divorce was his wife’s fault, of course, even though he initiated it. One reason why I left his was because I could not take his almost constant bitter harping about his wife. I asked him to stop, and he continued- he even mentioned her (and other ex-gf’s) in bed. He even called her- while in bed with me- to argue with her about getting their son enrolled in summer day camp!

    Get this- he loved blowjobs, but he would not reciprocate with oral because he said his soon-to-be-ex-wife “did not appreciate it, so it bothers me.” His EX did not like it, so that was a reason not to try it with a new woman? He also had erectile dysfunction and frequently was “too tired” for sex, and would rather watch the basketball game. That did not keep him from openly leering at other women and hitting on them in front of me when we went out.

    This was a long distance relationship so mind you, we were only getting together two or three times a month. Too tired for sex? Come on- he was either getting it somewhere else or withholding it as punishment. No normal guy would do that.

    He was really pissed when I dumped him- said he was “hurt” but I suspect it was really because I beat him to the punch. He still makes feeble attempts at contact (“I swam with my cell phone. Can I have your phone number again please?”) which I ignore…

  46. 46

    jennifer says

    I have just recently discovered that my husband of 21 years is passive aggressive….He told me 3 months ago that he did not love me anymore,need me, I no longer made him a better person, want to b with me anymore, didn’t like me, he didn’t want to make me happy and then proceeded to laugh and say the worst part is is I truly don’t care. This was not the first time…this time however, I moved out 2 days later…For 21 years I have done nothing but control him, verbally abuse him, treat him terribly and now the latest thing is that I don’t treat him like a man or look at him the way he wants to b looked at….Its crazy…All his problems and emotional turmoil/unhappiness that’s all because of ME. FOR 21 YEARS I BELIEVED THIS..For 21 years I turned myself inside and out trying to fix myself so he could love me…And now that I have filed for divorce and am no longer living with him…I feel lost…I want to b with him so badly…I want to care for him…and I think I miss the roller coaster…Its scary but I think I’m so conditioned to b involved in the daily battles that I just want him back so my life can go back to “normal”. All I keep repeating in my head is that I just want him to come home. I have asked him to come home but he is resentful that I actually left and filed for divorce…mind u I had to file right away because he refused to give me and/or work out any of the financial details…he basically said I was gonna nothing and he withheld money/belongings and just gave a little after I begged. He now saids that I took this 2 far and again it’s because of me that we can’t even go to counseling because of the fact that I am suing him in divorce court for things which he deems only belong to him. Oh lets not forget…1 month after I left he came back to me and told me that he didn’t mean any of those horrible things he told me…He apparently still loves me, needs me, wants to be with me…etc etc.. ONLY IF I STOP THE DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS…I haven’t so he is no longer speaking to me…its been a month…I’m in hell..want the feelings of want for him to go away because this relationship has no future…Not to mention that fact that I am still proceeding with the divorce even though I don’t want 2…Feel I have 2 or else my children r going pay the financial price for my feelings…After reading about what other people r going thru…Its nice 2 know that I’m not this horrible person and that I’m not crazy or incapable of having a loving relationship….because that is what I have thought for 21 years..

  47. 47

    jennifer says

    @ Patricia couldn’t say it any better myself….my husband has the same power over me…and it makes me sick..I’m beginning to think that mayb he is my addiction?

  48. 48

    Irma says

    I just dated a widower displaying all of the above characteristics. I am so thankful that I ran into a friend who alerted me to this man as being “passive-aggressive”. Iread your article and it fits him to a “T”. I am 60 years old and I want to enjoy the last years of my life, so I dumped him. I don’t have time to keep replenishing my self-esteem and confidence.

  49. 49

    Maxxotic says

    Jane:

    Pick up a copy of Codependent No More. Children of alcoholic parents often become codependent.

    I had an alcoholic father. I’m definitely codependent. I’m also passive aggressive. I’ve done nearly everything in my relationship (in divorce process), for 10 years.

    Good Luck!

  50. 50

    Anne says

    I am married to a passive-aggressive man. 36 years. I am considering divorce. The personality of the man I married is nothing like the person he really is. He never made demands, or showed anger, but he learned all my weaknesses and exploited these by “getting under my skin” all the time. When I would finally explode, HE felt better. Go figure.

    Anyway, Jennifer, since you did file for divorce I think you should go through with it. Your partner will never change, especially when he won’t acknowledge his part in the relationship falling apart.

    If you want to date him or even live with him, that’s another issue. But, it will then be quite easy to cut him loose.

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