The Crazy Making Ex: It’s All About Him and You’d Best Show Your Appreciation!

Submitted by: Cathy

It wasn’t long after I married my ex that I began to fill a wee bit uncomfortable in my own skin. I walked about feeling cranky, anxious, angry, depressed and ready to either scream or cry at the drop of a hat. I no longer knew myself, had lost touch with that happy, carefree girl I was before marrying.

It was not until after my divorce that I began to realize what happened to turn me into such a walking mess of a woman. I read an article about passive aggressive behavior or “crazy making behavior” and I knew, like Oprah I had an “ah ha” moment and saw it all clearly.

I had, had glimpses while dating and during the marriage, little signs I dismissed or refused to acknowledge. One day I was browsing a bookstore and ran across of copy of Living With the Passive Aggressive Man. I flipped through and saw my husband’s behavior on several pages. Quickly I returned the book to its spot on the shelf; I didn’t want that to be my husband.

After all, what wife wants to believe that her husband views her needs, wishes and desires as not being valid. In my fragile mind that was too much to accept. I think because I knew it was not something that could be fixed or maybe I felt attempting to fix it would erode my sanity even further so I chose to ignore it…the “it” being what was going on in my marriage that was costing me so much.

Everyone LOVED my ex. He seemed, the operative word being “seemed” to give till he bled.  He gave me everything except what I needed. And in my mind I had convinced myself that I didn’t get what I needed because I was not deserving and the longer I lived with him the less deserving I became.

This is the first in a series of articles about my marriage. Something I’ve never talked openly about. I’ve kept my “Crazy Making Husband” to myself but there have to be other crazed wives out there and its time we come together. If for no other reason than to let others know they can reclaim their sanity, dignity and peace of mind.

He was stationed in Germany when we married. Our son was 2 ½ when we tied the knot and the three of us became a “family.” Why the child before the marriage? I don’t want to talk about it! One of those red flag warnings that should have made it clear as day who I was dealing with.

Maybe I’ll get to that later. For now though let’s talk about the first glaring indication (post marriage) that I had attached myself to a Crazy Maker. His first major covert show of resentment and dismissal of me and my needs came when he had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Italy flying presidential support for Reagan during the G-7 Economic leaders Summit.

When we moved to Germany he wanted to live on the economy, not on base. He found a small home for us 40 miles from base and we settled in with one car, the one he took to work daily. Our son and I were stranded in a small, quant German village without transportation. Being the good man he (thinks)he is, he purchased a car for us to get around in. It was 12 years old, more likely to not cooperate when you needed the engine to turn over.  Just the kind of car a mother can’t depend on and the last kind she needs when trying to navigate around a foreign country with a small child.

His auto? Brand spanking new and off he went every morning leaving us behind with the auto that was temperamental.  The morning he left for Italy he took his auto and left me behind with the clunker…3 weeks with a child in a strange country and a worthless car. His auto sat on base for 3 weeks unused while he was away.

Who does such a thing to a wife and child? A Crazy Maker! A man who can’t come out and tell you that he feels your needs are too much of a demand but can behave in ways that sends you clear signals of how he feels. It is akin to being beat senseless with a wet noodle!

Seriously, think about it. If you put his actions into words here is what you get, “I don’t care if you and our son don’t have dependable transportation while I’m away for 3 weeks. This is a great opportunity for me and you should be happy, not concerned about some stupid auto.”  Who makes excuses for such behavior? The woman married to the Crazy Making Husband!

As I write this I can feel the inside of my head tingling, that old feeling I became so familiar with during my time as his wife. It is a sense of confusion, of being bewildered, I was always slightly off kilter. It kept me from seeing the reality of what I was dealing with and got in the way of me constructively doing what was best for me and my son.

By the time he returned from Italy I was having panic attacks. An emotional state that made the idea of his parent’s upcoming visit less than attractive. But I was one determined woman, I’d figure out what was wrong with ME because darn it, such a good man deserved an emotionally stable wife. Wish I had known at the time that emotionally unstable was exactly where he wanted me…I’d have reveled a bit in my insanity!

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  1. 1

    Mel says

    Wow, I clicked on this post because that car looks like my first car! Then I read a recap of my life! My ex must be friends with your ex! Mine had a nice German car he kept in the garage under a car cover and only drove on nice sunny days. I couldn’t get the foyer painted because we didn’t have enough money but he went snowmobiling one day and was short one sled for my nephew so he just bought one without letting me know!

    My brain still tingles too as he moved to a waterfront property with his secretary/girlfriend who he just happened to start dating after he left me. Yeah, right! But as long as the kids still believe in him it’s ok! And I haven’t said a word!

    But I can tell you, now 3 years later, my life has moved on and I am happier then I was when I was married. I worked on myself and went to a lot of therapy and realized it’s not about me.

    I worry about my kids because they want to believe in their father and I don’t know what to say to them. He is unbelievably manipulative and a very successful businessman. If I say something, I am the angry bitter wife. So I say nothing and just smile.

    Keep the posts coming…

  2. 2


    Great article and sounds like my ex as well. When I was pregnant with baby #2, I had premature labor and was put on bed rest. I asked him to work on a Sunday in the afternoon, because my mother could come over and help me with our 3 year old daughter, instead of the morning and he said, “You aren’t sick. I am not going to change my schedule for this. You’ll be fine.”

    Needless to say, I ended up back in the hospital with contractions to which he said, “Don’t call me to take you to the hospital again until you are in real labor.”

    He is a peach, and thank God he isn’t my problem anymore!

  3. 3


    Mel, my ex doesn’t have friends. Not in the true sense of the word anyway. But he was always broke, ever had enough money unless it was something he wanted. I rode a bike from wal-mart. He rode a $400 bike with a custom fit seat. I was such a fool!

    When it comes to children the best course of action is to stay quiet. They grow and learn and one day have to face the realities of who this sort of man is.

    Also, I’ve learned that he thinks of me as a bitter ex wife regardless of what I do. I can smile and be civil and I’m bitter. I can let him have it and I’m bitter. I’ve found that, for me life is easier if I don’t take him into consideration at all.

    I am who I am and his judgment of me stopped mattering years ago.

  4. 4


    Lee, sounds like your ex was handy with a wet noodle also. Shame on you for not putting his needs before those of a pregnant wife.

    Little did he know that when he said you would “fine” that you would one day be “fine.” Without him!

  5. 5

    Susie says

    This all looks familiar.

    I had my moment when I was having twins and drove myself to the hospital at 2 am in a rain storm.

    We had had babies before and he knew I wouldn’t have them until later that morning. He would stay home and sleep and then come at 8 “after he took care of the kids at home”

    Believe it or not, I am an intelligent woman and when I finally couldn’t take it anymore “I am crazy” The kids don’t want to be with him and they are now crazy too! Oh well at least we are crazy together and we do seem to have a good time.

  6. 6


    Susie, I’m glad you made it to the hospital! Also nice to hear you and the kids are enjoying your insanity.

    My ex has nothing to do with either of his children. He is highly angry that they didn’t continue to revere him after his bad treatment of them. He considers them “crazy” also. I’m sure he uses a more appropriate term when telling his friends about his boys.

    I can hear him saying, “they have issues” to excuse whey he doesn’t have a relationship with them. And he is right, they do have issues, as a result of HIS issues.

  7. 7

    rebelrose10 says

    Wow! Been there done that!!

    Ladies, sounds like we were married to the same man! I remember when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with baby #2, 1st child was 3 yrs old, foot in a cast carting groceries from the parking lot of our complex to our 2nd floor apartment, back and forth. Where was he you ask? Well, he knew I was going to the grocery store but left to be with his girlfriend who happened to be a friend of mine as well. I didn’t know that at the time but the truth came out later. After they finished their lovemaking, she had the nerve to call me and ask me how I was doing and of course I burst into tears and told her what a jerk he was not knowing that he was laying down next to her laughing at me.

    Unfortunately, I have more stories like that but too many to tell! After my divorce, I had a hard time processing all this resentment, anger and unforgiveness. It’s been support groups such as this one and many others that have taught me who and what I was married too! It was very hard to accept the truth about my ex but what was even harder was the “control” he still had because like Cathy, I can be nice and civil to the man and he will turn it and twist it to make me look like I am unstable and the one with emotional issues! I call him a monster!

    Thank you Divorce Women Online because I have learned so much about him but most importantly myself! I love the new ME and I have gone back to being the carefree, happy go lucky girl I once was before marriage. As for me, it is going to take a very special, caring, loving man who is the complete opposite of my ex in order for me to even consider walking down that aisle again and that’s a BIG maybe!!

    Good luck everyone!

    Rebel Rose

  8. 8


    Horrible, just horrible! He sounds like a true neanderthal. Did she continue to sleep with him? I suppose in her mind he was being a jerk because he had attached himself to an evil woman.

    I’m so happy you have moved on Rebel Rose. I know from experience that living with this sort of man can do sooooo much damage. The recovery period can be long and grueling but we can get past it all.

    I’m about to write and publish another “crazy making husband” post. Check back and share some of your experiences…purge those ugly memories!

    I’m glad you found your way here, sorry you had too. Am especially happy to hear you’ve found something helpful. That is the goal!

  9. 9

    rebelrose10 says

    I look forward to that Cathy. It makes me feel better finding out that I was not the crazy one after all. But after so many years of this mental and emotional abuse, it took a toll. It does take time but I have had to see a counselor and involve myself in support groups online and at my church to help me process all my unmet needs and oh so many unresolved issues in dealing with this man. For me, the damage was very extensive because while I was in the marriage, I had no idea what I was up against and who I was dealing with until everything was said and done. But as you said, we can get past it and slowly but surely I’m taking one step at a time moving forward into my new future.

    I have options now with what I want in my life, who I want in my life and where I want to be in my new life. It’s been very liberating and exhilerating!

    Rebel Rose

  10. 10

    D says

    Hi ladies
    I can’t believe that I can relate to all of these stories in one way or another. I am currently seperated and in the process of divorce but am struggling with the daily pain that is still so fresh. When your being pushed around or hit you know that things aren’t good, but when you are being emotionally abused you can have no idea and the result is worse than any bruise. I NEVER had the slightest idea that the way he treated me was abusive. But like with the car, he had to keep his in the covered parking space and I dug mine out of the snow. He commuted and didn’t even use his car and paid $550 dollars a month for it while I used mine for work and everything else and it was cheap. I wasn’t allowed to get a gym membership, he told me that we didn’t have the money and I wouldn’t use it enough and I just needed to be happy with my body or run outside or something. My friends we’re stupid or ugly or dumb and I was put down when I tried to hang out with them. His friends were the only acceptable people in our lives. Luckily I didn’t have children with him and only gave him 5 years of my life but the damage he has done to my self worth, confidence, and mind are something I feel like I will never get over. I still have to talk to him for financial reasons and he takes every opportunity to make sure I know that this is my fault. My fault that he cheated, my fault that he wasn’t happy, and my fault that I’m alone. And I hate the fact that he is in a new relationship and loving his life when I am left to deal with all of this on my own. Sorry if this is long but one last thing, I am living in a brand new state, with none of my family or friends anywhere near me. It was like his last power move to isolate me from everything and then leave me. I am looking for support groups in my area but so far I haven’t had any luck. If anyone has suggestions let me know. Thanks for reading

  11. 11


    Hi D, have you checked to see if there are any Divorce Care meetings in your area Check out their Find a Group at this link and see what you find. I went to a divorce care group for several months and found it to be very helpful. I also made a few friends in the process.

    You are dealing with a crazy maker alright. He sounds like a real gem! No this, you will get over the emotional abuse. What you are feeling and experiencing isn’t terminal. It is just part of the process we have to go through to shed ourselves of men like your husband.

    You are taking steps in the right direction and all you are going through will one day pay off. Join that gym you wanted to join, eat well, get plenty of rest…do whatever you need to take care of yourself. You will find yourself on the other side of this one day!

    My best!

  12. 12

    Mourningstar says

    Dear Cathy,
    I’ve been married over thirty years, and just finished reading a couple of your articles. The last few years, I’ve been part of an on-line community of support for victims of abuse. Although there are universal commonalities, my experience being married to a passive aggressive man feels more like its own little crazy world. If I tried to describe my life, many who have been abused overtly would wonder what’s wrong with me and probably view my husband as a catch.
    When I read “He gave me everything except what I needed”, it was a language I clearly understood. Thank you for writing and sharing because I feel a little less crazy after reading it.

  13. 13


    Morningstar, nice to meet you! A lot of people viewed my ex as a catch also. My sister didn’t understand exactly how abusive my ex can be until she became involved in a situation with him a little over a year ago. She now fully gets it!

    It is easy for folks to look in from the outside and dismiss our feelings. NO ONE can understand what passive aggressive, covert abuse can do to a person until they have lived it. It is a special kind of nightmare.

    I’m happy to know you read my articles and felt affirmed…a little less crazy. Thank you for letting me know I’ve helped in some way. My best to you!

    We are going to be adding a community to the site soon. Please check back for more support!

  14. 14

    T says

    Well I was dating a passive aggressive and he certainly was making me ‘crazy’ telling me it was all my fault and I provoked him, I got irritated with that comment and (since he likes my family) I said my mom told me you can only make yourself angry, he didn’t say much to that, keeps blaming me for stuff and then on top of that when i was very clear and direct on my needs in a relationship, affection, communication,to me very basic to have a healthy relationship he said my expectations were too high…good grief, I ended it with him several months ago, and he wants to try again, and I told him that I am not sure about it, and before I found this website, i had already decided I was done, twice tried it , I am not going a third round, he makes no effort to change, at first I thought maybe I was being difficult and inconsiderate but now I see I am not. Thanks for the article too bad more single women /dating women wouldn’t check out these websites too for point of reference and maybe could save many women from marrying these type of men. and yes everything thinks he’s so charming and a good man, but it always seemed anything I did was never good enough etc. I was married a long time ago and here I had thought I finally had met the man to marry, but of course you know that in itself is a whole other issue but regardless glad I woke up before I continued this relationship, and the funny to me is he is nearly 15 years older then me so one would think , he’d be more mature, well I know now that age obviously has no bearing on their ability, if this type of personality /behaviors is ageless. Thanks for this article again. It reinforces to me even more why I need to get rest of my stuff and walk away for good. There is no point in continuing a dead end relationship that will make me ‘insane’ and lose myself in the process. To all out there whom have put up with this for years, you are true survivors and to walk away are very strong and if anything these men are the insane ones. :)

  15. 15

    Dawn says

    I was married to one of these PA men for over 30 years. I left 5 years and my life is definitely getting better. I forgave him a long time ago. It was very difficult for me to forgive myself for staying so long. He sold my car, said I didn’t need one. Yet, he had 2 cars. One brand new, never driven and stored under a tarp. When I graduated from university and held a party for friends, he hid the liquor to try and embarrass me. I used to journal my thoughts. He went into the computer, did a cut and paste,signed my name to it and gave it to my father. He wanted to make sure no one would have anything to do with me. Tried to isolate me. Was pregnant with 1st. child. Asked if he would like to go to prenatal classes. His response, ” I have seen cows and pigs born. I don’t need to go to those classes”. 15 minutes after the 1st. child was born, he said ” well, are you done yet?” He said ” I have to go to the dentist.” He said if I ever left that I would never see the children ever again. So I stayed for 30 1/2 years. Then got out.My two sons are now just starting to realize what their father is all about. It will take time for them and me to become healthy individuals, but we are on the right road. I no longer have any thoughts about him whatsoever. It truly is a liberating feeling. Life does get better.

  16. 16

    Espe says

    Heavens ladies were we all married to the same guy??? With my first child I had a long labour that wouldn’t progress, i.e. contractions increased to 5 minutes then would stop. This went on for almost three days. On the second night, my ‘loving’ ex went to bed (as usual) and left me to it, so I finally crawled into the bath to try to ease the pain. The problems started when I tried to get out of the bath, but no matter how I tried I just couldn’t heave myself out of that bathtub. After much splashing around I finally hear his voice from the bedroom, “Darling”. Thank Heavens I thought, he is finally going to ask me how I am. In the next minute I hear, “Can you keep the noise down, I am trying to sleep”. I have told this story to many people and most of those who knew him basically look at me disbelievingly. Like many of the husbands portrayed here, he is charming and it always looked like it was I, that was the ‘crazy woman with anger issues’. This was just one example, and certainly not the worst, of many times he blatantly showed me how little he was concerned about my health or wellbeing, let alone anything that was important to me.

  17. 17

    Zazoo says

    I don’t know if I should be happy or sad that there are so many of us with so common stories. I’m still dealing with a PA Ex 11 years after we parted. I want to say more and someday I will – but right now, I just have to help our child make it to her 18th birthday with the least amount of misery for her. Just three more years and then he will reap the rotten seeds that he has sown. I want nothing to do with him and unless he is ready to really reach out to his daughter, I think she will feel the same. Of course, he will never understand that it is his own behavior causing this rejection. It is much more convenient to lay the blame on me as the source of all his misfortune. Sadly, many legal and medical professionals have fallen for his “poor pitiful me” routine. I can’t say these things around family, esp. our child, so I’m glad I can come here and release a little of my frustration. Some day I will tell you all stories that will make you laugh until you pee a little bit. Until then, Peace and Joy to you all!

  18. 18


    Zazoo, they say misery loves company but I’m not so sure in this case. The more I share, the more I hear from other women in the same boat. I’ve been divorced for 12 years, it took 11 years to get him completely out of my life. It didn’t happen until our youngest of of age. He can no longer legally do harm to the children or I. If not for that I’m sure he would still be reaching in periodically and causing some form of conflict.

    I’ve been lucky though, not even his own attorneys believed his behavior was appropriate. They didn’t mind taking his money and encouraging his bad behavior but any involved with him knew what he was.

    Please continue to rid yourself of frustration here…you will find plenty of company. Perhaps you would like to start a discussion on the new DWO community. If so click the link below and share your story there.

    DWO Community

    I think I would like to get to know you better. I laughed by way through 11 years of my ex’s antics and fill a kinship with anyone who can laugh at such insanity.

  19. 19

    Espe says

    Zazoo, I have four more years until my youngest turns eighteen, and like your daughter, mine will not want anything to do with her father if he doesnt improve the offhand way he deals with her, in fact she often doesn’t want to see him now and has talked about changeing her surname to mine. Like you, I am constantly blamed for his poor relationship with his children. My answer: ‘Why would I bother to turn the children against you, you do a much better job of that than I could ever do.’ Yet he still doesn’t understand that it is his actions that are at fault. All we can do is support our children and wait for the milestone birthday. Then we will be truly free.

  20. 20

    zazoo says

    >>My answer: ‘Why would I bother to turn the children against you, you do a much better job of that than I could ever do.’<<

    Oh that is a good one! Thanks for the laugh, Espe :-D

    Also, thanks for the encouragement, Cathy. Realizing that you are not alone is a wonderful feeling and I am grateful to see all these brave people sharing their stories. I am so glad to find this site!

    Cheers, Zazoo

  21. 21

    MD Esterhuyse says

    After being married for 17 years, feeling empty and none of my needs met, I told my husband that if I need to kick him in the butt for him to get direction, then I am doing it now. After I heard so many times how incompatible we are and that he will find himself another house, I did not expect him to suddenly become the needy child, even clinging to me before he had to go on a worktrip. I realised I was in over my head, and went to see a therapist. Only after the therapist mentioned P/A, I started to read about it and realised what is wrong. That is is not me, that there is a reason for me forever feeling that the carpet is pulled under my feet. The constant procrastination, the saying of one thing, doing something else, the way he makes a joke or tells me I am overreacting or oversensitive. In such a way that I started doubting myself, stopped being creative, stripped from energy when I am around him. We have been to a therapist 4 years ago, it went better for 6 months, then back to the old habits. I tried to talk to him, all he said was that he would be “broken” if I leave him. Now I feel broken, depleted, as if I lost myself. I have been praying for over a year for my husband and my marriage, asking that he will be happy, because I believed then we (we have 2 daughters of 9 and 16) will also be happy. I just could not take his constant moaning about his job, his life, the unfairness of it all. Nothing I said ever helped and never getting any emotional support for myself. And now I think, why would it be different this time? Now he saw my therapist yesterday and for the first time in a while it fealt like I was speaking to an adult. But a couple of hours later, he was allready doubting what the therapist said, saying he does not agree. I feel like I am distancing myself from it all, I know now I have to look after myself and my children.

  22. 22

    Zazoo says

    MD – you must have nerves of steel to have put up with PA behavior for 17 years. I understand about the self-doubt, the depletion of your energy and your creative outlets. First my ex was like a vampire sucking me dry, now that I am away from him, every interaction with him feels like a toxic spider bite. I just try to stay calm and let the poison move through and out of my system. It is him, not you. I don’t have any sage advice for you only understanding and empathy. However, I think this website is a good start to finding the appropriate perspective, I think. Keep sane inside insanity! Zazoo

  23. 23

    Sara says

    I have been married to my passive aggressive husband for the last 10 years and my life with him is an absolute nightmare. He ignores all of my needs, never touches me, sleeps in the master bedroom while I sleep with my 6 year old daughter. Either completely ignores me and my needs while acting completely innocent and unaware and everything is my fault. Or if I confront him then he will erupt and scream with the children present and call me very derogatory names.

    I am a pretty and smart woman, was very loving and gentle when I met him 15 years ago. I am hardened now, and have spent the last 15 years miserable, angry and in the worst emotional pain I knew could even exist.

    I have asked him for a divorce many times and he refuses to leave, will sometimes erupt and then leave the home only to return. I have tried to run away but we have 2 children, and my job is in this city, and I have no family here because I moved away from my city of origin for him.

    Help! How does one stay sane in a relationship like this. I became extrememly depressed in my relationship with him and ended up on antidepressants (which I never needed in the first 25 years of my life before I met him). I stopped the antidepressants a month ago because I worried about what they were doing to my health. But the real issue is what this marriage is doing to my health.

    How can I get away from my husband or get him to leave our home. I find that I can not be a good mother when I am constantly depressed and angry in this relationship.

    Thanks to the women who posted here…it is nice to know that I am not alone in this ‘crazymaking’ world. I can not tell you how many times I have been told by strangers how wonderful my husband is and what a wonderful father and husband he is. It makes me want to choke, and again makes me feel crazy and like the “bad one” because why do I constantly complain and feel miserable with this “wonderful guy.”

    I could go on and on…. When I was pregnant with twins, his passive aggression reached full force, he ignored me for days until I would go crazy and ran away to my mother who lives out of town and he would cal me and play crazy head games with me. I ended up in hospital with preeclampsia, and I was happy to be in hospital and away from the house wit him where he was driving me insane. I honestly feel like I have survived the worst trauma with him…

  24. 24

    Sarah says

    I was married to a passive aggressive man for 10 years – conversation, emotional support and sexual pleasure – it was all about him and nothing for me. After ten years of not being heard, of not being listened to even in minor day to day conversations, I went through a four day period where I got no sleep at all, I wanted to just find someone and TALK TALK TALK, because of so starved of being heard, I heard felt as if it would explode from the frustration of ten long years of being silenced -mercifully I cried at the end of those four days, it was frightening to hear myself cry that bad, it was the worst kind of bawling that you could hear from a human being, I was just so frustrated from ten long years of being silenced. I was sexually starved for ten long years and this was my twenties so my hormones were raging. I was emotionally starved for ten long years. I was starved of human touch, I am a very warm and open person, I need to be touched everyday. He hardly touched me for months and even then it was rarely with affection or intimacy. I was starved, starved of human touch. I feel WORTHLESS, I was trying very hard to make a happy life for myself but all my efforts failed, it was only after divorce when one day I read Cathy Meyer’s article that I realized that I was meant to fail, he defined his success in life by his ability to make me fail in mine.
    I am free now. But the problem is his behavior has done a number on my selfesteem – I feel absolutely worthless, I feel like I am nothing more than object that exists to serve men, by listening to their endless drivel, getting them off sexually and taking care of them emotionally, while getting ASBOLUTELY NOTHING in return. I just cant seem to get my selfesteem back. Somebody help me! How did you ladies deal with this?
    Feeling utterly worthless!

  25. 25

    JB says

    I was married to that man for almost 30 years. He would appear to care. Most people would think he is a catch…so nice, so handsome, so mannerly, so generous, such a good provider.

    Yes, he was generous in ways that showed…he bought me things he wanted me to have, but would not spend the money to finish our remodeling…our house was forever under construction..years with no kitchen. He would buy dinner out for us and all our friends, but not give me a hug, or ever initiate sex. If I initiated it in a way that was all about me wanting him, he’d oblige. If I tried a feminine way of getting things started (like being flirty or wearing something revealing) he’d ignore me or say he was not interested. It was like a slap in the face..or a slap in the heart. He would not participate if it involved him showing he was attracted to me. I started going to bed later and later because I didn’t like feeling so rejected…and then of course, it was all my fault because I went to bed so late.

    He would write beautiful things in a card a couple of times a year..all about how much he loved me and valued me. But on a daily basis, he let me know I never measured up. I used to be confident of myself, but I’ve been so worn down by this, that it’s hard to remember that I am worthy of love and respect.

    Why is it so hard to see what you are up against when you are in a marriage like that? It’s all the mixed messages I guess. The mixed messages continue now as we divorce, but since I’m no longer under the same roof with him, some of my confidence is coming back, and I can see that I am not crazy. Many of our friends think I’ve had a midlife crisis or just gone crazy because I left him. They don’t really know him. And he is so “sad” and “brokenhearted” so they feel very sorry for him….our grown kids are caught up in feeling so sorry for him too, and that’s hard for me.

  26. 26

    Zazoo says

    OMG… my daughter just returned from her day visit with her dad and told me she told him exactly how she felt – that once she’s 18, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him – IN PUBLIC – said that if she had kids, she didn’t want to bring them over to visit; that she didn’t want him at any of her big events… he flipped out… he’s been quick to blame me for her feelings so GOD KNOWS, he’s prbly out running his teeth on the curb somewhere…. I’m glad she spoke her mind, but oh man, I’m just waiting for his next move…

  27. 27

    Laura says

    After reading this article and blog, I realized the significant relationships and my marriage, were spent with passive aggressive men. I wished I had found the articles and the blogs sooner; it would have saved me from the heartache and pains of these relationships. Better late than never!!
    I am so posting the link to the articles and blog on my Facebook page. Women need to armed with knowledge.

    Thank you ladies and I wish for the best for us all.

  28. 28

    I'M OK! says

    I have been “crazy and spoilt” for 17 years. My ex husband has been afforded evey kindness and generosity but nothing changes his abuse or disatisfaction or hatred. I give him a list of dates for 4 months – to fill in his chosen times with our two beautiful children, he either doesnt commit to anything or breaks the commitments he makes and then blames me and abuses me for being controlling!. His absence is always totally justified by him – he has “work to do” – how dare I expect anything – I am so unreasonable. In fact anything I ask or suggest is totally unreasonable. Nothing I do gains any acceptance, yet I continue to try to model kindness to my children. We made a decision to move during our marriage which he totally was in favour of – now he “never wanted to move” – it was a disaster and my fault, the worst thing we ever did – he did it only because I wanted to and he “didnt want to argue”. He was regularly unfaithful but I had “nothing to be concerned about”. Am I crazy? No but I have to constantly reassure myself that I am being reasonable and fair. Its a struggle against a very powerful passive aggressive abusive man. A struggle that has often made me question my own sanity and reasonableness. These blogs are so valuable because we are on our own against all around us who see these men as amiable, loving men.
    Stay strong.
    I’M OK!

  29. 29

    Dana says

    I laughed out loud at the wet noodle analogy! That is seriously hilarious! I think it is only so funny because I have to laugh to keep from crying. I have recently come to label my hubby as “controlling/abusive” but hadn’t thought about his behavior being passive-aggressive. It is very crazy making, indeed! I am still stuck not knowing how to move on, we are still together, but have come to the realization that I am depressed and despondent because almost none of my needs are being met by the relationship. So I am in the process of identifying my needs and how to get those met, in one way or another, and not let him make me crazy in the process. I have three kiddos after all who depend on me for everything! Thanks for the laugh! It brings humor to a serious situation!

  30. 30

    lynn says

    Love the article. I had been married to mine for 20 yrs before I found out what PA is. I never thought he loved me for real. All I did for 20 yrs is try to make him love me. I almost left him s few times and 1 yr ago I almost ran off with another man. I admit I am codependant. I am still with my hubamd 21 yrs now. He is trying to work on it. He just manages it though. I know I will never have a normal marriage but I love him. Things are differant now… Also his 2 sisters are the same way and their husbands have to deal with it too. They have a dominate mother. I guess that’s why they have it.

  31. 31

    lynn says

    I would like tp add if someone young is reading this. Run for the hills!!! Get the hell outta there!!!! We had been married for 2 yrs and wpuld have left him but I was 5 months pregnant snd after that I was staying for the kids… One more thing it is so crazy making I contemplated suicide in the early yrs. Having my children saved my life. This is a big deal. I can’t understand why Doctors don’t take this more seriously. They don’t consider PA a sickness. PA is a serious sickness. I should have known about this a long time ago.

  32. 32

    Lolo Mino says

    I am in the midst of a divorce after only 5 months of marriage and a 6 month old baby. It is amazing how PA men can destroy lifes and dreams of all those around them. Like you, I ignored all the red flags, and now I am in this situation. Please give more advice on how to deal with the crazy maker ex husband relating to child´s visitations and alimony.

  33. 33

    Cindy Anderson says

    I’ve read many stories on this web site from women who suffered the same fate as I have. Right now I’m considering leaving and divorcing my husband of 26 years. Most of those years still is and was very abusive with passive aggressive behavior. The hardest thing right now is for me to leave. I really want to. I’m tired and ready to move on. It’s still hard though because we have been married since I was 17, i’m now 44 years old and it’s tough being with someone for that long just to walk away. But in the end, I know I have too for my sanity. I know it won’t be easy but I know I have to do it. Any advice would be appreciated.

  34. 34

    cate says

    I have been married to a P/A narcissist for over 25 years. The damage done is horrendous. Counseling and Psychiatry did nothing but confirm; no help on moving forward. I have so much baggage now….. 2008 attempted suicide; really felt had no reason to live. 2009 went back to him; was the absolute worst year of my entire life(had stepfather as a child who broke bones in my face; set my bed on fire)-my husband was having an affair with his ex-wife(they were friends-HA), caught him engaging in phone sex with another highschool friend; and how he twisted every single word i said to make it my fault..while i begged for the truth. He used every single weakness against me. I made it through all this; he now says he has “divorced” the ex-wife “again”(interesting-i was not aware of divorce between friends), and yes, i am the wife/mommy. There is no affection, or attention; i often ask him if he even hears one word i say. I am better now, mentally, emotionally-well, i had to see cardiologist recently- and out it slipped- “yes, my heart is broken; but YOU can’t fix this”. OMG! the emotional toll turns into the physical toll. He is now 59 and has come to the realization that he will not get his 30 something; so now i have value; if only as a servant. I do not want to be alone; but what Saint will i find, who will even attempt to get past the flinch when i am touched, or deal with the starvation of anything positive?

  35. 35

    Brita says

    sara’s story sounds like mine. 14 years in separate bedrooms and five years without sex. He thinks withholding sex bothers me, but the idea of sleeping with someone as emotionally detached as my PA husband is repulses me. He was forced to retire after 30 years with a Fortune 500 company, and makes more money with his pension than I do working full time. I mentioned in another comment that I have fibromyalgia (16 years of it), and he knew this when he met me, but he has zero sympathy for the pain and exhaustion I feel daily. While I’m working, he’s riding his $15,0000 Harley with friends or on the golf course. When we met, I was 34, beautiful and, despite the fibro, a well-adjusted woman. Now I’m constantly struggling for balance, as the slightest misstep can lead to days of the silent treatment (I usually have no idea what I did wrong). When HE is ready to talk, he’ll sit down and say, “You forgot to pay the water bill, so I had to take care of it.”. Are you kidding me? You’re the one who is home during the day, and YOU bring in the mail…you never gave me the statement. Nope, he withheld it, then used it as an excuse to make me feel incompetent. A few years ago, I had asked to work part time so I could complete my BA Degree (he already has his bachelors) said we couldn’t afford it. The other day I saw materials on his desk for an MBA program! If we divorce (WHEN we divorce), he’ll have a masters degree, a fat pension, and a six-figure IRA. I have allowed him to keep me toiling away while he prepares for his golden years. He’s already told me, “you need to save mire money, because I can’t afford to finance both our retirements, and I want to do a lot of traveling.”. It’s always “I” or “me”, never “we”. It’s all about him. I’m a sad shadow of my former self, but I get strength from reading the stories in this site; it gives me hope that I will find happiness on my own and get through this.

  36. 36

    Stuck says

    I’m not divorced and am only 3 years into my marriage. My husband has all the early signs of a passive agressive. None of my needs as a woman, wife and mother is important to him and yes, he acts innocent like he doesn’t realise what he does. I spell it out to him every time he does somethings or says something knowing it will upset me. I tell him specifically that buying food for me and then coming to me and saying… “here shove it in your face” is not appreciated. He just laughs and says don’t be so serious. Then he sits there and dictates how fast i should eat the food or drink my drink because he went to such lengths to buy it (he just walk less than 100 metres to the caffeteria). After our first born I went in to Intensive Care Unit because i lost alot of blood. He already had a list of things for me to do as soon as i got out so his plans of going back to the US was not ruined. Before my daughter was even 1 month, I was on a 17 hour flight to the US and when we got there he dragged me around all his family and friends for get togethers and drink ups. I swear I went through something cause i broke down emotionally so many times whilst i was there. That is the least of what he’s already done. I don’t believe in divorce but for some reason i can’t help but contemplate it. I feel so stuck and i still love him but he keeps making promises that he never keeps up to and tells me to deal with and get over it. He is never accountable for his actions. I just feel so STUCK and i don’t have the heart to leave because i’ll feel like i’m depriving my children of their father. I’m so glad there is a name to what he is doing and that i’m not crazy!

    Some advice would be great.. cause sometimes i think i’m just imagining what i’m feeling. I’m almost in tears every single day from something he has done. He doesn’t touch me or initiate sex till i do and he always has some excuse or reason for why he doesn’t.

    Some Help please

  37. 37

    Mary says

    This is fascinating. My story: been married for 12 years, have two kids. Husband is charismatic to the max, everyone ADORES him. However, at home he treats me with little respect. I recently got laid off and for the first time found myself being a housewife. I have no clue what to do, so I do what I think needs to be done. He actually asked me “What do you do all day?” and got SUPER mad because there was no clean underwear in his drawer (there was a bunch, folded, on the dryer that I hadn’t brought up yet). Then he makes me feel like crap because when I sit down, he starts cleaning up around me while giving me snide glances. So annoying.

  38. 38

    mellymel says

    I’m not married yet, but this artical hits home with my relationship with my fiancee/ boyfriend. He’s very very controlling. He has issues with me being in college while he only works as a machnic. And lately he’s been pressuring me to dye my hair blonde (I have nothing against blondes) so I can look more like his ex. Or he’ll talk to his buddies on the phone in spanish about me, and act all innocent when I ask him about it. But when I speak to my family back home in italy in italian on the phone he states he doesn’t like it and that I’m in america now so I should speak english (even to my oppa who doesn’t speak an ounce of english).
    My point is, should I run for the hills while I have a chance or am I just being over dramatic?

  39. 39

    trapped says

    I just found this thread while doing research on something that I heard in passing and now believe I have fallen prey to. A passive aggressive personality. My story is the same as everyone who has gone before me. Everyone thinks he is so wonderful and I look like the fool. His attacks are subtle but my reaction is explosive and of course no one sees the mountain of TNT I’m sitting on and concealing. It’s been going on for years and I’ve just realized that it’s not just me, something is really wrong. We have children and I refuse to leave them or remove them from everything they’ve ever known so I continue to suffer in this emotionally dysfunctional marriage. Your stories have helped me to put a name and “face” to the dysfunction and I can only say THANK YOU

    Mellymel, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE RUUUNNNN! we all saw the flags but heeded them way to late and now have children to consider. You must recognize the glaring flags now and it’s not to late for you, get out. The nice things he does for you is only flattery to mask the hell you will endure later. Don’t be a fool, leave now. Persue a healthier, happier, better you and wait for (or seek) a relationship that is healthy even before marriage. I hold on to the hope that such a relationship is possible. Go and find it for yourself. Good luck and best wishes to all.

  40. 40

    paulina says

    my name is Paulina, I am from USA i have been married to my husband for the past 4years, just 2months ago he left me for another woman. On my search to get him back I meant this powerful spell caster. I never believed he could help me but as a result of my frustration I decided to give him a try. it only take him three days and my husband came back begging since then i am the only woman he now sees. you can contact this spell caster via, he will save your marriage too.

  41. 41

    julie says

    this made me want to cry, i feel so trapped with my husband. he changed into this when we got engaged i thought it was a phase but it wasnt .. ive been married a yr and a half and found out 3 weeks after we were married that hed been having an affair our entire relationship with an ex. she knew all about me and us getting married. we went to councelling, he stopped going because the male counsellor wasnt siding with him. so here we are a yr later, he says i moan all the time if i ask him to do something and he doesnt do it properly. he has started not taking my calls and taking up to 3 hrs to get home from work and lying about his rota ( its on the fridge so i know his times) he works 30 hrs week i run my own business and can work up to 60 hrs a week. He comes across as the best husband, but rarly asks how my day is, shows no interest in me, my life, goes to the shop 2 or 3 times in an evening.We rarely have sex, he threw a fit the other night because i was tired, he slept downstairs. The more i read about passive aggressive ppl the more i see my own life with him and im so miserable and lonely.

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