No one understands….

So I’m a bit disappointed….My good friend, L,  called today, I’ve known her for over 35 yrs, and she knows all about me and PA Man and the issues we have…

Anyway, she has an ex that cheated on her, so of  course I confided in her  when I found out about PA Man and the Cow…

BUT things changed when she came for a visit several months ago…PA Man was his usual funny, charming self….and since then, I’ve noticed she goes quiet when I talk to her about PA Man and how lonely I feel….and lately, she’s taken to defending him!!

Today, when I was telling her about our recent trip away and how disappointed I was that we didn’t connect emotionally  and the long silences between us….She started DEFENDING PA Man!!

She said things like “Well, he’s a man, and you know how men can be.” Or “Maybe you’re expecting too much from him.”

She said more, defending him, but I won’t bore you…because if you’re here reading this you KNOW how it is living with a PA!! And my friend doesn’t want to hear about it!

But her life is pretty good right now, the ex has been gone for years, she’s raising her three older kids by herself, has a great job….why would she want to hear about MY life…I guess I don’t blame her…it’s pretty boring and depressing, isn’t it?

And now….I have no one. No one to talk to. Well, I have this blog, and my sweet online friend, Paula. But anyone here where I can talk face to face, who cares about me? No.

I’m just a bit hurt and soooo disappointed!! Am I to hard on him? Am I expecting too much? Should I just shut my mouth and not expect anything from PA Man, let him ignore me for days on end when I try to reach out to him??

We’ve been back 5 days now…and he hasn’t once asked me why I’m so quiet, why I’m not talking…the only time I’ve talked to him is when it’s necessary….and he doesn’t seem to care!

He came home from work a while ago, asked how my day was, I said “Fine” And he then asked me if I wanted to go out to dinner!

I felt like screaming “YES, I’d love to go out to dinner, but I want to go with someone who will TALK to me about our LIFE!!! NOT your work, not the orders that have come in this week, not the lives of the other employees!!”

But I said “No, thank you.” And now he’s laying on the couch, fast asleep… 6:30 in the evening. And it’s a Friday, and he’s going out of town on Monday.

Well, I guess I’ll go have a good cry, release some of my frustration, then go plant the flowers I bought today.

Have a good weekend.


33 thoughts on “No one understands….

  1. Like Madea said, she’s a leaf. I’m wondering why she’s defending him since she’s your friend. After finding out about the affair, everything throws up a red flag for me. I don’t know if I’m being paranoid or if it’s my “spidey sense” kicking in. I’ve not told anyone about H i descretion. I’m afraid that ppl will tell me to get over it since it happened so long ago. I just found out about it 28 April 14, so the news is old but the hurt for me is new.

    • Halohalo…how long ago was the affair? And how long ago it was really doesn’t matter because to you it’s like it just happened, because you just found out about it!
      And did your H confess or did you discover it?
      I’m sorry for your pain…I’ve been there, done that, and it takes at least 2-5 yrs for healing…whatever that is!
      Tell me all about it if you want…I totally understand the pain!!

      • It’s a crazy story, about 10 years ago he developed a friendship with a coworker that concerned me. They would have lunch together, she would call him to her apt to help her with something…I asked him to stop & he told me he wouldn’t. To this day, it bothered me. I felt like he was hiding something. I felt it in my gut, in my soul. For years, he told me there was nothing. At one point, he even told me, I’m not going to tell you I cheated, so you could feel better when I didn’t. I couldn’t keep feeling like that anymore, it was driving me crazy. I knew in my heart that he was holding something back. Instead of asking him to help heal me, I had to heal myself. I startedpulling away from him & our marriage. Whenever I would do this before, he ‘d start making promises to be better at this & this, to start doing this & this. The promises lasted a day or a couple weeks..then my pa hubby kicked in. I didn’t care about his promises any more.

        I don’t know what facilatated the converstion that day, but I no longer yelled, cried, or begged. I turned into myself, & he saw that no martter what he said or did, I was done waiting for him. He finally confessed to cheating on me. To a ons he had 20 years ago! We had been married 16 months & had 3 mos old daughter. He had to leave for work trip, a coworker & him, got close, ended up having a ons.

        He says that he was going to take it to his grave, but telling me has given him a new lease on being a better husband. He no longer lives with the guilt & shame. It has freed him. Am I sure that this is it, this is all that he’s told me? I’m not sure, my spidey sense is off. Would I have preferred he told me before I quit my job, moved us to another country, and also 3 mos pregnant with our 4 th child, yes!

  2. L just can’t understand the nuances. She was married to a creep, and outright-in-your-face serial cheating scumbag. Your husband is subtle, and it makes no sense to her. Some of us understand, it’s just that the majority don’t. But, you are not alone. Disappointment, yes, but unless you’ve lived some of this, you can’t possibly understand.

    • What you say makes sense….but I guess because she KNOWS me, has known me for years…knows that I’m not a whiny little crybaby and knows the pain I’ve been in…well, I expected more compassion from her.
      I’ve already distanced myself from another friend, D, who’s first H cheated on her….When she told me that there is NO WAY I can compare what her H did, he had a sexual affair, and PA Mans emotional affair…that they are totally different!
      And yes, they are to some degree…but the pain and sting of betrayal are the same, darn it!
      And it’s not even about the EA anymore…it’s the passive aggressive behavior that is causing the hurt and the loneliness now and yes, they aren’t living it, so how can they understand it?
      Thanks for helping me to see that HRC! 🙂

  3. I am on my own and sometimes romanticize having a man here. Then I bring myself back to the reality of what it was like. Bad marriages are like child birth – hurtful and painful while you’re in them and then after a few years alone you kind of forget the pain, especially if you miss companionship (I don’t yet). I don’t like living in poverty and sometimes think how nice it was not to worry about money and then I remember how awful my peace of mind was, how dreadful it was being with somebody who didn’t like me or respect me as a woman, partner or mother, or even a human if truth be told. It is possible your friend is missing a man and has forgotten how bad it feels to be in a bad marriage. All I can say is I could never go back to the way I felt with him. I’d rather live in a tent than have that level of dismissal aimed at me daily. Having a cheater she may not have gotten that on a daily basis. Whatever the reason – it is safe to say she hasn’t lived your experience or she has forgotten what it is like.

    • Bronze….if PA Man and I do divorce, I have NO interest in another relationship! I’ve been on my own for long enough to know that I don’t need it…I’m happy by myself, with my kids, friends and church!
      And yes you’re probably right…L has forgotten how it is to live with the insecurities and pain….BTW, I do believe her H was PA…from what I remember anyway…and it’s been 12 yrs since their divorce, and he has seen his kids maybe 6-8 times??
      He not only abandoned L, he abandoned his kids!!

  4. I just stumbled on to your blog from another blog while searching ‘passive aggressive husband’. Sad to say I’m a member of the ‘club’. And this post spoke to me because I’ve experienced the same thing and was left feeling hurt and betrayed by someone that I thought was a great friend when she defended my PAH’s behavior. It intensifies the loneliness even more when you realize you have no one to talk to because people truly don’t understand the craziness when they don’t live in that world. It is reassuring to read what other wives have shared to know that I’m not the only one that feels like I’ve lost myself along the way.

    20 years of living with a PAH has shut down the joy, creativity and passion for life I used to feel. It DOES numb you as a coping mechanism and shut down your emotions. I miss the old me…the optimistic, glass half-full kind of person I was when I met this man. I think we all read and empathize with every woman living with PA, seeking validation for the craziness we feel. I’ve read all the signs and symptoms of PA and find that some fit my PAH and some don’t. But the commonality seems to be the lack of emotional connection. The feeling that you don’t matter and you are no more important to him than a colleague at work. And his “I didn’t pay attention” excuses just seem to confirm that he’s not tuning in.

    To save my own sanity, I mentally checked out 10 years ago. I’m still here physically but my spirit is gone. The first 10 years was an emotional roller-coaster and I couldn’t continue to let the constant stress take it’s toll on my mind and body. There doesn’t seem to be as much of a roller-coaster ride now because I don’t react to the craziness anymore. I’ve basically flat-lined. It’s a sad, sad way to live. Over the years, six different marriage therapists didn’t make a difference so I finally resigned myself to the fact that he is not willing to work on his PA behavior. There are days I wish I could go back 10 years when I was ready to leave…when I still had some ‘spunk’ left in me, but we still had small children at home and couldn’t make myself split up our family just because I wasn’t happy. Now that both our children have left home for college, I should leave, but I’m just too exhausted (and old) to get excited about starting a new life.

    He fits all the descriptions I’ve read about – everyone thinks he’s a wonderful person, deacon of the church, will give you the shirt-off-his-back kind of man, but it all fits his goal of looking good to everyone. Like when he jumps up to be helpful when we have company over like it’s a common thing. HA! If people only knew. It’s all about appearances, isn’t it? I almost laugh in people’s faces when they go on and on about how giving he is, what a wonderful father he is, etc. etc. He does have some wonderful attributes as a person, but fails miserably as a husband. He is happy to live in his ‘clueless’ world because that excuses him from being held accountable.

    I hope you don’t mind that I wrote a small book for a simple comment. I’ve held everything in for so long, it just came pouring out.

    • Rocky road….I certainly don’t mind hearing from you AT ALL! Write as much and as often you want! We all need to support each other!
      I trying to check out emotionally also…it’s the only way to stay sane, but I’m finding it really hard! :/
      PA Man has no empathy, but if have TONS of empathy for him! I see the hurt little boy, growing up in the home with the alcoholic, cheating passive aggressive father and emotionally absent mother…and I keep thinking that I can help him, if I’m just patient and loving enough, he will see it and change. Huge sigh….
      After Dday I read so many books on affair recovery that I burned out….but I’ve read on several blogs about Scott Wetzlers book, “Living with the Passive Aggressive Man” and even though I thought maybe I should read it…I just wouldn’t buy it, after all, the affair recovey books hadn’t really helped us, right??
      But last night I bought it for my Kindle and started reading it….and I have to admit, it’s been pretty eye opening for me so far! I’m hoping that after reading this book and doing what the author suggest it will make a difference in our lives…if not, then I can say that I’ve tried everything I can, and if the marriage fails, it’s on HIM, not me!

      Anyway, what you wrote here..
      “He fits all the descriptions I’ve read about – everyone thinks he’s a wonderful person, deacon of the church, will give you the shirt-off-his-back kind of man, but it all fits his goal of looking good to everyone. Like when he jumps up to be helpful when we have company over like it’s a common thing. HA! If people only knew. It’s all about appearances, isn’t it? I almost laugh in people’s faces when they go on and on about how giving he is, what a wonderful father he is, etc. etc. He does have some wonderful attributes as a person, but fails miserably as a husband. He is happy to live in his ‘clueless’ world because that excuses him from being held accountable.”

      OMG!! You just wrote about PA Man!!! I’ve actually had an older lady at our new church tap me on the shoulder and ask me “Are you two newlyweds?” And when I laughed and said “No, we’ve been married for 27 yrs!” She responded with” Oh, well you two seem so in love I thought maybe you were!” WHAT!!!??????
      Guess I’d better head to Hollywood….my acting career is waiting!! 😮

      Rocky Road, I wanted to also find out….what did those therapists say?
      Were they fooled by him, or did they call him on his PA behavior? Did you just stop going, or did they tell you it was useless for him to continue if he’s not willing to make a change?

    • Rocky Road, I could cry reading your story.

      “There are days I wish I could go back 10 years when I was ready to leave…when I still had some ‘spunk’ left in me…everyone thinks he’s a wonderful person…He does have some wonderful attributes as a person, but fails miserably as a husband… He didn’t feel threatened going to couples therapy because none of the therapists were challenging him, but then nothing was getting resolved either… I finally sat down with him myself, armed with printed information I had found online and we seemed to have a break-thru for a while. At least we were both aware of PA behavior at that point… My analogy was he wasn’t capable of giving me something he didn’t have. I mean if a person was in a wheelchair you couldn’t get mad because they didn’t get up and walk… I waited and waited for him to once again “get it” but he resisted with his tried and true ‘clueless’ defense… He showed me how completely cold and void of feeling he is capable of… ”

      All of that… has been my life as well. I’ve also used and struggled internally with the wheel chair analogy. Going to therapy and watching him charm and disarm the counselor. Watching the therapist or counselor baby and pamper him in sessions, while I’m sitting there quietly bleeding and desperate for help. Seeing and experiencing his times of enlightenment, hearing him say he saw it and telling me he wanted to change, and experiencing changed behaviors, albeit temporary and inconsistent. But as you also said, showing me the coldness and detachment he’s also capable of.

      “How do you make an emotional connection with a man who doesn’t seem to have any emotions?”

      I’m coming to the place where I don’t believe that I can.

      “And does it feel like you’re living with a defiant teenager most of the time?”

      Utterly depleting and exhausting.

      “Is there any way to recapture the joy for life you once had?”

      I want with all my might to find out.

      “Has anyone actually had any lasting positive results from couples therapy?”

      Not that I know of.

  5. Halohalo…..there no reply button to your post so I’m replying here…Well, I’m soooo happy your husband feels so free and no more guilt! How wonderful for him!
    But what he’s now done is put all his guilt right on YOUR shoulders, for you to carry around and deal with!! What a load of crap!
    A selfish, steaming pile of manure!!
    And since he’s PA…you can be sure he won’t help you deal with it! You are on your own Halohalo, he’s now guilt free and feeling so much better…too bad the long, hard journey is just beginning for you!
    I recommend this blog for you It’s fantastic!

    • You know, I waver between numbness & overwhelming with emotion. Some days, okay lately almost every day, I struggle to get out of bed, between my morning sickness, isolation, & desolation, I feel weighted down. He apologizes every single day, tells me he loves me several times a day, but he’s always been very demonstrative. In fact, I too have friends who absolutely tells me how wonderful he is. The thing is, he didn’t always help, wasn’t always nice to me, so what to do with all of this. I was hurting before he told me, now I’m hurting after, but now I know….but do I know it all? I have read Chump Lady’s blog, love her responses.

      • Halohalo…so let me get this straight….he confesses to a ONS from 20 years ago….and yet, the OW from 10 yrs ago…he still maintains that there was nothing there??
        And now you’re 3 mos pregnant and living in another country? Wow…that’s a lot to deal with!! I’m am sooo sorry!!
        You know…blog here as much as you want, you won’t feel quite so alone….also, counseling…find yourself a GOOD counselor, someone you can talk to and share the anger and pain that you feel!
        And if you don’t like that counselor, then find another!
        Again….I’m so sorry…and unfortunately, your PAH won’t be there for you. If he’s like most PAs… 😦

  6. Lonelywife07: Thanks for your kind words. My spidey sense is on it, we talked some more last night. It WASN’T a ons, a was a full on relationship! He also confessed to being propositioned by several ow coworkers while away for work. My thing is, if someone is propositioning you, then they feel comfortable with you….why are they that comfortable? I feel like my BP was thru the roof last night trying to get all this from him, listening to the details, hearing him thinking of his AP years after…..

    • Crap, I’m up to 11 ow since last night. I feel like I’m being punked except I look like crap from sobbing, so I can’t be on tv. Every time he opens his mouth, I think he’s going to admit to another ow.

      • Oh my word!! Halohalo….I am sooo sorry! It sounds like you have a Serial cheater on your hands! 11 OW??? Seriously?? Two words for you…Chump lady! Google it! Sooo much sound advice is on her blog!! Please let us know how you’re doing! ((Hugs))

      • I cannot imagine your nightmare, but I can imagine the sick numbness. I hope you find allies, support, and strength to set a plan into motion to leave him. He sounds like the kind of man who will never stop these behaviors, and you and your kids deserve to have a full and safe life. I don’t think that would ever be with him.

  7. Lonely – I’m so sorry I’ve taken so long to respond. I just came back to the site and found your reply. To answer your question about the therapists… The first few we saw never touched on the PA personality. At the time it was early into our marriage and I wasn’t aware there was a name for what was going on. I had 2 babies within the first 2 years we were married, so I was very hormonal during that time. But even still, things never felt ‘normal’ with his behavior. I guess that should’ve been a huge red flag that less than 2 years into our marriage, we were already seeing a therapist!

    The one thing that was going on during therapy then that I was completely frustrated with, was the fact the only ‘problems’ my hubby ever wanted to discuss was work related (we have a contracting business) and the therapists let him slide with it and didn’t redirect the topic back to our actual dysfunctional marriage. Over a span of 10 years I would guess we saw 5 different therapists. (The details have become a little fuzzy) He didn’t feel threatened going to couples therapy because none of the therapists were challenging him, but then nothing was getting resolved either. Finally my ex-SIL told me his behavior was ‘passive aggressive’ and I researched it on my own. I told the current therapist what I had learned and asked her to address it when he was there. (He wasn’t always there for each appt) The next appt she never once brought it up, so I never made another appt to go back. Considering her constant advice to me was ‘Let it go”, I didn’t feel like her brand of therapy was helpful anyway.

    I finally sat down with him myself, armed with printed information I had found online and we seemed to have a break-thru for a while. At least we were both aware of PA behavior at that point. He flipped a switch for about 5 months and became a real husband. All my frustrations and resentment started melting away and I actually fell in love with him all over again. There came the day we had a conflict and the switch flipped back. That was even more devastating to me than all the years before. Because he had shown me he WAS capable of having a real connection with me… he chose not to! His excuse was he had no idea what he was doing different that entire 5 months. I mean there’s something sick about having to explain plain simple human compassion to the person you share your life with.

    I think some time passed and I sought out help again. This time with a lady at a church my ex-SIL recommended. She was very familiar with PA and finally asked me to bring him in with me. She was very non-confrontational but addressed issues directly and didn’t let him wiggle out of being held accountable. I felt we were making progress because she was making valid points that were getting thru to him. Most of all, she was giving me insight and direction on how to handle situations when they came up. Basically it boiled down to the mindset of dealing with a defiant child. Ha! But then sadly she moved away to another town. I think that was about the time I had convinced myself that I was expecting something from him that I would never get — ownership of the marriage and any type of emotional bond. My analogy was he wasn’t capable of giving me something he didn’t have. I mean if a person was in a wheelchair you couldn’t get mad because they didn’t get up and walk. Yes, I know how crazy that sounds, but all the women in our situation understand crazy!

    I waited and waited for him to once again “get it” but he resisted with his tried and true ‘clueless’ defense. So, I detached so completely, I don’t react and act out his anger for him anymore! The positive side of this is there is less conflict between us. The negative side is there is absolutely no connection between us. It is a very lonely way to live!! On the flip side of that HE shut down completely and there we were – stuck in that for years! He showed me how completely cold and void of feeling he is capable of.

    It’s been such a relief to find there are other wives out there who DO understand what it’s like to live in PA land. There seems to be different degrees of the abuse, but the commonality seems to be the same result of crazy-making. And it’s something you can’t possibly understand unless you live it. I had an ex who physically beat me and people didn’t have a problem understanding that, because there is physical proof, but very rarely do people understand or believe there is damage in emotional abuse.

    I’ve gone and written another rambling comment! ha! But I do have a few questions I’d like to pose in case anyone is still reading. How do you make an emotional connection with a man who doesn’t seem to have any emotions? And does it feel like you’re living with a defiant teenager most of the time? The last therapist explained the dynamics that created the PA personality seems to stop time for the PA person so they are mentally stuck in their childhood… which explains the juvenile behavior. (that was an a-ha moment for my PAH) Is there any way to recapture the joy for life you once had? Has anyone actually had any lasting positive results from couples therapy?

    Lonely – I d/l a kindle book that was pretty good – The Silent Marriage: How Passive Aggression Steals Your Happiness (The Complete Guide to Passive Aggression). I highlighted some points in case PAH and I ever do revisit the PA discussions. We only have surface discussions anymore. We don’t discuss our relationship anymore since it only leads to more fighting.

    • Rocky Road…I don’t see how you CAN have an emotional connection with a person who doesn’t want it…it’s just not possible!
      I mean, seriously, if you were to meet and become friends with your spouse, and he treated you like he treats you now….you’d end the friendship because no one likes being treated this way…unfortunately for us, in the beginning they DONT treat us badly or not enough that we can see it… we get suckered in!
      My problem is…how do you have a good relationship with someone you’re detached from?
      I really don’t want to be around PA Man most of the time…he goes out of town a lot on business trips and I LOVE it!
      Actually, my boys and I really like it when he’s gone….not that he’s a problem when he’s home…he pretty much ignores us…but it just seems like the elephant is out of the room, if that makes sense?
      And YES on surface discussions….that’s exactly what I call it!
      And YES, trying to talk about US and about MY fears, only leads to fighting and me not being “nice”….so why bother?
      I’m so over this PA crap!!
      I’ll check out the book you recommended….right now I’m reading Living with a Passive Aggressive Man by Scott Wetzler…it’s pretty good!

      • “you’d end the friendship because no one likes being treated this way…unfortunately for us, in the beginning they DONT treat us badly or not enough that we can see it… we get suckered in!”


  8. Rockyroad-i’m a few days late here in answering your question but I would still like to respond. My PAH and I have been to 4 counselors. Two were male pastors, two were women therapist. One of the pastors was licensed as a therapist as well, the other was not. We went to unlicensed pastor and it didn’t help at all. He showed me a scripture in the Bible where I had to forgive or God would not forgive me. We went home, I forgave him but nothing changed. My spouse was not held accountable at all in the session, the pastor didn’t talk to him at all, he only told me I had to forgive. The next pastor said he could not help us, we was not a good fit for him. One of the lady therapist was really doing a great job in addressing the issues directly and not allow him to be vague and go around them. After a couple of months he said he didn’t want to go because she was picking on him. The other therapist was totally impressed with his words of which no action was taken on his part to back up those words. So I didn’t want to ge back to see her. So I really don’t think couples councelling will work with a PA because the behavior is abusive and couples counceling won’t work both spouses with abuse is an issue. The PA spouse has to work on themselves and change their behavior before couples councelling will work.

    • Married….most therapists, IMO, just don’t get it! You know how charming our PA husbands can be…you would THINK they would see through it all…but they don’t and I’m very surprised by it, to be honest!
      When PA Man and I went to counseling…a grand total of three times before he quit…it was with the same therapist that PA Man had gone to the year before…he quit after 3 times then also!
      Anyway, in hindsight, it was a mistake going to the same therapist…we should have started with a new therapist because I felt that Richard was on PA Mans side quite a bit…and I guess because they had a past history, he felt “bonded” with him??
      Anyway, when I told Richard that I felt PA Man was PA, his only response was “Really?” And he then looked at PA Man and asked him, “So do you think you’re PA” and PA Man said ” Yes” and that was it….he don’t say another word about it…except in one heated conversation he said, “Well, you BOTH are being very aggressive right now!”
      What the heck?? Well OF COURSE I was being aggressive, you moron! PA Man was sitting there, spewing a pack of lies, and you want me to be calm??
      I’ve been cheated on, betrayed and lied to….and I’m supposed to be CALM when he’s sitting in a therapists office, lying again??? Grrrrr!!

      And in session two, after I said something, don’t remember what it was, Richard said, “Whoa, that was a very aggressive statement, you just hit him like a Mack truck!”
      And wouldn’t you know….I heard about that for two freaking weeks, up until out next appt.!
      Every time we would argue, PA Man would say, “Well, that was like hitting me with a Mack truck!”
      He couldn’t remember anything else Richard said, like “Take your wife out on a date, get her away from the house and let her talk, let her feel close to you” or “Your wife wants what you gave to the OW, bonding and understanding, you have to give her that!”
      Oh NO, of course not!!! He remembered that Mack truck statement and when I told Richard how he’d been hitting me with that, for the entire 2 weeks between appointments, Richard didn’t say ANYTHING!!!
      Right them and there I knew I couldn’t count on him to help us!! So when PA Man said he wasn’t going back after the third appt. I was kinda relieved to be honest…I would have preferred to find another therapist, but that didn’t happen!

      Oh. And you’ll love this…just LAST WEEK when we were having a small disagreement, PA Man threw that Mack truck statement in my face once again!! I couldn’t believe it!
      My response was, “Really PA Man? Out of EVERYTHING Richard told you….how you needed to open up to me, take me on dates so we could have time to talk, give me the VERY same attention you gave the FAT COW…seriously, you remember THAT line about the Mack truck???” And I just shook my head….and PA Man tucked his cowardly tail between his legs and went upstairs…never to be heard from for the rest of the night!
      I suppose in his PA brain, I had been “verbally abusive!” LOL!!!

      Ohhhh, and one other thing Richard did say that I totally agree with…he said that MOST Pastors aren’t equipped with deal with marriage counseling, as he had worked in a church, on a counseling staff, before becoming a registered marriage counselor!!
      And I have found this to be sooooo true!! I have been to TWO different pastors…both of them have let me down!
      The first one I didn’t know, I called the church and asked if they had anyone who did counseling, and made an appointment….this was before I knew that PA Man was PA…anyway, we talked about the affair and he told me, “Well, this is just a “small” blip on a 25 yr marriage, and you KNOW what God wants you to do, right?”
      Oh yes, I know God wants me to forgive him….so I tried and I tried and I tried! Except PA Man did NOTHING to earn my forgiveness….and I’m sorry, but I’m not one of those people who automatically give respect and forgiveness….when you’ve tossed both aside like they are nothing, then in my book, you HAVE to earn then back!!
      Otherwise, people will treat you like crap, hurt you, and then say, “Ahhhh, but you HAVE to forgive me, now don’t you??!!” Ummmm….NO!!! Not at all!!
      The second pastor was a friend. Someone PA Man said he feels like he can talk to…so I went to J and told him everything, this after PA Man had PROMISED he’d meet with J and tell him what he’d done and ask for his help….and he never did!
      So in January, I bared my heart and soul to J, exposed “our family secrets” and he said he’d call PA Man and meet with him….and they did, twice, until PA Man stopped responding to J’s text messages, asking when they could meet again…..and the sad thing is, J sees PA Man every Sunday at church, and never, to the best of MY knowledge, has he asked him about meeting again, or how it’s been going…and J has never approached me since January, asking me how I am, how things are at home….nothing.
      I feel totally let down by him, and I now realize I should have kept my mouth shut…and BTW, my oldest son is good friends with J, he assists him in ministry at our church and before I had ever said anything to J my son had told him that he doesn’t have a good relationship with PA Man, that his dad isn’t close to any of his brothers……so J KNOWS there are issues in the fam….and he ignores it because he isn’t equipped to deal with it!

      Anyway, does anyone know of a success story where a PA actually went to counseling and became a different person?? I’ve searched the web and can’t find one success story!! Not one!!!
      So for me, counseling is a waste of time and money…and getting our hope up, so we can continually crash and burn!! No thanks!

      • Lonely – this is a site I found years ago when I was first researching PA. It was very eye-opening when I had a lot to learn back then. There is quite a bit of info and at that time there was a ‘success story’! I haven’t been back there in years so I don’t know how that turned out. There was a link on the side titled ‘success story’ or something like that, but I don’t know how buried it might be on this site.

  9. Married- I agree the PAH has to acknowledge there is a problem with his behavior much like an alcoholic has to admit they have a drinking problem. Too bad there’s not a support group for PA spouses like Al-Anon. My PAH finally admitted he saw his behavior in the information about PA, but eventually determined he “wasn’t that bad” and shut the door.

    • Rocky Road….I think the reason there isn’t a support group for those of us living this “life” is because most people don’t realize just how emotionally destructive it really is!
      Like you stated….if there is physical abuse, bruises and cuts that people can see….they will be there to support you and tell you to GET OUT….but emotional abuse?
      We are told to change ourselves, to become “emotionally detached” from the marriage!
      Well, how in the heck do you do that and survive and be happy in the relationship??
      I WANT to have an emotional connection with my spouse…that’s what marriage is all about…knowing he’ll be there to support me in times of trouble, or when I feel sadness and fear because of HIS emotional affair or just when I feel like crying because the stress of dealing with a kid with OCD and high anxiety, or help out with the homeschooling, etc….BUT I know I can’t depend on him…so I’m left on my own to deal with it all.
      Yes, this is a “happy” marriage….when I have to leave the house and drive up the road and park in a quiet area so I can have a “crying cleanse” and then going back home and pretend like I’m fine…acting HAPPY so PA Man feels that all is right in the world…and it is….in HIS world!!
      This is no way to live….married but feeling so alone. No way to live at all.

      • “We are told to change ourselves, to become “emotionally detached” from the marriage!
        Well, how in the heck do you do that and survive and be happy in the relationship??”

        It’s also beyond ironic to hear that advice from Christians. They ignore the truth that God divorced his own people in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, said He would spit us out of His mouth if we were lukewarm. What is more lukewarm than a passive aggressive husband?

  10. Lonely – I hope you don’t mind that I am posting this here. I found it to be a perfect summary of what is so hard to explain. It is from:

    THE TRAP…..
    Passive-Aggressive Helping Hand

    Below is an excerpt from the book “EMOTIONAL UNAVAILABILITY” by Bryn C. Collins. I have often referred to this book in the posts, especially the introduction, which I feel explains the hows and whys of these relationships better than any other resource I have ever come across… Please refer to the book for more …

    “Imagine this: You’ve been invited to a party, but you realize on the day you’re pretty sure the party is happening that your not sure what kind of party it is or what time you should arrive. Well, you’re smart and you’ll give it your best shot.. So you dress in a kind of neutral casual-dressy style and show up at seven.

    As you come up the walk, you can hear the sounds of a party: music, laughter and you think, “This is going to be a great party.” When you come up the stairs you can smell aromas coming from the house and again you say to yourself, “This is going to be a great party.”

    You ring the bell and your host emerges wearing a bemused, enigmatic smile… and a tuxedo.

    “You’re late,” he says. “I’m sorry. You didn’t tell me what time the party was.” “I thought you would figure it out” he says. “Well I am here now” you say. Your host looks you up and down. “That may be true, but you are not dressed properly.” You look down at your elegant, if casual, clothing and then at his black-tie formal wear. “Yes, that’s true. But I’m not that far from home. I can just go and change quickly and be right back.”

    You desperately think about what’s in your closet that would fit with formal wear and how long it will take to press it. You add up the travel time, wonder what you’ll have to do to your hair to look right, how to change your make-up…. after all this still seems like it’ll be a great party……

    Your host shakes his head. “But then you’ll be really late.” Dinner will be over and I was COUNTING on you to sit right beside me at the head table.”

    Your heart sinks. Your one chance and you blew it! Inside your head, you say several unflattering things about yourself, your abilities, your intelligence, and your potential, but out loud you declare, “Honest, I’ll be back in 45 minutes. I’ll be perfect. Can’t you wait? You cannot imagine how you’ll be back, but you want so badly to be the guest of honor.

    Your host shakes his head. “Well, I don’t know. But what are you planning to bring to contribute to the dinner? I’ve told you how much I like those special, individual nineteen-layer cakes you bake. I thought you’d know to bring one for every guest.”

    Behind him you can still hear the laughter and the music; you can still smell the exotic foods, and you can still see the champagne in his glass. And you still think it’s the greatest party ever and you still want to be the guest of honor.

    That is what an emotionally unavailable relationship FEELS like. You’re just never quite good enough to get admitted to the party. You get seduced by the clear, often indirect and unspoken, message that something is just a little wrong. If you can fix that, the implied promise goes, you’ll be the guest of honor and win the door prize: love…

    But when you “fix” what was “wrong” the first time, something else is a little “wrong.” and when you fix that, something else will appear.

    Your host HAS NO INTENTION OF MAKING YOU or ANYONE the guest of honor. Your host also has NO ABILITY to make you the guest of honor – or even to open the door to let you in. Your host is suffering form emotional unavailability. This is the inability of a person to reach out and make a heart connection with another person.

    What is so unsettling and painful is that you end up with the CLEAR belief that this somehow YOUR fault and that it’s YOUR responsibility to fix it by being perfect. If it isn’t fixed, you’re not perfect enough.


    You say to yourself that you would never get caught in a situation like that, it seems obvious… until – you are in the middle of it….. IT DOESN’T START OUT WITH UNREASONABLE DEMANDS of perfection. If it did, you’d walk away after the first five minutes. We all get sucked into emotionally unavailable situations because the process is subtle and progressive. The demands move a little at a time, inching you away from your power base, shifting control of the situation to the emotionally unavailable person. This person doesn’t want love as much as he or she wants CONTROL. Emotions are unsafe; control gives the illusion of safety.

    It is perfectly reasonable to expect an emotional connection with someone with whom you are in a relationship. We expect police officers to enforce the laws, teachers to teach, etc.. These expectations put us into a particular mind-set when we’re around those people.

    Over time you expect a relationship to grow and deepen. When your partner turns out not to be making an emotional connection, it causes trauma; THAT IS WHY THESE RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO PAINFUL. The trauma then does further damage as it undermines your expectations about yourself and YOUR abilities to make connections. As illogical as that may seem, it’s human nature to look for the flaws in ourselves when things don’t go as we expect. We end up being traumatized twice in these relationships; once by the loss and abandonment and again by the loss of our own confidence in ourselves. That is why the end of these relationships can be so much more painful than the end of a fully realized relationship.. We ruminate about what we could have done differently to make it work….”

  11. There are so many comments I want to reply to here! I want to say first that the opening post’s statement about people not understanding is so true. I guess it’s possible that someone out there can understand without experiencing it up close and personal, but I’m skeptical. My experience for over three decades is that unless someone is or has been the ongoing direct target to be resisted by someone who is a hardwired passive aggressive, they won’t ‘get it’.

    Another thing that I’m observing is that the vast majority of people who aren’t (or haven’t been) in an abusive relationship just don’t understand why women don’t leave. Whether women are in a relationship with a man who’s physically abusive, overtly verbally and emotionally abusive, sexually, or financially etc., it enmeshes and binds them to their abuser in a myriad of ways that an outsider will not understand.

    The part that had to hurt with your friend was… she’s supposed to be your friend, and she’s apparently either forgetting, or wants to compare suffering, or somehow distance herself. I’m guessing she wants to forget her own pain, and so that means by default that yours will be diminished.

    Whatever her reasons are, it hurts so much when someone that you’ve considered a friend sympathizes with the man who hurts you. As far as her defending your husband, I’d bet most of us have not only experienced it, but felt like melting down when forced to observe it.

    • You are so right, PJ…I don’t tell L anything about my marriage anymore! It’s caused me to pull away from the relationship…it’s not what I want for our friendship, but I can’t deal with her not caring enough about me to not check in with me and ask how I’M doing!
      Just last week she called and told me about someone that we both knew many years ago, but haven’t seen or talked to in over 35 years…this woman is in very bad shape physically,has four young children and she was telling me that SHE has “real” problems…and basically letting me know that my issues with PA Man are very small in comparison and that’s the way I should look at it…she even started crying when talking about this person….someone she has had no contact with for over 35 yrs!!! Huh??
      I mean, I really do feel bad for this lady…would I want to be living her life? No, of course not…but that doesn’t take away from what is happening in MY life!
      And yes, maybe it brings back bad memories for L, and she wants to avoid the pain of those memories…who knows??

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