The 1-2-3’s of Passive Aggressive Behavior

A few thoughts on life with a passive aggressive….

“He can’t be alone and live without a woman in his life, but can’t be with a partner emotionally. He’s caught in a Catch 22–wanting affection but avoiding it because he fears it as his destruction. He resents feeling dependent on the woman so must keep her off guard. He makes his partner feel like a nothing through his neglect or irritability but he keeps her around because he needs her. His script is ‘Be here for me, but don’t come too close and don’t burden me with your needs or expectations.’

Yes. This describes PA Man perfectly! As soon as I start to talk about us, our marriage, his PA behavior….he closes his eyes and won’t look at me…it really does remind me of the childhood game of Peek A Boo…which is rather appropriate since he is a Man-Child.

“The man with passive aggressive actions is a master in getting his partner to doubt herself and feel guilty for questioning or confronting him. He encourages her to fall for his apologies, accept his excuses and focus on his charm rather than deal with the issue directly. He blames her for creating the problem and keeps her focused on her anger rather than his own ineptitude. When backed into a corner, he may explode and switch to aggressiveaggressive behavior then switch back to passivity. He keeps his partner held hostage by the hope that he will change. He may appease her and clean up his act after a blow up for several weeks, then it’s back to business as usual.”

Yes, PA Man is really good at this, in fact, he’s a master at this game! I’ve been addicted to Hopeium for a long time, and PA Man has been my “dealer!” But I’ve been “clean” for several weeks now…and I’m not going back! No more Hope-ium for me!

“The man with passive aggressive behavior needs someone to be the object of his hidden hostility. He needs an adversary whose expectations and demands he can resist as he plays out the dance he learned from his parents. He chooses a woman who will agree to be on the receiving end of his disowned anger. He resists her in small ways setting up a pattern of frustration so that she gets to express the anger that he cannot.”

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! I am his adversary….I’ve known this for awhile now…and to be honest, it does scare me! At times, I’ve seen the deep anger he has towards me..then he covers it up so fast, I wonder if I’ve imagined it!! But it’s there…just hidden deep inside waiting to reveal itself.

“He uses vague language to sandbag the partner. Inconsistency and ambiguity are his tools of choice. He withholds information and has a hidden agenda. He can’t take criticism and makes excuses to get himself off the hook. He sulks and uses silence when confronted about his inability to live up to his promises, obligations or responsibilities. When he doesn’t follow through, he puts the blame on his partner so he doesn’t have to take it and accuses her of having the problem.”

The silence….the sulky, brooding silence…I’m VERY familiar with this. And the blame…it’s ALWAYS my fault, or he has an excuse for why it’s NOT his fault. And if I say anything negative, even constructive criticism, well, LOL….that doesn’t go over very well at all!

“You are not seen as a person with feelings and needs. They care for you the way they care for a favorite pair of slippers or an old easy-chair. You are there for their comfort and pleasure and are of use as long as you fill their needs. The sad thing is, they can sweet talk you, know all the right things to say, to make you believe that you are loved and adored by a someone who is completely unable to form an emotional connection with anyone.”

This is sad but true. I feel so alone in my marriage, and PA Man knows this! We have NO emotional connection at all…and he’s content with this. It makes him feel safe.

He doesn’t care how I feel, he’s made that very obvious by his actions, and I have learned to watch his actions, I no longer listen to his words….because his words lie.











9 thoughts on “The 1-2-3’s of Passive Aggressive Behavior

  1. The information in this post is an excellent description of pa men and our purpose in their lives. I would highlight and bold just about the whole thing if I had this printed out. I have seen the pleasure and the relief come over his face when I would lose my temper, using me as a vehicle to express that deep hostility he buries under the calm exterior of which he is so proud. I have also seen – though very rarely – the profound contempt he has for me when I have exposed him. This isn’t marriage. This isn’t love. It never was. It was a pathological melodrama being played out from day one. And now I know.

    Good for you. It is a crucial lesson to get to that point where we assess our situations, especially with them, by actions, not words. Hang in there!

    • Seeing the Light….I just cannot understand the PA mind!! Nothing gets through to them…it’s sooo weird! Yelling, cursing, talking sweet, being calm…nothing penetrates!
      PA Man lives his life day by day…no thoughts for the past or the future!
      I hate it! These days I’m staying very calm…I’m CHOOSING to be happy! I’m not letting PA Man steal MY happiness any longer!!
      I’m going to write a post about it this week!

      • lonelywife, consider yourself healthy if you can’t understand the PA mind. You are spot on. Nothing gets through. “Yelling, cursing, talking sweet, being calm…nothing penetrates!” Yes. These words of yours reminded me of something I read a few weeks ago in my old journals. After less than six months of marriage, I was journaling about jumping around from one approach to another to have a relationship with him and nothing would work. I was trying to change my whole personality to find something he could engage. It was really eroding my identity. And it didn’t get any better over the years. It is such a waste of precious energy. I’m glad you are choosing not to let him steal any more of your happiness. I can’t wait to read your post!

  2. Seeing the Light…6 months after marriage?? Oh my gosh! That’s awful! Did he sucker you into marriage then change into PA mode afterwards??
    Looking back now, I can see the PA signs that PA Man was throwing out before we married….but I was young and foolish, with stars in my eyes…I truly wish I would have left him after the first affair, 2 yrs in…I should have known better! But I had a young baby…and divorce wasn’t the norm in my family…so I stayed with it…sigh…

    • Yes, I think it would be fair to say that there was “sucker”ing going on. I was so young and foolish, too. He really knew how to say the right things to hook me. He had me convinced he had survived this difficult childhood pretty well intact and that he had completely surrendered to God and God had healed his anger issues. Translation: now he was burying his hostility and looking for someone to sabotage in sneaky, subtle ways to take out the anger he couldn’t express anymore and still believe he was a good boy. He changed so fast. Yes, I know, six months is pretty pathetic, but the honeymoon was over before it began. Once he had me committed in a way that he was confident I couldn’t get out – as in I made the commitment and now it would mean rebellion to God to leave (which he reinforced) – he started being his real self. Physical intimacy immediately felt creepy. (If I explain further and he is tracking my computer usage, he will be able to identify me more easily). I will say it made me feel 1) de-valued as a person and 2) like I was dealing with a young adolescent boy instead of a man at the same time. Then he started ignoring me. This is hard to explain, but there was no relational connection now (however it appeared before). It was a utilitarian relationship. He would “forget” when I needed the car and leave me stranded when I needed to get to work. He talked about going to live with a relative that wasn’t doing well – just him, not me – without any mention of my role in any of it or how I felt about it. And so on and so on. The examples don’t do things justice, but I think you probably understand. And yet at the time I was sure the problem was me for so many years. He was “such a good Christian.” I think there was some serious spiritual darkness going on. I’ll never forget the first moment that the scales really started to fall off my eyes (a few years ago) and my chin hit the floor. I finally saw through the facade in a way that changed everything. And then I started reading whatever I could get my hands on.

      I am so sorry for your story, too. I get the idea that none of us took marriage lightly and that’s a big part of why we stayed. Divorce is serious, but so is abuse.

      • Seeing the Light….yes, I get it. I understand completely! My friends would be SHOCKED if they knew the truth of my marriage!
        My PAH is Mr. Good Guy, always willing to lend a helping hand, but grumbling before and afterwards, but serving with a smile!
        Also, yes, the sex part…I get that! Sex is for HIS gratification only…”wam bam, thank you Mam” kind of stuff! No cuddling before or after, just get ‘er done and then a shower immediately after! Yuck!!
        And yes, I took my marriage seriously….still do, even with two affairs that have damaged us!
        BUT PA Man doesn’t obviously and that’s a huge problem for me!
        But like someone told me here on the blog…”God loves you more than he hates divorce!”
        I don’t want a divorce, but is also don’t want to live half a life. You know what I mean??

  3. Years ago I actually showed this list of PA characteristics to my husband and tried to get him to see, using specific examples, how he is PA. That’s how naive I was! This was the first list that I read about PA and it described my husband to a T. Like SeeingtheLight, I had serious issues with my husband from day one of our marriage. We had issues before our marriage but after our marriage, and once it really sunk in that I was hitched to this insane man, I began reacting to him with much more concern, anger, frustration, etc.. I remember going to see my family doctor a few months into our marriage and I just burst into tears telling him about my husband and the toll it was taking on me. He suggested that my husband had ADHD and put my husband on Adderall! Oh holy cow did that ever make him an evil antisocial man!!! It also turned my husband into a speed addict.

    • Exodus….LOL! I have to laugh because I have also shown my PAH “the list” and he’s actually agreed that he’s PA…and that’s it. I guess knowing that’s what he is wasn’t such a shock to him?? Maybe it was a comfort to them, so they can now know why they act the way they do??
      And that’s unbelievable that a Dr. would prescribe meds and not know that this is a personality disorder! Good grief!!
      Looking back, I wish I would have left when I started feeling so unloved and unappreciated.
      I actually remember, its probably been about 15 yrs ago, I remember feeling so unhappy with myself, I was sitting on the side of the bed and PA Man was in the room, and I said to him, “I’m not a nice person…I don’t know why you love me…look at you, you’re so easy going, have a great attitude, it’s easy to love you! But me? I’m always getting upset about something, yelling at the kids, I’m not a nice person!”
      PA Man laughed and said, “You are nice person, don’t be so hard on yourself.”
      Looking back now, I realize that HE was making me crazy even then…making me feel bad about myself…and I didn’t even realize it….that’s how insidious passive aggressive behavior truly is!

  4. Whoa, this is a heavy thread; and I understand everything you ladies are talking about. Insidious is the perfect adjective, lonelywife! Reading your blog and comments to your posts is helping with my healing. Evil and antisocial are good descriptors of my ex too. Absolutely did not care about my needs. I stopped letting him see me cry yrs ago because he would mock me. Everything I tried to say about my emotional torment got twisted and thrown back at me. I wonder if a PA man can truly be surrendered to God. That is giving God control and submitting to the will of the Lord and His commandments. My ex pretended to be “with God” after he stopped drinking for 8 mos, but he couldn’t maintain the pretense. There was false pride, arrogance, anger and wanting to drink. My ex is so extremely insecure, he goes overboard with the macho outlaw biker image and scares people with his overt anger and cussing. He was never God’s man. Also since the PA man has intimacy issues, I read somewhere that admitting to intimacy with God would be an embarrassment. Since the PA eventually destroys all relationships, he is unable to have the kind of relationship God desires to have with those of us who love Him. In my marriage, that makes perfect sense. My ex will NOT submit to anyone, even God. He has to think he is controlling his own life and he uses anger to control others. He used anger to control ME for yrs. I tried so hard to be a low maintenance wife and that became a source of pride for me. That I was taking care of business, tough and frugal, loyal to my biker. Giving him freedom, not asking questions. How shamefully pathetic!! But with God, I am now healing nicely. Thank you all for helping me.

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