10 Questions-How Do You Live With a Passive Aggressive?

I thought I would do something a little different here today. I thought I would ask you teach the rest of us with “10 questions on how you live with a passive aggressive.” I don’t know if you remember my friend Nora who also does a lot of work regarding  passive aggressive relationships and conflicts. We did a teleconference a few months back. She has her Ph.D and actually is the author of the free book I offer here.

A couple of weeks ago Nora sent me 10 questions to answer about surviving a relationship with a passive aggressive spouse/partner.  We’ve been talking about doing another webinar together and the basic topic being “how do you know when enough is enough?”.  When I looked over the questions she sent there were a couple that I could not answer from my own experience personally, so I thought I would ask for you all to do it for me.  If you are actually making it through a passive aggressive relationship, whether you are married or with a partner, I would appreciate hearing from you. From what I’ve seen you’re not the norm. Over all, one question I have is do you feel he/she was honest when you started dating, or do you feel like they “tricked” you?

1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?

What or how did you feel about that?

2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?

Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?

3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?

4) What would you say is the worst aspect of  being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?

5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?

6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?

7)  Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?

8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?

9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).

10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?

Okay, I may have cheated a little by asking some 2 part questions, but it’s to elaborate a little on the answers. Personally, when I talk about the future with my passive aggressive, be it retirement or our relationship, anything, I get that “deer in the headlights” look that says “who me?”. LOL

Would love to have your input. For those of you who have spent years in this kind of a relationship and have no plans for leaving, how do you survive a passive aggressive relationship?

p.s. I don’t know what’s with the ‘smiley face’ but maybe wordpress is going through some programming or something. I don’t know where that came from.

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91 Responses

  1. 1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?

    It took me a LOOOONG time (14 years) to fully comprehend that this was the way things were going to STAY. We had a baby together 9 years into our relationship; that was my ‘aha’ moment; co-parenting with a passive aggressive brings a whole new set of circumstances into play.

    What or how did you feel about that?
    I’m embarrassed about it. There were so many, many, many things that I should have paid attention to- but I was to busy RESCUING HIM and HELPING HIM and BEING THERE FOR HIM. Bleck. I take my accountability for it – I stayed too long, allowed too much, hoped for some sort of change and payoff for WAY TO LONG.

    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?
    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?
    I am guilty of ‘career spillover’. I work in a career of helping people. I spend my whole workday on the mindset of ‘help this kid get this done and help this kid make this change’. I thought it was great that my PA guy and I had this relationship where I was ‘helping’ him. Helping him, cheering him on, supporting him… what attracted me to him was what ‘could be’ not what actually ‘was’. I say now he is like a giant slot machine or a junk bond; you never truly get back what you put in but you spend a lot of ‘hope coins’ on it.

    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
    I learned, and I evolved. I got divorced and I attended therapy to unravel from the marriage relationship. We have a kid so I had to change my interactions with him to work toward holding him accountable for his co-parenting responsibilities. I’ve learned A TON.

    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
    I was very, very angry for a few years because it really sucks to invest all that into a person (relationship) and have it iliterally ignored and dismissed, but this last year has been like a brand new life – really what it feels like is that I’m finally back to the ‘me’ that I was prior to him; grounded, independent and stable. I can say this (shout it actually) I’m LESS LONELY alone than I was married to a PA. In a marriage, you EXPECT intimacy, etc. so when it’s absent you feel so very ‘cheated’ of it. The hardest part now is knowing that I’ll never get to experience co-parenting with someone who isn’t playing emotional dodgeball. Tackling every issue regarding parenting is like negotiating with a sullen teenager.

    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?
    Best strategy EVER – disengage emotionally and deal with each issue with facts, expectations that are measurable, and document, document, document. I now do most of my communication with him either through non-emotional email (i.e. ‘I paid this amount of money for this item for our kid; you have paid this amount of money for that item. OR ‘You stated this … and the follow through is ….) or I communicate with him in front of a third party; counselor or judge. Sticking to the facts, disengaging emotionally, and stating the good things when they happen has been productive.

    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future? I didn’t stay married to him, but have remained in a co-parenting relationship with him. I’ve come a LONG way baby and I anticipate that my future is full of more of the same direct, nonemotional, documented interactions.

    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be? I know I’m the only one who has ever actually ‘tackled’ the PA behaviors of him; all others in his life simply give up or just circumvent him because it’s so exhausting to try and actually stand toe to toe with him on a responsibility he’s thwarted. Most just go dormant, go away, or get PA themselves! I don’t have that option; we have a child together and he has responsibilities to uphold.

    8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?
    I find them elsewhere – and it’s glorious when that finally ‘clicks’ – when you finally move on from the ‘slot machine’- there’s a giant, glorious world out there!

    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).
    I always say that my time with him was akin to being a frog placed in a pot of water- there’s that saying that a frog placed in water that is slowly, slowly heated up will sit there until it is boiled to death. That’s life with a PA. It happens so slowly; things get less comfortable and more harmful for the partner at a very slow pace so by the time I started to feel the ‘wait, this doesn’t feel good; this doesn’t feel BALANCED’ – I was already in scalding water but blamed myself!

    A PA’s greatest ‘weapon’ is TIME. You invest all this TIME and energy and devotion and commitment into this person and this person’s happiness that you feel like you have to stay. Ultimately, you need to leave the slot machine and cut your losses; that machine ain’t never gonna pay out.

    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?
    I have a great future ahead. Old age for me includes travel, family and enjoyment of the world. Him? Beats me. Right now the path he’s chosen includes more of the same patterns for him… someone else took over my seat at the slot machine. :)

    • Peggy- Welcome, and thank you for your answers. I think I am getting here what most of us already know and that is the only way to survive a marriage to a passive aggressive is to get out. So many waste years and years to have the bottom line end up the same. There really is no “fix”. They don’t change because they never admit they are the problem.

      I love your analogy to a slot machine. It reminds me also of what a friend said once about alimony. “It’s like feeding oats to a dead horse.” LOL. Essentially that’s what we do when we keep giving and giving, not getting anything in return accept for more heart ache. I also feel as you do, that it’s better to be alone, than to feel alone when you’re with someone.

      It sounds like you’re in a great space now. I’m very happy for you and you sound so positive about making up for lost time in the future. You go Woman! LOL. Feel free to stop back by anytime. Love to hear how you’re doing. We can all use a little ray of sunshine. Anytime you want to share a little more about how you’re handling the parenting aspect, I think others could use some helpful hints. A lot of people on here, even when they finally break free still have to deal with the children, so then of course, their spouse. Thanks again.

    • After reading your story and others, It is just amazing to me that the character traits of a passive aggressive are just so consistent – the PA’s deliberate procrastination and non-compliance with requests to be responsible and share duties and the endless excuses (subtle payback for whatever they are offended about but are not willing to talk about or resolve); the aggressive counter attack and personal insults when confronted with failure to follow through with promises or responsibilities; the accusations of ‘nag’ or ‘stop acting like my mother’ when confronted about irresponsible slack behavior or requests to share work around the house and yard; withholding love and affection, ignoring, neglecting, not seeking to fulfill a partner’s emotional needs, deliberately ignoring requests for romance and affection, and passively waiting for the partner to do all the relationship work, such as initiating sex or relationship conversations; deliberately hugging the children in front of the neglected partner with a pointed look (you’re not getting any of this and it serves you right); making promises to be home at a certain time then not turning up or ringing in time to let the partner know, then telling the upset offended person that they are over-reacting; the denial of any fault or cause of any problems (you’re imagining things and you’re a liar) and the projection onto the partner (there aren’t any problems in the marriage, you’re the problem, not me, I don’t have any problems); the refusal to discuss marital problems in an adult manner seeking to mutually compromise for the good of the relationship; the PA’s delight and glee when frustration and anger gets the better of me, then PA criticizes the emotional reaction and accuses me of being ‘mentally ill’ or ‘emotionally imbalanced'; the refusal to talk about feelings and relationship problems with the marriage partner but happily talks about everything to everyone else, particularly the children, giving a one sided story of how wronged he is, and how mentally ill his partner is, tries to make the children his allies against his wife; the need to be the ‘nice guy’ to everyone else but his partner, running around doing things for everyone else but his wife, then wonders why his marital relationship is so poor (she’s the problem not me); the need to be the ‘nice guy’ in the family and leaving the hard work of disciplining the children and teaching them a work ethic to the ‘bad’ mother whom everyone dislikes; the irresponsibility in financial matters and resulting poverty … sigh, the list goes on. It’s a miracle that any woman could remain emotionally balanced and stable after being subjected to 25 years of emotional abuse like that, but God is my help and comfort.

      • Lynette- Thank you so much for sharing more of your story with us. Yes it is amazing how consistent passive aggressives are. That’s one of the reason’s I can’t believe that the psychiatric community doesn’t recognize it as it’s own personality disorder any longer. When searching for a therapist, you really need to question them if they are familiar with Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder because many of them are not. Then in couples therapy, the get duped by the passive aggressive the same we we have. Amazing to me.

        • Hi Ladybeams,
          The hardest thing to cope with is being a Christian and trying to obey God by being a merciful, forgiving, loving and submissive wife and trusting God with the situation, especially after 25 years of doing just that (with regular failures due to the frustration, hurt and anger) and seeing no changes in the man, if anything, he’s getting worse. If I behave as a Christian ought to, making peace and trying to keep the relationship together, it just opens me up to more and more hurt because he becomes hardened in his ways and quite brazen, knowing that I feel obliged to keep on being loving and forgiving and continuing in the relationship to please God. He is a Christian also, but is not very committed to following God, so the whole family has suffered as a result. I have been staying so long for the sakes of the children, not being willing to subject them to the misery and stress of a divorce, and also because I couldn’t cope with the stress that came on me every time I tried to leave. My youngest is in her last year of high school this year, so there will be no more children to worry about next year. I have been doing a social work degree part time through distance education and have three more years to go, so I’m not sure just when I can get out, as I don’t want to leave my home and live in poverty while studying. It feels like a prison that is locked tight which I will never get out of, sometimes, I feel so grieved that I will never know the love of a good godly man who truly follows God with all his heart, as I can only divorce him if he commits sexual immorality. The only way I can have any joy in life is to keep right out of PA’s way and dwell totally on the perfect love God has for me, how He has accepted me in Christ and look forward to the perfect relationship I will have with God in the next life. Enduring is what it is all about right now.

          • Lynette- Even God does not want us to live our lives suffering at the hands of another human being. I’ve listened a lot to both sides of the story, those in the ministry that condemn divorce, and those that believe that there are times it’s unavoidable. Obviously most clergy prefer you stay married, but even they admit that sometimes it’s just not sustainable. You have every right to be happy.

            I’m hoping that your staying married for the “sake of the children” didn’t do more harm than good. Hopefully you have a close relationship with your children and they haven’t taken after your husband’s PA ways. When I hear that phrase “staying together for the sake of the children” it makes me cringe as many times it does more harm than divorce ever could.

            It sounds like at least you have a plan. Continue your studies and get your degree, although 3 yrs. when you’re miserable can seem like a lifetime. I wish you all the luck in the world. Maybe once your last child is through high school you’ll be able to speed that up. In the meantime, you couldn’t have any better than God on your side. =)

          • Dear Lynette,
            I, too, am a devout Christian married to a PA for decades–watching him become worse as the yrs. go by. I take my vows before God very seriously, and I used to think separation or divorce was not an option. Now he has become so bad that my physical and mental health (I assume due to the stress) have been deteriorating to the point that I must reconsider.

            My Christian thought on my responsibility: by continuing to live in the same house, I am enabling him to sin frequently. Think about it. Now that I am aware of this, I do not want to answer to God why I continued to enable him this way. We may well have to live separately, though not necessarily legally separated. Yes, we could end up legally separated or divorced, I don’t know. I don’t have to ever remarry, but I will not be responsible for providing my PA with countless daily opportunities to behave abusively, which is sinful, and definitely offensive to God.

            I am requiring him to get counseling (I already go) and medical tests to rule out a few possible diagnoses, and address his need for a hearing aid. His neurological symptoms, along with his PA, took a sharp, dramatic increase some time ago.The test results will help me determine my next step. I don’t know if I can stand living under the same roof meanwhile, but I won’t make any permanent decision until all the results are in. I am giving him every chance possible, so I can make an informed decision that I won’t regret.

            Food for thought? You are in my prayers.

          • Sue- Thank you so much for your comment and sharing your thoughts and situation. Welcome.

            While I understand from my Christian upbringing that God prefers we don’t divorce, there are times where divorce is warranted, and in your case as you say for your health, necessary. I know there were divorces in the testaments. (I really need to speak to my pastor and get the passages for some of those as this comes up quite a bit). I listen to a call in program by New Life Ministries and they never promote divorce, but even they have said upon occassion that sometimes that’s the only answer. You may want to go to their website and look around. It’s at http://www.newlife.com They have an 800 number. You may be able to find some one that can help you.

            In the meantime, I think it’s great that you are willing to try everything, even medically, to see if there is something that can be done. In the meantime, just remember, God is always working on our lives, even we don’t necessarily feel it.

            Good luck, and stop back by anytime.

      • I just wanted to say me too! me too!. Thirty one years of this awful dance. Of course im the bad guy,with my daughter, my son is beginning to understand. The sad thing is my daughter expects my first grandchildren (yes twins) any day now, and my P,A. husband has totally ruined my relationship with her, all i can do is keep trying, and hope one day she will see the reality.Please keep strong, and never lose hope!.

        • Carol- Welcome and thanks so much for sharing. What you are describing here is what I constantly try to warn people about when it comes to children and staying with your passive aggressive mate. It happens so often that the children themselves become passive aggressive, and many thus ruin their own relationships because they don’t know any better.

          My thoughts and prayers are with you as you keep trying to repair the relationship with your daughter. It’s especially important now that you will have grandchildren involved. Thank goodness you are able to be close enough to your son for him to start seeing the passive aggressive behavior in his father. As he gets older it will probably become more open and easy to spot.

          Thirty one yrs is a long time. I wish you luck in the future and feel free to drop in anytime. We’re here for you.

          • Dear Ladybeams, sorry for delay in replying. Thank you so much for your kind and supportive advice!. It really helps. I think if i was to use one word to describe my situation, it would be lonelyness, but now i dont feel quite so alone!.The trouble is my husband comes across in public, as a very easygoing likeable chap!, but as soon as we are alone his only interest seems to be tv or computer, and like your b.f. sport plays a huge part in his life!Thanks again , Carol.

          • Oh dear, me again, twins arrived safely, a boy and girl, they are beautiful! Am going to stay with amy daughter shortly to help her.Cant wait! Carol.

          • carol- This time forgive me for it being so long in responding, but CONGRATS! If I could be there I would be spreading balloons all over the place!

            My heart is with you, and if you ever want to talk, you know where to find me. LOL

      • Well said!! I am married 20 years. I became unhappy and bitter person. All I can say is save up money till kids are all grown and leave him behind.

  2. Answers to this quiz that you sent me by email. This was hard but I tried to be objective rather than relive the negativity of my marriage. I hope my answers help. I thought I would do something a little different here today. I thought I would ask you teach the rest of us with “10 questions on how you live with a passive aggressive.” I don’t know if you remember my friend Nora who also does a lot of work regarding passive aggressive relationships and conflicts. We did a teleconference a few months back. She has her Ph.D and actually is the author of the free book I offer here.
    A couple of weeks ago Nora sent me 10 questions to answer about surviving a relationship with a passive aggressive spouse/partner. We’ve been talking about doing another webinar together and the basic topic being “how do you know when enough is enough?”. When I looked over the questions she sent there were a couple that I could not answer from my own experience personally, so I thought I would ask for you all to do it for me. If you are actually making it through a passive aggressive relationship, whether you are married or with a partner, I would appreciate hearing from you. From what I’ve seen you’re not the norm. Over all, one question I have is do you feel he/she was honest when you started dating, or do you feel like they “tricked” you?
    1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment? My “aha” was not sudden but gradual because I saw through the filter of my faith and the lens of my dysfunctional birth family.
    What or how did you feel about that? I had no idea that it was a group of behaviors that could be identified for many years and even when I discovered it, I had a hard time finding information about it. I was truly astonished when my husband matched every single symptom listed!
    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you? I think I was fooled by his boyish behavior and extreme personal consideration of me during the time we were dating. It drew me in because I was so eager to be loved. I must say that the man seemed confident and able to deal with situations calmly without too much emotion as opposed to my home where emotions were suppressed and then displayed as outbursts when they did present.
    I must say that I wanted to make life work because I got no opportunity to think for myself when I was at home with my parents. I was creative and industrious and eager to please. So he was very encouraged in his behavior.
    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her? He seemed to get along with everyone. He also shared intimate conversation with me.
    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process? For a long time I always was looking for ways to improve myself and to keep from being angry about something I could not identify. I also kept my children too close. I went to counseling several times but as I was by myself, the focus was on me and not him or us together. So, after the fourth time of counseling, it occurred to me that I had “fixed” enough of myself and that what I had learned about myself made my relationship with him even more difficult. He had to do some fixing too. (He never did.)
    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
    I have been divorced for 20 years after 22 years of marriage. The first worst part was frequently feeling as if the rug had been pulled out from under me. I had horrible outbursts—of which I am ashamed—as a reaction to the rug-pulling. The rules of our relationship changed at his whim without my knowing about the change. When the rules changed I was confused. For a long time, I questioned myself about whether I had ever correctly understood anything I had believed in. When I felt it the most was when he refused to be responsible for himself, our children or any family situation. He did not like making decisions; he always wanted someone else to be responsible for getting things done and then he criticized it.
    The second worst part was that he would not recognize when one of us was ill. He said if we could walk and talk we were fine. This particular aspect of his behavior was the his nemesis, as we had 2 daughters who had very rare diseases and it took him more than 2 years to finally acknowledge that they were really sick. (I thought this was not a passive-aggressive trait until I realized that he needed for them to be well so he would not have to take any emotional risks regarding their condition.)
    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest? The most useful was to do my own thing without him or “his permission.” I even told him once that I was not afraid of him when he gave me a hard time about this strategy. The silliest was getting drunk.
    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future? He is not in the picture now, but I am living with my sister who has been behaving “his way” intermittently for a few months. I confront her directly with short statements and directions. I also take her “power” away by refusing to accept responsibility for her problems. She has stopped most of her behavior. I don’t know whether she has changed her thinking, but I don’t care as long as the hostility is not displayed. (We live together for financial reasons.) I thought I had grown past the “mayhem” this behavior wrought in my life but I now believe that behavior will always evoke anxiety and frustration. However, I believe I am strong enough to ask her to leave if she won’t behave herself.
    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be? I have no special powers. I used to think understanding the source of their behavior would help me because I was the “bad guy” and if I understood then I would know what to do and I would no longer be the bad guy. I don’t want any “special power” over another person. I just want equanimity. That does not happen with a passive-aggressive. All I want now is for them to know that I won’t put up with their games.
    8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth? I have had a long spiritual journey coming to grips with divorcing when I did not believe in divorce. A lot of prayer helped. I developed a confidence about handling life and the problems that came with it. After my divorce I was in a state of relief for 5 years. The real me came through and I had lots of happiness to give to my children and to my friends. I have a best friend whom I can tell anything to; I have a wonderful pastor who is my mentor spiritually. I explore my interests by reading and writing (stories, a book about my daughters’ Christian witness to others before they died, a journal about love and letters to dear friends). I would love to finish my education if the opportunity arises.
    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving). I waited long enough to break the bond that there was no guilt, just the need to share my feelings with my best friend everyday. She was a real trooper through all that anxiety. After 20 years I was not endeared to my husband at all. The charm he had once had was not there any longer and he did not even try. I was just worn out. All the things that had held it together had disintegrated gradually; I had no desire to stay for any reason; I had no desire for togetherness; I had no desire to ask his thoughts about the children or my needs. I told him I was living in an emotional vacuum. His weakest aspect was that he “pretended” to interact; when he had to act, he did it angrily.
    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two? He lives in one state; I live in another; we still see each other regularly. He thinks we are friends. We have a grandson here where I live so there are opportunities to talk. He and I do things together, but I have learned how to “control” the situation. Once or twice he has tried to engage me in what went wrong, and I always ask, “Do you really want to hear about that?” He never does. He has been forced to take care of himself by being on his own and he does a fantastic job; if he were still with me, I would be doing it all and hearing criticism about every little thing. He is also living with a relative who is worse than he is with the passive-aggressive behavior.
    Okay, I may have cheated a little by asking some 2 part questions, but it’s to elaborate a little on the answers. Personally, when I talk about the future with my passive aggressive, be it retirement or our relationship, anything, I get that “deer in the headlights” look that says “who me?”. LOL
    Would love to have your input. For those of you who have spent years in this kind of a relationship and have no plans for leaving, how do you survive a passive aggressive relationship?

    • Elleke- Thank you so much. Your answers are very enlightening. So for you to survive being married to your passive aggressive, you had to get out of the passive aggressive marriage, which I believe is more often the case than not. It sounds like you are doing quite well for yourself now and you have gotten stronger for the process. Good for you, and good for your children. It’s nice that you kept your best friend and had their support. That’s one of the things I try to tell people because it seems like this so often is such an isolating situation. We either isolate ourselves because no one understands, or the passive aggressive isolates us so we have no source of strength.

      I’m proud of you, and good luck with everything you do in the future. At least now you still have a chance to meet the real man of your dreams if you are so inclined, and you’ll be able to spot an imposter if necessary. Please, feel free to come back and lend support to others or share experiences anytime.

  3. 1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?

    I can relate to both of the previous responses in my own situation. First, there was my “need” to be with him, based on how I learned to be in my own family growing up. It felt good to be the “fixer, rescuer, helper” for all of his problems. He appreciated what I did for him and stepped back out of the way to let me do it. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how effectively he dumped anything he didn’t want to do on me. First, the business responsibilities (I met him when I went to work for him in his company), next the personal things, and eventually, his children from his first marriage (and all this before we were even married). The little voice in the back of my mind that was saying “watch out!” was ignored on repeated occasions. As soon as we were married and I had the responsibility of 2 teenage stepsons, both of which had legal problems, I could not continue to stuff down the alarm bells. But still, there was my need to fix everything – so I stayed in the relationship.

    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?

    First of all, there was the need in him to be RESCUED and TAKEN CARE OF, which made me feel good. As so many PA’s can be, he came across as very accomplished, smooth, with-it, considerate and kind. I was fooled! But if you were to ask other people on the outside even now, they would say the same thing. I know better!

    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?

    Besides being so considerate and kind to me, he seemed to be very open, honest, and trustworthy. At the time, this was the total opposite of my own father. It was not until after my father died, and I went to a therapist to work on some issues that seemed to have come up after that death, that I realized how much like my father my husband really was. And here I thought I was not marrying my dad! LOL!

    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?

    I buried myself in work and returned to school. Eventually, we got the stepsons raised up and out of the house, and my husband started a new business that took him away from home for longer periods of time. I jokingly told people that the reason we stayed married was because he was gone so much – there is usually a lot of truth in most humor. Things in our relationship settled down because of the long separations, and even though we did not intend to have any other children, these things are not always planned. I had our first son 7 years after we were married. He seemed to step up initially when our son was born, and we planned a second child two years later. After the second son was born, my husband started extending his trips even more. Despite my requests for him to stay home more because I was not interested in being a single mom, and the children needed him to be here,he had constant reasons for being gone, or needing to go to a trade show, or meet with clients, etc. Eventually, the business failed, and he was then home more often, but that has been a cause of greater friction. Our boys were approaching the teen years by then, and they were glad to have him around. But they do not recall how much time he was gone during the first 10-12 years of their lives.

    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?

    I am not sure I can define what is the worst part of a PA relationship. My emotions have run the gamut of sadness, loneliness, depression, anger, hopelessness, frustration, and now I am having some fairly significant health issues, which I suspect are due to the stress of dealing with this situation for the last 26+ years. (Yeah – I know, sounds stupid to me, too, when I see it on paper.) But I do believe that having to constantly play the part of the “bad guy” could be the worst part of being with him. Whether it’s a business situation, a problem with the step-children or our own children, or taking care of personal things like car and house repairs, I am always the one who has to step up and be the bad-a**. He won’t do it, so it forces me into that role, and then he can continue to put on the good-guy face to the world.

    He tells me he will be helpful and supportive in whatever I need regarding my health – it really takes all my self-control to not laugh at him when he says things like that. I’d like to ask him – “Why start now?”

    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?

    Despite having gone to see a couple different counselors and therapists, I did not feel that I was making any progress in myself, or within my marriage (no surprise there!). It was depressing to talk to someone who recommended new methods of dealing with the situation, only to come home and try something and have it backfire. My PA husband is usually passive, but when I step up to hold him accountable, he can strike just like a snake and becomes very aggressive-aggressive. So, I would back off again and quit expecting anything (expectations just lead to disappointment). Truly, Ladybeams and Nora, you two ladies have helped me more than anyone else in the last 26 years. Plus, letters and responses from other readers on both your websites. I am now learning to truly detach from the relationship. I am building my own life separate and distinct from him, and I do not allow him to be a part of that other life. It does not change his PA behavior, but it does change my responses and reactions, and I try to be like the duck and let things just roll off my back.

    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?

    I have not decided what to do in the future. I had stayed for all this time because of some business interests we have that would have to be totally torn apart if we split. I stayed because I wanted my boys to be with their father and have his input and support, although hindsight is 20/20. They have both grown up to be an awful lot like him. I keep trying to moderate his influence and hold them both accountable, but I’m not always very successful in that. There are days when they are all pulling their PA antics, and I am just about ready to tell all of them to leave. My youngest will be finishing HS in 2011. My husband is now having some fairly significant health issues as well, so I do not know if I can make a decision on anything yet.

    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?

    I have no “special powers” that I know of. After dealing with this situation for many, many years, I have come to the conclusion that there is no cure for the PA personality disorder. And although there may be some environmental or family influence in creating a PA child who grows up to be a PA adult, after watching my younger son (who is a chip off the old block in every way – physical appearance, socially, mentally, psychologically, etc.), I believe there is a genetic predisposition to this behavior. He started showing these behavioral traits even before his first birthday, and no amount of standard parenting methods have changed that – he turns 18 in December.

    8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?

    At the present time, my personal activities with my dogs and staying close to a few friends are what feeds me. I get recognition through my work, in which I am fairly successful, and I support a couple of charitable activities which are close to my heart. This is the life I am building separate and distinct from the PA relationship.

    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).

    Nothing endears him to me anymore. I truly see and understand who the man behind the curtain is now. If he did not have the medical issues he has currently, I would probably separate from him now.

    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?

    I don’t have a crystal ball for this life. My husband is considerably older than me, and with the health issues, I don’t know what the future holds. My health issues are also a factor, although I have wondered if separating would reduce my stress enough to ease up my situation. It could cause more stress just in having to deal with the legalities of separation. I have been doing a little bit of traveling (without him, which has freaked him out!), which I have enjoyed immensely. I fully intend to do more in the future.

    • Eykes- Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions and share with us.

      I had to chuckle when you said that about marrying your dad. I feel the same way. LOL. I too did not realize it until being into the relationship for awhile. Every once in awhile my mother will say something derogatory about the BF’s behavior, and I tell her “your husband (my father) did the same thing (or acted the same way)”. Maybe that’s why she’s so resentful now of some things, even tho she denies my father was ever like that. LOL. I have to actually give her examples. Ahhh, time does heal.

      I’m very glad you have found the site to be of some help. It sounds like you are a pretty together lady and you’re getting it figured out. I’m sorry to hear about the health issues and I can understand about separation causing even more stress, which it probably would. I think right now you are doing what is best for you by making your own way, with or without him, doing the things that make you happy. I really think that’s the best way to reduce stress and feel better. Doing things you enjoy and friends. Friends are a huge plus, as we need support and love from somewhere and friendships can provide those. I think since therapy for them is sort of a lost cause in most cases, these things are the best therapy for us.

      Parents have a lot of influence over their children. Even babies pick up signals. I’m not sure if being a passive aggressive is genetic, but I do think it can be passed on generation to generation as just a product of environment unless it’s counter-acted. Hopefully as your youngest matures and you’re able to discuss things you’ll be able to let him know that certain things in your relationship with his father are not the ‘norm’, and help guide him in what normal is (or what we think it is. LOL). It’s so sad when we see our own children taking on traits that are bound to doom their own relationships. He may not be so lucky to find a woman who will put up with that behavior for all the years you have.

      I hope you stop by again and let us know how you’re doing. Love to hear from you as even tho all of our situations may be slightly different, it’s amazing to me how much they are the same when it comes to the bottom line.

  4. 1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?

    He started behaving strangely shortly after we were married, but I thought it was the newness of being married.

    What or how did you feel about that?
    I was confused. He was so kind and generous, thoughtful and hard working. It was contradictory to have him undercut my efforts, to sabotage lots of little things.

    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?

    I think that it was both “an act of God” and what was triggered in both of us. The book by Harville Hendrix Ph.D, Getting the Love You Want, talks about how we are looking to live out and correct the relationships we had as children. He’s a lot like my mom and dad when in a PA mode. Yet, my mother is probably a sociopath and my dad was a malignant PA.

    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?

    I was very sad back then and he offered a safe, accepting environment. He was not a threatening kind of man like I had known.

    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?

    Because I have a fairly strong personality, I slowly took charge and made most of the decisions. I learned that he loved to analyze and collect data but never wanted to make decisions. I was able to assert my opinions and decisions pretty easily. He doesn’t have a lot of preferences. I was so glad to be in a safe environment that I tried to focus on gratitude.

    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?

    Not having a grown up to talk to is the worst part. This is very lonely for me. I enjoy being alone mostly, but wish I had a grown man to talk to sometimes. I’m reminded of this every day when he gets home from work.

    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?

    I told him that he has the disorder! It was a watershed moment for us both. He gets it. He cannot completely change because it is such a deep problem, but it helps that we can talk about the disorder openly. I feel validated in knowing, that he’s not getting over on me, and he understands that too. Sometimes, I can call it out and he’ll stop, or, I’ll just go away for awhile. The silliest? Trying to imitate him doesn’t work too well.

    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?

    While I’d like to leave, or have him leave, we are not financially able to make this kind of change. Therefore, I am actively involved with things that are meaningful to me. I try to volunteer and, when my child is visiting from out of town, I enjoy spending time talking to him. He’s the healthiest personality I’ve ever had the joy of observing. I know, he’s got to be influenced by his dad, but we did a lot of mitigating through the years to raise a good person.

    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?

    I wouldn’t call them special “powers,” but I did the research that identified the disorder. I am an intuitive person and I really care about those who have been abused. That has made a huge difference. I just don’t have any interest in being a victim anymore.

    8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?

    My vocation is quite satisfying to me spiritually. I get really good feedback, positive feedback, from those who enjoy my work. I also stay active in my community, advocating for a safer town. I often see how my voice IS being heard out side of the house. When I’m home and sad, I meditate and remember all the ways in which I have been successful.

    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).

    He isn’t at all weak, in my opinion. He is a disciplined worker with many years of good experience. I also feel that he would have no trouble at all replacing me if we were to divorce. He’d have someone in his life within the year. My life would change the most. I would become poor and uprooted from my home. But, even more distressing, I would feel terrible for our child who is just now establishing himself out in the world. Would he feel that his childhood was a sham? Not eventually, but it would be a devastating change.

    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?

    The future seems rather dim right now. If I can’t negotiate a workable, livable, situation away from him, I see us living as we have for the last five years–as roommates. Others have endured far worse and I am willing to make it as productive and happy as possible.

    I feel that I’m incapable of making a better relationship choice because of my history with him and my history before him. My goal is to work on being emotionally healthy and fostering healthier friendships in the future. The male/female relationship thing is over for me.

    Peggy is wonderful! If I were employable, I would sound more like her! It’s hard to stay. It wears you down. However, homelessness and poverty are worse than staying.

    What about you, Ladybeams? Can you answer these questions after reading our responses and having a little time to ruminate on them?

    You know, I don’t think that my PA tricked me. He had no idea, neither did I, that he was this way. When we met, he was very young and drifting alone without any family at all. He was as alarmed as I was when his behavioral problems surfaced, but at the time, no one could help us sort these issues out, and we sought help. It’s now more than twenty years later. Our child is grown and out of the house which brings back all of those pre-child issues to deal with.

    If he didn’t have PA behavior, he would be the absolutely ideal husband. Is this how you feel about your partner?

    • Hi Collette- Thank you for taking the time to answer these. I do appreciate it.

      First I’d like to commend you on being able to raise a stable child while he was growing up in an environment with a passive aggressive father. That’s pretty hard to do. A lot of times I tell people, if you won’t leave to take care of yourself, think about the children and what this environment is teaching them about relationships. Of course there are times, especially now in this economy, where it isn’t financially feasible to leave, but for the ones that can get out and just choose to stay and be subjected and subject their children to this kind of abuse…

      It sounds like you’re starting to turn things around for yourself now, which is good. Getting the help you need for your own stuff and starting to feel like your own person is very important. Once you can regain your own strength it becomes a little easier to handle the situation, or like you said, not be victimized by it. I’m happy also to hear that your husband actually acknowledges his passive aggressiveness. Mine can’t even stand the sound of the word any more. LOL. What is that saying? “Me thinks you protest too much”.

      As for me and mine, now that I am seeing which direction this thread is taking, I probably will go ahead and do my share and answer them also. Yes my passive aggressive BF makes for the (almost) perfect roommate. He’s a great guy. Everybody loves him, he can be quite thoughtful when he wants to be. Then there’s the other side. LOL.

      Thanks again for your input. I hope you stop by again and share what you have learned. I think we all, once we know what we’ve been hit with, start out doing a ton of research. We can learn from each other.

      • 1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?
        What or how did you feel about that?
        It took me a maybe 2 years to begin to really look at the patterns my husband had. At first, I thought it was just the newness of being married and being thrust into parenthood. I thought maybe he was bi-polar or schizophrenic (his father suffered from bi-polar although he was also paranoid). Once I began seeing the pattern and doing the research then he would go into a peaceful moment- so then I was confused.- did I mistake it etc.
        I remember when I told his mother some stuff- she stared at me dumbfounded and then tried to make excuses for him- stating things like I didn’t raise him to be like his dad- that can’t be true maybe you misunderstood what he was saying.

        2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?
        I believed that this was the one suited to spend the rest of my life with and build a productive future- unfortunately, he had other ideas. I was very up front with my needs, wants and desires. I do believe in God and plan to follow His will.
        Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?

        He was kind, considerate and enjoyable to be around – others called him a gem of a guy( not sure which gem they were referring to!)
        3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
        At first we tried counseling and I realized that he couldn’t stick with anything and he wasn’t going to do the work necessary. It was hard coming to the fact that in his heart he really believed that his way of thinking was correct- Which is why he felt he did not need to consult with anyone. His favorite line: I have a brain and I don’t need to check with anyone!
        I don’t think I understood how “needy” my husband was- he always wanted help with his tasks- can you help me pay this bill- can you help me do this- but if I needed help he wasn’t as open to give it without asking a million and one questions.
        I think his mother took care of them- even his father in his mental state.
        My husband has always tried to not be like his father but in the end he turned out quite like him.
        4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
        The confusion- because he has moments that he is really a sweatheart- like now- he is working real hard at getting the bills together- paying attention to me- apologizing etc. But as with anything the explosion has to come at some point
        Then there is the part where they make you out as the bad guy- you don’t understand me- you always have to put me down etc.
        And the children- they are looking dad as though his issues are way too complicated for anyone to understand- its hard realizing the children will not have the dad that they deserve.
        5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?
        The silliest was trying to reason with him- how do you reason with someone who is unreasonable?
        Stick to the facts- remain disengaged- state what you thought was going to happen- and write it down.
        6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?
        Personally, I am developing well- I keep myself surrounded by like minded individuals- I have lots of out side activities: work- fulfilling my master degree requirements. Taking a better care of my health- when the stress gets too much for me I go to counseling just to get a clearer perspective
        My philosophy- if he wants to partake with me – fine- if he doesn’t fine! I am going to keep it moving!
        7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?
        My only special power would be that I do love him- I care for him and am concerned about him completely and I trust and believe God!
        8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?
        When he is at his peak- its all good- he’s more open etc.
        I continue to stress to him what I need in terms of a connection- sometimes he’s willing and other times he isn’t- since I still have a child at home I have enough to keep me busy etc.
        9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).
        I am not sure what that would really be- he is quite capable to do anything he puts his mind to- he just is not willing to a lot of things but wants to get a lot in return.
        He still has a good personality
        I stay because I think we can make it work-
        I use to stay because I didn’t think anyone would believe what he was really like!
        10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?

        The future is going to be quite interesting especially when the last one is gone and out the house-Right now have to take each day one day at a time.

        • Totally agree here! All the help they want with the easiest tasks! Eg: can you change the lightball? Can you phone the internet company for me? Can you correct the footnotes and bibliography of my paper? This is because for the PA EVERYTHING in life is heavy and demanding. And you’re answer about what is the hardest: the confusion! (oh, you think, maybe I am wrong and exaggerating and difficult!) and to the silliest thing: trying to reason! Yes yes yes!! In my case: constantly explaing how relationships are supposed to be. Not understanding that she didn’t want the real thing. I used to make jokes like: you need a chauffeur, butler, and cleaning lady. But the truth is: she does!!! Her mother still covers ALL her expenses (my ex is 29!!) – which is handy for both of them. Easy for my ex, and mother can kerp control over her daughter. It is sick! But my ex wants all problems (and everthing is problematic) to be solved by others. In my case, daily: she would wake up and ask ‘what should I wear?’ ‘what shall I eat?’ ‘can you make me coffee?’ ‘i have to be there and there in 2 hours, can you bike me there?’ she played the little child, turning me into a mother, which I never wanted to be. It may be charming and sweet for a while, but it is sick. My girlfriend was a nice girlfriend, but a lousy partner. In the end, I became the butler, secretary, chauffeur! (i refused, but she tried to turn me into this).

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  7. You’re fantastic, Ladybeams. It means a great deal to me to read your posts and thoughts on this tragic, crazy, frustrating disorder.

    I would agree with you completely about leaving FOR the children’s sakes, if the PA is a malignant one, good extended family is available to help with child rearing and finances allowed. However, oftentimes the children must still be carted back and forth to the parents’ separate homes for visitation and they are still affected by having a PA parent, now an even angrier one. Plus, the disruption emotionally to all is significant. This is a choice that must be considered with great care, weighing all the good and bad elements. I would never pressure anyone to stay in a relationship that is destroying them emotionally or physically, though.

    For me, I became pregnant after six months of marriage. No one had any idea about passive aggressive disorder back then. Because I had lost my first child years earlier (he died while at the babysitter’s), there was no way that I could ever let anyone babysit my second child. So there I was, older mom dependent on PA man and delighted to have a second chance to raise a child. He turned out to be an excellent dad in many ways–reading stories, supporting his activities and helping him with his school work like a wonderful, personal mentor (a mr. mom really).

    The problem was, for the most part, how he interacted with me. I was his evil mother, or his mentally ill father, or his gregarious and witty older brother. It wasn’t until our child was a teenager that I started noticing that he would be a little PA with him.

    Coming from a broken family myself, I know how life changing and effecting it is to be a child in such traumatic events. By parenting a child in a safe environment, unbroken, gave me a chance to heal my own childhood, in a way, and to be the stand-up parent for my child. This has won me many “gold stars” with my son and he has seen how healthy sacrifice has created a relatively peaceful home and a sanctuary from the world. This new family history is now encoded in me and has provided a clear testimony to my PA that I am not the enemy. It’s all in his mind.

    I’m no shrinking violet, though! I’m the one who appears enraged sometimes and it has in the past, made me look bad. But, my son is a lot older now and is starting to get it. He does exhibit some PA tendencies, but he has my kind of spirit, too. I’m hoping that the best in him wins out, because children do imitate their parents’ behavior, but are distinct individuals.

    It is my humble opinion that PA’s are born and then nurtured to be the way they are. I think that their behavior could have been modified a bit to be more acceptable, but I think there is a very strong genetic predisposition.

    There are ways to train the PA to behave more normally. It sounds weird, but I do like Cesar Milan’s Dog Whisperer methods. I think that there are people who are now using some of his calm and assertive techniques to interact more positively with their children. Now, aren’t these PA’s really just big children?!

    In addition, being calm and assertive, practicing this in our daily lives, benefits us the most in every relationship. We take responsibility for our own behavior and we don’t take on the dysfunction of those around us.

    Thanks so much for sharing your world with us!

    • Colette- Thank you for sharing more of your story with us. My gosh, I can’t even imagine what you went through losing your first child at a babysitters, or for any mother that loses a child however it happens. I know when my children were born and probably for 2 yrs. afterward I was extremely protective just because I was so familiar (yet not very knowledgable) with SIDS. I am so happy for you that you and your son have such a great relationship. It doesn’t surprise me much that as your son becomes closer to being an adult, your husband shows more of his PA tendencies with him. It’s a shame when in the mind of the PA the child moves from being a child to more of a threat because they are able to start seeing through the PA.

      I too believe being calm and assertive is the way to be with a passive aggressive, along with a huge dose of a sense of humor. Every time they push our buttons enough for us to get upset, they win (if there ever was a “winner”). Every once in awhile when the PA behavior is just so blatant, I still lose it, but I’m better than I ever would have been 20 yrs. ago. LOL. I was one of those that didn’t really understand the true meaning of passive aggression either back then. Boy, have I got a “masters degree” in it now! LOL.

      Take care, and thank you for the kind words and your wonderful input. It is so great to hear different points of view on how to handle the situations, as we both know it’s not a “one size fits all”. Please come back anytime.

      • Ladybeams! You had me laughing out loud when you said you have a “masters degree” in the study of passive aggression!

        I do believe that you could also write a book on the subject. But, I guess this would cause a major sulk at home if you did…:-) Maybe the humorous version would be okay.

        Both my husband (when he isn’t Mr. Hyde) and I have a really good relationship with our son. I was the “perfect” mom, reading all of the books, trying to be the best balance between loving discipline, protective, and supportive as he left the nest. You would not believe how far he pushed the envelope!

        You are psychic. My first little boy died of SIDS—at the babysitter’s. Consequently, when my second boy was born sixteen years later, I refused to leave the hospital without a heart monitor! He’s as strong as a lion and I’ve seen how he’s been protected from harm for all these years. I like to think that my first boy counseled me on the importance of living with purpose, sacrifice and love. I gave up my career and the promise of money to stay home. Today, I’m seeing my career come back to me and I have this wonderful young man doing fabulous things in the world.

        It reminds me that we can have everything we want, just not all at once.

        Thank you so much for providing a place to chat about these things. I’m in a kind of slump with my work and not feeling well this week. Hence, the numerous posts.

        • Colette- Love having you with us, sorry for the slump, but our gain. LOL.

          It’s amazing isn’t it, the things we can learn even from the most tragic circumstances. I do believe there is a plan for each of us, we just can’t always see what it is. Now with your son fully raised, you’ll be able to give time to your career you would have had to take from your family before now. God and His perfect timing, as they say.

          As for the slump, I think we all go through that after having our children be a priority for so long, that “empty nest” thing. LOL. Sometimes I just have to take a break from the worry and the stress or trying to make it work and go do something totally fun or relaxing.

          Have a great day and thank you again for your input. Hopefully you’ll just R&R for a little while and be back up in no time.

  8. I must say, with all that I have learned from you all, the massive research that i have done, the counseling I have gotten for the anger that I held (and expressed to my PA husband of 20years), it is refreshing to know you all understand. But I would suggest a change…
    I have friends that want to ignore my need to talk about it all or understand even the concept of passive aggressive people. Here is what I would change: I think the word “passive” makes it ok in people’s minds. In my opinion they should rename it “Covert ABUSE”. (which it truly is). If you say you are abused, it seems people listen…but the use of the word “passive” seems to make it alright. Bruises on your body or broken bones make people sit up and take notice.
    There are times (many times) that I have said to myself, “I’m in this alone” but that doesn’t scare me at all. With the support and information you have given me…I know I am not in it alone and am grateful to those of you who have written your feelings and thoughts on the matter.
    My PA also is a good worker (at least he has that about him that I admire). He is the kind that gives me what I want, but not what I truly need-adult conversation and respect. In learning about PA I have found we all have to find what makes us -as individuals- happy. The PA is on his own to do that for himself. I no longer just go along with his neediness and fear. I do not bail him out, fix things for him, or let my feelings be hidden to him. I let him know how he makes me feel when he does certain things. Yes, he still looks at me with the deer in the headlights look–and I catch him at that too. I no longer allow his games to affect me and I walk away when he tries. I don’t fall for his “I’m trying” bit.
    My PA –IS– getting help! Just as some find it easier to leave/divorce their PA…I am not in that situation to be able to do that – yet. I told him enough was enough and if he didn’t get help….I’m gone. That was hard to do because I had no idea where I would go. I won’t fool myself in believing he will make any major changes. As for me, my change has taken place. I no longer have the anger for him I once had. I have forgiven him. My anger only fed his personality. The resentment I held only hurt me and made me sick. The connected relationship I so dreamed of having is not going to come true. I accept that now and I can move on. My good self is back and I am not accepting the things, or going along with things any longer that was detrimental to my self esteem. That is what PA’s do with the personality they nurture. They strip you of your self esteem. That is their way of controlling the situation. But now, I am announcing my independence and regaining my true self.
    I am no longer hoping and wishing and dreaming of something which has a HUGE chance of not happening with a PA. Yes, I am staying (for now). There are always those times that you know something is not good for you yet you stay….I am still discovering the strength I truly have, that I allowed my PA to strip from me in the confusion and chaos he created in our relationship. I need the time for myself to grow and heal. I am giving myself that time even though it is hard to stay. I will always have that choice to leave…ALWAYS! That revelation gives me the strength to stay for myself.
    If he were to not get the help that he is, I would have left a long time ago even if I had to beg on the streets. Only he can control his actions…Yet, I control the impact of them on me.
    Bless you all.. jmarie

    • jmarie- Thank you for sharing. Welcome!

      Even though you are choosing to stay for now, as you don’t feel you have the strength to go on your own yet, it sounds like you very much have control over your situation as far as setting personal barriers, etc. I think that’s wonderful. There’s nothing wrong with taking the time to “detach” and gain who you are back, and putting your support systems in place before making some life changing move. It sounds like you have a handle on what you need to do, how you expect things to go, and a sort of “plan B” if things change. I think that’s great! I also think that it’s great you got your husband to go for counseling. Hopefully the therapist is familiar with passive aggressive behavior and is some help to him, which obviously in turn would help you.

      For some suggestions on strength and getting your self esteem back, you may want to take a look at the post I did on building a “self-esteem file“. You may find a couple things in there you like or are helpful.

      Thank you so much for sharing with us. You sound very calm and sure footed. Good luck to you and I hope you stop in again and let us know how you’re doing. Take care of yourself and God Bless.

  9. Pull out. Don’t stay. The relationship with a PA has no future. You are the one who has to bear all the problems and offer all the solutions. The PA just can’t ‘deal’ with commitment and doesn’t want to grow up. The PA also often has Peter Pan syndrom and an all-encompassing fear of commitment. They rely emotionally heavily on you, they claim you, but when you need them they are just not there. Such relationship is never equal. It is tiring, frustrating and, in the end, not romantic anymore. There’s just always these promises that are never followed through, the enormous discrepancy between words and deeds. They treat you as if you are an authority, and because they are afraid of authority, they start lying, esp. by hiding, by not telling the whole truth – as puberty girls/ boys do to their mothers.
    These can be very promosing, talented and intelligent people, but they are scared of emotional depth and, despite the emotional dependency they seek with you, will always run away once they understand that they are indeed emotionally dependent. Out of fear that you may run away, they run away. They push and pull you into all directions and then you feel as if you are a fool, difficult, trespassing etc.
    They love you, but they are not able to deliver.
    You can just not count on them. Leave. Advice: leave and cut off ALL contact immediately. Otherwise, they’ll trick you back into some contact, a contact that keeps on damaging you, because you will never get what you really want.

    • Marty- Welcome and thanks for your input.

      It sounds like you have done your research and had your share of a passive aggressive relationship. You pretty much nail it on the head. It’s just unfortunate that being able to “get out” isn’t always an option for everyone at the moment for one reason or another, or the pain just hasn’t gotten bad enough to chose to leave over all else. How long were you involved with a passive aggressive? I’m just curious. You didn’t really share any of your story. I’m sure there are quite a few out here that conker with your advice.

      • Dear Ladybeam, sorry for my late reply. I was in the relationship for almost 6 years. With a pa woman, by the way. The last year, she kept on saying that she wanted to marry (gay marriage is allowed in The Netherlands), but I always turned her down. Her (Italian, Catholic) mother was always against our relationship and I never met her. Last year, my girlfriend suddenly said ‘I think that, for my mother I should try to bevome heterosexual again’. I broke off the relationship on my 40th birthday, after I found out that she had been away for a week with some guy. We were on a ‘time-out’, which she used as an excuse to do things secretely. Meanwhile, I was seriously ill and facing a hystorectomy, and just startef a new job. It was only months later that I decided to google ‘aggression’, because my ex made me often desperate during our relationship, such that I would react aggressively. Then she would turn the discussion around. The discussions were always about her lack of consideration. Her reaction was always that I was the problem: the problem was always that I had a problem with some of her behaviour! Anyway, I encountered articles about pa on Wikipedia and aboutdivorce.com. Reading this opened my eyes: it was as if they had described my ex 100%! suddenly, I understood all the problems I always had with our relationship! I also come to the research, because acting aggressively, I felt like I turned into my mother. I knew my ex and me both had anger issues, stemming from home. I told her that I think she is PA, but she refuses to admit. She knows she has traumas and nweds counselling, but she is afraid of the emotional turmoil and changes it may cause. For now, she prefers to be in a relationship with some young guy, whom she likes because he is ‘not demanding’. In fact, I only demanded some consideration with my feelings. The real demanding person is she: her time schedule, to begin with. Always being too late and forgetful and postponing makes daily life for the spouse of a PA always end up differently from how you planned things in the morning. This is just one example. I tried to have a friendship, she said she hoped to ‘give more tokens of friendship soon’, but I didn’t receive the tokens she promised. So my Plan B was not to contact her anymore and not react to her calls. I never told her my Plan B, because I know if I will, she will have another excuse and promise. I’m just doing it now, keeping myself to my own promises. Last thing: when I wanted to break up, she said that was not what she wanted, and again minimized her behaviour by pointing to her (good) intentions, not accounting for the consequences and the discrepancy and illogics between words and deeds. She never really recognized my pain about all this. If I would not have pullef the plug, she would never have left me. She drove me away. She can’t stand emotional closeness, and I think she was angry with me from the moment on that she felt she loved me. It makes them feel out of control. I never understoid why she blamed me for being demanding and controlling. I was made into a bad person, while I’m not. I did everything to save our relationship. But she procrastinated and sabotaged things. They don’t feel save with emotions and emotional connection. So, easier for her now to be with a guy that she is not in love with, but who doesn’t demand anything. My heart is still trying to heal…

        • Marty- Thanks for sharing. I guess when it comes to a passive aggressive even being the same sex doesn’t make it any easier does it? A passive aggressive is it’s own breed, so to speak.

          I know how much you must be hurting, but in a way now she has done you a favor. Instead of always being crazy or “the bad guy” now you have a chance to really find happiness. I think you have done a good thing for yourself by choosing not to continue the relationship in any form as it seems apparent she cannot even hold up her end of a friendship. There’s no point in continuing to let her hurt you. As you said, she has no intention of “fixing” anything. Now going forward, hopefully this kind of person will be easy for you to spot so it doesn’t happen again. It’s just hard sometimes because in the beginning they’re just so damn tricky. LOL.

          Over to the right is a link to “Getting Past your past”. It’s a really good site and they believe in the “no contact” rule. You may find it of some help. I even bought one of their “no contact” reminder bracelets for each of my kids. LOL. I sincerely wish you all the luck in the world moving forward and putting your life back together. Please feel free to stop by anytime and give your input, or just let us know how it’s going. Love for you to keep in touch.

    • Thanks Marty,
      I will take your suggestion into account. There are such good people here that have had such a bad deal thrown at them. Boy! If I would have had my eyes open in the beginning, I wouldn’t have waited to leave. No, I wouldn’t have married him. But we all make mistakes and learn and I have used what I have learned to become stronger. I will NOT let him affect me. I find happiness elsewhere.

      He is not to be trusted to provide anything fundamentally important to me. That’s for sure! But in the time that he is getting help (and yes the counselor does understand PA very well) I will protect myself and prepare. In the meantime I am having fun alone.

      So far I have seen a “little” improvement- so I cannot discount that. And yes I too, have experienced him sweet talk me many times into thinking he was changing and then having it go back to the same ol’ -same ol’. Is he getting help out of fear of me leaving? OF COURSE he is! That’s what PA’s do. I cannot shut my eyes for a minute. And it is hard work I have to admit. Without my support of his changes there is no hope for him. I will know in time (and yes I have set a limit on time and only I know what that limit is, not him)

      I know it sounds crazy to support someone who has been so cruel to you. But in counseling I learned that to make positive comments on the things he does right. On the bad stuff… he must “sit on” his actions. He must deal with the consequences of his actions…just as we all have to do. In the beginning I was a “manager”, and a “rescuer” of him, but no more…Now he gets from me what I want to give. Sometimes its good and sometimes it’s not so good.
      I have even gone so far as make a list of the things I will not tolerate from him and I gave it to him. Of course the first thing he did is take it to his counselor and I heard nothing more about it. Evidently the counselor agreed with me, because he is changing some of the things I mentioned on the list.
      You mentioned “romance”. What’s that? Withholding physical connectedness for 15 years (and he still does) was just one of the many tricks up his sleeve.
      I know all the games, all the things the PA does that hurts you, but I will NOT carry the anger for him. That hurts me. I am supporting his changes and ignoring the bad behavior and letting him know how he makes me feel when he does something irritating. It’s a little like training a dog..praise the good and ignore the bad…only the dog picks up on it faster..
      I may be, in the future, in the position that many are who have finally left their PA partner..so stay tuned. My autobiography gets me up to where I am now..I will be writing volume two when all is said and done. May each of you find your own peace,
      jmarie

      • jmarie- Good for you that he is getting help, whatever the reason that got him there. If you’re actually seeing any good come of it whatsoever, then it sounds like he may be taking some of it to heart. You’re right, you can’t discount that. Many of us can’t even get our PAs to even consider counseling, because “there’s nothing wrong with them”.

        I also think it’s great that you don’t expect an overnight miracle, so you take care of yourself while trying to be of support to him. I know how hard it is to be able to reach a balance.

        I look forward to hearing from you in the future. Who knows, maybe you’ll be one of the ones that actually does survive being married to a PA and lives with him “happily ever after”. That is my wish for you. =)

        • ladybeams,
          My PA and I are going through what you call an “independence” stage. This is the stage that can and usually does prompt breakups. It is a struggle. I’m doing what I want to do independent from him and getting out of the co-dependency of the relationship. He, on the other hand, has this look of insecurity about it -which is to be expected. He seems, not yet, to be able to get to his “feelings” and discuss them. Why would he want to be that vulnerable? (typical PA) Which is sad for him.

          I don’t try to ask how he feels about things because it is his job to say how he feels. In the past when I would mention things which were of importance to me, it enabled him by providing him more amunition to sabotage me. It is up to him to mention what bothers him. I am here to listen and understand…but he is nowhere near that amount of communication yet. However, I will not keep my emotions and feelings hidden from him when he does something that is “crazy making”, especially when it concerns major things which affect us both. I give my opinion and I will say things like “when you do this….it makes me feel ….” Then it is up to him to respond, act, or change. If I get no response..so be it. All the while protecting myself.

          He is in counseling, yes, but has not truly “grown up” yet. It is like standing back and watching a child learn on his own. That is exactly what I am doing right now and what I have to do. The codependency is over for me.

          He is now in a very unsettling situation for himself. I have seen him try to “just forget it” or withdraw from the problems (typical), even in the counseling work (he forgets to practice it)…

          I have to be honest with everyone…THIS IS DIFFICULT to say the least. The way I see it: so long as I can make myself happy that is what counts. He has to find his own happiness and stop depending on me. I can see he still wants the co-dependance. I will not fall back into that trap! I want to know his thoughts, but I am done asking for them, he has to start talking.Then I will listen. Basically I am putting the ball in his court and he has no idea how to volley it back yet.

          I do feel sad that he has chosen to live such a fearful unconnected life. But I can’t do a thing about him…only me. I want to help him, but I can’t …he must help himself. To try and help him is to reconnect myself to the co-dependency. That is something that just won’t happen any longer for me.
          jmarie

          • jmarie- It sounds like you are really making progress, even if he isn’t. You are absolutely right. We can not change them. They have to want and do that for themselves. We can work on us, which it sounds like you really know what you need to do, what you want, and you’re very good at articulating it. I really do think right after starting to detach or at the same time, we have to take back control of our lives first. It’s not until we can look in the mirror and know who we are and what we are willing to settle for, can we begin to get out from under the chaos.

            Thank you so much for your input. I’m sure your strength is a beacon of light for everyone that reads your comments.

  10. @Colette: yes, you are sometimes enraged, because the PA triggers that behaviour in you, because they drive you crazy with their special logics (words, no or contradicting deeds), until you snap. And then they will accuse you for being angry/ aggressive. And they completely downplay their own role in this PA-AA dynamics.

  11. Thank you, Marty. I agree. I used to say that I may be the person screaming obscenities from the roof, but the devil is on the ground smirking with self-satisfaction.

    It’s nice to know I’m not the bad guy.

    How do you deal with the PA that was/is in your life?

    • Ha ha, that used to be me too! The issue was always my anger. At least it gave me an excuse to do some soul searching and address my part in the drama. Despite the craziness, we get a good look into ourselves. Nice that we gain ther ability to see a little clearer.

  12. this is some very interesting questions- made me think for a moment.
    1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?
    What or how did you feel about that?
    It took me a maybe 2 years to begin to really look at the patterns my husband had. At first, I thought it was just the newness of being married and being thrust into parenthood. I thought maybe he was bi-polar or schizophrenic (his father suffered from bi-polar although he was also paranoid). Once I began seeing the pattern and doing the research then he would go into a peaceful moment- so then I was confused.- did I mistake it etc.
    I remember when I told his mother some stuff- she stared at me dumbfounded and then tried to make excuses for him- stating things like I didn’t raise him to be like his dad- that can’t be true maybe you misunderstood what he was saying.

    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?
    I believed that this was the one suited to spend the rest of my life with and build a productive future- unfortunately, he had other ideas. I was very up front with my needs, wants and desires. I do believe in God and plan to follow His will.
    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?

    He was kind, considerate and enjoyable to be around – others called him a gem of a guy( not sure which gem they were referring to!)
    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
    At first we tried counseling and I realized that he couldn’t stick with anything and he wasn’t going to do the work necessary. It was hard coming to the fact that in his heart he really believed that his way of thinking was correct- Which is why he felt he did not need to consult with anyone. His favorite line: I have a brain and I don’t need to check with anyone!
    I don’t think I understood how “needy” my husband was- he always wanted help with his tasks- can you help me pay this bill- can you help me do this- but if I needed help he wasn’t as open to give it without asking a million and one questions.
    I think his mother took care of them- even his father in his mental state.
    My husband has always tried to not be like his father but in the end he turned out quite like him.
    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
    The confusion- because he has moments that he is really a sweatheart- like now- he is working real hard at getting the bills together- paying attention to me- apologizing etc. But as with anything the explosion has to come at some point
    Then there is the part where they make you out as the bad guy- you don’t understand me- you always have to put me down etc.
    And the children- they are looking dad as though his issues are way too complicated for anyone to understand- its hard realizing the children will not have the dad that they deserve.
    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?
    The silliest was trying to reason with him- how do you reason with someone who is unreasonable?
    Stick to the facts- remain disengaged- state what you thought was going to happen- and write it down.
    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?
    Personally, I am developing well- I keep myself surrounded by like minded individuals- I have lots of out side activities: work- fulfilling my master degree requirements. Taking a better care of my health- when the stress gets too much for me I go to counseling just to get a clearer perspective
    My philosophy- if he wants to partake with me – fine- if he doesn’t fine! I am going to keep it moving!
    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?
    My only special power would be that I do love him- I care for him and am concerned about him completely and I trust and believe God!
    8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?
    When he is at his peak- its all good- he’s more open etc.
    I continue to stress to him what I need in terms of a connection- sometimes he’s willing and other times he isn’t- since I still have a child at home I have enough to keep me busy etc.
    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).
    I am not sure what that would really be- he is quite capable to do anything he puts his mind to- he just is not willing to a lot of things but wants to get a lot in return.
    He still has a good personality
    I stay because I think we can make it work-
    I use to stay because I didn’t think anyone would believe what he was really like!
    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?

    The future is going to be quite interesting especially when the last one is gone and out the house-Right now have to take each day one day at a time.

    • Tracy- Welcome! and thank you so much for taking the time to share with us.

      It sounds like you also have a handle on what’s happening. It sounds like you definitely have your share to deal with. One of a man’s biggest fears I think is that the same thing will happen to him that happened to his father, whether that be a type of mental illness, or dying at the same age, or getting the same disease. I can see where due to your husband’s father’s illness, your husband would absolutely fight to prove his “brain” is ok, which would make couples counseling almost impossible for your situation. It’s good that you seek it for yourself when you feel it’s necessary as I do believe it can be a great source of strength and support. It’s great also that you have so many activities that you enjoy and get out and do them. I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes we make, is cutting ourselves off from everything just because he/she doesn’t want to do it with us.

      Good luck to you and God Bless. It’s great that you still have the love for him more than the resentment that usually comes from being in a passive aggressive relationship for long term. I agree with you that when the children are all grown and gone, then it will be like another whole new step in the relationship. As one of the ladies stated on here, when her children were gone the marriage went back to the original issues from before they had kids. As you said, handling one step and one day at a time. Please feel free to come back anytime and let us know how you’re doing.

  13. I’ve been with my PA for 10 months. Sometimes I wish I could just walk away. For some reason, I can’t. He’s so giving to my children and when we’re together, he’s amazing. He will do anything for anyone. He’s a Master Jeweler and artist. His first wife cheated on him 4 times before he made her leave and since then, in the past 7 years he’s had a couple girlfriends that both cheated on him as well. They only lasted a the most 6 weeks. I’m the longest relationship he’s has in 8 years. It has been the biggest challenge ever. I’ve never had to almost fight for a relationship. He’s a 52 year old retired Marine and I’m 39. He has the biggest heart I’ve ever known and owns his own jewelry store and is a very hard worker.. When he’s not procrastinating.
    I honestly think he has depression mixed into the PA because he tends to have melt downs every now and then and withdraws from everyone. I just feel like I’m on a never ending roller coaster.

    • Valarie- Hi and welcome. I see you’re a “newbie” to all this.

      It’s wonderful that he is so good with your children, but as far as the roller coaster ride, I’m afraid I can’t offer you much hope that things will get better. If you’re getting this now and you’re only 10 months into the relationship when things are still relatively new, you have a long road in front of you if you continue to stay.

      I’m going to be fairly blunt here, but how is your sex life? I’m just wondering why these women are all cheating on him? Usually it’s because they are not getting the love, affection and/or intimacy from their spouse or partner. I would think if he allowed his first wife to cheat 4 times before getting rid of her, maybe he believed he was partly responsible. It sounds as if they didn’t want to let go of your PAs generosity but went elsewhere to fulfill their other needs. Why do you think they all cheated on him? It must be hard proving your loyalty after the experiences he’s had.

      As for the depression, he very well may be depressed. Men go through a “male menopause” just like women do. It’s just not as visible. Maybe he’s going through some of that. Sometimes it’s just a matter of a vitamin deficiency or bad diet.

      I wish you luck, My Dear, and please, feel free to join us anytime. I hope the site and our experiences here are of some help to you.

  14. Valid point, and one that most women are reluctant to discuss. PA men are notoriously selfish when it comes to sex and affection. This has been a major problem in my marriage. What can you do if your man does not have an intrinsic desire to be a good lover to you? Just going through the motions leaves a woman feeling empty. I have often been tempted to get my needs met elsewhere.

    • Hi Linda- Thank you for your response.

      You say about him not being a “good lover” to you. Most of us here deal with not getting any sex at all. LOL. It is tempting to have an affair or a fling, but then it turns into such a mess. I think if someone is truly wanting to go outside of the relationship to meet their needs, I believe you should just go ahead and end the marriage/relationship first. I’m not any “goody-two-shoes” but I just think that you’re just throwing gasoline onto a fire. If things are already bad, some could not handle the guilt, etc that goes along with an extramarital affair. For many it would just help to spiral them downward into a deeper depression, or submissive state than they already are. I don’t think lack of sex, or “bad” sex is a reason to cheat anymore for a woman than it is for a man.

      Thank you again for all your input. I really appreciate it and look forward to hearing more from you. Take care of yourself and good luck.

      • This is to Linda and Ladybeams….
        Ladybeams, I couldn’t agree more! Linda, Going out to find sex somewhere else is truly tempting, but (in my opinion) women want an emotional connection with a man before all else. Or am I wrong?
        It would be throwing fuel on the fire and make for a much unwanted backlash of what you want to begin with. Not only that, it would make you feel bad about yourself more than you know. (especially if you have a commitment to your vows- if married). The last thing you want is for YOU to make YOURSELF feel bad. He’s already done that to you..remember?
        If the only reason for getting sex elsewhere is to get back at him for being the way he is– then you are becoming the same as he is. Don’t fall for that! It’s tempting, I know, I’ve been there, but it will not make the problem go away…only make it worse. Handle it yourself–if you get my drift. It’s a lonely feeling, I know. What you do with your life is YOUR decision. —just thought I would put my two cents in here– I do agree with Ladybeams on leaving– if that is what will make you feel better about it all. It is ALWAYS your choice. Big hugs and much understanding.
        Jmarie

        • Thanks for the wise words of caution. I did not mean to imply that I would actually have an affair. If that were my reality, I would have done that a long time ago.

          I meant to address the taboo subject of not really having a lover – it is not the same thing as simply getting sex. Of course, a physical relationship with out a solid emotional connection is not going to be satisfying. I can’t be the only one who considers this a major issue. There are other needs that can be filled outside of the marriage and some of those would be more tolerable if we were really connecting in the bedroom.

          It is extremely difficult to address, but I have let my husband know that I will not remain in a marriage with a man who is not willing and eager to be a lover. The days of me providing sex for him out of a sense of wifely duty are gone.

          If you are interested in this subject, the book “Passionate Marriage” is an indepth look at sex as the barometer for understanding the dynamics of the entire relationship. My husband read it also and it opened his eyes to what he has been missing out on.

          I can give him credit for beginning to move in a more positive direction. Just trying to withold judgement for now and reinforce the positive. All change comes really slow with these guys.

          • Linda- Thanks for responding. I think we have probably at some time all “thought about an affair”. Maybe not an affair so much as just finding someone who finds us desirable, makes us feel like the women we are.

            Thanks for the heads up about the book. I’ll have to see if I can find it. Your fortunate that you husband read it also. I don’t know what it would take to get my BF to read a book. LOL. Hey, leaving it laying around is worth a try. Of course for us now it’s gone beyond the PA thing because of my weight, but I didn’t get any more action when I lost it all and was thin, so that excuse is a no-go. I think that’s part of the reason I let myself gain it all back. I should have lost it for myself instead of trying to get more of his attention. This time it will be for me. I keep it off a lot longer that way. LOL

            Thanks again for sharing.

        • jmarie- As always, thanks for your input and the love and kindness you put into your responses.

  15. […] Posts 10 Questions-How Do You Live With a Passive Aggressive?Examples of Passive Aggressive BehaviorEffects of The Passive Aggressive ParentRekindling The Flame […]

  16. 1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?
    It’s been going on for years. My “aha” moment was when he watched me struggle over paying bills and transferring money and there he was sitting on $7500 which he blew gambling and then said it was “his” money and “he” had earned it – never giving a thought to how it affected me or my child.
    What or how did you feel about that?
    Enraged. Then I sat down and looked back over the years – and after finally finding the words for it “Passive Aggressive” – I actually felt relieved – here I was thinking it was me and it wasn’t. Thinking I wasn’t trying hard enough – and it wasn’t me – it was him and I could see it and relate to why he was this way – his parents were doozies and I suddenly realized that he had been coping this way his entire life.
    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?
    I think something was triggered in me – I had a malignant narcissist for a mother and a passive aggressive father – voila! Kismet!
    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?
    I thought he was a “good guy” – not charming or smarmy but a genuinely upstanding guy – at least that’s what he projects. The unfortunate part is that’s all it is – a façade.
    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
    There was a lot of soul searching – a lot of taking his faults onto myself – if he failed to do something he said he was going to and people would call and harangue me until I finally said hey – he’s responsible for himself – I’m not responsible for him. There was a continual learning process – when you have a pattern of horrendous things happening time and time again and you start feeling like the victim – and it wasn’t how you were before you were involved – you vacillate between trying not to place blame because “he didn’t know” or some other excuse and then you realize you are being sabotaged time and time again. You start to panic when you hear the words, “I have a problem” because you know it is catastrophic and the rug is going to be pulled out from you again – be it emotionally or monetarily. Every time we would get ahead – he would do something to sabotage it. Every time I would do something for me – he would sabotage it.
    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
    The loneliness is heartrending. The being alone is not. I actually became used to being alone and when he went away for a week’s vacation – see he gets vacations I don’t – I actually got angry that he came back. Getting angry is what they want – if they can make you angry they don’t have to be angry and they are so damned slippery that you get involved with the cycle even if you don’t want to.
    When do I feel it the most? When he chooses the American Legion of which he is commander over me. When he chooses being with everyone else but me. When he comes home late every night because he has to stop at the Legion. When someone calls for a favor he is out of the door and yet things I’ve asked for aren’t done. When he goes out for hours at a time and then calls and says Oh I’m sorry. When he never uses my name when he speaks to me or about me. It’s tough being invisible.
    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?
    Most useful: Don’t feed into it. When they manipulate a conversation so that it just irks the heck out of you and you want to argue it – don’t. I tend to smile and say no I don’t think so or “Poor [insert his name here] everybody picks on you and we all know it isn’t your fault.”
    The silliest: After weeks of asking him to pick his dirty underwear and clothing up from the floor – when he passed under the window on his way to work – I simply dumped it on the roof of his car he went driving down the street with his briefs waving in the wind.
    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?
    I’m staying until my son graduates high school – 3 years to go – if I can make it. I’m making my plans, squirreling my money, etc. Why – I work in divorce law – I don’t want to subject my son to the custody/support nonsense or myself either – I want the kid to be 18 and making his own way and decisions – so I don’t have to deal with this jerk for the rest of my life.
    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?
    I have no special powers – it is what it is I am resigned to it. What does Bonnie Raitt say “I can’t make you love me if you don’t?” It is what it is. Separate lives, good friends, and trying not to be too angry or upset emotionally with him. Realizing there’s nothing in it for me and it’s like a dog in the manger – do I stay or do I go.
    * And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?

    I have a good network of friends who support me. I don’t think I will ever be involved with anyone again. It is what it is.
    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).
    I don’t feel guilty anymore. I’m so finished. I don’t love him anymore. Heck, I don’t even like him.
    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?

    Old age is my reason for leaving – if I have to spend the rest of my life with this yutz, I’ll be hanging from a rafter – every single time I’ve needed him he’s nowhere to be found. Every single time I ask for something it’s the last thing that is done.
    How will I replace what he is not providing for the shared life of you two? I don’t truly know if I want to replace it. It’s been so long that my emotional needs have been met that I’ve developed into someone who has no emotions at all. The slightest hug from someone else can make me cry because I’m not used to it. I used to think it was me. It’s not. I’m not unloveable or crazy or the ice queen or any of that, I’m just a person who has faced abuse all of her life and has become educated by it.

    • A- Welcome and thanks for sharing. It sounds like we have a lot in common. LOL. I love the throwing his underware out the window on top of his car. That’s definitely something I would do. LOL.

      I’m so glad to hear that you have figured out what it takes to take care of you. If we don’t help ourselves, who will? The PA is not going to come to us and say, “Oh Honey, it’s not you. I’m screwed up. I’ll fix it. I love you. I’ll change it all.” OMGosh! LOL. While it’s sad to think about you being abused all your life, at the same time I admire that you have and are learning from it vs. just living “the victim. Poor me” which is so easy to do. It sounds like you have a very valid plan for the rest of your life after graduation without the “yutz”. LOL. You go Woman! Very encouraging and a blue print for some of the rest of us.

      Feel free to stop in anytime and let us know how you’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

  17. Hi Everyone.
    Thought I would share with you a very interesting thing that happened this weekend.
    My PA was asked a direct question from my friend. As with most PA’s, he answered with a question…so he could leave her guessing.. The friend had the look of confusion on her face, she unfortunately fell into his trap and answered his question and the subject was then beginning to be manipulated by my PA… and again he didn’t answer her original question. He was pulling the game of “confuse the issues” and “stay safe” by not being honest with his opinions. I am really “seeing” now how he plays this game with others as well as how he has done it with me for many years.
    Gently, I told him that she deserved a direct answer to her direct question and that he was being disrespectful by not answering her. But guess what he did…??
    He answered her question. Directly!

    (I calmly Confronted him and it worked….this time. Alone, when I confront…it doesn’t always work…but in a group -with witnesses…it did….again I say “this time”.)

    However, later as my friends and I were chatting and laughing …he sat away from the group. I and no one else said anything to him about why he sat “over there”. Evidently, he was trying to gain sympathy and no one would give it. (Playing the “oh poor me” role.)

    What I wanted to share with you is that watching your PA interact with others is very eye opening. I enjoyed my interaction with my friends. They were funny, and wonderful……all the while the PA sits alone and no one is paying a whole lot of attention to him. If that is what he wants….so be it. Sad for him….I had a good time though.
    Everyone have a marvelous day!
    jmarie

    • 1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?
      I guess my “aha” moment was when I went to a counselor several years ago, after we attempted marriage counseling with this same counselor. The counselor told me that most women do not stay with someone like my husband. The counselor told me that if I decided to stay with my husband, that I must give up the idea of what a marriage really should be, and to get my needs met outside of my marriage. I would have to grieve the loss of my marrige and move on emotionally.

      What or how did you feel about that? It really was a confirmation of what I had already begun to figure out during my the 25 years of marriage.

      2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?

      It was definitely not an act of God. This man is in my life, because I made the mistake of comparing him to previous boyfriends and not to the standards I had set for a man I would get involved with.

      Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?
      Compared to previous boyfriends, he looked better because he was charming, fun, pursued me, seemed to know what he wanted, had a good job, and was older and therefore, I wrongly assumed, more mature.

      3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
      I spent many years angry, frustrated, resentful, at times thinking that it was me, and hoping things would get better. It has definitely been a process. I began detaching myself in stages before I learned that what I was dealing with is a passive-aggressive man. The funny thing is that he is the one who asked me to read an article about passive-aggressive behavior and see if that was him. The article he showed me was definitely him. It was several months later that I began reading whatever I could find about the passive-aggressive man.

      4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?

      I have felt all the emotions loneliness, anger, resentment, frustration, confusion, etc. I felt it the most during difficult times – my health issues, my children’s health issues, dealing with a very sick mother, who has now been dead 5 years. I had to deal with these things by myself, because he led his life as though nothing out of the ordinary was happening, and would even tell me I was overreacting.

      5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?

      I went for individual counseling and learned about passive-aggressive behavior and the role I play. I have decided to stay married. My children are all grown. So, I have put my energies into a new job, which I love, spending time with family and friends, settling into a new church home, and not asking anything of him. The most useful is to concentrate on my life without him.

      The silliest thing I have done is to ignore his behavior and believe his words, which of course were the opposite of his behavior. So I wasted 20 years hoping that things will be different and believing that he really cares for me, which left me open to being repeatedly disappointed and hurt.

      6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?

      I view life as an adventure and I constant learning experience. I am seriously considering getting my doctorate. In the meantime, I am enjoying my new job teaching at the community college, getting involved in my new church (He came along with me, even though I told him he could stay in our old church.), and socializing and traveling without him. I recently visited my youngest daughter for a long weekend alone. I am going to vacation in San Francisco later this summer without him.

      7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?

      I don’t think I have any special powers. I put my energies into realationships with my really good friends and family. I have chosen to let go of the resentment, frustration and anger and to treat him kindly and with respect. (It can still crop up, but not as often or with the same intensitiy.) I want to be the better person. It’s easy to treat someone kindly when they are kind to you, but the real strength of character is to treat someone kindly when they are unkind to you.

      And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?

      My needs are met with other people in my life. My 2 best friends are definitely a life line. I have a wonderful relationship with my 3 children and other family members. I am a Christian, and have been developing a more intimate relationship with God. I put my energies into spending time with family and friends, gardening, church, teaching, laughter, etc. I’ve made my marriage the least essential part of my life, so that the lack in my marriage, is not as significant as it used to be.

      9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).

      Fortunately, I do not need him financially, so that is not a reason to stay. As a Christian, I am staying out of a committment to my marriage vows. He is a good handyman and a hard worker. I’m not interested in getting involved with any other man. I know several women who are also married to passive-aggressive men. I do feel sorry for him sometimes, because he doesn’t have any friends and as my son says, “All he does is go to work, come home or go to church. He has no life.” But that is his choice.

      10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?

      Well, as long as he is willing, we will live as we are now – separate lives under the same roof. We do talk about things, but there is no intimacy. I will go places with him if there are others with us, but I won’t travel or go to concerts, etc. alone with him. I’ve already replaced what he is not providing. Life is too good to lament over what I don’t have, when I really have more than so many others.

      • Namesake- Welcome, and thank you so much for sharing your story. It never ceases to amaze me how long it takes us sometimes to move ahead, with or without them.

        I do understand what you say about him in comparison to previous boyfriends. That is where I come from. Unfortunately, as a friend told me years ago, “better” does not necessarily mean “good”. So even tho my PA is better than some past boyfriends or husbands, it’s still not a good, healthy relationship. Do to that, there are many times when I see friends in the dating pool, I still think “it could always be worse”.

        It sounds like you very much have a handle on things. You sound a lot how I feel, that I am just building a fulfilling life through family, church, work, and friends, that it’s full enough and rewarding enough to try not to miss the intimacy, etc. that lacks in my relationship with him. Of course I’m sure this is only possible now that I am older. 20 years ago I could never have stayed in the relationship, or stayed loyal. Something would have to give. LOL. I am curious. Why won’t you go to concerts, etc with him alone? Does he complain a lot, or boring, or what? If he is willing or wants to go…

        Thanks again for taking the time to answer the questions. It’s nice and encouraging to hear from someone making it work for them. Please feel free to come back anytime. Love to hear from you.

      • Namesake – thanks for sharing. I am headed in a similar direction – staying married, but meeting my relationship needs outside of the marriage, and building my own character. I, too, have finally come to the point where I am building my own life, separate from my PA husband. It’s been reassuring to read your post.

        Ladybeams, you asked why Namesake wouldn’t go to concerts, etc with just her DH. I’m also headed in that direction. For me, he spoils the concert, vacation, etc with crappy negative behavior. His coping skills are limited so if anything changes (bad traffic, restaurant closed, etc) I have to deal with a tantrum first. It’s just not very enjoyable and I’ve had enough of this behavior to last a lifetime! He will behave better if others are present. Also (and I’m sure you all can relate to this) he will agree to do something he really doesn’t want to do, then sulk and pout during the whole experience. (Many of us do things that wouldn’t be our first choice, but we suck it up for the good of all concerned. For many there is pleasure in enjoying a loved one enjoying something. That’s just not the case for the PA individual.)

    • jmarie- It is amazing once you know what you are dealing with to watch it in action, aye? Usually when they act as he did after answering her question, I’m sure not only was he playing the “poor me” but he probably thought he was punishing you by not participating in the group activities. As you said, sad for him. He was probably waiting, not for the group to say something to him, but for you to beg him to come over, ask him what was wrong so he could say “nothing”, etc. It sounds like you handled it just right. I know confronting them doesn’t always work at home, but it is a little harder for them to wiggle out of the situation when there are a few people waiting around for his answer. LOL.

      Thanks for sharing. It’s very enlightening once you “get it” aye?

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  19. ——-
    Over all, one question I have is do you feel he/she was honest when you started dating, or do you feel like they “tricked” you?

    I definitely feel as though I were “tricked.” He was so nice and accommodating. We were both divorced and frequently discussed what went wrong in our previous relationships. So when he said things like, “Whatever you do, never give me the silent treatment. My ex used to do that and it made me crazy. I don’t care how mad you might be, I want to know how you’re feeling,” I bought it. I thought he was speaking from experience, sharing his heart with me about how hurtful she had been to ignore him. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

    ——-
    1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?

    I knew within the first two weeks something was wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. He was distant and cold. I blamed it on the stress of moving to a new state and him starting a new job. I blamed it on the fact that I had a three-year-old from my first marriage and maybe he was freaking out about being a dad. I blamed it on the fact that I’d gain about 7 or 8 pounds in the past year.

    As time went on, when I would try to talk to him about what was wrong, I got the following excuses:
    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    “You’re the only one who thinks anything is wrong.”
    “You have too high expectations for marriage.”
    “You’re the only one unhappy here.”
    “You caught me at a bad time. You can’t just bombard me with this stuff. Tell me if you want to talk and then let me decide when a good time for me is.”

    Then, after telling him I needed to talk to him, and then waiting for three weeks… “I don’t remember you saying you needed to talk. I think you’re imagining that.”

    After restating that I, indeed, did need to talk to him, and then waiting another 2 weeks and asking him, “Are you ever going to set aside time for us to talk?” his reply was, “No. I don’t think there’s anything to talk about. If you have problems, work them out yourself.”

    I knew at that moment the marriage was in serious trouble.

    This was within the first 5 months of marriage. About a month later, we got pregnant. Leaving was not an option for me.

    ——-
    What or how did you feel about that?

    I was fearful. I thought perhaps he regretted marrying me. I felt trapped. I was in my mid-twenties, had only some college courses under my belt, and my previous marriage had been to a physically abusive man (the father of my first child). I felt that if I left this man who everyone, and I mean everyone, thought was so wonderful, I would look like an idiot. After all, he was a very good provider and loved by all. He was so charming during our courtship. I’d seen it with my own eyes. I felt leaving him and trying to raise two children on my own with no solid education, no immediate prospect of a decent job would be a dumb and selfish move. My children deserved a good home. I felt that if everyone else was in agreement that he man was the “perfect” man, I must be wrong about what I was seeing and feeling. I felt off balance.

    ——-
    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life?

    I think I was drawn to him because of his ultra-kindness. He was so nice. Having left a physically/verbally abusive man, I felt safe with him. I dare say I even felt more powerful. Here was a man who was too nice to be controlling, too nice to be domineering, too nice to be abusive.

    ——-
    Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?

    No “act of God,” just a woman who didn’t have confidence in herself and had yet to learn to be more discerning of people.

    ——-
    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?

    I’ve thought about this a lot over the years. Besides the obvious Mr. Nice Guy thing, I think I subconsciously saw his niceness as “weakness.” In my mind, as a victim of domestic abuse, I think I believed weak men weren’t abusive. I’ve since realized abusers are typically men who feel weak.

    ——-
    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?

    Anger, frustration, denial, praying, ignoring, pleading, crying … you name it. There wasn’t much of a learning process. It was all too confusing and inconsistent. Or at least it seemed that way. I understand now that the inconsistency is part of the pattern.

    ——-
    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?)

    The most insidious thing about being involved with a PA partner is the loss of trust in oneself and the loss of one’s own intuition. In a physically abusive relationship, it is “easier” to look at the other person and say, “You are acting in a terrible, mean, hurtful way.” The PA makes you think you did something terrible, mean, and hurtful.

    ——-
    When do you feel it the most?

    When my children are affected. When I see other spouses supporting each other. When something that matters to me is dismissed. When I started feeling guilty for even having anything that matters to me.

    ——-
    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?

    The most useful ones have nothing to do with changing him; they’re about doing what’s best for me. If I anticipate a PA reaction to something I’m planning on doing, I sit back and look at what I’m thinking of doing and then ask myself basic questions:
    1. Is what I want reasonable?
    2. Am I a bad person for wanting/doing this?
    3. If someone else asked my opinion about whether or not I thought the same plans for them would be unreasonable, what would I tell them?
    4. Would I be okay with him doing the same thing or something similar?

    These questions help me to be “okay” with my decisions. Then when the games begin and the PA behavior kicks in, I’ve can more readily see it as his issues and not based in any reality. Then I can ignore it more easily. It still takes effort and energy but it doesn’t derail me the way it used to.

    Of course, there are always the unexpected PA reactions that pop up. I can’t really plan for those but if I can anticipate half of them, I’m more balanced when the others hit me.

    I know a lot of experts advise stating to a PA partner how their behavior affects you, but I haven’t find that useful in my situation. I’ve tried it over years but I don’t see much of a change. What would get his attention was when I would (again) said I was leaving and truly mean it. Last time he finally decided we desperately needed to go to counseling. I think he knew I had other viable options as the kids were older and in high school/college and we had moved close to family. In other words, I had somewhere else to go. When I refused to go to counseling on the grounds I didn’t care enough about the relationship anymore to try, he went into overdrive. He found a counselor in 30 minutes and said that I at least owed it to our children to give counseling a chance. That was ironic considering I’d been asking him to go to counseling for almost ten years at that point and he’d refused on the grounds I was the only one with a problem.

    We went weekly for at least a year. It did reduce his PA behavior for a while but it’s coming back.

    (One of the things he said in counseling was that he didn’t know I was serious about wanting a divorce because “You’ve said you were leaving before but you never did.” He conveniently forgot his crying and sobbing and begging me not to leave the previous times and his saying how he “finally understood” and he was “a changed man now.”)

    The silliest thing I’ve ever done is put Holy Water in his coffee and on his pillow. Not that I think Holy Water is silly, but it is silly that I thought I could evoke a change in his soul without his participation. I believe God can change people but I also believe they have to participate in the process. God doesn’t manipulate us against our will.

    ——-
    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?

    Well, I’m still with him but I don’t believe I will be forever. I am waiting — for our youngest to leave college, for me to get a decent paying job (I have a college degree now), for his parents to die so they don’t blame me — on and on and on.
    Or at least those have been my excuses. The obvious truth is, I will never leave him as long as I continue to deny myself even the possibility of a better life, of an independent life. I am working on understanding my own co-dependent tendencies. The one thing I have finally come to understand is the decision is 100% mine and mine alone and I have to own it.

    ——-
    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?

    No. I still don’t fully understand it. I know it has to do with fear and anger and an inability to cope well with either, and I can appreciate the struggle, but I can’t understand those who make others suffer for it. It baffles me.

    ——-
    8 ) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?

    I’m working on that. A moment of clarity came for me when I realized he will never be the person who meets my needs for love, connection, or recognition. He will never be the person who supports personal growth on my part. Occasionally there will be moments in which he appears to be supportive and loving, but he is unable to sustain it. Any little thing, or big thing, will push him back into his PA. He is driven by the need to protect himself from his own perceived fears. I cannot release him from that prison but I can release him in my own mind from the responsibility of meeting my needs. I would never express that to him (“Guess what, Honey? You’re off the hook. You don’t have to try anymore.”) but I no longer see him as a source of support and so I am no longer as disappointed.
    I am learning to be my own primary source of support and love (new for me). I decided that if I divorced him and was on my own I would still need support and love. If I were suddenly single, my choices would be to hand the responsibility of my well being to someone new or to learn to “love myself.” We finally live near my family so I have people who are there for me but ultimately I have to be there for myself first.

    ——–
    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).

    I don’t think it’s his weakness that makes me stay; I think it’s mine. But I will say that when he starts crying and pleading, it is unsettling. It seems so genuine, and it probably is. I believe he truly wants me to stay or even needs me to stay because if I leave, he instinctively knows there won’t be a buffer between him and his anger and fears. He doesn’t know how to handle them except by projecting them onto someone else so when he swears he wants to marriage to work, he actually means it. It’s just not for the same reasons most people want a marriage to work. I think he “loves” me to the fullest extent he can “love” anyone. Unfortunately, since his coping mechanism is to resort to PA behaviors, and he denies it even exists, we always wind up back at square one.

    ——–
    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?

    My future depends on my state of mind. If I do end up staying with him, I hope I can say I have learned to stand on my own and no longer see his issues as being connected to me in any way, shape, or form. If I leave him, I hope I can say the same thing.

    Either way, I am going through a grieving process. I am coming to terms with the fact that the person I thought I knew is more façade than truth and that the marriage I thought was based on mutual love and support is based on his individual need for emotional survival and protection from his deep-seated fears and anger.

    My ultimate goal is to stop using him as a scapegoat for my shortcomings. After 20 years of marriage, it’s become a habit to blame him for my failures. As long as I have him to blame, I don’t have to take responsibility.

    That must stop. Now.

    • Orchid- Welcome and thank you for answering the “10 Questions”. You obviously put a lot of thought into your answers. Yeah for you! If you’ve gained strength and a new self-love through all this, you are making it through better than a lot of people in the same type of situation. Unfortunately being involved with a PA usually has the opposite effect.

      I do understand what you mean about a physical abuser vs. an emotional abuser. Anyone who has been a victim of emotional abuse has always said “at least the bruises go away when you’re physically abused”. Not only that, but the world can see and understand a physical abuse a lot easier than an emotional abuse. It’s a shame when we find a new relationship that’s better than what we are used to in the past, it’s still not necessarily good. You’ve come a long way from knowing something was wrong 2 weeks after you were married, to the woman you are today. 20 yrs. is a long time.

      I think the questions you have learned to ask yourself about things you plan or want (#5), are excellent. It would be wise for all of us to adapt those (is what I’m planning reasonable, etc?). A very good way for each of us to be our own support system for our plans, wants and needs. I also appreciate the way that you have decided that it is up to you to be in charge of your own happiness instead of leaving it up to someone else. In the end, that is what it comes down to.

      I do have to tell you, I had to chuckle a little when you said after begging him to go to counseling for 10 yrs. and refusing, he was able to find a therapist fast when it was the other way around. LOL. Amazing isn’t it?

      Well, My Dear, even if it’s taken awhile, you seem to have your head on pretty straight. I hope you have been able to remain close with your children through out most of this, counter acting his possible passive aggressive influence. It’s sad sometimes that that is where we see the real damage.

      I hope you’ll stay in touch. If you ever need to rant and rave, or just give a helping hand to another here, feel free. Thank you again for your comment.

    • Orchid..
      You are a marvelous person! Your story touches me, as mine is so very similar. The “nice guy” in the beginning and then the slow process of his personality slowly pulling you down. Once you are at the end of your rope with the confusion and chaos, you realize what you have allowed him to do to you (Strip you of your self respect) and you wonder why you would do that to yourself.

      Regaining the trust in him is probably the most difficult for me, I am still in that process. My PA is getting counseling too. What I am seeing however is a new twist -at times- to how he is experiments with going back to his old self. So far I have confronted him with most of it…but I admit it is tiring. I sometimes wonder if staying isn’t just a form of abuse to ourselves. I like your goal of not using him as your scapegoat. I have to practice that a bit more myself. We are all responsible for our own happiness ultimately.

      I too have been with my PA for 20 years and I probably am a bit older than you, but it is still the same hurt, the same anger, the same everything.
      I have to forgive who he is, but what I AM sure of is that he will never be cured as you have learned while you watch yours slip back into the same habits over time.
      I am not living with false hope. I know. Only God can help him to change, but only if he wants the help. Free will an all that…

      I am always ready, on my toes, listening, watching, and standing up for what I want out of life, even if he doesn’t share himself. I will no longer forsake myself for him.

      It is only a matter of time for me before I know if I am strong enough to continue all this work with a PA or to cut the strings. I have to give it time for my own sake. I know I deserve better. Bless you for your post, You are inspiring.
      jmarie

      • Thank you, ladybeams and jmarie. I just recently found this website (looking for answers/validation on the web to help me through the recent increase in my PA’s behavior).

        Your responses are so kind. I’m so glad I found this blog. It really helps to know i’m not “crazy.” As much as I hate that anyone else is dealing with the same thing, it’s a comfort to know someone, somewhere, understands.
        Thanks again, Orchid

        • Orchid- So glad you find this site so helpful and supportive. Exactly what we’re here for. LOL.

      • jmarie- Thank you for your comments. You as well are an inspiration to others. Seeing how you ladies are taking control and sharing with us how long and what it’s taking for you to get there is helpful to all of us.

  20. Thanks ladybeams.
    I try very hard to just say it like it is – for me. I cannot speak for others, but if what I say helps even one person, that is good. I will post more later..have a happy day to you all. jmarie

  21. Orchid,
    Not ONE of us is crazy! We just have a difficult situation to live with. It’s the PA that has made us feel that way.
    In My opinion: Remember, I am still learning!!!
    “Our anger at it all is understandable. Who wouldn’t be angry with someone who hurts us and the relationship. We don’t feel good about being angry with someone we wanted to love so deeply, yet they invalidate the love we give them with their actions. Anger is understandable. Stress is understandable, but don’t use anger with a PA, because it feeds his personality. Stress is because you allow him to affect you. Disconnect. Find your own peace and happiness. I have learned that what we want in life and what we get are two separate things. I have taken a very close look at myself and am putting the pieces together to learn why I chose and married such a person. It is something that I need to do in this situation so that I can understand myself better. It won’t change the fact that I have this struggle to live with now. It only means from this day forward My life will be what “I” make of it. It will come from what I KNOW as my Truth. I am getting closer to it every day. I am seeing myself as a person that made a huge mistake, but who doesn’t make mistakes? I am also learning why I made it. Now all I have to do is work through it until I know myself better and know what I can handle for my future. Stay strong –we are all in this together and to be able to post is a good way to vent frustrations and hear other’s points of view on a subject that we all are dealing with. It helps us learn about ourselves and GROW. …something living with a PA prevents us from doing unless we disconnect from them. Just my opinion! jmarie

    • jmarie- Thanks so much for your very encouraging post. It feels good to start getting your strength back, aye?

    • It is hard to disconnect when you are still living in the same house, are financially dependent and have to depend on them to a degree … they will always find some way to let you down and frustrate you, so there’s always this constant stress of having to deal with the behaviors. My PA hubby has taken to accusing me lately of making my darling, precious, much loved daughter ‘feel obligated to leave home’, which she wants to do anyway because she is finishing high school at the end of this year and wants to move from the tiny rural town we live in to a larger city … very understandable to me, but not to the irrational person I happen to be trapped with at the moment. No, according to him, I am ‘making’ her feel that she has to leave home, despite the fact that I really tried to talk her into staying longer until she can get her own car and be independent when she leaves. I even asked her to tell him to his face that mum is not making her feel obligated to leave, that it is all her own idea … did he accept that …. noooooo, still ranted on at me, blaming me. Sigh… God give me patience to bear with it until I can be out of here. I can also acknowledge now that I made a huge mistake marrying him, I used to blame God for ‘letting’ me marry him, but looking back, I did have a moment when I felt deep inside that I should not marry him (that would have to have been God trying to tell me), but I felt that as I had said yes already, that I ought to keep my word …. oh how I have suffered for that and so have my children. But that’s not the end of the story … there’s got to be a happy ending coming up, when I leave, that is.

      • Lynette, There is a happy ending, but be prepared for being knocked to the ground (figuratively) by the PA before you can get up and find that happy ending. Be prepared for things you just won’t believe he will do to you if you divorce, and for Heaven’s remember to keep getting up no matter what. I am going through the most unbelievable divorce of my PA. Until my divorce is final I cannot say more. Strength my friend- while you are with him- strength when you decide to leave- strength when things look hopeless (and they will) and strength to pull yourself up to move on. Stay strong even though you think you have no strength left. It’s the only way – put one foot in front of the other – for yourself and what you need to do. Much concern for all who must live with, deal with, and finally leave what is a PA partner.
        jmarie

        • jmarie- Thank you so much for your answer to Lynette. I am sorry to hear you’re having to deal with a mess, but I know you have been preparing yourself for quite awhile. My thoughts, prayers, are with you. I see another book in your future. LOL. Love you. God Bless

      • Lynette- Yes, you are right, it is hard to disconnect when you are in the same house. Every once in awhile I myself catch myself saying “I love you” to no return on the phone, or saying something nice and getting no response. Then I just want to kick myself in the butt for saying it, so I vow to get better at not doing those kinds of things. It takes a lot of practice, especially when you have given your heart to someone and had things that were sort of traditional between the two of you for so long. The idea is to break “tradition” and get “untrapped”.

        As for making your daughter feel as though she “has to leave”, it is our job to make our children independent and ready for the world. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty because your daughter feels just that, ready to take on the world. All that means is you have done your job, made her feel secure enough in herself to set out on her own. The next time your spouse tries to make you feel guilty because the daughter wants to leave home, thank him. First he won’t know what to do when you say “thank you” and then just tell him, if she’s ready to go you did your job. Then just walk away. No more conversation, etc. As long as your daughter knows how much you love her and you and her talk about her grand plans for the big new world out there, who cares what he thinks? I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone else’s business and everybody knew my parents. I so couldn’t wait to get out of there I got married at 16. My mother wouldn’t sign, but I threatened my father with embarrassing him by getting pregnant, he signed. LOL. That’s how bad I wanted out. You’re lucky if you did such a great job with your daughter that she feels she can handle herself “out there”. No reason to feel guilty about that!

  22. Ladybeams,
    Yes it does feel good finding my strength. But it isn’t instantanious. Even though you are living on a roller coaster of emotions with a PA, there is that struggle withing yourself in letting go of the dream. The dream of a perfect relationship. The dream of at least a healthy marriage. The longer we dwell in those dreams with a PA, the longer it is for us to regain our personal strength back. I have focused on what I need to do –for me. Yet I still have to balance what needs to be done for “us” without forsaking myself to his neediness. TOP PRIORITY: ME!
    I gotta say –it is not easy, but necessary if you are planning on staying in the relationship.
    Ladybeams,
    Is there any way I could get a private message to you? I have a question to ask you.
    Thanks, jmarie

    • jmarie- Good morning. I can be reached for private messaging at ladybeams@live.com Now that you ask, I’ll check and make sure my contact info is up to date. Thanks and feel free to email me.

  23. Well my husband took a break for the summer and now his passive aggressive behaviors are back!!! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water-lol
    Its something about this time of the year and the fact that he is so behind on his bills and doesn’t want to discuss it with me. So he has decided to use my oldest son as the scape goat. They have always had a hard time getting along- now my son is 20 and he was suppose to move out 2 days ago- but the job market has been so bad he can’t find a long term full time job- he does work part time but by October the hours will be nothing. So he can’t possibly move out- he at least has to have a job that can support him- actually i am happy that he has a job that he has had for more than 5 months- he is paying back his fines from bad choices as a teen( stole a car). Today his father removes the internet cord form the computer and does not tell anyone- I call and leave him a message and he has yet to respond. So my son has decided to gently retailiate by removing his software off the computer- that his father loves so much: itunes- boy will this cause arguments! I own the computer which means I could turn it off at any given time or change the password( but that is not really my style) I am a little bit more direct. My son asked: would that be playing the same game that dad does? What do you think?
    I am waiting for the lets talk about the bills discussion- that he is probably avoiding. In May after the electric was turned off my husband told me he really needed my help so he could get the taxes and mortgage caught up- he asked me to pay the electric bill( with my other bills- knowing that I was starting grad school in the fall) until 12/31 and everything is suppose to be paid- 2009 and 2010 taxes plus the mortgage up to date. This was a very productive conversation with agreement
    To show that I am a team player ( which is what he normally accuses me of) I agreed- is he meeting his obligation- no but he doesn’t know that I actually know that- he tries to keep those things hidden. I just go to the bank get a bank statement and see where his money goes and what bills he does pay!
    Let me mention that they repossessed his car! He used some money to buy a used one from a friend so he can get to work.
    It is sad to say the cycle is back – I really enjoyed his company for the summer- I’m thinking of getting him a sorry you have to go away card- lol:)

    • Tracy- Well, at least you had a break. LOL. What would be really frustrating to me about all this, if he isn’t passive aggressive during the summer months then he obviously has some control, or at least knows how not to be passive aggressive. Once I discovered that, I am afraid my patience would go right out the window!

      I’m sorry to hear about your son. He’s not alone. Many of our children are having to stay home longer than even they want due to unemployment, etc. I don’t know what kind of work your son does, but if it comes pretty much to an end in Oct., the place where my son had some luck was retailers. They start hiring now or into October for the Christmas season, and if your son isn’t in school he can get a jump on the students before they get out for Thanksgiving or Winter Break. He just needs to be aware that after the holiday, while he may get hired permanently, the hours drop way down there also. My son could have never survived on what he was making at Mervyn’s (before they dissolved. LOL) after the holidays. He’s 22. Luckily he is back in school now going for certification in a field that there will always be a need for. It seems if your husband wants your son out so bad, pulling the plug on the computer so that he can’t even look up jobs is pretty self defeating. That’s what I love about passive aggressives. They could probably say “This is going to hurt me more than it is you” and they would probably be right! LOL.

      I think part of why it seems to show up this time of year is the kids (maybe not ours, but others) are back to school. Stores are bringing in the Halloween stuff and you know Christmas is right behind it, which brings it’s own set of financial responsibilities, etc. I know one of the first days I spotted all the Halloween stuff in the drug store, I ran the whole range of emotions until it was after New Year’s. LOL. Doesn’t it worry you abit when he doesn’t let you know he’s behind on the house payment? If he’s already let the electricity be turned off, lost his car, it seems like the house might just be the next in line. At least he was able to get a car for work. I remember when I had to drive my pa boyfriend back and forth every day.

      I wish you luck My Dear. Thanks for sharing with us. Maybe he needs to know he’s accountable and that you’re going to start getting a statement every month. At least that way he’ll know he can’t just keep hiding everything until it’s too late.
      Hope to hear from you again.

  24. 1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?

    It took about three months after we were married and the real person surfaced for me to realize that his idea of marriage was different to mine … we married after six months courtship, and I didn’t really get to know him properly. Marry in haste, repent in misery forever after. His idea of marriage was for me to do all the work so he could be free to pursue his hobbies of reading books, expounding his many opinions and doing the occasional painting as he was an artist … he was living in poverty and mess when I first met him, why I had to be the one to decide I should help him clean up his life and succeed was sheer madness on my part … I found out after many years he was un-helpable and quite happy with his mess and poverty.

    My ‘aha’ moment regarding his PA behavior came when I was desperately searching marriage counseling articles on the internet for answers for the confusing, painful behavior he was exhibiting. I thought he was just lazy until I found some PA articles … oh my, he fulfilled nearly all the symptoms, he is a classic PA, it was quite a revelation.

    What or how did you feel about that? Tried to talk to him about it but got complete denial and projection of all the problems back onto me … it was almost like a recording that came into play when you press a button. The denial was frighteningly and obsessively dishonest and aggressive. It’s very frustrating and angering, leaves one feeling hopeless, depressed and devalued by a ‘mr nice guy’ who is desperate to make me out to be ‘mrs bad guy’ all the time..

    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?

    When I first became a Christian, I prayed for God to give me a man who loved Him with all his heart so that he would treat me well, as I had been through too many abusive and negative relationships beforehand, and he was the first Christian man I got to know when I was first converted. We were in a cult at the time and the false prophet who was running the cult pushed us together … thought it might be of God, so I married him … sigh, how stupid was that! He appeared to be a nice, calm, quiet person who ‘adored’ me … sex was actually a big motivation for the ‘adoration’, I realized later, when he crossed my boundaries by pushing in that area. For the past 25 years I have felt obliged by my Christian beliefs to continue in the marriage and care for our children … didn’t want the pain and stress of a divorce even though I wanted to leave on a regular basis.

    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?
    I wanted a Christian father for my son, and a stable marriage, and he looked like a nice, calm, kind person who would take good care of us after all we had been through … in reality he did many of the things to me that ‘unbelievers’ had done, so I was no better off. I was worse off actually, by marrying him, because my Christian beliefs trapped me with him and I suffered much PA abuse at his hands.

    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
    I cried lots, shouted, threatened to leave lots, tried to reason with him, gave him articles which he didn’t read, got depressed and nearly gave up on life, wanted to die many times. Because my self-esteem was low, I blamed myself until I learned about PA behavior, then I was just plain angry with him. Then I had to learn how to forgive, let go, let God handle him, believe and accept God’s perfect love for me, and take good care of myself health and career wise and eventually learn how to show love to him regardless of how he behaved. In reality, I do not genuinely love or trust him because he always, always lets me down with his PA behavior, but I’ve learned to give back good for evil mot of the time. I still regularly wish I could leave but my finances and childcare responsibilities make that too difficult at the moment. Two and a half years to go.

    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
    The worst part is the loneliness and feeling unloved, because he won’t share his heart and mind, talks about abstract things but not the relationship, and does the withdrawal, silent treatment behavior thing regularly, won’t talk over relationship problems, denies my need for emotional connection and romance, won’t initiate sex, won’t do things for me, won’t be a companion, can’t do anything with him without having a battle before, during and after … I feel very alone in this relationship, unloved, undervalued unsupported, disrespected and rejected. I feel it the most when I see other couples showing love and affection and togetherness to one another.

    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behavior or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?
    I haven’t found any strategies for trying to change his PA behavior that have actually worked, other than threatening to leave him if he doesn’t change … he behaves reluctantly for a while then is back to his old PA self as soon as I relax and appear happy to stay with him. It’s a hopeless situation.

    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?
    I really don’t want to stay, I’m just waiting until I get my uni degree finished and I can support myself then I’m off. If I stayed with him any longer than necessary, I would deteriorate further emotionally and physically … this marriage has taken an enormous toll on me.

    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?
    I thought I could help and change him by talking to him about it and giving him articles, but after 25 years have realized that was a futile idea. Perhaps the reason I stayed so long was because I also really hoped that God might be able to change him, but have realized that if he doesn’t see his need to change that not even God Almighty can do anything about his behavior … God requires our cooperation to change.

    8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?
    I just pull in close to God and rely on His perfect love for me and look forward to eventually being free and with Him one day. I lean on my family, get love from my kids when I can … learning to be independent and not needing a man in my life has been the best way of dealing with it all.

    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).
    There’s nothing that endears him to me, I don’t love or trust him and I know that I can’t help him … when I look at him I feel tense inside because I know that I am looking at a cunning, manipulative person who will turn on me and let me down at every opportunity he feels it’s safe to do so without pushing me so far that I want to leave. I have stayed mainly because of the kids, when I tried to leave when they were younger, he manipulated them against me which was very painful.He played mr nice guy and left all the disciplining to me, so I was the mrs bad guy, and so the kids were more willing to take his side. My religious beliefs also work against me finding my freedom, it’s a big source of guilt. I feel obliged to keep on ‘loving’ this person who does me great harm, otherwise I feel that I am not a loving person and God will not be pleased with me and will punish me. Makes me wonder sometimes just how much God requires a person to put up with in the name of ‘love’.

    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?
    There’s no future for us, he simply won’t acknowledge what he does and therefore won’t change, and I won’t put up with the misery indefinitely. At the moment I need to stay in my own home while I study as it is affordable, but when I can support myself, I will be off. I won’t be looking for a replacement, as I am 55 now and totally over needing a man in my life … like the Bible says ‘But she is happier if she remains as she is’ (1 Cor. 7:40 … meaning single. Never again will I let a man into a position where he can do me harm like that again. The male species are not good at relationships – first an abusive father, then a string of abusive, unreliable, irresponsible men … yes I’ve read Sandra Brown’s ‘How to spot a dangerous man before you get involved’, but I still don’t want to get involved ever again, the risk is too great, you don’t really find out what a man is like until you marry them and they let their facade relax, and then it’s too late. Male friends, yes, husband … no thank you.

    • Lynette- Thank you so much for sharing.

      It always makes me so sad when I hear of people trapped by religion. I too know what it is to be a God-fearing Christian and knowing God does not like divorce. At the same time, I know He does not want me to suffer, that He wants me to live in happiness, and He would not want me to suffer at the hands of my enemies. ( I know that sounds harsh, calling your mate an enemy, but that’s what someone is that would harm you, I would think). While it’s up to us to forgive our enemies, I don’t think it’s necessarily up to us to live with them.

      I’m happy for you that you have taken advantage of the time there to go back to school and get yourself prepared for the inevitable. I’m sorry that you felt you had to stay because of the children also. Unfortunately, so many children pick up the habits of the passive aggressive parent, that you would have been better off leaving while they were small and could still be directed in a functional way.

      While you have been trapped for, it sounds like 25 yrs., it sounds like you are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Please feel free to come back any time for support, to rant, to share. We are all here to help each other. Wishing you the best of luck with the plan you have going forward.

  25. Lynette. i just read your post, and i really empathise completely with your situation. im 54, and married over thirty years. I agree lonelyness is the worst part about liveing in a p.a. marriage.You are completeing your degree, well done! .I pray a whole new world opens up for you when you complete it! If its any concelation i was feeling very alone tonight ( three days of silence). your post reminded me i was not alone, and there are many couragous women in the same place as us. God bless. Carol.

  26. Like another reviewer, I’ve been married twice already. Both times I, too, thought I’d given it my all. I had just about given up on the idea of "happily ever after". As Mr. Donaldson was, I am involved in an across the planet romance. When Rod came from Adelaide to Detroit to visit and propose to me last August, I was both thrilled and terrified. Yes, he seemed very different from the others, but I’d thought they were, too, at first.Mr. Donaldson’s book came to our attention because he and his wife had tackled this six years before we did. The first really good sign was that Rod was as enthusiastic as I was to try this…the second is that we’re about halfway through the book now and are finding very few areas for concern. Nor, for that matter, many topics to which we can’t say "As we’d discussed before". (You talk a lot when 10,000 milkes makes that the only avenue of contact.)The book is not filled with advice, nor is it a "how to". It will take real work, painful honesty, and complete openness to make any meaningfiul use of this book, but if you’re willing to do that, it is a wonderful resource! It’s like a "do-it-yourself" preCana conference. The questions to share range from the mundane (who should do the dishes and change the diapers) to the profound (what is the meaning of your life) to the scary (what would you do if I had an affair). If you’re smart enough to really use this book, I highly recommend it. I also recommend that you both answer the questions before you read one anothers answers … and Rod and I find it impossible to resist commentary on the questions. We also add comments to eacxh others responses. We’re doing the exercises by e-mail, but it spawns many hours long phone conversations.Want to really know who you’re marrying? Buy this book, use it, and take it seriously.

  27. What a great website you have, Ladybeams! Am reading now for a few days already and got into this older post. I will contribute anyway. My partner and I met almost nine years ago during a holiday and split up after a year and a half but got back together a good year later. Some eight months later I emigrated to his country.

    1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?
    After moving to his country and living together in his grandmothers apartment with whom we had switched places to be really on our own. We were planned to live here for 6 months, then 6 in my country before we would decide. Initially things were great, I found a good job and we stayed longer. In his country it is normal to live like we do now: in the other large half of his parents house. Only last year it was, that I realized I didn’t take myself serious. So many times I had asked him to spend time with me, when he went out alone with his friends. So many times I had asked him to come home with me, for the numerous parties and pick nicks this culture inhibits, went above my limits. Or I found myself bored or exhausted for I didn’t speak or understand a word of his language and speaking English wasn’t quite what most of his friends could. He often said yes but kept me waiting still hours or he told me he had a need to be there enjoying the party, so why did I come along if I wasn’t going to last. Sometimes he arranged me a ride home with someone else who was driving back to town. After falling a sleep in a bar in the middle of nowhere, I felt so embarrassed with myself that while driving him and two other drunk friends home at 02:30 in the morning, I decided from that moment on I would bring my own car, so I could leave any moment. The party, not him…
    What or how did you feel about that?
    Lonely. Distant. Hurt. Disappointed. I moved 1400 km away from my family, friends and happy life to end up alone at home on a regular basis because my boyfriend rather spends is time with others? Yes, I was welcome to come along. Off course, I was. Just too bad for me, that being in these situations, often didn’t fulfil my needs. Or at least not for so many hours as he was used on. Feeling like a piece of furnishing isn’t quite what I long for.
    The ‘Aha’ moment for recognizing his behaviour as passive aggressive came just a few weeks ago when I read about anger. He always blames me for getting so angry that I raise my voice to him which he does not allow me at all. I don’t mind that someone someitmes raises his voice to me but after some time I realized he is somehow right. I do get angry more often and I do raise my voice more often too. Since summer last year I work how I deal with my anger though I still didn’t understand the circle seems vicious. Why? How come I am no longer this kind person who feels angry only few times in the year? When doing a little research, I found out how it is possible I became such a frustrated and angry person.
    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?
    I think he is in my life because I believe people unconsciously pick partners with whom tensions are kept on the right frequency during at least an extinctive part of the relationship. Any other potential partner would be considered boring. Perhaps more loving, but one can not feel it this way as long as we live with unresolved issues from the past. What triggered me was the rebellious side of my partner and I admit I liked him for it as I actually believed this was stimulating me to step out of my comfort zone. A move I needed to do, according several of my professors, if I actually wanted to develop myself as a person and visual artist, so I can start using my full potential.
    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?
    In the beginning of our relationship I was an independent, financially self sufficient and a very motivated and determined person. I think this is what my partner fell for. It is everything he is not. I am still waiting for the day I may congratulate him with his university diploma which he is doing for ten years now. I fell for his rebelliousness, his charm and his will to try everything he hadn’t done before. Life would never be boring with him. However, it became. He usually doesn’t want to come along to my home country and the summer holiday is most likely spent on the seaside of the neighbouring country, as this is what is a custom in his culture. He rebels still, I conclude, just now to me. I see his rebelliousness was his way of dealing, or should I write surviving, the kind of parents he has. I recognize it now as being a nasty survival strategy and not as the trait I felt attracted to. We grow older, just some not mature.
    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
    After two months of living in his country I found a good job as a creative. It is a demanding job, though I like it and bury myself – or let myself get buried into it sometimes. In a bit over a year I learned a difficult language and got promoted to team leader after returning from a year of maternity leave – yeah, not so many countries offer that kind of luxury to parents. :-)
    At home things were going from bad to worse ever since our son was two months old. Giving it first the blame to being young parents, my post maternal depression of some three months or being at home for too long (due to physical problems I was at home since 12 weeks of pregnancy). When our son was almost two I miscarried from our second child with ten weeks of pregnancy. We hardly ever spoke about this. Especially in the last three years I have been so frustrated, irritated and lonely I had often no will to live and found myself several times on the balcony edge. My partner would turn away if he’d see it and told me later he thought I would deal with my problems on my own. He also had been without the will to live a few times before we knew each other and he dealt with that all by himself. In January 2011, I exploded in some boomerang conflict and threw my laptop through the living room. My frustration had reached my limits. Next day my doctor prescribed me anti depressives, which by the end of the day, I decided not to take in. I needed to wait for three months for a psychologist whom I am still visiting and emailing with. I have been with another kind of therapist and I did a training of EFT to deal with my negative emotions. The last, very recommending!
    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
    The lonelyness is far most the worst for me. Having family and good close friends far away, it becomes often evident how strong passive aggressiveness effects me. When I have no one to turn to socialize or emotionally reboot. After my partner announces last minute (‘I forgot to mention’) about his short or long absence, it isn’t always possible to find the wholes in the weekends of my new local friends. He has improved a bit last year on announcing his activities a few hours or days earlier!
    The weight of the larger share of common responsibilities is sometimes to heavy for me. That is when I start nagging, almost controlling I would say. I dislike myself at those moments and that is one of the reasons I am calling myself to stop my behaviour. Why would I ‘pretend’ to be an unkind and controlling person if I am not?
    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behaviour or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?
    Most useful was to keep in mind what one of my therapists said: ‘Walk your talk’. If I make sure I stand behind my behaviour, consider my wishes and those of others, I have all the strength I need to proceed. I work on not to scapegoat him any more for I am responsible for myself. The same as I wish him to take responsibility for himself too. Oh, yes, I am not proud of myself having shown some stunning passive aggressiveness too in the past. Some one else wrote, and I support this, is that it is wise not to expect anything or at least nothing much. If I were to live alone with my child, there are many things I would be doing which I could expect and was expecting from my partner. It’s been only a small month that I feel I am keeping more energy not expecting and doing things myself than loosing it in senseless waiting or frustration for it was done half, too late, poorly, …
    Well, the silliest are likely to reveal some PA behaviour too – being pumped with frustration…
    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?
    At the moment we are dealing with another problems first: need to get the hell out his parents house first. Their narcissist/pa/manipulative behaviour is badly effecting our partner relation, the relation between us as parents and them as grandparents, the loyalty conflict he has with them and the lost trust between me and them. His father has been checking upon me for weeks to see if I really was painting in my office when he found out through my partner that I was, he/they enter our apartment when not at home, sneak on me when I leave the house… What else? I haven’t found out yet.
    If I would leave now, my partner is likely to stay and so our son would be still quite a lot exposed to this emotionally abusive family during his ‘father visits’. Therefore I feel safer to move first together to the capital city, get a new kinder garden over there and later another job. In the meantime evolve myself and improve our relationship for what is possible.
    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?
    Oh, no, nothing at all. I don’t want it either – if it becomes obvious to my partner, he will say I place myself above him. And get to deal with the consequences of that, too.
    8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?
    A colleague of mine stimulated me to start painting again as I hadn’t all these years of living here. I had spend my time mostly for his or common activities and didn’t take care of myself. Now I feel great doing so. Get great response and orders again too. It takes me out of the house for some hours per week, for my employer allows me to use my room as my studio. Since I bought myself an iPad last summer (‘pfff… You spend so much money on MacShit?’), I spend the time I am at home alone now reading lots of books and articles, writing and skyping with long distant friends. In the hours my son is awake and my partner is not at home, we do things together at home or we go out, visiting friends of my nationality. He is also attending school once a week to learn my language. And parents go out to talk about their emigration problems and celebrations over a coffee. :-)
    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).
    He is a sensitive person that has problems expressing his needs and feelings. While he has good intentions, it touches me – until he claims it is my job to read his mind.
    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?
    I do not have the illusion that this will become a spiritual relationship. We have both denied important matters that stand in the way and I am afraid that if we stay together in a relationship that is not loving, we are a bad example to our son.
    The strangest thing I can not place with my partner is his strong need and wish for sex. He communicates only physically while I can not physically if verbally we don’t/can’t. In the last year we have had barely. I often feel so distant, hurt or rejected that I find it very difficult to become intimate with him. Half a year ago he stopped ‘trying’ and he asked me this week how I see our sex live. How I deal with my needs. I don’t quite deal with them, except for some time on my own. I pointed out to me I should understand his need. I started to feel as if am the PA who is withholding sex from her partner… Does any one have experience with this?

  28. What a great website you have, Ladybeams! Am reading now for a few days already and got into this older post. I will contribute anyway. My partner and I met almost nine years ago during a holiday and split up after a year and a half but got back together a good year later. Some eight months later I emigrated to his country.

    1) How long did it take for you to realize his/her idea of sharing a marriage was different than yours? that he/she was on another wavelength? What was your “aha” moment?
    After moving to his country and living together in his grandmothers apartment with whom we had switched places to be really on our own. We were planned to live here for 6 months, then 6 in my country before we would decide. Initially things were great, I found a good job and we stayed longer. In his country it is normal to live like we do now: in the other large half of his parents house. Only last year it was, that I realized I didn’t take myself serious. So many times I had asked him to spend time with me, when he went out alone with his friends. So many times I had asked him to come home with me, for the numerous parties and pick nicks this culture inhibits, went above my limits. Or I found myself bored or exhausted for I didn’t speak or understand a word of his language and speaking English wasn’t quite what most of his friends could. He often said yes but kept me waiting still hours or he told me he had a need to be there enjoying the party, so why did I come along if I wasn’t going to last. Sometimes he arranged me a ride home with someone else who was driving back to town. After falling a sleep in a bar in the middle of nowhere, I felt so embarrassed with myself that while driving him and two other drunk friends home at 02:30 in the morning, I decided from that moment on I would bring my own car, so I could leave any moment. The party, not him…

    What or how did you feel about that?
    Lonely. Distant. Hurt. Disappointed. I moved 1400 km away from my family, friends and happy life to end up alone at home on a regular basis because my boyfriend rather spends is time with others? Yes, I was welcome to come along. Off course, I was. Just too bad for me, that being in these situations, often didn’t fulfil my needs. Or at least not for so many hours as he was used on. Feeling like a piece of furnishing isn’t quite what I long for.

    The ‘Aha’ moment for recognizing his behaviour as passive aggressive came just a few weeks ago when I read about anger. He always blames me for getting so angry that I raise my voice to him which he does not allow me at all. I don’t mind that someone someitmes raises his voice to me but after some time I realized he is somehow right. I do get angry more often and I do raise my voice more often too. Since summer last year I work how I deal with my anger though I still didn’t understand the circle seems vicious. Why? How come I am no longer this kind person who feels angry only few times in the year? When doing a little research, I found out how it is possible I became such a frustrated and angry person.

    2) Why do you think this man/woman is in your life? Do you think it was “an act of God” or something in him/her triggered something in you?
    I think he is in my life because I believe people unconsciously pick partners with whom tensions are kept on the right frequency during at least an extinctive part of the relationship. Any other potential partner would be considered boring. Perhaps more loving, but one can not feel it this way as long as we live with unresolved issues from the past. What triggered me was the rebellious side of my partner and I admit I liked him for it as I actually believed this was stimulating me to step out of my comfort zone. A move I needed to do, according several of my professors, if I actually wanted to develop myself as a person and visual artist, so I can start using my full potential.

    Can you link a trait in you or in him/her that attracted you strongly enough to marry him/her?
    In the beginning of our relationship I was an independent, financially self sufficient and a very motivated and determined person. I think this is what my partner fell for. It is everything he is not. I am still waiting for the day I may congratulate him with his university diploma which he is doing for ten years now. I fell for his rebelliousness, his charm and his will to try everything he hadn’t done before. Life would never be boring with him. However, it became. He usually doesn’t want to come along to my home country and the summer holiday is most likely spent on the seaside of the neighbouring country, as this is what is a custom in his culture. He rebels still, I conclude, just now to me. I see his rebelliousness was his way of dealing, or should I write surviving, the kind of parents he has. I recognize it now as being a nasty survival strategy and not as the trait I felt attracted to. We grow older, just some not mature.

    3) How did you deal with the mismatch between your ideal marriage and what you got? was there a learning process?
    After two months of living in his country I found a good job as a creative. It is a demanding job, though I like it and bury myself – or let myself get buried into it sometimes. In a bit over a year I learned a difficult language and got promoted to team leader after returning from a year of maternity leave – yeah, not so many countries offer that kind of luxury to parents. :-)
    At home things were going from bad to worse ever since our son was two months old. Giving it first the blame to being young parents, my post maternal depression of some three months or being at home for too long (due to physical problems I was at home since 12 weeks of pregnancy). When our son was almost two I miscarried from our second child with ten weeks of pregnancy. We hardly ever spoke about this. Especially in the last three years I have been so frustrated, irritated and lonely I had often no will to live and found myself several times on the balcony edge. My partner would turn away if he’d see it and told me later he thought I would deal with my problems on my own. He also had been without the will to live a few times before we knew each other and he dealt with that all by himself. In January 2011, I exploded in some boomerang conflict and threw my laptop through the living room. My frustration had reached my limits. Next day my doctor prescribed me anti depressives, which by the end of the day, I decided not to take in. I needed to wait for three months for a psychologist whom I am still visiting and emailing with. I have been with another kind of therapist and I did a training of EFT to deal with my negative emotions. The last, very recommending!

    4) What would you say is the worst aspect of being involved with a passive aggressive partner/spouse is? (anger, loneliness, ?) When do you feel it the most?
    The lonelyness is far most the worst for me. Having family and good close friends far away, it becomes often evident how strong passive aggressiveness effects me. When I have no one to turn to socialize or emotionally reboot. After my partner announces last minute (‘I forgot to mention’) about his short or long absence, it isn’t always possible to find the wholes in the weekends of my new local friends. He has improved a bit last year on announcing his activities a few hours or days earlier!
    The weight of the larger share of common responsibilities is sometimes to heavy for me. That is when I start nagging, almost controlling I would say. I dislike myself at those moments and that is one of the reasons I am calling myself to stop my behaviour. Why would I ‘pretend’ to be an unkind and controlling person if I am not?

    5) Of all the strategies you’ve tried to change their passive aggressive behaviour or your situation, which was the most useful? What was the silliest?
    Most useful was to keep in mind what one of my therapists said: ‘Walk your talk’. If I make sure I stand behind my behaviour, consider my wishes and those of others, I have all the strength I need to proceed. I work on not to scapegoat him any more for I am responsible for myself. The same as I wish him to take responsibility for himself too. Oh, yes, I am not proud of myself having shown some stunning passive aggressiveness too in the past. Some one else wrote, and I support this, is that it is wise not to expect anything or at least nothing much. If I were to live alone with my child, there are many things I would be doing which I could expect and was expecting from my partner. It’s been only a small month that I feel I am keeping more energy not expecting and doing things myself than loosing it in senseless waiting or frustration for it was done half, too late, poorly, …
    Well, the silliest are likely to reveal some PA behaviour too – being pumped with frustration…

    6) If you’re planning on staying with this passive aggressive partner/spouse, how do you see your own personal development in the future?
    At the moment we are dealing with another problems first: need to get the hell out his parents house first. Their narcissist/pa/manipulative behaviour is badly effecting our partner relation, the relation between us as parents and them as grandparents, the loyalty conflict he has with them and the lost trust between me and them. His father has been checking upon me for weeks to see if I really was painting in my office when he found out through my partner that I was, he/they enter our apartment when not at home, sneak on me when I leave the house… What else? I haven’t found out yet.
    If I would leave now, my partner is likely to stay and so our son would be still quite a lot exposed to this emotionally abusive family during his ‘father visits’. Therefore I feel safer to move first together to the capital city, get a new kinder garden over there and later another job. In the meantime evolve myself and improve our relationship for what is possible.

    7) Do you think you have some special powers to deal with him/her, some special understanding? What “powers” or understanding would that be?
    Oh, no, nothing at all. I don’t want it either – if it becomes obvious to my partner, he will say I place myself above him. And get to deal with the consequences of that, too.

    8) And what about your needs? how do you feed your needs for love and connection, for recognition and for continuous personal growth?
    A colleague of mine stimulated me to start painting again as I hadn’t all these years of living here. I had spend my time mostly for his or common activities and didn’t take care of myself. Now I feel great doing so. Get great response and orders again too. It takes me out of the house for some hours per week, for my employer allows me to use my room as my studio. Since I bought myself an iPad last summer (‘pfff… You spend so much money on MacShit?’), I spend the time I am at home alone now reading lots of books and articles, writing and skyping with long distant friends. In the hours my son is awake and my partner is not at home, we do things together at home or we go out, visiting friends of my nationality. He is also attending school once a week to learn my language. And parents go out to talk about their emigration problems and celebrations over a coffee. :-)

    9) What is his/her weakest aspect, the one that endears him/her to you (and possibly makes you stay to help him/her, or makes you feel guilty about leaving).
    He is a sensitive person that has problems expressing his needs and feelings. While he has good intentions, it touches me – until he claims it is my job to read his mind.

    10) What about the future? How do you see old age for the two of you? What about you if he/she continues to frustrate some of your present needs now? How are you going to replace what he/she is not providing for the shared life of you two?
    I do not have the illusion that this will become a spiritual relationship. We have both denied important matters that stand in the way and I am afraid that if we stay together in a relationship that is not loving, we are a bad example to our son.

    The strangest thing I can not place with my partner is his strong need and wish for sex. He communicates only physically while I can not physically if verbally we don’t/can’t. In the last year we have had barely. I often feel so distant, hurt or rejected that I find it very difficult to become intimate with him. Half a year ago he stopped ‘trying’ and he asked me this week how I see our sex live. How I deal with my needs. I don’t quite deal with them, except for some time on my own. I pointed out to me I should understand his need. I started to feel as if am the PA who is withholding sex from her partner… Does any one have experience with this?

    • Ann- Hi and Welcome! Glad you found us. Thanks for answering the questions. It may have been
      from an “older post” but as long as new people keep finding the blog I don’t think the questions
      will ever go “out of date”.

      I always feel especially bad for people coming here from a foreign land. It’s hard enough for
      2 people starting a new life together but it seems extra hard when your whole support system
      is so far away. Then you have it topped off by living with his parents. My heart goes out to
      you.

      As for the lack of wanting intimacy, it is not unusual for a woman to need an emotional connection
      in order for there to be a physical one. I think that is part of why it has been as “easy” so to
      speak for me to go without. My passive aggressive has never been a big one to initiate sex to start
      with, but since there is no emotional connection between us, I have no desire. A couple of times
      over the years I allowed the physical, but as soon as I would start getting closer emotionally (which is
      what we do when we are involved physically), or breaking the walls down, I could feel him backing up.
      It’s just not worth it to me anymore to give him the ability to make me feel rejected.

      Good luck to you. Come back anytime and let us know how you’re doing. I should warn you that if you continue
      withholding sex, that men use it as an excuse to have sex with other women. I would advise you to be
      working toward getting you and your son out of there. As you said, the relationship you have is not setting
      a good example of what a loving relationship should be any way, and then you surely don’t want your son to
      grow up taking on the personality of his father.

  29. Hi, thank you for your response Ladybeams. You might be rigth about men using it as an excuse to have sex with other women. At some point, a few months ago, I even said to a friend, well then, it would give me a ‘ligitimate’ reason to leave him. (Off course, any reason can be ligitimate, to me at least – though such a thing is so commonly heard…) I mean it in the sense that I do not expect my PA to leave me. It would be far easier for him to play the victim and use anything possible against me.

    Even though I may be withholding sex (it doens’t feel that way to me), it is his action to find it elsewhere. He doens’t have to do that. The same as I also don’t. I can get it easily, but I can’t do this. Not openly because It goes below my standards. And not secretly for I am too sincere. There has been a period in which I noticed I was getting closer to someone with whom I was talking on a frequent basis. My PA is not the kind of person/talker with whom I can verbally share my inner self (I left him once, with this being one of the reasons!) We hardly ever have conversations that last more than half an hour and they remain very much on the surface. He feels no need to open up or get deeper into any topic. My need is LARGE. As a visual artist, I tend to talk about more than just about daily activities and thought I would connect with others to get my need met. WRONG.

    As far as it concerns girl friends, I can get quite a satisfying way. After this experience with a male friend, I found out something new. I actually can not and do not WANT to share certain things out of my partner relationship. It can become quite a challenge to find the line between friendship and emotional cheating – especially when being in relationship with a PA and the need for emotional connection is under pressure. Apart from it not being practical, LOL, I want to share certain things with my partner and partner only. I regained my distance at that time again and feel good about that. BUT, what to do with the emptyness? And no, I am not talking about lots of things one can share with friends, collaborates, people with equally interests, …

    Being able to show/give myself 100% AND BE SEEN/ACCEPTED by my partner is what I miss so much in my relationship. For example, I create my artworks in the office of the agency where I work, a few minutes away from our house. How many times you think he dropped by to have a look since I started painting there 10 months ago? Zero. How many times you think he was sulking (or showing off other PA behaviour 2-3 days later) when I created time in evenings or weekends to paint? Plenty.

  30. Passive Aggressive behavior is covert and emotionally abusive. If you are in that type of relationship the best thing to do is leave, unless you enjoy constantly living in conflict and self doubt. The PA is a person void of emotional depth and you are just a host of his parasitic ways. He will find every way to keep a hold on you so he can remain an emotional leech and find as many excuses not return any support in return. You are a means to an end, and that is all.

    I would not bother answering any of these questions and would focus on your own identity, which has surely been lost if this page is the resulting factor. The only question you need to ask yourself is, “why the hell am I still here?”

  31. Rachelsmith, your post is pulling me. The past days it kept me thinking, I feel compliance to your words and later, I feel how it actually helps me to answer such questions. It gives me lots of insights in the problems around this topic in my life. The term passive aggressive is still rather new to me. I have read lots about it in the past months and I still am, for I still discover new patterns and ways to deal with a PA. If I like it or not, I can run a way from my partner, but I do not just want to take my child away from his dad. Jet, they still have a good relationship. So far, the PA behaviour is mostly directed to me. At work, On a daily basis, am dealing with another two PA’s of which one show narcissist behaviour as well. I am not an expert and even if they would never be diagnosed, it helps me a lot to observe them!

    It took me years to recognize the emotional and verbal abuse in my current relationship and looking back, I now refer to my previous ones to have been abusive at some points as well. Reading, reading, reading, talking and writing brought me to the stage I am now. Finally I understand why I never feel satisfied in a relationship. Despite the troubles, I have chosen to learn, here, in this relationship. Not to make the same mistakes in the next again. And not just that, there are more passive aggressives around and softer versions too. By now, I can say, I am spotting signs and appropriately respond to them, without feeling hurt. I disengage, I detach, I do not make mine what is not mine and most of all, do not feel responsible for someone elses feelings.

    In the mean time, he is complaining lots. Fine. He says he finds me egoistic. Fine. I am learning to walk my talk. He doesn’t like it. Fine. I keep my head up, meet with my friends, and try not to allow myself anymore to waste my time, mood and energy over PA behaviours around me. Time and energy and love I can share and give to those that I do connect with. Hidden behind my pain, I couldn’t grow. Since I stopped hiding and living MY life, I started to feel better again. Life is too long to feel unhappy. (Something he doesn’t understand. Guess you must have been unhappy as hell first, too feel that every unhappy minute feels like drowing in for ages.)

    I believe that when I will have learned enough about PA’s and narcissists, they become passants trying to catch someones bus. Right now, I am driving to the next station, where I will kick my PA’s off my bus!

    Is this, Ladybeams, what you and others here describe as ‘when you are ready to leave your PA’?

  32. I am 65 and i have been married to a Pa for 40 years. He is ill now but he still devastates me. If i knew twenty years ago, what i now now, i would run, not walk away from t his guy. Its late tonight so ill post tomorrow. I spent my w hole married life turning myself inside out. I USED TO THINK IT WAS MY FAUlT Hes a real charmer ladies love him. Id like to post more but for toinight….id say the betryal and lonliness u experience is dsevastating..so devastatiing

  33. ErPs…wasted years is a big regret. Spent most of my years keeping him happy….lost myself there for awhile. ITS HARD TO ADMIT THAT YOUR HUSBAND IS INCAPABLE OF TRUE CLOSENESS AND YOU Never saw it coming

  34. Great Job! Remarkable post with great and admirable content. I will look forward to your future update.

    • surviving breakup- Thank you. I found your site quite interesting, although I’m not too sure how many of us
      want to “get our ex’s back”. LOL

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