I Caused Him To Be Passive Aggressive

Having a passive aggressive boyfriend, I’ve done a lot of research on the passive aggressive man, spouse, etc. Today I find myself on the opposite side of the fence in the way that my son behaves very passive aggressively and as his mother, I may have been the cause, or at least a big part of it. Now I need to start researching as a parent and see what I can do to fix it.

Part of the reason people become passive aggressive is a fear of losing parent approval very young in life when we’re most dependent upon our parents for our well being. Many children go through separation anxiety when they first start school as they fear being abandoned. My son was the youngest of my three children, and he was only 3 when his father disappeared from his little life (he was wanted by the law).

Since then he’s had 3 significant men in his life die. I was a very strict (probably a bit abusive by today’s standards) mother and during that time between being controlling and disappearing myself for a couple of trips, it’s really no wonder that now he has 1) very little respect for authority and 2)very little trust.

His life is pretty much out of control. While I have tried and tried to help him now, I’m afraid it’s a case of “too little, too late”. He’s going to have to learn the hard way and their is nothing I can do to prevent it. This weekend I think I finally really got that. I really need to let go of control and will be taking my own advice and start going  to Al-Anon or something to help me learn to do that.

All his teenage life as he would get in trouble I would warn him each time that he was going to end up in juvinal hall. I swear he led a charmed life because all he ever got was a slap on the wrist. Now as his legal life spirals out of control he doesn’t think I ever know what I’m talking about when I try to pre-warn him. Now what started as just a $170 ticket that grew to $590 and has prevented him from having a driver’s license, has turned into a few court dates and a $5000 warrent for his arrest.

In the true passive aggressive nature, when I tell him something he gives me the usual lip service but does none of what I tell him. When I ask him if he doesn’t think I’ve learned anything in all my years on earth, he really just looks at me as an alarmist rather than someone with any hard won wisdom. He’d rather listen to his friends who are either in jail or on their way. Obviously a lack of trust in our relationship.

It breaks my heart to watch him go through hardships that could have been avoided, but I guess I was a lot the same way as a young adult. When my father used to try to give me advice, I always thought it was different for me. We all have to go through some things and learn on our own. Allowing him to do that is one thing. Suffering myself from his mistakes is another.


5 Responses

  1. I’m sorry about your son. I think the 3 C’s still apply here, “I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it.”

    My parents were pretty crazy, but even they didn’t MAKE me be passive aggressive. That was just the coping strategy that *I* chose. Maybe I can blame them a little, but if I keep doing these things, that’s nobody’s fault but mine, especially since I know what I’m doing.

    • Thanks Val- It’s funny, I was thinking about what you said about the 3 C’s when I was writing that post. I guess to a certain extent, as his parent I can’t help feeling a little guilty. It’s a little different than getting someone like my BF where other parents did the damage long before I came along. LOL.

      What I need to do now is teach him how to deal openly. He was so articulate as a baby. I don’t want him to be like the men that some of us women complain about here. Life is so much easier when you have all the cards on the table and deal with each thing as it comes. Communication is such a biggie.

      Good to hear from you again.

      • I just realized my son is a passive aggressive. I have learned this way too late. I am writing because I have lost my son. We have no communication, no relationship, he doesn’t answer my calls or emails. If someone died in the family he would never know. My heart is breaking, my other children are grieving for their lost brother. If I caused this, it didn’t affect the other kids. The other 4 are fine. Any words of advice?

  2. I wish very much that I had some words of wisdom for you. I’m in the same boat. My middle son is 35 and I only lately realize that he has been passive-aggressive since his childhood. He has an adorable 3 y.o. son whom we see on very rare occasions. Although he is the only one of my 3 children who is this way, I am certain that my behavior towards him – and others prompted this coping strategy in him. I too feel that I have lost him. I wish that I could do it over but there are no do-overs in life.

    • Hi David- Welcome! I don’t get a chance to hear from many men here, although I wish we would. It would help to have a man’s point of view also. Thank you for writing.

      I think that it’s a great step to recognize that maybe the way you were toward your son may have something to do with how he is today, and while I agree that there are no “do-overs” in life, I do believe it’s never to late to change how things have always been to how we would like them to be. It takes a lot of patience sometimes because the other person at first is suspicious wondering what the “catch” is, but I think if you love him and want him and your grandson in your life you have to “do whatever it takes”. Sometimes it “takes” waiting a long time after you’ve started being a good guy to be forgiven. Sometimes it takes meeting someone more on their end then they do on yours. Sometimes it takes a deep, heart-to-heart talk with all the cards on the table and feeling uncomfortable in your skin.

      I wish you all the success in the world if you should decide to put forth the effort to put a good relationship together with your son. I think at the end of the day you’ll be happy you did. I think the hardest part is probably breaking the old habits of how you’re used to reacting to him, to how you wish you would react to him, or how you know you should react to him.

      Please keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing. Maybe once you’re not afraid to try, you may be surprised at how easily he responds to your reaching out to him.

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