Effects of The Passive Aggressive Parent

One of the things I have said more than once here is if you’re in a bad relationship with a passive aggressive, you need to split for the sake of the children, which I know is the opposite of the old adage to “stay together for the sake of the kids”. I’ve met more people that are admittedly messed up because their parents hated each other but stayed together while the kids were being raised.

If you’re wondering how your passive aggressive partner’s behavior is affecting your kids, let me tell you about a first hand experience.

Last nite my almost step-son called and it was quite apparent he wasn’t calling to celebrate the day. I was getting ready to hand the phone to his father, but on this occasion he decided it was my point of view he wanted. In the end I don’t think it was anyone’s point of view he wanted as much as he needed a sounding board.

I listened for over an hour while this 30 yr. old kid bared his soul. He’s been having trouble with his bride of 2 years and his unemployment hasn’t helped the situation any.  In the end, the bottom line was that all his problems stem from his childhood. He doesn’t understand the passive aggressive thing, though I tried to give him a little insight hoping to help him understand who his father was.

He feels so abandoned and so unloved. I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t just him, that his father doesn’t really connect with anyone, not his children, not his siblings, and not even me.

I know what set him off. He called his father on Friday asking his father to meet him for lunch over the weekend. He was in another town nearby and thought it would be good to get together. The BF told his son he would call him back Sat. morning to set it up. The BF, in his usual passive aggressive way, “forgot” to call Saturday morning and still didn’t call even after I reminded him.

Now one of his biggest fears is becoming just like his Dad. I explained to him that he has the choice of breaking the cycle, but like most young people he is driving himself nuts thinking he can change his father instead of looking how he handles the relationship with his father.  This poor young man is unhappy in all his relationships and because it stems from here, until he finds peace with the fact that his father is the way he is, he won’t be happy anywhere.

This is one of the ways a passive aggressive parent affects their children. It makes them feel unworthy, unlovable, and searching for answers. They need to understand their parent’s problem is not because of them, has nothing to do with them, and does not make them any less of a very special person deserving all the love and affection the world has to give.


103 Responses

  1. I grew up with a very passive aggressive father. I think the thing about it that has caused me the most long-term harm is that I chose him as the “good” parent and tried to be like him, and unlike my mother, who got to be the “bad” parent. So, I made the choice to try to be like dad and not like mom… and I succeeded to some extent.

    My dad maintained this aura of superiority compared to my mother, who was a total mess. It’s hard to explain. I think it was an aspect of the passive aggressiveness — acting like he thought he was better than those around him, without saying so. I guess I bought that act.

    It was also easy to ignore my dad’s mental health problems, because my mom has big, super-dramatic mental health problems. Compared to her, almost everyone looks sane. So, I thought my dad’s way of approaching life (withdrawal) was right. I mean, withdrawal seems dignified compared to constant screaming, crying fits.

    Today I read something along the lines of, “his/her name is on the problem, but my name is on the solution.” At some point, it’s possible to move on. The past is what it is, but the future can be different.

    I also think it’s really important for kids of the mentally ill to realize that the illness isn’t about them. It’s totally out of our control, and not personal. It’s easy to feel rejected, insulted, and bad about yourself, but it in the end, it’s the other person’s issue, and has nothing to do with who you are.

    • Hi Val- I’m so happy to see you back and hear your input on this.
      Now that you are looking back, do you think maybe your Dad’s behavior had something to do with what a mess your mother was? I know sometimes dealing with a passive aggressive spouse can be soooo frustrating that one has a tendancy to over react when they feel like they can’t get through. I don’t know how long your parents were together, but I know with mine my Dad would quietly do things to set my mother off so she always looked like the bad one while my Dad was pushing her buttons in the background.

      I love the quote you left. That’s what I was trying to tell the BF’s son is that if he doesn’t want to be like his father it’s up to him to break the cycle. It doesn’t have to go on to his children. I did try also to explain the way his father is has nothing to do with him, but I think he has some more maturing to do before he’ll actually listen. I’m afraid right now he too gets too much benefit out of being the victim.

      Thanks again for your point of view, being the daughter of a PA. I really can understand how a child would feel unloved and rejected. It’s not much different than what a PA does to his partner if we let them.

    • Hi Val:
      Not only do we share the same name, but sounds like we share the same parents! My Dad too is a PA who always carried an air of superiority throughout my childhood. He has always shirked responsibility, as in, keeping a full time job year in and year out, maintaining his residence, unable to confront authority etc., but he still carried that air of superiority that you mentioned. And also like you, I also chose to imitate my Dad’s behavior rather than my Mom’s. My mother is a histrionic, no doubt about it, right down to lying about dying of one disease or another (which she never was)! Now they are at retirement age, and their mental illnesses seem even more striking to me even though they can now cover it up better under the guise of “old age”. It makes me very angry.
      You not only have my sympathy, but utmost empathy!

      • Welcome Val- I know you weren’t writing to me, but I still wanted to say “hello” and “welcome here”. Hopefully the other Val will see your comment here. She is really good about responding. I’m sorry (you know what I mean)to hear you have so much in common. I’m glad you found someone here who will understand.

    • I loved your reply. Basically you are describing how things go around in my family. My sister is so much like my father and Im so much like my mother, a total wreck. I also took some passive aggressive traits myself. It was hard to swallow the fact that my parents don´t love eachother anymore. As we speak my dad is in hemodialisis and my mother has problems with sleep apnea and she went to get diagnosed in Houston, a fact i have been telling her for years since Im a Dr Myself, but then again im just a kid to her. The thing that made me scratch my head the most was why the hell if one of my friends parents got sick, why did their spouse stay over at the hospital. That never made sense to me. My parents NEVER stayed at eachothers place at the hospital. Now my mom doesn´t even sleep with my dad anymore and my sister takes her place. For years I took my ´ place emotionally until I came over to study to my current place of residence and never came back home again. Talk about unresolved Oedipical and Electra complexes.

      Recently something strange happened to me that opened a whole new window to look at life.

      My wife and I have a 4 month old son and we had our share of problems due to my passive aggressive behavior which can be explained by my dad´s behavior which I just imitated. My wife is a woman who made her own living for a long time waaay before I did. So she was rather independent and was used to that when we got married and thats when the problems started. My passive aggressive traits clashed with her “enthusiastic” and “over-reacting” way of being. I began to withdraw, even sexually and my wife is a knockout.

      I had been sent to counseling by my hospital´s staff to check out some anger issues. My wife later joined in. My wife would NAG NAG NAG till the wee hours and I would just humm my way through months and years. My wife always went directly to the waiter´s throat when something wasn´t ok and I just kept silent, like dad did. So basically that was life for me and frankly was getting pretty boring. One day we went to get some milk for our baby and some medication the pediatrician prescribed and she stormed into the car shouting and screaming that she was never going into that place again. She told me the clerk didn´t have the medication but charged it anyways and that there were no refunds so basically he could do nothing about it. So my wife refused to sign the credit card voucher and the clerk sneered at her saying it didn´t matter if she sign or not…the charge was made already. I snapped. I told my wife to turn the car around and wait for me in the car outside the drugstore. I basically punched the teeth out of the clerk for making fun at my wife. The person who was more shocked at such events was me! I never reacted with such violence and let a guy have it (not since 10th grade that I had my butt kicked by the schools bully for defending myself). Perhaps the example is rather crude but the point is not to LET YOUR ANGRIES IN. My wife complained and I reacted. She couldn´t punch him so I was her proxy. But it was a message also. “Quit nagging or things can really get ugly”
      I have never hit my wife, but some times I just feel the urge of just taking my stuff and leave. The funny thing is that after that episode I got this whole new aura of respect from my wife. I don´t remember my dad ever stepping up like that for anything. So my reaction caught me completely off balance. Strangely enough I feel sorry for the whole thing but at the same time pretty good that for once in my life I was able to step up.

      I don´t know…perhaps I might like it. Not punching people, but speaking my mind and having my ideas respected. I don´t mean that it´s my way or the highway, but If I pretend to be a spiritual leader, a good father figure and not being everyone´s doormat, I think its important to have your ideas expressed and heard. Sometimes just having them expressed is enough.

      • JJCG- Hi, and Welcome, I think. LOL.

        That’s a pretty drastic way to get your “voice heard”. And if your wife respects you more now, there might be just a little something wrong with her. No offense, but maybe after your years of silence, she needed to see you stand up. I, just personally, don’t think that may have been the best way to do it. LOL.

        Seriously now, I think you may want to seek some couples counseling, both concerning passive aggressive behavior, and then “fair fighting”, so that you and your wife can handle things as they come up and amongst yourselves instead of beating up some stranger. You’re lucky you didn’t end up in jail. Usually women nag because men don’t do what they say they are going to do. I know with me, I feel terrible when I feel like I’m having to nag instead of something just getting done. Have you ever thought about if you are contributing to her nagging? If you aren’t going to do something, then just tell her you’re not and tell her to hire someone. If you are going to do it, then do it and you won’t hear about it anymore.. Life would be so much easier if people were a little more honest with each other. And if you are upset with her for nagging, then speak up. Don’t wait to take it out on some poor clerk, or a fellow employee, or whoever you explode on.

        This is a problem you can handle and it’s in your hands. It’s time for you to take responsibility. Feel free to respond. Thanks for your comment.

        • I completely agree with you. But how do you go around telling her i am up to here of her nagging. Our son has a rather severe reflux problem. When i come come she tells me this whole story of what went on and our son having reflux and this and that. I have told her to follow the drs orders And thAt leads to further complaining (i think my wife is more of a complainer than a nagger). I told her then to go to another pediatrician, but she flipped saying that this guy is on her gyno’s team and ergo he is good. So i feel like a wastebasket of complains here. All i can do is take it and take it. Today i said i was up to here and that everytime she asked for my opinion she never took my advice.

          And yes there is something wrong with her but I cant seem to get through. Today, a sunday i ended up at the office becaise its the only place that i feel i have control.

          • JJCG- First, let me say I am so sorry it has taken me so long to get back with you. Once you were approved, your comments should show up, so others can be of assistance.

            I’m wondering from your comment if your wife is concerned you aren’t worried enough about how severe the problem is? Have you ever gone to a doctor appointment with her and your son? Maybe she feels like she’s handling it all alone. Maybe she’s just downright scared, which would explain why she’s holding on to her pediatrician instead of trying a different one as you suggested.

            Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you may not be justified in how much she complains or how helpless she acts, but being a mother of three, I’m just saying there may be things you can do to counteract a lot of that. Doctors are not God, and they don’t always give the best advice, but you’re asking her to try a second opinion when she can’t get any affirmation from you that the first is no good. As strong as many of us women are, or seem to be, sometimes we just need you to be there. I’m sorry you have to “escape” your house on a Sunday to find some peace. All I’m asking is don’t leave it all up to her. The child is both of yours. If something was to happen to this child, you will both have to deal with it. Are you really doing all you can to make sure the child is getting proper medical advice?

    • I have just left a 15 year relationship with a man who has a P.A personality. His first wife has Bi-polar disorder and there are a lot similarities between our stories. He has 2 children to his first wife who are actually employed by him and that’s exactly how he treats them as employees. The older son is displaying traits of both mother and father, the younger son could have been saved if he’d gone and worked somewhere else, now he owes his father big time and dad will make damn sure he get’s what he wants from him, but son will never know it. For 15 years I didn’t realise I was coping with a partner with a mental illness I just thought he was weak, as he seemed to function at work 13 hours a day, and he totally kept me at arms length, I now realise it as an escape from reality and the only way he can be in some semblance of control. The only way to deal with these people is to not deal with them because if you hang around they will suck the very life from you.

      • Dealing with a PA husband and my little 4 years old girl, very worried about her. I am avoiding my husband, just suck the very life from me, like you said. I am divorcing from him carefully, I know is going to be hard, but I am prepared for this. I do not want my girl think is normal a relationship like the way it is, silent treatment, 13 hours at work. I am feeling happy inside, there are some ups and downs, but I do focus on what he does and not what he says……great difference from what I was.

    • Hi Cj here, I grew up with my p/a father, everybody loved him outside the house, he would do anything for any one & still does, he’s now 75, im 47, I have 3 sibblings we have all suffered relationship wise, my brother has only once entered into a relationship a long time ago.. He didnt want children for fear of being like my dad which he is to a degree, which I have seem with my daughter & nephew!! I have really only met p/a men, the one im with now is so like my father, but yet dislikes my father??!! He has been so agressive with me, why do I stay? I see most of my father, care about him, the fact that my mum was so week when we were little & would’nt/could’nt leave him she is now the stronger one I see, Last night my ocd p/a partner told my 13 year old daughter of & 13 year old nephew, I thought so aggressively, I intervened at the end telling him enough… He did’nt re-act to bad, I think only because my brother was listening… & he is frieghtened of men…My daughter cryed, because she covered for her cousin, Q do i get out now, or think this 56 year old man will mellow, 5 partner before me have all run for the hills,, concerned mum….

  2. I think my mom was messed up long before she met my dad. In a way, they were perfect for each other. Passive aggressiveness was really the only way to cope with my mom.

    Once, she forgot to mail an important letter or some such, and my dad tried to call her on it (which was rare — direct discussion of an issue!) First, my mom denied there ever had been a letter, then decided that my dad being openly upset was proof that he was “abusing” her. For a week, whenever he’d walk into a room, she’d burst into tears and carry on about how mean and cruel he was. It didn’t end until my dad gave up and said he was sorry. My mom felt really wronged, though, and didn’t want to forgive him right away, and he really had to grovel and buy her flowers and beg for forgiveness. This went on for like 2 weeks.

    My dad got his revenge, though, by sleeping with his brother in law. And by making her feel fat and unattractive, and a lot of other things, probably.

    You can’t discuss things with my mom. She will go nuts on you. I’ve never heard her say that she was sorry or that she does anything wrong. She always works at jobs for a year or so, then quits in the midst of major drama, claiming ill treatment, discrimination, and “abuse”. I think the problem always starts when she makes a minor mistake and won’t admit it.

    Anyway, I think my PA dad and my mom were perfect for each other. It wasn’t so good for the kids, though.

    • Hi Val- Wow, your mom sure knows how to turn things around, aye? LOL.

      It sounds like you have been through so much. It’s no wonder you employed self defense tactics, whatever they turned out to be. It’s just so hard to change sometimes, even when we get into a safer environment. It sounds like your mother must have suffered her share of abuse also as a child. She sure seems to go to extreme’s to not admit mistakes. Maybe as a child she either found this kind of behavior beneficial for keeping her from getting punished, or she just wasn’t allowed the freedom to admit mistakes. Either way it sounds like she reacts pretty drastically. If I’m not mistaken, that too is a learned behavior.

      So glad to see you working on your own issues and making a new way for you. It sounds like you see things pretty clearly, which in itself is a giant step for progress.

  3. Dear Ladybeams:

    This is not a reply to the above, it is a desperate cry for help. My 23 year old daughter-in-law is a screaming case of passive aggression. It took me 3 years to see the problem and realize exactly what it was – and at that point, I was at the brink of thinking I was going absolutely nuts. She has expertly cultivated chaos and argument between myself and our son and our family in general. She, before she ever knew our son or us, hated me in particular and all of us. I got mad at her early on when I observed how she was bossing and almost bullying my son around. When I criticized her, that is when the “battle” began. She has pulled out all the stops since then and her behaviors have gotten worse towards me, but also towards the family of her husband. I have told her I know exacty what she is doing, but it doesn’t phase her one iota – she continues. She has never been friendly, yet she smiles readily. She is an expert and I could write at least 50 examples of how she calculates her game and inflicts her rage upon me and us. Our son refuses to see it and makes excuses or justifications. What do I do? I am frightened because she has conned him into thinking it is time he gives her a baby.

    • Hi Mother-in-Law, Welcome! It seems so strange to say that as I am usually getting the daughter sobbing about the mother-in-law being so passive aggressive. I’m so glad you decided to leave your comment. I hope that in and of itself, helped a little.

      Unfortunately I know all to well this happens. It also happens with husbands who totally isolate their wives from their families also. They know with family support, the spouse may be able to retain to much of their strength.

      I hate to be the one to tell you this if someone hasn’t already, but if your son refuses to see what she is doing you will only alienate him if you persist. I know it is heartbreaking to watch this go on, and you may be best off distancing yourself a bit so you don’t upset yourself. Maybe talk to him on the phone when he’s away from the house, or when she is. If he chooses to take it when she treats him poorly and he doesn’t see it the way you do, you need to let it go. It’s his life and if made to choose between you and her, you could lose him completely.

      In the meantime I would sort of make a game of “killing her with kindness.” I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage “hold you friends close, your enemies closer.” If she does get pregnant, you don’t want her to keep your grandchild from you. She will probably use a child as an edge anyhow, but no reason to give her more amunition.

      I wish you and your son the best of luck. My son also is in a bad situation, but he has already alienated one of his sisters because she expressed concern for him. I hope some of this helps you to at least be able to cope. Then later if he does open his eyes, you can be there to support him. He’ll need it no doubt.

  4. She is a very cruel, selfish and, as you might surmize, insecure, jealous and possessive. The situation is as you summarize, too. My son has threatened many times over the last year to drop me and us like so much junk. Thus far, however, the adage “blood is thicker than water” has prevailed and he returns or asks me and us to participate in his life. My husband practices the kill her with kindness very well, but he is only an indirect casualty; I am her target because she knows I have the potential to blow her cover. Thus far, in that regard, she has managed to escape and I suspect that is due to the help and advice of her grand mother, aunt and even her father – her mother is not in the picture after having dumped the two daughters when they were 10 and 11 to pursue her own life. I can only imagihe what the mother must have gone through with monsters like that lurking. Anyway, your advice and viewpoints are spot on and I shall make every attempt possible to kill her with as much kindness as I can muster, but it won’t be easy. Just yesterday, my son showed up and readily expressed his frustration that she and I cannot get along. I told him that it was not my doing, but that I did not want to talk about it because it would only end up in an argument between him and me. Thank you again so much for your comments. I appreciate it more than words can say.

    • Mother-in-Law- Glad you found my comments helpful. While right now he may still come back to you, pretty soon she’ll figure out the right way to cut you out of the picture if you’re not careful. It sounds like you handled the situation with your son fairly well, avoiding the argument between the 2 of you. It’s obvious this tension between you and his wife is hurting him, but if she gets him to start believing they could have a beautiful relationship if you weren’t causing problems all the time, he may start leaning the other way. (Not that that’s true, but unfortunately it works).

      I don’t think she was probably a monster all her life. Her mother leaving is probably what caused her to be so passive aggressive and insecure. On top of that her father probably over compensated due to the guilt he felt and feeling so sorry for her. Now that she has your son it probably brings up those fears of being abandoned again, and she’s willing to do anything to keep him, including cutting him off with his family if she feels threatened.

      I know it’s hard to be kind to someone you can’t stand, but it’s a little easier pill to swallow if you make sort of a game out of it, becoming more and more skilled at dodging her bullets. LOL. If you do call her on something, make it syrupy sweet and so innocently that no one can accuse you of doing it out of malice. It should get easier with time and a little practice.

      Good luck to you and your family. It’s always so sad when a daughter-in-law or son-in-law turns out to be a monster-in-law instead of the “child you never had” that makes the family better. Feel free to come vent or let us know how it’s coming anytime. Like I said before, sometimes just being able to let it out helps quite a bit.

  5. It isn’t just letting out or venting that helps. Finding you and this site has taken more than two years and in that time period, I have been virtually feeling my way in the dark; standing alone against this girl as I cried out to my family and son. I originally was willing to accept blame for escalating tension and arguments. Slowly, I began to see the evil deliberateness of the girl. Once I understood what was going on, I started looking for info which was difficult because I didn’t have a clue we were dealing with a raging PA.. I know we all have tendencies to be PA from time to time, but for most of us it is no more than an occasional event not a way of life. With that little knowledge, I started to replay what I knew of her from the time she first met our son; both 18 at the time. From the moment she stepped foot in this house, I knew something was not right. She stood next to our son once inside the door and had a glare on her face. She spoke in a tiny little voice, but it was immediately evident (subliminally) that she wasn’t at all a shy person…..I, not realizing, did my very best to welcome her, encourage her to relax and assure her we were just regular folks. Also, though, I didn’t invest much time in her because I was certain the budding relationship would not last long mainly because my son was already committed to joining the military.

    Fast forward…….Details of my DIL’s mother were blatantly scant and for a long time I hated the woman for dumping those little girls at such a crucial stage in their lives to pursue getting a GED and then go to college to get a degree. Through my son, we found out that there was no communication between the mother and our DIL. Other than that, we knew very little about the situation. When I’d try to defend her and all that she must have gone through, her response was always cold and indifferent – I though it an odd response, but had the sense to drop it thinking I was hurting her feelings. Instead, I tried to show her that we had the capacity to love her and share our mundanely normal lives of stability. Little did I know she resented even that reality. I would later come to realize she hated us, our lives and everything about us before she ever knew our son or us.

    Once I was able to put a name on this animal, things got worse – she was deliberately doing things that caused argument or chaos or both. I was on a mission to put a stop to it with my authority as a mom – BIG MISTAKE as you probably know. For instance, poking our youngest son for 5 or 10 minutes in the temple of his head while saying “poke, poke, poke, poke, poke” for no reason other than to make him complain. When he came to me, I told him to stay away from her thinking he was just being a pest. Again and again, he would come to me for help. I finally went to her and told her to stop or I would give our youngest permission to fight back. Yep, it worked like a charm – she and my eldest walked out – I had disrespected HER.

    As time went on, her devisive and cruel behaviors escalated and intensified. Slowly, I began to understand as well, that perhaps her entire family was the same. What a moment that was – it coursed through my veins; it was a fear I have never experienced. I became instantly afraid of her – honest to God! I still am.

    Four years ago after I had cornered her about what she was doing, she threatened I’d never know my grand kids. I told her I believed her threat. In the time that has elapsed since then, I know her plan is in place and has been since before she knew us or our son. She will use any children as tools and pawns just the same as she must have been used. The good news here is that our son has, for some unknown reasonand, rather abruptly, changed his mind about having kids. He told me yesterday that he is not ready for kids……..I was secretly dancing, but said “Thank God” out loud. I complimented him for listening to his gut and told him I hoped he would stick to his guns. She, by the way, has said more than once that if he wouldn’t give her kids, she would find someone who would……….I believe that as much as her threat to cheat her kids out of knowing her husband’s family.

    The two constantly bicker – after a 7 month absence on deployment, he returned this past Tuesday. My husband followed them from the homecoming to their house with gear which wouldn’t fit into their car. When he arrived only minutes afterward, they were in an argument and yelling at each other. He quietly dropped the gear off and left but not before saying it was hard to believe they could already be in an argument.

    Oh, and I have tried to kill her with kindness, but not even that works. If I am nice, she’ll find a way to turn it into ugly. If I am ugly, she reminds my son of what a bad person I really am. So, the best advice you gave is to stay distant. I can do that; I have to do that otherwise, it all blows up in my face and I am always the problem. If I am distant, she won’t be quite as able to use me. In time, as the hum drum, day-to-day living sets in things will catch up with her. It’s the “give ’em enough rope” that will hang her.

    At this point, I am just happy my son has the sense to realize a baby is not in his priorities.,

    The validation I have received from you is soothing and strengthens me. Thank you so much for listening and “holding my hand”. You cannot imagine how lonely I have been in this battle – for a good long while, no one in our little family would believe me.

    • Dear Mother-In-Law All I can say is OMG! What a mess she is with all her threats, etc. It probably gives her a strong sense of power to threaten and have people beg her not to, whether it’s leaving him for someone who will give her children, or threatening to keep you out of their lives if she has any. Just as helpless as she felt when her mother left, she probably goes to the opposite extreme to feel the power now.

      Glad to hear your son has chosen not to have children right now. Unfortunately he’s not the only one in control unless they just don’t have sex. As you know, women have been tricking men with pregnancy for ever. Hopefully what’s happened is he’s experienced how peaceful his life was while he was on deployment vs. all the arguing as soon as he got home. My son is probably one of the easiest going guys around and he’s with his first love now, altho they had broken up and ended up back together before. Even he gets tired of the bickering very quickly, to the point where he just doesn’t hardly care what she does as long as it’s away from him. Maybe your son is starting to feel a little of the same. I think you’re right about the “rope”. LOL.

      If she finds away to turn your kindnesses ugly, that’s when you say as sweet as you possibly can, “Why no, Dear. You must have misunderstood.” and then you turn it back around to a good thing. It takes some practice, but I have faith in you. LOL.

      I’m so glad you feel better after finding us here. I’m no psychologist or anything, but I do have quite a bit of “old age experience” and am willing to learn and share with those who pass this way. Please stay in touch and let us know about your progress.

    • Dear MIL, I am in the process of divorcing a severe PA who’s mom was exactly like your daughter in law. I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone, the games are real, the loneliness is suffocating, it gets stronger as the PA make us feel shame for the problem they have caused, hence we don’t talk about it and are even more isolated.
      MY MIL used to taunt me, in Farsi, calling me “sadeh”, which means simpleton. Now that ive put the pieces of the puzzle together I am horrified by the man I have twins with. Ill spare you the horror that ws my life and is my divorce. Just wanted to tell you that everything you suspect about her is true, and then some.
      I hope with all my heart your son sees what she is and leaves her. If he doesn’t though I want you to spare yourself and run towards your sanity. It means staying away totally. you would be amazed at what entanglement with sever PA’s can do to your mind and body. I still have many tears to shed each night when I lay down my sword. I know there will be escape from his claws once custody and finances are settled. In the meantime im eating my Wheaties and embracing my joy in between life’s cracks.
      Namaste; Shahrzad

  6. I will absolutely stay in touch. My life has been like hell with this girl and trying to make someone listen or understand has been even worse. I am nearing my 60th year of life on this planet and have never encountered anyone as deviously cruel as this girl. With this forum available to me now after such a long search, I will be able to cope much better when she throws her next sucker punch. I will attempt to do the “sweet” turn around (she has done that to me many times, but only recently did I understand she is a perfect liar), but as you so carefully point out, it takes practice. Her handle is “bashful”, but she is about as bashful as a bull moose in rutting season – lol. Thank you so much and I will keep you posted.

  7. As far as women who trap/trick men with pregnancy, I think she is playing that one to the hilt, too., She desperately wants children – she associates with women who are expecting and even made herself available last year to be birthing coach for a neighbor whose husband was deployed. She is constantly making baby gift baskets for expectant mothers she barely knows and is always making clothes for a little neice who is about 3 years old. Anyway, she has up until now, been mindful abour accidentally pregnant because I think my son set her straight at one point or another in the matter. Now, however, she is pulling out all the stops to manipulate him into believing it is his responsibility to give HER a child (funny how those PA’s blow their own cover, huh?). I am not so stupid as to believe she will go on much longer without the “fulfillment” and will accidentally on purpose forget to take a pill now and then or do something that accidentally onj purposes creates the pregnancy she so desperately wants. In February our son was talking about it as it if were a definite plan; now, however, he has done an about face. It would not surprise me to get a phone call in the very near future from her to tell us she is pregnant. I sure hope not.

    • Mother-in-Law- That’s exactly what I was talking about. How women “forget” to take the pill or how they swear they are one of the 99.999 percent that took the pill and got pregnant anyway. Unfortunately, unless the man is taking full control of the birth control from his side, the poor guys don’t stand a chance. If your son has done a complete about face, he may be rethinking the relationship or at least be unsure how concrete it is. Hopefully he stands strong, altho if she gets pregnant it’s not like he’s going to have a choice. It’s such a shame. Having a grandchild should be such a happy time for you. My fingers are still crossed for you and your son. LOL.

  8. Not that it matters, but I meant to say she is constantly making clothes for her cousin’s little 2 and 3 year olds (not her neices). Anyway, as a well practiced PA, she will get pregnant and then make my son believe both that it was really only an accident and, “so what” honey, we were gonna have a baby sooner or later……I am fully prepared for that. My hands are tied, but I also know that once a baby arrives there will be hell to pay for both. I do not know how I will be feeling once one is here and I am allowed only to be a familiar stranger. Can’t borrow that problem though.

    Presently, she has quit a $15.,75 hour job after a year and a half and is going to work part time at some mall store selling computer/video games. It is the set up, in my opinion, for her to rearrange things – i.e. get used to living with less money while she works on son to make him think a baby is absolutely the best idea….I am guessing yet I know there is something sinister going on.

    • Hi Mother-in-Law,
      Her quitting her job may be a plus on the “son” side. It’s a very good argument for not being able to afford a baby now. If she had been really smart about it, she would have just taken part of the decent money she was making and built up a savings account. While she seems pretty focused on what she wants, at least she doesn’t seem to think of all the angles. LOL. When the first, smaller paychecks start rolling in, it’s going to take some adjusting, which will probably cause more arguments, which might make your son dig his heels in even deeper. Score!

  9. She has complete control of his and her money. My son “doesn’t handle money well” (few of us do when we are first out on our own, no?) He doesn’t know what she is doing or how she is doing it, but that is his problem and he will regret it one day I am sure. I have warned him about it though. As far as him noticing a financial pinch after she takes this part time loser job at the mall (what a crock), I don’t think she will allow that to happen, but then again, she is so conniving, I wouldn’t put it past her to figure out a way make him scrimp even more. He is in the military, so they basically have a free ride with housing and medical care. What makes me angry (like that is gonna help a thing, right?) is that my son has started to think he could not make it in the civilian world or without her. That mindset means he will probably remain in the military, put himself in harm’s way. That is not my problem either – I know. If they do get a kid, she would be staying at home anyway. I can only imagine what it will be like for him/them then. Kids cost money even if housing and medical care aren’t an issue. He makes good money, but when you add kids and in this rotten economy, it will be a pinch……..I did toss a “barb” into my son’s mindset while he was here, though! I told him her job changes/instability may have an impact on their/her credit rating (she is always moaning about hers being low!) and therefore, make it more difficult for them to get loans. He’d get VA financing which is easy these days. I said that to him to get him to thinking. The reason she is quitting is contrived – she says they won’t let her have Saturdays off, but I know better. PA’s are (from everything I have researched) are nightmares in the work place. She is the poster child for PA and I am certain she has played one too many of her tricks on co-workers and, in particular, on those who are in positions of authority. I suspect they put her on graveyard and Saturday schedule to make her unhappy enough to quit on her own – they kill 2 birds – they get rid of her and they don’t get dinged for unemployment benefits because she didn’t get laid off or fired…….

    And your point about her not thinking through all of her angles is a good one – think of it. When at first we do deceive, tis a tangled web we weave??? It is impossible to keep track of everything – even for a raging PA like she is. Even if things got so bad between us and our son that he didn’t call or come around us, she’d not stop her behaviors.

    The girl needs serious help and before she gets children.

    What a future my son has ahead of him with her…..OMG…..I am sick to my stomach because I know eventually we, mom and dad, will have to pay the bill if you know what I mean.

    • Dear Mother-in-Law
      While I have to say, I wouldn’t want to work graveyard either and you would think she had some sort of seniority so she wouldn’t have to, PA’s are hell in the work place and they have a tendancy to be a poison to the rest of the crew. It sounds like her past employer was pretty smart, or trying to put her where she could do the least amount of damage to the rest of his employees. LOL. My passive aggressive BF couldn’t get it that clean and well stocked bathrooms were a biggy to his boss and he resented that the boss (owner of the company) would tell him whenever they needed to be cleaned up or restocked. All he really had to do was pass the responsibility on to one of his underlings. Instead he ended up getting fired over it. Dumb!

      It sounds like your son really wants to keep you and your husband in their lives. It seems like as long as you don’t berate his wife, you may not have too big of a problem holding on to him, to a certain extent. I think putting a bug in his ear as something he may want to think about and doesn’t already know, without making her sound bad is a great way to stay in the conversation without alienating him. It sounds like you’re right on track.

      As far as her getting help, she may never. She certainly is too full of herself right now to even admit that she does anything wrong. She ought to be a real ball if she gets pregnant and all those hormones start to change. Your poor son!

      And yes, you’re probably right that at the end of the day it will be up to you and your husband to put all the pieces back together, but that’s what we parents do, right? Of course, they could end up being one of those couples that everyone bets against ever staying together, and they last forever. Sorry. Thinking out loud. I know a few like that, although it seems as if his time away on manuevers, etc. makes him rethink what he’s gotten himself into.

  10. You know, you make a good point about my son still wanting his family in his life in spite of the obstacles she has used and the constant tension she creates. He has threatened a couple times to walk out and never return and acted it out once, but he always has come back and we always act as if he never made the threats. While here with us for a few days this past week we had a great time – no argument, just being together. He came here on his own volition and I was completely surprised to see him. He went and did as he wanted which is the way it always was – we never put any demands on him or had any concrete expectations. We tell him he is free to come as often or as seldom as he wants and is welcome to stay as long or as brief as he chooses. We remind him all the time we will always be his mom and dad, too. And, yes, it is best to avoid the subject of his wife. He tried talk about why “she and I” can’t get along and I told him first that is wasn’t me and second, I did not want to talk about it. He tried to bring it up again, but I changed the subject.

    She has him thinking he cannot survive on his own without her which is a trait of the PA – I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t done research. I did research because I thought I was going absolutely nuts – I just was not willing to accept that I could be generating ALL the problems. I certainly do have limitations and serious flaws – we all do, but I knew I wasn’t doing things badly enough to cause all the problems that kept coming up, but I was second guessing myself and willing to make adjustments in my own behavior to correct myself if I WAS the problem – I am a conscientious sort. I wanted things to be pleasant and fun and loving and caring – uhity, respect; all those things. In that quest is where I stumbled upon PA info – I’ll never forget it either – it was 4 a.m. and I wanted to shout out loud I was so excited.

    Anyway, my son – a physically fit, all man man is really still a kid, unsure of his own abilities and very nieve. He is aware of most of what she has done, but in denial about what she is up to.

    At Thanksgiving while he was deployed,. we hadn’t heard from her since he left. Out of the blue, she texted me to wish us a happy day. I answered by inviting her to stop by (about an hour drive away). She jumped at the chance and came over with her Aunt. There she was – all dressed in Chrismas regalia – odd, but we didn’t thing too much of it. I have never seen her more well groomed or as animated and friendly. Quietly, she left a card on the table where we sat. We didn’t open it or pay much attention to it. The card got buried under volumes of paper for a few days. The following Wednesday, in a burst of energy, I decided to clean the junk away and found the card. I was blown away when I opened it. IT was a professional photo of herself in the same outfit she’d worn on Thanksgiving day and she was flanked on either side by their two dogs. At the bottom, it said Merry Christmas from the “SoandSo” Family (a pseudo name so as not to divulge private info). She signed it with love rrom herself!! i became immediately angry and was very insulted. If an Xmas card was what she wanted to send to everyone, then woldn’t it have made sense to get one done before her man left so that it would have the both of them in the picture rather than only her and the dogs??? Of course and she knew it. What message was she sending by doing it? Ahaaa, she was telling me that we were second and that in the offing was a family offshoot – meaning kids.

    If I have learned anything, I have learned that the girl communicates subliminally in all she does. There is always a message and “a method to all of her madness” and it isn’t just directed toward me. She, I swear, lays awake at night plotting and planning. I am a particularly delicious target for her, but she uses her skills liberally and expertly; most others are unsuspecting. It took me an entire year to make my husband catch on – I was blue in the face, but I finally got through. Oh, operator – LOL

    I sense the same about my son. While away, he may be feeling a little freer and a lot less hen pecked and thus, deduce perhaps she really is the problem. I made certain to keep his visit here pleasant and free just so he feels the difference…….subliminal, quiet, subtle…that way he cannot go back to her and tell her I said a word about her.

    The work place is definitely one I would not enjoy with someone like her around. I know as sure as I write this that they intentionally put her on graveyard so that she was isolated from the regular working staff. I know too that they are probably hoping for her to leave just because she has probably caused so much tension there. OMG – it must be horrid. She worked for a friend of ours for about 8 months. She was always complaining about how unfair he was as a boss and was always blaming others – no surprise there. I have been tempted to call him to ask him what she was like, but there is no value in doing that.

    I have to continue to ignore the silent attacks and refuse to show any reaction while at the same time, always remaining prepared for her dirty deeds. Not easy.

    Are you still with your PA BF?

    • Mother-in-Law- It sounds like your son’s visit was wonderful and you handled it well. See, you have the right idea. Sometimes it takes a little more power than others to bite our tongues, but when you’re working toward a very worthwhile goal, it gets easier. LOL. The fact that when he goes home and she is drilling, or accusing, looking for things you have said and he can honestly say you never talked about her, it’s time like those I wish I could be a fly on the wall just to see the reactions. She’s going to have to rethink her strategy up you keep up this good behavior. LOL.

      I have to commend you on your decision not to call your friend. I wouldn’t be able to help myself. You are a better woman than I. Of course I would probably try to do it pretty non-chalantly, but I would be curious as hell. Didn’t he or she ever say why she left him? Of course, you are absolutely right. It would serve no constructive purpose. Blaming everyone else for everything is typical passive aggressive employee behavior. He was probably so grateful when she left. LOL.

      Oh yeah, I’m still with my passive aggressive boyfriend. We’ve been together almost 10 yrs., but it’s ok. He’s really a pretty good guy and I have known for awhile what I’m dealing with. Sometimes I miss the intimacy and the affection, but I’ll live. Part of it now is because I’ve gotten heavy again, but then I just remind myself when I got skinny it didn’t make any difference so…

      This is good for me right now while I’m getting new businesses up and running, etc. I don’t have to worry about him being out getting drunk or skirt chasing, and he can be quite a help. It’ll do for now. I’m not fooling myself. Thanks for asking tho. LOL. I guess I started this blog because of the 10 yrs. experience and still living outside a padded cell to tell about it. LOL.
      Take care.

  11. I cannot imagine having to live with a PA – especially the practiced kind my son is hooked up to. I wonder also how long it will take for him to see…..

    I did enjoy having my son around. It was very nice. And, when he was leaving, I realized it was time for him to go – bittersweet – odd. I realized as he backed out of the driveway that he owns his life now no matter what I think of it.

    She has plans this weekend which will keep him conveniently away, but as I told him, I don’t a day someone else thought up to be honored as a mom. That he has put his life on the line for his Country is way more of an honor than anything.

    What is a crying shame is that this girl has never been put in her place and called on her nasty behaviors because everyone close enough to her was too busy over compesating for the BS her parents inflicted on her. I would love to help her change and become better at accepting people for who they are instead of playing with the fire she has learned to enjoy. I doubt that will ever happen, but I can dream.

    I sure have enjoyed venting about this cussid problem. It has helped me. Gald you started it and that I persevered to find it.

    And as I close for this day, I find myself trying to think ahead enough to guess what her next attack will be…

  12. […] of the Passive Aggressive…Looking Inside A Passive AggressiveWhy Are You So Passive Aggressive?Effects of The Passive Aggressive ParentRecommended ReadingHe Never “Says” What’s WrongIntimacy, Emotion And The Passive […]

  13. I don’t know what to do about my MIL. She moved in with us around 8 months ago when she lost her job. My husband and I had only been married 16 months when this happened. The plan was for her to find another job and move out on her own. She sat here for 6 months not seriously looking for work. She even made a comment to me about the fact that she didn’t really need to look until her unemployment ran out. When I eventually confronted her about this when things were really getting out of control, she denied ever saying that. This woman is the most passive aggressive person I have ever come into contact with. I am constantly shocked by her manipulations. She is rude to me, but never in front of my husband. She simply forgets to follow simple household rules that make things more difficult for me. The list of things she has done since she’s been living with us goes on and on. We have now rearranged our home so that she can have her own separate living room. We gave up some space to do it, but I had to for my own sanity. Now, if only she had her own bathroom and kitchen. She did eventually find herself a part time job, but she cannot support herself on what she makes. I am stuck with this woman. I work from home, so I deal with her more than anyone else in the house does. My husband has just accepted her behavior as her being flakey. He says she’s always been like that, but that she dosen’t mean any harm. That’s bulloney. What can I do? I’ve tried confronting her bad behavior, but she acts so offended, as if being rude or cruel never crossed her angelic mind. If I don’t confront it, she constantly asks me if I’m having a bad day. Of course, I am, because of her, but I’ve learned to smile and tell her that I’m doing really well. I don’t want to give her the satisfaction of knowing that she’s getting to me. How can I better deal with her, because this woman is never going to move out of my house?

    • Dear Frustrated in Florida- Sorry it’s taken me so long to respond, but besides being “in transition”, I threw my back out while moving and haven’t been spending as much time at the computer. I’m feeling better now and hope to get back to a regular schedule.

      First, let me say “Welcome” and I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through, especially so newly married. You two shouldn’t even be out of the “honeymoon” phase yet, let alone having to deal with someone moving in with you.

      It sounds like “thank goodness, at least she’s out of the house working part-time” which in this economy is a good thing, but it still makes it tough when you work from home. You didn’t say if you have an office in your home that you can shut the door when you are working for people to let you be. That, besides her having her own living space would help some.

      Until she’s able to work full time and be able to support herself, I’m afraid you’re right. You’re stuck, especially if your husband doesn’t see her personality the same way you do. All you can do is try to minimize the amount of time you spend with her alone. Also, when she pulls her antics, you should confront it so that she knows you’re on to her, but do it “sweetly” so it looks like you’re genuinely trying to understand instead of as an enemy. The old saying goes “kill ’em with kindness”. If you start to look at things with a sense of humor about what she’s doing and make a game with yourself on how nice you can be, it’s amazing how calming for you it can be. She may go on being the same, but at least you’ll have more control of how much it upsets you.

      As hard as it is, give her a little time in her new part time job, then casually ask her if they’ve mentioned anything about putting her on full time, or if she’s looking for full time work. Then you can casually ask her about her “plan” for the future. I would carry on this conversation when your husband is present, like at the dinner table or sometime when you’re all together in a relaxed atmosphere. That way what ever she says, your husband will hear it also and maybe it will make her come up with something solid.

      Good luck. I hope you check back in to let us know how it’s going.

      • I would encourage you to get clarity with your husband, that YOU are his wife and his life is with you first of all, THEN I would have him agree on a date that she moves out by.

        She CAN find somewhere to rent a room if she has to. She is using you both without concern, so stop the concern and tip toeing. If you are strong enough, you can work through this truthfully with your husband and come to your own decisions. Then present them to her.

        A person who uses others easily is a past master at weaseling when confronted, so direct is the only way to get results in my experience. SHE is willing to sacrifice your relationships to keep using you, so don’t tip toe.

        Set a date for her to find a room in someone else’s house to rent if that’s all she can afford. Otherwise, you will build resentment and division with your husband, and she may well end up living off him when you are gone.

  14. I am going through a dirty divorce with a spouse who is a former DA, former judge, and a practicing attorney. He has our four children and has exhibited passive aggressive behavior for the sixteen years of the marriage…he is truly covert.
    I have seen the impact on our children because they are being used as a medium because he would have the children rely information that he should convey to me himself.
    I would like to write a book dealing with the impact of divorce from a child’s perspective and I was wondering if I may use extracts from your website? Peace always,


    • Staylor- I am so honored. I would be happy for you to use excerpts from my website, as long as no real names are used, altho feel free to use the name of my blog. LOL. I would appreciate it if you let me know what exactly you’re interested in.

      Now for the big stuff. I’m so sorry to hear about it being a “dirty” divorce, and it’s always harder when the spouse is a lawyer. That’s one reason I’ve never dated any. You really have a problem with him being a DA (they persecute everyone, I’m sure even you) and being a former judge, they just think they are above everything. You poor thing. I can’t even imagine how bad your divorce must have been for you, although I’ve seen it with others and you either have to be rich enough to have a good lawyer on your side to fight everything they throw at you, or (like in my case) you need to find a lawyer that really hates your husband. LOL.

      It’s terribly sad to think about what he’s doing to the children. Maybe you could arm them by telling 1)him you won’t take messages delivered by the children any longer. He can either call or email. 2) Start training them by telling them you don’t want to hear it when they start out “Daddy says to tell you…”
      Just explain to them that you’ve told Daddy if he needs to tell you something, he can call you. This may take a couple or so times, but pretty soon they’ll be telling Daddy when he pulls that crap that you won’t listen. You said he can call you. Kids catch on pretty quick and hopefully this would at least stop that part of him using them.

      It never ends. He will always figure a way to get to you through them until they get old enough to tell him themselves. All we can do is make it as painless as possible. Hopefully you communicate well with your children and are able to counter act a lot of his antics.

      Well Staylor, welcome, and feel free to drop back by. I think it’s great you’re writing this book. Any child saved… Let me know how it’s coming. I know people if you need any help or advice with publishing, etc.
      Good luck and God Bless.

  15. I have been looking into this whole PA thing and my wife and I both think we exhibit a lot of these traits. The scary part is that we have two young kids. How can we learn to improve our situation and minimize any negative affect on our children? It kills us to see the look in their eyes when they are trying to deal with our problems.

  16. Hello. I am hoping one of you can help me. My mother is extremely passive aggressive. She exhibits many of the traits that have been described on this and other sites. Like many I grew up with feelings of inadequacy and feeling unloved. Like I have to earn her love. These are feelings I still struggle with to this day.

    She leaves out important details of what my husband does and/ or says when talking to me, and will make snide comments about him trying to make him seem inadequate. I am learning to ask my husband what happened/ was said before getting mad at him for what she says about him.

    I am at my wits end. (I will try to explain all of this as best I can so please bear with me.) My biggest problem is that I can not confront her, and for several reasons:

    One, is that she watches our 2.5 year old son two days a week while we are at work. (She will also help watch our baby that is due soon once I go back to work.) My husband and I have different days off so that it is only 2 days. We can not afford daycare or to work any less hours. We need her help. To me, she refers to herself as “the babysitter,” and makes comments about being under appreciated and trys to make me feel like I treat her like hired help. I never ask her to do any form of house work. I always thank her and ask her about their day. At the same time, she will call both my husband and I on days she does not watch our son and ask what we are doing and if we need help. While she is with our son she conveniently “forgets,” many of our rules for him. Or she completely disregards them and says that “he is just being a boy.” When she does come over on those days that she offers I or my husband stay with them. She will yell at us if we tell our son “no,” undermining our authority.

    Reason number two is that she was in an accident a number of years ago. She is the perpetual victim. If somebody says otherwise or confronts her she acts like a sulky child and will cut them out of her life completely. She then gossips about them. I don’t want to lose my mother. For the most part, other than my husband and son, she is the only family I have and the only grandparent my son and soon to be new baby have.

    I just don’t know what to do anymore. For years, her actions have caused me to loose sleep at night and many times leave me in tears. Any suggestions? Thank you.

    • Hi At Wits End- Welcome. I’m sorry to hear what a position you are in, but for the sake of your little family and especially your son, you need to cut her time with him out except when you invite her, and only if she is willing to abide by the rules you and your husband have set down. What is happening now is only likely to get much worse as your son grows older. Even at a very young age they instinctively know how to play parents (or grandparents and parents) against one another to get what they want. If she chalks everything up to him “just being a boy” you’re going to end up with a “boy” in the prison system.

      With her watching him, even only for 2 days a week, don’t you worry about what she is telling him concerning your husband and you? And if she’s bad mouthing even just your husband, how much respect is your son going to have for his father? As you know from growing up with it, passive aggressiveness is a poison that preys upon whole families and destroys the people who are victimized by it. Look at what you say it’s done to you. He is just a small, easily influenced little boy who doesn’t have the skill to fight what she is teaching him. For his sake you need to find another way.

      I know daycare is expensive, but many communities have free or sliding scale programs for people in your position. Try calling social services, or your local community services. Some day cares are set up like co-ops. You work so many hours a week in the day care (and have your child with you) and then other parents do the same. This way the burden is passed amongst everyone and it’s not too hard on anyone. It would also be very good for your son to be able to play with children his own age and start getting “socialized”, before he gets into pre-school or kindergarten.

      I understand the position you’re in regarding not wanting to lose your mother, and it hurts a lot to think that may happen. I too come from a very small family out here and my mother didn’t talk to me for 2 yrs. at least. (Now I’m her caregiver. Go figure. LOL) Really, when you think about it, what good does it do to have her be a grandmother to your children if she’s so busy undermining your relationship with your husband and your authority with your kids? Sometimes, when we realize how negatively someone is affecting our lives, we just have to let go no matter how much we love them. If you’re loosing sleep or crying yourself to sleep at night, it really isn’t worth it, and I’m afraid it will just get worse through the years. As your children get older the problems will be bigger and they will have years of her influence on them. That’s something to really think about.

      Please feel free to stop by anytime. Really, take advantage of the services in your community. In this day and age there are so many people in your position financially, or even worse, that a lot of communities have charities and outreach programs that never existed before. They’re there to help. You may even try your church if you have one.

      Good luck and let us know how you’re doing.

  17. My father was hard core passive aggressive in the sense that it was like he was psychic or very intuitive to the needs, strengths and weakness of others. He had this uncanny ability to sense a need and deliberately withhold and/or punish you for having it, let alone take it into consideration. The dynamic between my mom and him was she provided the emotional support and he brought home the $. He thought b/c of his part, that was enough – and proceeded, when he wasn’t yelling and screaming, hitting or humiating everyone (I have 3 brothers and a little sister), to sit his a** in front of the TV everynight to watch shows like Bonanza! To this day he just doesn’t “get it” and though he’s admitted to a lot of what he did, he won’t, or refuses to change. It’s hard to realize I never really knew the feeling of safety, trust or affection with my father. The loss and feeling of not really knowing him, his love or support has been a life long pain and hurt, that has gotten a lot better, but that reality of not knowing love and strength of a father, makes me feel robbed and resentful, if not ashamed in someway – ashamed of the difference between what is and what could have been. He’s 73 now but when I think back to what a 3, 4 or 5 year old could have done to enrage a man of 30 or 35 then– to beat his children, deny the beatings, the humiliation, the put downs, insults, then act like he was “the man” or “mr. normal guy” in front of my mother, is beyond me. Like she didn’t know something was wrong? He now behaves like he’s Mr. wonderful because of his career succeesses and brags abou this or that project. It’s all he really has to feel good about, so he focuses in on that. I just have to feel the pain at times, really, the loss, pray to my God (everyone’s father/mother) and ask for help. Somethings are beyond human intervention. He’s trapped, so in that I feel sorry for him but not really. It’s a choice he’s makings. Passive aggressive to the bitter end…

    • Donna- OMGosh, you have such a great attitude and such a handle on what happened through your childhood, I have to commend you.

      I have to ask, did he ever beat your mother also? If he did then you know she knows. You’re lucky to a certain extent. At least he admits to a lot of what he did, even if he won’t change, and trust me at 73 it’s highly unlikely that he ever will. You sound as if you were smart enough to break the cycle in your own life instead of passing it on to the next generation.

      As far as the safety and trust and a male role model, it’s always a shame when a child doesn’t get all the love and nurturing they have a right to want and expect. I don’t care what the reason. It sounds like you have found the best replacement, Him. It took me a long time to look upon Him as my father, probably when my own passed away, but I should have known all along. You have a right to feel robbed and resentful, and should never feel ashamed, and then you are doing the best thing you can do for a person coming out of what you have, and that is learning to forgive. My father was no saint, and there would be times I just hated him (and this was after I left his house). Then it was like God said, “either accept him as he is, as I accept you, or get out of his life”. It doesn’t mean we have to like what they do, or agree with their actions. It just means we accept the fact that they’re not perfect. You are right. You did nothing as a child that would bring out that kind of rage in anyone, unless they had it from something else, probably his own childhood. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. This was and is his problem.

      I’m so happy you stopped by and shared with us. Please feel free to do so anytime. Your point of view may be just the help someone else is looking for.

    • Donna,
      I am so sorry for what you endured as a child with a father like that. I hope this gives you a little hope. I was married to a man just like that for 15 yrs. I was afraid of him after a while and then he took away my self worth. I was so depressed and it wasn’t until he started attacking my boys that I realized I had to do something. I didn’t believe in divorce so I tried to work things out. We would go to counseling and he would change for a few months but then back to that bastard I hated soon enough. I was never as smart as him or as polished in his mind. Turns out he wanted to make me think all of this to make me weak and make me stay. Ok here’s the good news…. I will be divorced this month. I finally stood up to him and left. I am working every day to counteract the damage the man did to my babies. I have two handsome sons and I told the oldest one last night men don’t have to yell, hit and degrade people to be a man. I have a wonderful man in my life right now. And I just hope and pray that he and the other male role models I will now bring around my young men will help them to see how things can be. Yes, your mom knew! So did I and I finally realized that if I didn’t protect these sweet children’s self-worth from him who would! I wish you all the best and I hope you will be able to see that your
      father is a weak man who must deep down know what and who he is but it would crush him to admit any of this as that would deflate his own idea of himself. You are wonderful I am certain just try to keep telling yourself that!!!!

      • Cat- Thank you for such an inspiring response. It’s so good to hear where ones like yourself took the step to save themselves and their children. I love it that you can talk to your sons the way you said you talked to your oldest. It’s important for us to teach our children the right way to do things when all they’ve known is the wrong way. You’re right, if we don’t do it who will?

        I’m so happy for you and thank you for being a shining light for the rest of us.

  18. Hi ladybeams–okay different blog because I was asking about the effects of passive aggressive on my children. I just want to make a comment. Now that my husband has been out of the home for a little over a week now…both my kids are a little bit different.

    First, my 14 year old (who battled w/ hubby over manhood of the house) has stepped up and helped out. He changed all the locks on the house with me and did most of the work. He is ADD and I usually get lots of calls from school about his behavior and things he did not do. I have not gotten a call in a little over two weeks.

    Second, my 3 year old. When he would be home at night after daycare all day he would whine and have these horrible temper tantrums. They were bad and even ignoring them was difficult due to him just “holding out”. Since my husband has been gone, they have almost subsided and when I discipline him he responds better than he used to. My husband had a tendency to “spoil” the child because this is our child together. I would constantly try to remind my husband not to give in, but of course, to no avail.

    I told my babysitter…it is amazing how much havoc one person can reap in a house and on a family. Even though I am a basketcase from time to time…our lives are a little calmer with him gone. Still waiting for Phase 2 to hit. I have not talked to him going on day 3 and contemplate working things out because I do love him. Not sure how I feel about that. My love/hate side wars internally. But the war side is stronger most times. Right now I’m willing to listen and would need to read before deciding to stay with this PA man.

    • Hi Sami! It’s pretty amazing isn’t it? I can tell you as a child coming from a dysfunctional home, when my folks finally split it was such a much more livable environment for my sister and me. They would fight all the time, everyone was always on edge, it was awful. Once they actually split when I was about 12, even though I basically ended up taking care of my little sister 24/7, we were all a lot happier. Now that you have seen the difference his behavior has made on your children, you really need to consider that before considering reconciliation.

      If you haven’t heard much from him, it sounds like he’s “doing his own thing”. Be careful if he does want to talk and discuss reconciling, it’s not just until the next “affair” comes along.
      Good luck My Dear. Glad things are going ok for the children. After all, they’re #1.

      • I do realize the kiddos are #1. I do think about them before me and realize just because I love him does not mean he is good for all of us. Plus, I SO do not want my youngest becoming PA at all. That is a horrible thing for children to go through and then become one yourself to just put your family through that too.

        Not sure what his “thing” is. It’s so odd. I found out from friends that he has lied about so many things and me, of course, I am the scapegoat. OMG…I can’t believe it (kind of). I think one of the individuals realized he was lying too. One incident the person was asking me about something and I had no idea what they were talking about. So I think from the just of it they realized I was not the lying party.

        When I say reconciliation, that is such a big IF. I have my weak moments. Right now just taking advantage of not hearing from him and can use this to show he is not the appropriate party for the child. What parent takes off…tells the family nothing of where they are…does not call their child for over a week to see or talk with them? This does not look good for him and I will remember this.

        Right now I am looking to check into counseling for myself and I think I will keep a journal of our life. He tends to make me the bad guy and twists our life. If I put it down then as my memory fades, the journals won’t. It will help me to remind myself of what exactly happened and then be able to “call him on it” later if he brings it up.

        • Sami- I think when we go through this stuff, we all have our weak moments. We always wish it would work out with the man we love and thought loved us also. It’s pretty tough to break away from the “happily ever after” ending.

          It’s good you’re getting a chance now to talk to some of the people your husband has told his crap to. I’m afraid there is good news and bad news with that. The good news is that the people that bring things up to you, you can correct things and they can see for themselves. The bad thing is you will never know who all he’s told what, and what they believe because they will never say anything.

          You’re batting a 1000 with the excellent ideas. A therapist right now would be an extremely good resource for strength while you go through everything. You may have to go through a couple to find a good one for you, but it’s worth it. The journal is another excellent idea. I started logging things as they happened when I divorced the father of my children. He was pretty nuts, and defrauding the welfare system and everything else, they were coming after me because they took his word. A journal will stand up in court just as if it were gospel when you keep it consistently. Something else I have learned to do is not answer the phone. I let him leave a message and save it so I have it. Then I will call him back or write. I have to keep renewing the messages, but if I end up in court, I have proof of what was said, etc.

          One more resource I think is excellent for going through what you are right now is the “Getting Past Your Past” website. She is excellent and gives some great tips on how to stay strong. The link is on the right hand side here in the blogroll. You may want to take a look.

          Good luck, Sami. It sounds like you have your head together. Your heart will follow eventually. It takes time. You grieve just as if you had a friend that passed away. It’s ok. You need to do that. Feel free to come by and let us know how you’re doing anytime. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

          • I did have a subject that struck me and I don’t think you have anything here and maybe you could start a new blog. Just ideas and of course your website. But what I am wondering is life after the PA.

            When you divorce, having to deal with them is a topic I am ready to read about. I will check out the “Getting Past Your Past”. I am glad you mentioned the messages and phone calls. I will not answer and keep that stuff. I have kept my text messages too so I have a record. I wasn’t even thinking of if it would stand in court or that I might actually need this stuff. I started two journals last night. The “Our Life” as I remember it as best I can and then the journal with actual dates of what he and I are up to since he left.

            So is there somewhere I can go to find out how to deal with an ex that’s PA. Or if you could start something here and reading about others is helpful too. I just want to be prepared for his crap. And I don’t know many people that he knows. He kept that part of his life separate from me. I know this friend and his dad and then my in-laws. Which they don’t even get along so great with him. That’s where all this PA comes from…his family. I see it all now.

          • Sami- Thanks for the idea for a subject. You’re right. I haven’t addressed after the divorce hardly at all here. Basically just about trying to live through living with them. LOL. I will have to do that.

            It can go a couple of different ways with a PA after you split. One, they try to “punish” you by staying away, which appears to be what your husband is basically doing. They don’t really emotionally connect to start with, so sometimes they walk away and never look back. Even with children, they can be neglectful and uncaring. This too is because emotionally they were never really involved to start with.

            The other way it can go, is they try to suck you back in. “I’ll change. I’ll be better. I love you and only you”. It will be all the stuff we long to hear, but nothing really changes, and what does change at the moment is not sustainable. It’ll change temporarily but then when they figure they have you back where they want you, it’s back to the same old crap. Some of them can be truly charming and seem honestly sincere when they trying this approach, but it’s still usually just the game, like the game they played to get you in the first place.

            This is a short, quick synopsis to give you a heads up for now. I’ll go ahead and write a blog post with a little more detail. If you read through the comments here, there are a few from women that have gotten out for good, and not one of them regrets it. They all have this new “quality of life” thing going for them. It’s not always easy, but it’s almost always better.

            Glad to hear you’re protecting yourself and your children by keeping a record. It’s the smart thing to do.

          • Thanks ladybeams…I’ll keep an eye out for that blog. :o)

            I have come across a few things on the internet of divorced women from PA men. Not many but one lady said her ex started a whole new life and rarely gets involved with their children. I hate to say it…but I think that is what will happen in my case. In earlier fights he would say he was going to marry someone else, blah, blah, blah. I don’t care if he does it’s just sad because he will bring his destruction on someone else.

            Or he will find a woman like the one he cheated on me with (who had very low self-esteem) and be with them. That’s perfect for him. In a million years I will NEVER be that woman and don’t even want to try. I took a self-esteem eval and I got an 88 out of 100. My self-esteem is important to me because earlier in my teens and 20’s it was so low and I had lots of relationship issues. My goal is to figure out how NOT to end up with guys like this. I’ve tried to find out where I go wrong but I think I need some help to see it better than I do. I do know for sure that I have a “protector-rescuer” syndrome. But I didn’t feel that way in the beginning with my husband.

            He has many family issues he needs to address and I believe he is PA and gets it from his mother. I’ve seen her “silent treatment” other kids of hers because they have a disagreement. My husband was her sole provider and protector and so I don’t know if she took it out on him or he just witnessed this and then picked it up. He has issues with other siblings and there is a lot of anger and I realize…NONE of this was or ever will be my fault. He came that way into our relationship and things if he sees a counselor it makes him crazy. (that’s his culture talking).

            So I visit our Imam to see where my life will take me and how I am to raise my boys. His silent treatment is making me angrier and angrier (but I won’t let him see it…LOL and we all know why). I am choosing to use that anger to get rid of him. If he can’t even call and say he was wrong in cheating on me and admit to that…what is there to say. I can’t forgive someone who will not admit to wrong and I won’t stay with a cheater because I truly believe I deserve better than him.

          • Sami- You are so, in fact that may have been the most “so right thing through all of this you have said” is that you deserve better. You go, Girl! The second thing you said that was “so right” was you didn’t cause it, you can’t control it, and you can’t fix it! I’m so happy for you. Do you have any idea how long it takes some of us to get that! Very good. Now…

            From what has happened, this is what I would figure he’s up to. He was already cheating, so he’s probably with her (witch! but that really isn’t her fault. He’s the one that was married). He probably is the kind that will basically only get in touch with you when it’s convenient for him, or if you need to pay a bill that might affect him(if you pay for his cell phone I would cut it off. LOL) Do you know if this woman is in the US or in his country? If she’s in the US, you probably don’t need to worry as much about him trying to steal the little one. I’m not saying that you still don’t have to be careful, I’m just saying the odds are better for you if she’s here in the US.

            If he’s used to the “silent treatment”, then that’s what you’re going to get because that’s what he’s comfortable with. It amazes me how he could be his mother’s sole provider and protector, and then be like he is to his own family. He obviously is paying you back for her not allowing him to have a regular childhood. He took care of her, now he doesn’t want to be obligated to take care of anything else. He saw how it worked for his siblings. Now he wants the same. At least it’s easy to see how he got this way, but he’s not willing to fix it, and in fact he’s getting worse because now he’s cheating, which probably means he sees you as he sees his mother. Letting him go is the best thing you can do for yourself and your children. He will probably never grow out of this.

            That’s good that you have your Imam. It is so important to draw closer to God now for support and guidance, and comfort. It sounds like your Imam understands what you are going through and I’m sure he will be of great help. Ask him how you can forgive someone so you don’t carry the anger in your heart and soul, but still are able to go on from this place. I’m sure in that respect he can help you much better than I can. It’s very, very hard. LOL.

            Good luck, My Dear. There are so many friends out there that I wish I could wrap my arms around and give a big hug. Maybe one of these days we’ll all be able to get together somewhere and share our experiences. LOL. In the meantime, feel free to comment anytime. Don’t ever forget, you are worth so much more.

          • Ladybeams…wow, funny when you say he’ll call me for a bill to be paid, etc. Basically I have gotten two text messages. 1) have you paid the accountant yet? and 2) what is the code for the radio (his car has a security code for the radio when it gets unplugged from the battery). Are you kidding me? I will only talk if you have important issues. And you should have thought about that when you cheated and then left cause I ain’t your momma anymore! And I did not answer the 2nd text back…two can play silent treatment.

            As for hig g/f. She is in the US and not sure if she is here in Dallas. She was in TN and not really sure of anything else. All I know is from the texts between him and her he has already shown her the PA he truly is. You can so tell from the texts and the sad thing is she wants validation from him. He picked a woman with low self-esteem and it is obvious. Now, I can actually have pity for her cause she will inherit my problem. Better her than me, right?

            I am getting stronger and stronger as the days go by and I did read “Put your past in the past”. I helped immensely. I am following the rules of breaking up which one thing is no contact. That has been instrumental for me. I am going to go on with my life.

            Today…I got all our tax money out of our bank account and put it in my NEW accounts that have MY NAME ONLY on them. (maiden name to boot) cause I had an identity before him. Then I made an appt to have my hair done (which I haven’t done in ages). Then my goal is to buy one new outfit for work per month. Save money and take the boys on vacation during spring break. Monday I sign up for Pre-Algebra at the college. See? I’m trying to move on and I WILL. I will not forget this site and come here when my heart is feeling like missing him dumb a**.

            I have really turned to God in these times because without him I would be a basket case. The Imam will just help me to lead my boys and myself without my husband leading the family. (Not like he did anyway). I was feeling so guilty this morning while I was reading my Qu’ran. I had to stop and ask God to take Satan away and to give my heart strength to stop feeling like all this was my fault. I guess weakness is still going to creep up on me from time to time. But once I prayed and asked for help, I felt better.

            In the end, I want him to KNOW he was a fool and to SEE what he lost.

            All the ladies (and gents too) here have been great and am glad they share their experiences and I see you did a “after” article. Gonna check it out now. Thanks for that girl! I would hope one day we could all meet too. It would be great. I’ll keep you posted. Take care.

          • Sami- Oh my gosh, Girl, you got it going on! I had to laugh at your first paragraph. You’re “not his mama anymore!” LOL. I’m very proud for you. You must know you are doing the right thing for you and your boys. You wouldn’t want them to grow up thinking the way your husband acted was how a man is supposed to act in a relationship. How would they ever find happiness for themselves that way? They would be like your husband, continuously wandering, never knowing the deep love and the peace that comes from a truly good relationship.

            I know it’s not easy. When I left my oldest daughter’s father, I cried all the way. I loved him so much, but he was so unemotional, so not there. I was hurting so bad from the lack of being able to connect, that I had to let go. It was like one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” kind of things. Don’t ever beat yourself up for being sad sometimes over what “should have been”. I started to say “what could have been”, but then it never “could have” with him. For your own mental health, you will need to go through the “grieving” process, just like we do anytime we lose someone we love, but that’s ok. You just don’t want to wallow in it and allow it to drag you back to something that is so destructive for you.

            It sounds like you have a great plan, you have plans for your boys, you have a chance to actually love them and teach them, and God will send you the right person when you are ready. (Although it does help to make a good list of exactly what qualities you want in the man God sends you. LOL). You’ll be fine, but if you have moments where you’re feeling weak, or moments you want to celebrate, I’d love to hear them, and we’re here. Good luck, My Dear Friend.

  19. I will write back…I am going to read a book you mentioned here (and I saw it on the web before I discovered your site). How to live with a passive aggresive man by Scott Weltzer, Ph.D. and I also got another one I found on another site you recommended. “Emotional Vampires” and something about how they suck us dry. I got them from the library and think they will be instrumental. One to help me still deal with his PA butt (because we have a son) and the other to uplift me so that I don’t wallow. I sure feel like he is an emotional vampire…funny thing is they don’t retain our emotions. Weird huh?

    I did see the Imam yesterday and he was upset and made me feel so much better. He said I have so much right to walk away and that if I did…it is my right and not my fault of what happened. My husband did something wrong morally and religiously and Islam will not put up with that. I felt vindicated. He said his door and the mosque is there for me in whatever I need. He knows how devoted to God I am and how God is my comfort.

    Anyway…I’ll let you know how those books go. Take care.

    • Hi Sami- Glad to hear you’re doing some of the “recommended reading” for living with a passive aggressive. LOL. Both the books are very highly recommended, especially Scott’s. Would love to hear what you think and if they help you at all.

      I’m also very happy to hear you’re getting such reassurance from your Imam. Most honest clergy would not accept what your husband has done and expect you to stay in the situation. It’s good to know he welcomes you with open arms. I agree with you. God is the best place to comfort.

  20. Hi,
    These stories of passive aggressive family members has made me feel I am not alone. I have a great husband and a bunch of kids. To quote above, I have lived practically my whole life up until now (I’m in my 40’s) feeling unworthy, unloved and confused by my mother’s cruel behavior towards me. Many have described exactly the behavior patterns my mother does. In addition to putting conditions on anything she has every offered me/my family (example: babysitting, loaning the car when we are in town, helping out with the chores at home; etc), making incredibly hurtful comments (like I don’t know how to take care of my children by criticizing everything I do) she shows her passive aggression by breaking things in my home. Not a cup or a dish either. We are talking major appliances, ruining hard wood floors, breaking antiques (then hiding the damage). I am completely devastated. My husband sees my pain and hears me crying a lot – especially after phone calls (we are military and live away). I feel abandoned and alone. Thanks for sharing all this and letting me know I’m not crazy.

    • Cat- Welcome! Of all the times when it would really be nice to have your mother be a good mother, maybe you would be better off making some new friends and avoid having your mother “help” you. When someone is not good for us, whether we want to or not, sometimes we have to start letting go. It’s hard enough being a military family these days without the added stress. I can’t even imagine. How on earth does your mother explain ruining such big items? LOL.

      I know that it is hard when it’s your mother, but to protect yourself from her, maybe it’s time you too started “detaching” emotionally. Maybe there are groups of mothers on base or close to you that you could get involved with. A lot of them not only share friendships, but responsibilities, making it easier on the group as a whole. Something like that would help alleviate some of the dependence you have on your mother. If there isn’t a group already, maybe you could start one. I’m sure there are other military wives out there that could use some support.

      You might also confront her when she does something that is cruel, like criticizing your parenting. Just ask her why she says such things, if it makes her feel better to be so mean. Then you might let her know that a lot of your parenting comes from the way you were raised. Even when we swear not to raise our kids the same, we always have some things we do that are similar.

      Feel free to come back and comment anytime. No My Dear, you’re not the crazy one. You’re just one of the many that put up with far more than we should from a family member, be it parent, spouse or sibling.

  21. Is this really real? Could it really be that other people know what this is like? Thank God! My mother is extremely Passive Aggressive. I am currently living in one of my parents homes due to circumstances with my job, and my upcoming marriage. Once I’m married, I’m moving out of the county, and because my fiance is in the military, and is a Special Forces soldier, the time frame is, well, unpredictable.
    I really truly appreciate that my parents are allowing me and my son to live here until we move. However, my mother has a nasty habit of showing up unannounced, even when I’m not home. And going through my things, even right in front of me. I do pay rent to live here, though because I’m being supported by my fiance, and only working part time, there are times that I have been late with my rent. My mother will then take the opportunity to tell everyone with a pair of ears how she supports me, and how she is struggling financially because I live here relatively rent free.
    She is constantly “reminding” me of how much she does for me, and how it affects her. She is also constantly contradicting me, and belittling my opinions, or my experiences by comparing them to her own.
    When I haave tried in the past to confront her, she acts like I have attacted her, she even says that I am attacking her, and arguing with her. She will immediately begin to say things like “I don’t want to argue” or “I wasn’t trying to make this into an arguement”, then no matter what my reaction is, at all, she states that I am arguing, and attacking her.
    I am constantly wondering, not only for my sake, but for the sake of my son, my future husband, and any children we may have in our future, if after I move out of the country, if I should just cut all ties with her. Any time I think about that, I can honestly say, I feel no love lost. Any advice you could give me would be so helpful. Thank you again for this site!

    • April Rain- Welcome and yes, My Dear, there are really other people having to deal with these kind of people. LOL.

      I have to say that your mother sounds like an attention hound. If you truly are paying her rent, even if it is late once in awhile, I’m afraid I would have to speak up. First, I would change the locks on all the doors in the house. She has no right to come in there unless extending some sort of courtesy first, like a phone call, etc. She certainly has no right to waltz in when you are not at home and go through your things. Even a tenant has a right to 24 hour notice.

      From the sound of your comment here, it sounds as if no matter how much you thank her for all she does for you and your son, she needs more attention so she brings it up herself. You will never make her happy. For whatever reason it sounds like she needs to feel attention from her peers. The next time she is in earshot, and says you haven’t paid rent, or she’s done this for you or that, ask her when the last time you didn’t pay rent was. When she says she’s not trying to start an argument, tell her you’re not either. You would just like to know. Don’t let her keep pulling that on you.

      Or, if you are really behind in the rent, hopefully not by a whole lot, some of the best advice I ever got was from an assertiveness training class I took at a public health department. Just as her sometime when she’s ranting “If you hate helping me so much, why do you do it? I appreciate it, but really, if you hate it and you just want to make me feel bad, why bother?” Or, ” I appreciate your helping me and your grandson, and some day we won’t be in this position, but I am not going to take your making me feel guilty any more”. (That is the best one. It’s best for you so you can let go of the guilt, and best for her so she “gets it”).

      And when she says you are attacking her, explain you were not and why does she insist on saying you are (were)?

      As far as cutting all ties, sometimes that’s what you have to do, although I personally feel that family is family. When it comes to your son, he deserves to have as many people love him as possible, but at the same time, if that love is harmful, it’s up to you to protect him and any future grandchildren. That is pretty much your call. In the future, maybe the answer is to control all contact. If she phones, let her know you only have a few minutes, if she starts to criticize tell her you have to go, say good bye and hang up. If she comes to visit, only allow her to stay a couple of days, etc.

      First and foremost, you need to stand up for yourself, even if you are in a position that makes you a little less independent than you are used to. You still have self respect, and if you don’t than you need to remind yourself that you do. You are renting their house just like any other renter. You should have the same rights. You didn’t mention your father. Where is he in all this?

      Hope to hear from you again. I hope this helps you build some strength. You and your soon to be husband are not essentially flakes. Don’t let your mother make you feel “unworthy”. Good luck. I’ll keep you all in my prayers.

      • I did actually mention that I was thinking about changing the locks on the doors, and she immediately asked me to make sure she gets a copy of the key because since it’s her house, she needs to be able to come over whenever she wants.

        You mentioned my father, I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t mentioned that. My biological father and I really have no relationship to speak of. The dynamics of the relationship with my step-father are pretty tricky. My mother met him, and started dating him, and then filed for divorce from my biological father. Because they already had a child together, the state of California required a 1 yr separation period, with a 6 mo. reconciliation period. During that period of time, I was conceived. My parents then split, for good, and my mother went back to my step-father, now pregnant with me. So, as you can imagine, my relationship with my step-father is VERY strained. I’ve never for once had to guess how he felt about me, he was always sure to tell me up front. My mother on the other hand, I can’t actually say if she even likes me, of if she resents me for the strain that I caused on her relationship with him.

        As far as the rent goes, I’m never more than a few days behind on the rent. I know how much the mortgage is on the house, and the rent that I am charged is a few hundred dollars over the amount of the rent. (I’m not sure why) She begins to “remind me” of the date, and the amount of the rent about 3 weeks before it is due, and then continues to tell me that she is always the one who has to bring it up. I did respond to her a few times by mentioning that she never allows the opportunity for me to bring it up because she is always talking about it. And with this, she actually clutched her hand to her chest and took a step back and say “woah, I wasn’t trying to start a fight.” I made a remark to her about being passive aggressive, and she gave me a confused look and (my hand to God) said “I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know what passive aggressive is!!” I quickly let her know that by claiming to “not know” what passive aggressive was, was actually being passive aggressive. I asked her when she was ever going to forgive me, for whatever it was that I did, she told me that she forgives me every single day. It felt like I had been punched in the stomach that she thinks I’m such a horrible person that I require daily forgiveness. I just sat down and told her that she wins. She then laughed at me and told me that I was being ridiculous, and that I was being cruel to her by calling her names.

        I honestly feel like, at this point, she has pushed me so far that I really don’t want to have any sort of relationship with her at all. Even my son, who is 16, avoids her. He has told me on multiple occasions that he doesn’t like the way that she treats me, and can’t stand it.

        I hate that all of this sounds like such a woe is me sort of story, I honestly am a very, very positive person. I really do appreciate all of the support. And simply knowing that this isn’t just me, and I’m not crazy, and I’m not some horrible, monster of a person. I can’t thank you enough for that support!

        • April Rain- First and foremost, you have nothing to feel guilty or bad about concerning the circumstances around you being conceived or born. You were never part of the choices she was making at that point. She did that all on her own. She should be apologizing to you that you ever had to feel bad about anything, or that she put you in a circumstance that you had to feel bad regarding your step-father. Your step-father should hold no grudges against you either. He must have known she was pregnant when she came back to him. He didn’t have to accept her, and there again, you didn’t ask for it. They all were adults making there own adult decisions. I know this sounds easier than done, but from now on you should refuse to feel bad for one minute concerning the circumstances around your birth. And if it comes up with either of them again in the future, tell each one of them you refuse to feel guilty or bad one more minute for decisions they made that you were not even a part of.

          It’s not that unusual that you got that kind of reaction from your mother concerning her being “passive aggressive”. Actually that is how I got started here. It was such a “buzz word” and people were using it so flippantly that one day I decided to find out for sure what it really meant. That’s when I realized I lived right in the middle of it! LOL. If she does know what it means and is just saying that she doesn’t, it is very rare to get a PA to admit that they are PA. It is always us that causes the problems. It is always us that is crazy. It’s always us making too much out of nothing. The sooner we are able to stand up and say “IT’S NOT US” the better. As long as they think they can get away with their behavior, the longer they use it against us, and the worse it gets.

          I think, as long as your at it, the next time she brings up the rent, I would ask her how come she’s charging you so much more for rent than her mortgage payment. Can’t hurt. You may also be paying for the taxes, the homeowner’s insurance, etc. unless the mortgage payment already includes that (like an escrow account). Just ask it innocently, and when she asks you why you’re asking, just tell her you were curious. It would be interesting with the way she rides you, what her answer would be. Most parents charge their kids less for rent and help subsidize them.

          Well, My Dear, the one thing you have going for you is you won’t have to stay there forever. This too shall pass, right? One of these days you’ll be shipped out and not have to deal with her any more. God Bless your son that even as a teenager he can see that what she’s doing is wrong. You’re lucky you and he are that close and he’s learning from her example how you don’t treat people you supposedly love. And, by the way, as long as you’re paying rent in that house, it’s your house and she should respect that. Maybe you two should have a month to month contract that spells out about the landlord giving 24 hour notice, etc. LOL.

          Don’t ever feel bad about not writing the most uplifting sounding comments. This is a place to be able to write your feelings without any judgments or fears of retaliation. I don’t think any of us are “happy” about having to deal with the PAs in our lives. Feel free to comment anytime as you wish. We’re here to listen and support.

  22. I’m so glad I stumbled on this site! I’ve been living with a PA hubby for over 16 years tho I didn’t have a name for it for the first 10 years… I only knew his behavior was making me crazy! When I was told by a therapist that his behavior sounded like classic PA, I researched more and found out I wasn’t crazy after all. What a relief! LOL. He is one of the ‘sneaky’ ones with strong COVERT aggression, which is almost the worst since he doesn’t outwardly show his anger by blowing up in my face, so in that respect, he is very ‘passively’ aggressive. To all outward appearances, he is Mr. Nice Guy. To anyone who hasn’t experienced the maddening way of his getting-even techniques would ever believe he is anything other than the Godly-Family Man-all around nice guy- he presents himself to be.

    For years I couldn’t understand why we just seemed to go in circles and never resolved our issues. Or why he never seemed to communicate how he felt. Or why I always felt so dismissed, ignored and alone. That started within the first year. I thought we were like every married couple trying to adapt to each other and all the changes that occurred so soon after our marriage. We’ve been to at least 6 marriage counselors but things never seemed to change. He plays “clueless” so he can’t be held accountable. He hasn’t shown any anger in all the years we’ve been married, which is a normal human emotion. Instead he expresses his anger in a sneaky, underhanded, get even kind of way. He can ignore me for days as if I’m invisible, and if I call him on it, he’ll use an excuse that he’s just tired, etc…. anything but expressing himself or his own emotions. It’s a lonely marriage when you know you don’t have someone you can count on for love and emotional support. It’s been more of “I’ll get you back” rather than “I’ve got your back”, if you know what I mean. He makes us feel at times we are nothing more than a burden or obstacle. He’s taught me not to count on him for things that couples do for each other. If I (or the girls) ask for his help, he’ll tell us how to do it before he’ll actually HELP us do it. My oldest daughter and I are both pretty independent so we are able to do things ourselves, so when we ask for his help, we need his help, and he blows us off… in the privacy of our home. If we were around his church friends or someone he wants to impress, he’d jump to it. It’s all for show. If those people actually witnessed the way he acts at home, they wouldn’t believe he’s the same man.

    He’s very slippery and evasive. When I educated myself on the PA behavior, it was so disheartening to learn the coping techniques were to ‘disengage, not to expect anything from him, etc.’ that I wondered what in the world is the point in sharing your life with someone in that atmosphere?!! But it had to be better than having all your buttons pushed to the point you were screaming in anger like a raving lunatic all the while he sits there calmly with a smirk on his face like you are the crazy one. The “gaslight” effect is the crazy making behavior, but the aloof, emotionally-not-there is the hardest to bear.

    I have finally emotionally divorced myself from him, the only left to do is the real divorce. For years I tried to reach him only to be left feeling more alone. So I have totally shut down to avoid going completely crazy. The stress of living with someone who cannot show normal human emotion has slowly sucked the life right out of me. It’s pretty sad when you have to explain common human compassion to a man who claimed to love you. He honestly believed he was a true ‘family-man’ tho his actions showed that HE and HIS wants and needs came first. I finally figured out it was all for show… for the church… or his family. THEY didn’t see how manipulative he could be.

    My biggest problem now is my daughters. They are teenagers (15 & 16) and he is emotionally aloof yet controlling at the same time. They have seen a lot of tension in the past 6 years and are now old enough to begin to understand. He can act so childish and then demand respect from them. I am now seeing a therapist on my own, and she has recommended that I explain to them the characteristics of the PA behavior so they won’t become his newest targets. I’m already seeing it.

    After so many years of living with the damned-if-I-do and damned-if-I-don’t atmosphere, there is no visible affection, laughter, or fun between us anymore. I know my girls see it and I don’t want them to grow up to recreate the marriage they are witnessing between their parents. (We’ve all heard girls grow up and marry a man just like their father). I just feel so emotionally dead now that it’s an effort to go on vacation as a “family” and pretend. At the moment I”m stressing over whether to wait out 3 more years till our youngest will be 18 and both girls start their own lives, or to just bite the bullet and end the marriage now. Believe me it has been discussed, tho neither of us has taken any action. At this point, we’ve settled into this rut of a loveless-lifeless marriage, that I don’t see how it will ever be any different.
    I’ve built up so much anger and resentment over the years, I only feel relief when he goes away on a fishing trip. There is just so much more involved, but I can’t write a 20 chapter book here, tho I think I got at least a 10 chapter start! LOL.
    Ladybeams, any insight, help, or advice that you or anyone has to offer would be wonderful. Maybe someone sees something I don’t see.

    • Karla- Welcome, and how lucky you were that someone finally recognized your husband’s behavior for what it was (the one therapist that said he sounded like a classic PA). So many therapists these days don’t even recognize it because it’s not in their little book of diagnosis. I have to say you are also the classic example of therapy not working for a passive aggressive. I think getting a passive aggressive to therapy at all is a huge step, since they very rarely recognize they have any kind of problem. Unfortunately the reason therapy rarely works if because they either don’t co-operate, or they manipulate the therapist just like they do everyone else and the therapist thinks they are the ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ also. I’m glad to hear you are continuing therapy for yourself as a good therapist is worth their weight in gold when it comes to support.

      As far as your girls go, you are in a place now that I try to warn parents of young children about. When the children are young and see the PA parent as a hero, they can be great parents. As children grow up their needs increase and so do their demands. This is when the PA parent starts to see them as a “threat” or an “authority” figure. They know the children will start to see through them and thus become passive aggressive toward the children. I agree with your therapist that you should talk with your girls. Help them understand the problem isn’t with them, it’s with him. I personally believe in leaving for the children vs. staying for the children. In 3 more years there is still plenty of time to do more emotional damage. As you say, I would hate for them to think this is how relationships should be because this is how it is between you and their father. I’m afraid if the only time I felt good was when he went away on a trip, I would end up wanting that feeling all of the time. LOL.

      In the meantime, whatever you decide to do, it’s up to you to protect your daughters. As your husband reacts passive aggressively toward them, I would definitely call him on it, each and every time I caught it. At least in this way your daughters can see what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior. One thing I would ask myself is “if I have no love life, no laughter, no affection, no partner, what really do I have to gain or lose by staying? By leaving?”

      Thank you Karla for sharing your story, and I’m glad you find the site helpful. There is a whole lot of experience to draw from on here. LOL. Feel free to comment anytime, and let us know how you’re doing. Sometimes it’s just a good place to blow off some steam where you’re among others who understand what you’re going through.

  23. Karla,
    It is so profound how alot of our stories sound the same. Just like you it was my therapist who after me talking about my spouse made the statement that he is passive aggressive. That day like you I looked it up and litteraly read the discription of my spouse. The problem in my marriage began just after his mother passed away. In and out of family and marital therapy we went to no avail. After reading about this passive aggressive behavior, I decided I needed to GET OUT!!! PA’s never admit they have any problems therefore they will never get better. I am in the process of filing for a divorce. It took me a long time to get the guts up to do it. It is not something I would tell ANYONE to jump into. We sleep in separate beds for the last 2 years and I try to stay away from him. We do have 3 children 2 girls 12 years old and a 15 year old boy. I don’t want my girls to date or marry a man like I did. Think long and hard before entering into a divorce and stay in therapy to gain the stength you will need!! My prayers are with you!

    • Tigermom- Welcome and thank you for your input, your response to Karla.

      I hope things are going well for you and your children. Do you regret leaving? I feel as you, I would not want my children to get involved with a passive aggressive thinking that’s ‘normal’ behavior, nor would I want them to become passive aggressive themselves mirroring the behavior of my passive aggressive mate. I do believe it can make things a little harder financially to split households, but emotionally most of the time, I would have to say it’s a big relief to get out of the relationship.

      I also feel as you do that if possible every victim of passive aggression should have their own therapist for emotional support, even if ‘couples therapy’ doesn’t work out. Of course not everyone can afford that, but a good support system of friends and family can do a lot also.

      Thank you again for your comment. Feel free anytime to let us know how you are doing, or share your experience with us. I will keep you all in my prayers also.

  24. He is not out of the house yet. We are just beginning the process. It’s not easy. With the way he sulkes I am afraid the kids will hate me!! That is the worst thing that could happen to any mother!! That’s why I say to anyone thinking of divorce to not jump in without planning and and good thought! It took me almost 3 years of self disscussion before I filed. It is a long hard process. Glad to have found this blog. It’s great to talk with people who are in the same situation I am. Hope all is well with you Karla and ladybeams. Let’s all keep praying because God has a plan for all of us!

    • Tigermom- It is hard and it must be especially hard with him still in the house. As far as him sulking, that is only one tool in their bag of tricks and they use it quite well. Just remember to communicate with your children and explain that sulking is how Daddy chooses to handle things, that you’ve tried and tried to work things out differently, but as the adult you needed to do this because in the end, they will see this will be best for all of you, including him. Obviously he can’t be very happy either with the way things have been.

      Good luck and hang in there, Tigermom. If it took you 3 years to finally take action, I’m sure you tried everything else you could before taking this step. That’s another way they keep us is we feel so guilty. Can’t let that happen. Have to remember most of the time the sulking or looking hurt is all part of the act. Keeping you all in my prayers.

  25. I am engaged to a son of a PA parents. He says that both his father and mother are PA (and co-dependent), but his mother is definitely the most PA. He is very aware of PA and tries to cope with is parents and communicate with them in a way that doesn’t get him upset and tries hard to make sure he is not the same way with other and does not want to pass this down the generation line. My concern is that we have been together for several years and I am starting to see that he has been treating me and communicating with me in slightly similar ways as a PA (mostly communication). I come from a background where my family was fairly honest, simple, and direct with what we wanted to say and do. Now I just end up being very frustrated with how we communicate as a couple and end up upset a lot because things I said have a “hidden meaning” or he tries to “interpret” what I said. Or he says I said or did something when I know I never did. I am getting tired of this and just want things to be straight forward. How can I help support his family, but more importantly how can I make sure he is not PA and my communication and behavior doesn’t turn into PA because I am in a relationship with him (or pass it on to our future kids)?

    • Engaged To Son of a PA- It sounds like you have gotten far along in the relationship that he can no longer hold up the facade of being normal.
      1. If you have been together for a number of years and he has not committed to marrying you (I mean really committed, like setting a date, etc.) that is passive aggressive behavior #1- They do not like to commit to anything or anyone.
      2. Most boys have an especially close relationship to their mothers, just like little girls have a tendency to be “Daddy’s Girls”. If his mother is definitely PA, odds are he has picked up a lot of those same behaviors, even if he’s not totally a passive aggressive himself.
      3. If he already has you second guessing yourself you’re already in trouble and it doesn’t get better. If he is already accusing you of saying things you know you never did, before long you will either have to carry a tape recorder for all your conversations so you can prove you didn’t say things, or you will actually start to think he’s right. Either way it’s not good for you. I’m not as concerned about you turning into a passive aggressive yourself, as I am you forgetting who you even are. The lack of self esteem, the lack of confidence in what you can do and who you are, are all side effects of being involved with a passive aggressive.

      You ask how you can support him and his family, but your main concern seems to be with your future children, and as well it should be. You already have the signs. If you go ahead with him, you can expect to have almost no intimacy once you have the children you both have decided you want. You can expect him to be a great father while they are little and can place no demands on him even if he’s a lousy husband. You can expect him never to be depended upon if you or the kids have a crisis and need his help. You can count on raising your children by yourself and hoping you can counteract his passive aggressive behavior so they don’t go into their future relationships being passive aggressive and miserable themselves.

      I’m sorry if this seems sort of harsh, but you still have a chance. You haven’t had kids yet and you aren’t married to him. This is your best and easiest chance to get away and get what you are actually looking for. If you need more of a look to the future with a passive aggressive, read some of the comments here from people that wish they would have seen the signs sooner, or who have children that hate them because the kids took after the passive aggressive dad. We all have a tendency to think “Once we get married things will be better”. Don’t you believe it. If it’s not good now it will never be good. My advice is to get out while you can.

      Thanks for sharing. Hope I didn’t scare you away. Feel free to comment back. With Thanksgiving coming up, you’ll probably see even more of the passive aggressive behavior in action. Nothing brings it on like holidays and family. LOL. Good luck.

  26. After having a breakthrough therapy session today regarding my mother, I googled “passive aggressive mother” and found this site. I cant believe how much I am identifying with and have the same life experiences as many of you who wrote about mothers.
    I recently got married, and the events leading up to and following brought this situation with my mother to the fore front. She has never been a warm person, to me or anyone really. I have never seen her be genuinely happy for me. It always seems like a show “good mother act”. It was not surprising when I wanted her to be involved in the planning, that she was always busy, or somehow unable to help. She did have opinions though, most doing what she does so well- bursting my bubble, whenever I was excited or happy about something I had decided on. The bubble bursting is something so predominant that, I dont even call her to tell her good news anymore, in fact, I only tell her the news in a factual, borderline “as if it were bad news” so she has no reaction. Anyway, leading up to the wedding it came clear that she really thought the day was about her, not my husband and I.
    The pinnacle was the limo transportation. I booked a limo for the parents and I to share. I asked her to go on the early trip to the church, a half hour before me, and she was so against it. Telling me she didnt want to get to the church that early. I explained, it was either she goes early, or I have to go early, and I wanted to take photos before etc. She complained and I gave in. BUT, I had to change the arrangement because of other guests going with her, and she needed to go early.
    The day of the wedding, everyone knew what time to be at their limos, and in the excitement of the day, I didnt notice when my mother was still there long after she was supposed to be at the limo.
    Well, she sure got her way that day. She went down to the limo when I was supposed to get into it and went to the church. I was left there for 45 minutes with no ride to the church. I missed all but 15 minutes of a Catholic hour long ceremony that I had taken so many classes, and prepared so much for. We really wanted the full mass, and got only a 15 min blessing.
    As if this wasnt bad enough, her husband got sick at the reception, and had to be taken out by ambulance. I was devastated and shocked as he is a very healthy man.
    In the aftermath, I mentioned to my mother about the limo, and she didnt even skip a beat. She changed the subject to something completely different! I brought it back asking if she knew when she got in the limo, she said she was so lost in the moment she couldnt remember the time.
    I still dont have the heart to confront her directly on it. I also became the bad guy with my family, because (all said and done her husband was just fine) and I was still devastated about my day, my sisters and mother thought it was much more important that I worry about him than the terrible things that went on the day of my wedding! It was a formal very costly event for me and a special day for both husband and I, and it was virtually taken away.
    My mother went on to put all the blame on me, for everything that went wrong, because I took on more than I could handle. And lots more, even telling me I dont even give good hugs! what??? And talking badly about me to everyone she can get a hold of.
    This has led to some real questions about my future with my family, and how much I want to be involved with them. My sisters have now come around and are putting it past them.
    I dont want to loose them, but I am realizing that they are (mostly mom) are not there to support me, and instead, make me feel so low about myself. Is it possible to have them in my life without getting so hurt and having more special days going so wrong? Its such a loss at such a happy time in my life.

    • Sara- This is so wrong. You were right and your mother is just ridiculous and overbearing. For one time in your life this whole thing should have been about you and she just couldn’t let that happen. She had to retain control. I’m so sorry you couldn’t even enjoy your own wedding. My mother told me she wouldn’t even come to my wedding, then showed up late saying she had a flat tire (which we both know is a bunch of crap). Sometimes you have to just walk away. You have you’re own family now. She can either be a part of it on your terms, or she doesn’t need to be a part of it at all. Your obligation is to your husband and your children now. It is up to you and your husband to make things great for your kids. I would hope that you could reconcile things with your siblings, but sometimes that doesn’t work either. Start looking at the future and what you have with your husband, think about what you’re building together.

      Good luck to you. Feel free to comment anytime. You will find a lot of support here.

      • Oh Ladybeams…you are so right..!!! What happened with Sara and her wedding is simply WRONG WRONG WRONG! It is now time for her to open her eyes to the mother and let her know how she (Sara) feels. A big red flag should go up as to how to deal with the mother as well. Direct words to her and letting her know certain things will no longer be tolerated from her. Boundaries, Limitations, and letting the mother live through the consequences of her actions is all that Sara has to do.
        Stay strong Sara. Your life has just begun, don’t let it escape you through giving in to a passive aggressive. You have to be there for yourself before you can be there for others. I know, I lost many years to the incidious personality quirks that a PA possesses. We are all out here hoping only the best for you….STAY STRONG.

        • i really feel stronger hearing both your responses. i find myself going back and forth between being so angry and then making up excuses for her and feeling extremely guilty.. hearing other points of view really helps.
          i just dont want to regret cutting her out of my life… and honestly, i have what seems like 2 choices. 1 to be aware of her “condition” and just be prepared for it, and just avoid much contact with her. or 2 to confront her and try to open her eyes too.
          the first one seems dishonest and i really do love her. the second seems like i will be opening a real bag of something i may regret as well.. or in a sliver of hope may help her??
          my husband and i are going to start a family soon are thinking of moving to a state next to her to be with my father and sisters. im not sure if thats the right choice now. i will be around my sisters who are very much controlled by her but are nice to me. my father would be a great help but am i setting myself up? do i give up the whole family to avoid her?
          thanks again for your comments. honestly, this blog is a life saver!!

          • Hi Sara,
            Don’t give up your entire family just to avoid one bad apple in the barrel! But say what you need to say to get your point accross. Put up boundaries and limitations to what you will and will not tolerate from her in the future, but do it in a way that is as respectful as you can. Consider her words. Let her think about what you say. If she doesn’t listen to you and consider your words or treat you with the respect that you deserve, then and only then can you decide to remove the bad apple from the barrel.

            You may need to do this with all your family if you have to. You deserve to be treated with respect when you are serious. If you speak in a tone that is serious but not angry or disrespectful of them and they choose not to listen, take you seriously, or try to change their actions towards you because of what you said, then you will need to re-evaluate your relationship.

            You now have a family with your husband and a future with little ones. That is your “first” family.
            May you have all the happiness in the world and congrats on your marriage. May you be blessed with healthy happy babies and a long and happy life together…
            ..Marriage can only be happy and healthy if there is a reciprocal give and take and an understanding of what each other needs and wants to be happy individually. Communication is Key!

          • Sara-
            ‘Being aware of her condition’ and being prepared for it is NOT DISHONEST; it’s the HONEST response, and it’s a very healthy response if you employ the guidance of a counselor who is familiar with the collateral damage that a PA leaves behind after every interaction. If you learn to identify, isolate and appropriately respond (disengage, or not even engage at all) to your mother’s PA tactics, you will be doing yourself a giant favor, and providing a role model for siblings, etc. (don’t however, expect others to follow in your footsteps; you may very well have to sever or severely scale back several relationships that you have that your mother also has).

            It is hard, focused work for awhile, and then it becomes much, much, much easier.

            I have re-defined nearly every relationship I had – family, friends, relatives-Isince I embarked on my ‘PA Collateral Damage Containment Project’ three years ago… and I can solidly, wholly say that those re-definitions include words like ‘healthy, peaceful, happy, loyal, fulfilled and mature’.

            Yes, some (in my case A LOT) of the prior relationships faded or were consciously limited, even completely severed. Not gonna lie- I spent lots and lots of time crying and mourning and feeling deeply sad at the loss(es) I was feeling.

            (For those of you playing along at home; it was my mourning of the ‘passengers who stayed on the burning plane and went down with the plane; they chose to stay with/on the crashing plane; just because I jumped and am safe doesn’t protect me from feeling the grief of loss of those who remained on the plane. I’m grateful and relieved for my safety, but still had to work through the sadness of losing those who didn’t ‘make it off the plane’. High praised to the counselor who helped me through that phase.)

            If that last aside made no sense to you Sara- read our posts about the analogy of this experience (detaching from a PA) being similar to jumping from a crashing plane… I don’t know how to ‘reference’ past posts… Ladybeams???

            Personally, I found it a whole lot ‘easier’ to do the work I needed to do when I kept a focus on doing it for the ultimate health and happiness of my kid- and in that vein I was much, much, much more motivated to ‘get it done’ once I actually had a child. I stayed intertwined with my PA for twelve years with multiple, regular instances of it feeling ‘heavy, wrong, too hard, too ‘undefined’, too ICKY!’, but once I became a mother it just became that much easier to strap on that parachute and step out of that doomed plane.

          • Peggy- It is sad when we have to give up relationships other than just the PA, but if we are going to take control of our own mental health, sometimes that’s just what we have to do. Once again your analogies are very well done.

            To reference a past post, there is a search button on the top right of the blog, but I’m afraid you have to know basically what you’re looking for. It’s probably easier in a case like this to ask me to find it, as I see the comments etc. differently behind the scenes than in front. You’re airplane analogy for Sara, and for anyone else who wants a refresher, is on the post “Friends and Your Passive Aggressive Relationship” From there just scroll through the comments looking for Peggy’s name.

            Thanks for your encouragement to everyone who is still trying to decide what to do, Peggy. It helps so much to hear from someone who’s been there, done that.

  27. I’m 17 and for most of my life now I have been effected by my Mother’s behaviour. I was in no way a child who rebelled, and I have little memory of times where my family was “normal”. About 3 years ago my father left the family because he was seeing someone else, a few weeks after my mum (who rejected all help) found a new partner and immediatly he was introduced into the household. My older sister (24) is gay, and my mums new partner is homophobic, he was incredibly abusive to her and my mum often sat back and watched the show without a word. My sister has now left home and has no contact with either parents. My brother, accused of child abuse, is for some reason the golden child, he was a mute for 6 years and is now in the marines (some serious problems going on there…) Now i am living alone with my mother and it is hell.

    She tries to start an arguement about everything but she will never validate her opinions. Her arguements are circular and it frustrates me as we never get to discuss any problems. Whenever we argue she will bring up my dad, and how he has hurt her and how much we are struggling financially. I don’t ask my mother for money, I have a part time job, but whenever I ask for simple things such as a bottle of shampoo she will conveniently forget. Also, she won’t let me eat certain foods in the house, she has a lock on her bedroom door and puts items in there that she doesnt want me to touch, such as the home phone and most recently a christmas scented candle. I feel neglected, I have no relationship with my mother, she manipulates her partner into believing that I misbehave and that I’m acting childish by getting so wound up about these things.

    I hope someone will respond, I know i’m a little young to be trying and diagnosing these things myself but I need any help I can if i want to continue living with my Mum.

    • Rachel- Welcome, Sweetheart. I am so sorry for all you’re going through. It’s so hard when the adults that are supposed to love and protect us, don’t.

      I am not sure about the laws where you are, but how close are you to your sister? Is it possible you could go to live with her? I know when things were bad with my family and I had left home, I brought my little sister to live with me when living conditions in my mother’s house or my dad’s house were unbearable for her. It worked out really well, and I made sure she finished school, etc. If your mother won’t let you go easily, you may be able to file for emancipation, which is where you file with the court to live as your own adult in charge of your own well being. I don’t know how that works where you are.

      Have you tried maybe talking to a counselor at school? They can be extremely helpful. I would suggest that if she tries to start an argument about everything, don’t look to her to validate her opinions. If you disagree, just say something like “I understand you feel how you feel. I just don’t feel the same way”, and try to end the conversation. Unfortunately, you may never be able to actually discuss problems with your mother. If you do get into a discussion with her, you may try prefacing it with the fact that you would like to find a solution to blah, blah, instead of it continuing to be a problem. You may have to remind her often that you are looking for a solution, not more about the problem. Try to stay “solution” oriented.

      You shouldn’t have to worry about such things as shampoo, unless you’re like my kids that the shampoo I supply wasn’t what they wanted. You also shouldn’t have to worry about what you are allowed to eat and what you are not, although I would say if she locks it up in her room, at least you don’t get in trouble for that. I can tell from your story, these things don’t really even matter to you, it’s the loss of the relationship with your mother that has you so upset.

      Sometimes, in this life, we have to decide who contributes to our lives and who doesn’t, and we have to let go of the people that don’t. It’s terrible to have to let go of a mother-daughter relationship, but if it’s hurting you in any way, then that’s what you must do. It’s ok to be sad over that. It’s ok to grieve the loss of the relationship. It’s not okay for her to keep hurting you. You’re 17, seem responsible, you have to start looking toward your future now and realize this “too shall pass”. I know a year or two at your age can seem like a lifetime, but that’s all you have left and then you too will be able to pursue life on your own terms. It’s time you start aiming toward that goal.

      Do a little research on what it costs for an apartment, for utilities,etc. One of your best resources would be a home economics teacher at your school. Just let her know you are trying to work up a “real world scenario” if you were to move away from home, and I’m sure he/she would be glad to help you. And don’t forget, if you have counselors at school, it’s free to see them. All you have to do is ask.

      Until then, we are all giving you big hugs, lots of love and feel free to come back anytime. Sometimes instead of arguing with your mom maybe it’ll help to rant and rave right here. Good luck to you.

  28. I have some serious issues with my mother who is an extreme PA. Its very hard to discuss anything with her as she can be very negative and snatchy. She won’t say sorry for anything even if it is clearly her fault or even just as a simple way to move on from little situations. She seemingly has never learned this useful skill. To top it off she will get all bitter if you don’t include her or deal with her. So for me it’s just a no win situation. I have learned a great deal of how to hear her warning signs and avoid her traps but this has resulted in our relationship basically being no more than hi and bye.

    The real issue here is that she has been living with my family in our home for a year. Mostly because for the last twenty years she has messed up her relationships, health and finances and when she first came she really didn’t have anywhere else to go.

    My wife is a smart cookie and knows all about the PA trip but has really tried to be nice and helpful, but lately my wife has had enough of her. The holidays really brought out the crazy in my mom and now the tension between her and my wife is high. Of course this was do to a ridiculous series of events that was cleary my moms fault and could have easily been fixed by a simple apology. But instead it has grown into the cold war in my house. My wife has taken to just avoiding her as much as possible and my mom has recoiled further into herself.

    One nice thing about her is that our eight year old son gets along great with her. So that has been something that helps to ease the tension at times but I don’t want my son to get caught in the middle of anything either.

    I need to find a way to talk with her and try to relive some of the tension. I however feel pretty hopeless about the whole thing and don’t see it getting any better. At this point short of her making an apology and begining to learn some better ways of interacting. All I can see is that she will have to move out and find her way somewhere else.

    Thanks! This site is great, just reading it is helping.

    • Coldwar- Thanks for sharing, and welcome!

      Boy, you really are between a rock and a hard spot so to speak, aren’t you? At least both you and your wife know what you are dealing with. We just went through a similar situation in our family. The mother was living with the son and son’s family until the wife was ready to go nuts. The son went out and found a nice little one bedroom apt. in a senior living complex that charged rent based on his mother’s income. She’s only about 10 min. away if there was an emergency, but she’s far enough away that they don’t have to be with her all the time.

      At first the mother just hated it and was pretty uncooperative, but now she has made a couple of friends that she plays cards with, and she walks her dog with, and seems to be doing a lot better. It’s sort of like when you first take a child to school and they cry until you disappear, then they join in and have a great time.

      I would say for you to make all the arrangements because of course, being a PA your mother may agree, but she’ll never do anything on her own. The “Council on Aging” can usually be very helpful with this sort of thing. You’ll eventually have to have the talk with her that things just aren’t working out the way they are. If you need motivation, just think about the fact that even tho your son gets along with her well right now while he’s still so young, she will eventually be turning her PA ways on him. It’s amazing how PAs do quite well as long as the children are too young to see through them, but then the children grow up and start questioning, and all of a sudden it’s a new ballgame.

      Good luck, and don’t hesitate to share or comment anytime. You are thinking along the right lines. Your family has to come first. You mother is a big girl. It’s time. If your wife has put up with this for a year, she is something special. LOL

    • Dude, did you ever see the movie “Throw mamma off the train?” its amazing.
      I also recommend reading The Peter Pan Syndrome and also Your Erroneous Zones. They are pure gold

      • JJCG- I loved ‘Your Erroneous Zones” but then I am a big fan of Dr. Dyer. Thanks for the suggestions. I did see the movie. Cracked me up. How many of us have parents like that? I would venture to guess more than a few. LOL

  29. Hello and thanks so much for your words of advice and encouragement. I have a follow up, which I would like to share.
    A few days after my last post, I spoke with my mother about the state of things in our household. I began by asking if she was happy in the situation and expressed my concern for her. This proved to be a good way to approach the conversation, because it didn’t point fingers or put her on the defensive. I let her steer the conversation since I know that every step is potentially volatile.
    In typical fashion she tried to prompt me to engage her by saying things like, “why? Do you want me to leave?”. I was prepared for this, so I stayed calm and reiterated that the tension was high in the house, and I was concerned for her happiness. She quickly then reminded me that she always did intend to move out eventually. She then turned the conversation to looking for a place to go to.
    A very important thing to point out is that I never brought up the problems in the house or asked her to apologize to my wife or expected anything from her. Sadly, I knew that I would have to let her save face and if any resolution was to ever come that it would be far in the future. Any attempt to press her on this would just make things worse and ultimately give her the fight she was looking for. It is sad but true that her pattern seems to be to create a big fight and drama in order to change a situation rather than planning her own life and simply communicating her wants and needs. But that of course is what being PA is all about.
    So in the week that followed she began looking for somewhere to go and I also began looking to see what was out there for her. I of course did not let her know that I had been looking because what she really wants is to have a story to show that she is the victim, how controlling we are and that we kicked her out. I spoke with her everyday to see how the search was going. I offered help which she of course turned down.
    That weekend our son was away with his Grandpa, and my wife and I took a day trip on Sunday. When we got home, my Mom was not there and we figured she was out shopping. Later that evening I got a call from here saying that she was at a friend’s place and was going to stay the night. She also said that if things worked out that she might stay there at her friends place. I kept my cool and said to just keep me informed. After talking with her I instantly knew that she had left. I opened the door to her room to find everything of hers gone. She took all of her stuff, except the clothes and things my wife had bought for her (one last jab). No goodbye note, no note to her grandson, no clear communication, just gone.
    So there you go, in one week’s time, she’s gone. This is the bittersweet saga of dealing with a family member who is an extreme PA. My son was heartbroken for days, but interestingly soon was over it. My wife was relieved to have her gone but still sad that she was not able to have a better resolution to it all. I am glad it is over for now but sad that this is the best my Mom is capable of. My job as her son is too let her save face so that I may stay in contact with her. It is only inevitable that she will eventually find herself in some other situation gone bad and the best I can do for her is to continue my life so that I can help her in some way when she needs it.

    • Coldwar-Thanks for sharing “the rest of the story”. OMGosh, isn’t it amazing how fast a passive aggressive can do something once they decide to do it. I can’t believe she just moved out, lock, stock and barrel, and just told you she was staying a night with a friend. What if you hadn’t checked her room right away? It’s so sad that she couldn’t have just said that she had found a place and she was going. It could have been a good experience with you helping her move, etc. It’s this kind of thing that just keeps me so amazed, and trying to understand this type of personality. Have you heard from her since? Do you ever wonder if she’s just waiting for you to beg her back?

      I’m happy for you and your wife in the way that at least you don’t have this stress on you any longer, but at the same time I can feel both of your sadness that it all went down like it did. It sounds like if your son got over it pretty fast, he may have been ready for Grandma to “go home” also. LOL.

      The good things out of this experience is if she does call again in the future as you predict, I would have a couple of assisted living places in mind to move her to instead of bringing her home. The other thing is that she moved before your son started getting a taste of her passive aggressiveness which may have hurt him more in the long run than her not saying good-bye.

      Take care, Coldwar, and feel free to drop by and share your knowledge and experience being a child of a passive aggressive anytime.

  30. I really need someones help, please.

    My dad was 41 years old when i was born and from my earliest memories he had a very bad temper. He would shout, call me a bastard and hit me. Im sure i was only about 3 or 4 years old in these memories, and he continued to behave this way till i was a teenager and eventually defended myself. Right now i cant decide if i was such a badly behaved child that i deserved this treatment, or if he was just a bad father. One day he hit me so badly i couldnt go to school. He has always been an old man for as long as i can remember. Im 28 now and he is 69 in december. I have no relationship with him and often feel very angry and impatient with him. He is an old man so i know i should be more patient with him. But i just cant be.

    He has a whole other life from before i was born. He was in the Merchant navy, flew gliders and did many other things. He has never spoken to me about this life and i kind of see him like a grandpa – a man i never really knew. He is distant and cold, not affectionate or warm in any way i can tell.

    I just want to know if this is all my fault?

    Anyone who hits their children the way my dad hit me would be put in prison now. He never took any part in my life as a child and only ever did what my mom told him to do. He was moody, grumpy and indifferent. He still is these things and it upsets me alot.

    I need to know if it can be my fault that things are like this. Could i have been a horrible child or was he just neglectful???

    • Keiran- Hi and Welcome! I am so sorry it has taken this long to respond and I hope I am of some help.

      I am an older women who had very strict parents. Your father is quite a bit older than I am. He was raised in a very different era. Men ‘manned up’ and they did not show emotions at all like they do today. There is a quote “resentment only hurts the vessel it’s carried in” so I would ask that you search your heart and forgive your dad (which isn’t easy, I know), but it’s true. The only one you’re hurting by being upset with him still is you.

      I can tell that you care, or you would not have written. Obviously his treatment of you was wrong, but, what good does that do you at this point? You just know in the future with your own children how not to be. Don’t keep seeking your father’s approval, because you may never get it. You need to know that you are the best person you can be, and if that’s all there is, that’s all there is. It’s unfortunate when we can’t get our parents love the way it should be, protective, nurturing, but that doesn’t make us bad people. It does sort of make them ignorant. LOL. They don’t know what they’re missing.

      Evidently you still interact with your father. The next time you see him, concentrate on him instead of what he did to you. Ask him to tell you about different things that he did that you know about. Ask him about the Navy, or ask him what it was like to fly those gliders. Maybe he thinks you never took an interest in him.

      I can tell you have a kind heart. If you can start forgiving him for his injustice where you are concerned, and start talking to him like you would if he was a 69 yr. old man down the street, you may see a difference in your relationship. I know it sounds like you’re doing all the work, and why should you since you were the one that was mistreated? Well, I’ll tell you why. The way it’s working right now isn’t working for you. So yes, he was wrong, he never should have treated you as he did, but he’s ignorant. He was probably raised the same or worse. You have a chance to make it better before he goes. If he doesn’t accept it, then you have nothing to feel guilty about after he’s dead and buried. You can be assured you did everything you can do to make things right while he was on this side of the grass. Good luck and God Bless. Feel free to let us know how it goes.

  31. my mother’s the passive aggressive type. i know i have some of her traits, but i feel im more aware of what i need to work on. she is oblivious and always thinks she’s in the right. it used to drive me nuts all the power struggles we have had, now i just hate her. Im 38 years old and connot function without my medication. if it wasn’t for my meds i would be a mental case. I was for years not able to function and hold down a job because of the damage that was done or not done if you know what i mean. I was always looking for answers and i was very self destructive for a long time. my mother on the other hand seemed to get stronger the more problems i had. she didn’t feel bad for me or try to help me, she would just get on her soap box and start her well i would nevers….and blah blah blah and so on…
    she is an expert at putting on a great facade! of happiness and holiness. she rarely ever shows her true emotions. she supresses a lot and just when its something i would cry about and expose the truth, she would put on a smile and have some stupid quote or saying that really sounds good, but actually having the skills to apply it effectively to ones life is a different story. how to do that is what she should of been teaching me, instead she liked to say-well life’s not fair or if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Its not that its bad advice, but there is also nothing wrong with crying at your breaking point and having a shoulder to cry on either, it dosn’t mean you will permanently be like that, it means you can move on. my mother and i are from two different worlds. its too bad. life’s not fair. right mom.

    • ripcurlbutterfly- I’m sorry to hear you haven’t been able to work things with your mother, but the best thing you can do for yourself when someone is hurting you, is get away. No matter who it is.

      The good side is, at least you feel you know what you need to work on to keep from being like her, and that’s the first and biggest step. This is exactly why I encourage people with children married to passive aggressives to get their children away. While children are little, most the time what I hear is what a great father, or mother someone is. They have no idea the damage until the child is older, and either blatantly takes on the same passive aggressive traits as the passive aggressive parent, or the child is having problems in their own lives.

      What is really sad is the parent and the child both miss out on what should be a wonderful, naturally nurturing experience. Hopefully you have been and are, building up your own support system with good friends, etc. And hopefully after being here, reading the comments and stories, you realize you just may be ok. LOL.

  32. This really helped me understand why I feel the way I do. I have a passive-aggressive mother. It’s like silent battles with her. And she acts mean and ignores me one moment and then the next she is nice. It really confuses me and makes me feel like the bad person because I was mad at her in the first place. She also blames everything on me and says that she treats me the way that I do because I make her do it. She also acts like everything is all in my head and sometimes I think it is with all of her mind games I’m not sure what to do. I’m get only daughter and since I moved out she’s been all alone and making me feel bad for making myself happy. All I want is a relationship with her a real one. But I guess that may never happen. My fiancé tells me that we need to take her out of our lives and that she doing it all to herself and that she is pushing me away. He doesn’t understand how I can still love her and care about her after all the things she’s done to me. I have no idea how I do either.

  33. Thank you. That is exactly how I felt my whole life, and I am 31. Both my parents were this way. I have recently started understanding that it had nothing to do with me and that they were like this before I was even born. That one realisation helped me break free from feeling chronically unloved, unworthy, and invisible. I am happy now and getting married soon and feeling validated and respected by my fiance.

  34. Reading about passive agtession reminds me of how my late mother used to behave. If there wasI might have something she didn`t want to do she would say ” I don`t feel very well, could you manage without me,” or “I forgot”. Sometimes I used to think that she was preaturely senile from the amount of “fogetting” that she did. As I got older, & talked of leving home, she would say, ” It`s such a dangerous world for a girl out there, anything could happen to you!”, trying to keep me from leaving & becoming independant. She scared the life out of mme, but also made me resent her & her smothering ways, & prompting me to leave earlier than I might have otherwise. Her overprotection has severely damaged my ability to manage my life, I could never hold down a job, or cope with the things that adults are supposed to deal with, like paying bills, relationships etc. I was always being told that I was immature for my age by others, & that`s all down to my upbringing. I eventually managed to get my act together, but that woman blighted my life with her issues.

    • anne- It’s so unfortunate when passive aggressive parents inflict so much pain on their children. That’s probably why I advise anyone with children in a passive aggressive relationship to get out, before it damages the children.

      I’m glad to hear you were able to bring yourself together. People around you can be very helpful and supportive. It looks like now all you have to do is manage to forgive her. That comes a little harder sometimes, but your well being will be better for it.

  35. Dear Ladybeams…

    Oh goodness, I teared up when I read, “It makes them feel unworthy, unlovable, and searching for answers”. I battle each day with these horrible feelings. My mom is PA and manipulative, my father is controlling and distant and I believe that is the root cause of my negative feelings. I am now 41 and having such a difficult time. I continually accuse my husband of not loving me, I don’t even love myself. I have felt unworthy my whole life. I barely have any self-confidence. I stop myself from doing anything fun or productive to my life, my work, my hobbies, fun vacations. When I actually find myself having fun, I stop in a panic, suddenly sick to my stomach. I’m talented, forget making money or having a career I enjoy…I give away my talents for free and hide in the shadows afraid of success and waiting for failure because its comfortable territory to me. And trust me, it took alot of counseling just to get to that realization.

    My mother has manipulated and controlled me through guilt, fear and punishment since I can remember. She is unable to say her truth, but it slaps you in the face when she lives it. I now realize that my father was much the same, he was outright controlling – yelling in a booming voice his commands. He would judge and condemn without a question or conversation, dealing out overt and covert punishment for years. Mostly, he just ignored me, very distant and cold…but I see him warm up to his favorite child. It is so confusing.

    As a child, highschool and college student, I was given impossible hoops to jump through with rewards dangled at the end and punishments throughout for failures. Often, the prize at the end would be revoked without so much as an explanation…forget about an apology. Sometimes the prize would be handed to another sibling right in front of my face…a sibling who hadn’t even done the work…and my prize would disappear, not to be spoken about again, forget about asking, accusations of being “ungrateful” and getting slapped in the face were the punishment. I worked so hard to please them, it just wasn’t/isn’t possible.

    I have 4 siblings and when there is family drama…which is often…I see my parents directing the other children how to act…either furtively or openly. There are mini treats and punishments for doing what they want, taking the side of the sibling they favor. In this way, we are directed like show animals to do as they whim. Because honestly, it is a whim. Sometimes I can’t even see a worthwhile reason.

    My parents own a vacation home. It is a real treat to go there. Some of the siblings are “allowed” to use the house without my parents there, some are not. Some are welcome to invite friends for holiday bbq’s and others are not. Some are asked to cook almost all day in the kitchen prepping food for other siblings guests, while the rest enjoy the beach. There isn’t a written rule or punishment…it’s just there…but buck the “rule” and punishment awaits. The other issue with the house is that you have to do as my parents want under their roof, or else. Well, try that as an adult with children of your own. They tell us to leave or tell us they are selling the house or deciding to rent it all summer if we don’t do as they want.

    Lately, I notice that one of my sisters is more of a PA than even my mother. She and I had a fight 2 years ago…the fight was 50% each of our faults. I apologized within 2 weeks. She can’t admit fault, apologize, has rebuked my apologies, called me insincere and pulled her children away from me and refuses to contact even my children. She gave birth during this escapade and didn’t tell me about the birth, directed her husband and my family members to keep it hush. My other sister is just as PA, lying, creating drama, taking sides when it’s not her business. And the thing that really kills me here is that somehow, both of my sisters married men that take their side…no matter what. So instead of finding yourself in an argument with 1 person….you’re in an argument with 4 people. And this is 4 people who are willing to punish your children, yell at your husband and be mean to you. Add my mom and dad into a situation like this and it is truly unbearable. 2 years of this bullshit and I am ready to cut ties with my family.

    I don’t even try to contact my sisters anymore. For the sake of my children and their relationship with their grandparents, I have tried to overlook and deal with my parents actions, but I find myself stressed out and unable to feel good about myself in their presence or if I let them “close”. I have identified my problems through years of counseling, daily reading and just plain old cheerleading myself on. But it can all get ruined in an hour with my parents.

    I am finally leaving my house again. Going to public places and eating at restaurants. I am allowing myself friendships again. I am realizing my talents and using them for good and to feel good about myself. I am fostering friendships with good people, not destructive and ego-wrecking relationships that I used to yearn for. I feel like I can’t keep moving forward and have a relationship with my family.

    How am I supposed to deal with my parents. How can I let my kids near them, maybe even under the same roof for a weekend or summer vacation week? Is it possible? How do I do this?

    • Lostgirl, sometimes it is better to stop all interaction with your family if they are so toxic. By doing what they do they get what they want: you pay a lot of attention to them and they are constantly on your mind. Stop focusing on them. Focus on YOU and things which energise you. They have a nice holiday home but let it use by some members of the family and not others? Well, next time you rent another holiday home yourself. Show them that you don’t need them. Take charge of your own life. Why not risk it? They are awful right now, it can’t get worse. So if you extract yourself from the situation, you don’t lose anything. Just the dream and hope that things will ever get better.
      By taking distance, they will either become even more angry and cross with you (but since you won’t see them any more, it won’t bother you) or who knows, they might actually realise that they are losing you and change their ways. And believe me, if they would want to do this, they would. Because when these people need something from someone who will not put up with their bad behaviour, they miraculously will behave in a correct way.
      Don’t let yourself be taken hostage by your family, take your life in your own hands. Not easy and you will feel the loss, but you will also finally feel master of your own fate.

  36. Dear Ladybeams,
    I have recently found out where many of the problems in my relationship come from. My other half is PA. I’m probably not all white either, but I care for him and in all my relationships I’ve always shown willingness to improve, change, talk about and sort out issues.
    Anyway… I was trying to find out whether he will ever change or at least improve a little bit and what I can do to help him.
    Maybe he will never change, but by understanding his mental health issue, I can make our relationship bearable again?
    I realised soon enough that he will probably never change (he is 32 now). Then I thought of our 10 months old son. What could be the emotional impact of growing up around a PA?
    What custody would you recommend? Surely if he has him half of the time, he will have enough time to damage my son. Do you think a court would vote in my favour if they knew he is PA?
    I am so lost, and scared.

  37. I’m pretty sure I have a PA father. He’s been a very good father to me, up until my mother died from a battle with brain cancer for 6 years. As someone above mentioned, I kind of “bought in” to him being the “better” parent and I sort of modeled myself after my dad, and I noticed in my last relationship, I started to become a little bit like him (Getting annoyed with my step-kids sometimes, not really caring how they felt as much as I thought I should have, being a big 25 year old baby, etc). It’s a long story, but when my mother died, I moved back home to live with them and separated from my fiancee of 5 years, whom I lived with. I’m almost 30 now, and him and I just moved apart from living with each other for the past 2 years. My overall view of my father has TOTALLY changed, and it has also changed me. A lot of things with my mother are also starting to make a lot of sense. A lot of people on here who seem to have a PA father also described their mother as a “wreck” or having a mental illness. Mine was bipolar-1 (manic) and left me as a kid a few times when she would run away for months. I still remember those times, as my father would always try to figure out where she went, and be all bent out of shape when she finally left him. Now, I think she left my father, and not me (I always thought she may have been leaving me because I was a kid, and kids seemed to stress her out, even though she loved them), and I think it’s because he’s being the same way to me as he was being to her. I’ve been doing the best I’ve done in a while (Went to college, made deans list twice in first 2 semesters, and now going back for the Fall), and he treats me like I’ll never be good enough, every decision I make is bad, every decision he makes is better, etc. I always thought he was just being hard on me as a kid, but now I realize it’s definitely something more. My friends never had father’s that were this distant from them, but still expected so much. Me and my father haven’t really even talked or had a conversation in the 1.5 years since my mother has been gone, and he has already has a new wife (I think.). My grandmother mentioned he was married, and my ex-girlfriend said that she saw a ring on her finger, and it just makes a lot of sense because he was gone a lot, etc. Who knows. He doesn’t tell me anything. I know I’m 30 years old.. but all I want is “validation” from my father, and to know that it’s okay to live my life the way I want to live it. I don’t do anything wrong, I’m responsible, I go to school, I support myself (even though he has helped me a lot with a place to stay and some other things), and it just feels like I didn’t lose only my mother, but also my father. He wasn’t always THIS bad. When she was around, he was able to talk to me, and she kind of made it so that me and him got along and actually talked somewhat (that’s a whole separate story). He’s also not this way to anybody else besides me, pretty much. He is, but he tries a little harder to “fit in” with other people, than he does with me (someone else also said that they “are liked outside of the house a lot”). He also watches a lot of TV, and maintains that “air of superiority” that some people talked about… and that’s mainly what I would notice as a kid, when it wasn’t directed towards me so much, and more towards my mother. He would put her down, call her lazy because she slept a lot, talk about other people and complain to her, etc. When I first read some of these posts, I was amazed, because I thought i was going crazy also. Has anybody ever not been believed, when their parent would be this way towards them? Everybody else loves him, and the only people that seem to ever have a problem with him, are the ones who got close to him, like me and my mother. I have m own problems, which clash with his, that I am working on… but I cannot change him… and it’s been affecting me in a lot of ways. I was so confused as to what was going on, and didn’t realize it wasn’t *all me* until now. Anyways.. just wanted to post my experience… maybe it’ll make someone else feel better… because reading these helped me. I just cannot get over how “subtle” and “covert”, but damaging, their personalities are. And, I’m afraid that I’m going to be the same way, and not even realize it… because I’ve gotten that way before in the past. I really just wish my mother was here… but I think about how unhappy she was… and know it woud’ve been different if I knew this before. I think she was just afraid to leave… and then became sick, and couldn’t help it. She suffered so much that I wish I could forget it. Thanks for listening.. and sorry if I got a bit dramatic.

  38. “He felt so abandoned and so unloved.”
    This line really struck me.

    I grew up parented by a passive-aggressive mother whose disease reaches the degree of a serious personality disorder, while my step-father of over fifteen years is an emotionally busive choleric. Since I moved out about one and a half years ago, my contact to both of my parents has been seldom, and even continues to diminish. I just cannot work up the strength it takes to try to interact with my mother – every nice gesture will always come with an attack. It is extremely stressful, and I never get anything back, emotionally.
    I undestand the importance of honouring one’s family, but I cannot agree to be considered the guilty one when I choose to walk away in favor of my own mental health. Today, I think of her behaviour with a mix of understanding pity and anger. (That, for the first time in 23 years, I can actually be somewhat angry at her – not myself – is actually an accomplishment for me. It sounds bizarre, but it could be a first step in a healing process. Or so I hope.)

    The way the behaviour of my passive-aggressive mom has affected me the most in the long run is a huge deficit in communication skills. If you never ever receive direct and honest signals, you cannot learn to send them out yourself. I’m very emotionally intelligent – I’m very sensitive when it comes to decyphering other people’s moods. But I had to learn how to talk about my own very late in life, and still have trouble remembering how it is important for other people to hear a simple sentence like “I’m a little stressed right now, that instant with these people this afternoon was just a little much. I’d rather withdraw and read a book than watch a movie with you.” Thankfully, I don’t think I picked up passive-aggressive behavioral patterns myself. Another result of such ‘parenting’ that continues to be difficult for me is that I’ve never felt safe or at home. I grew up feeling like I could confide in no one, because anything I’d say about myself would go by mstly unheard and turned against me at the next opportunity, and I felt as if I had no safe haven nowhere. I sometimes fear I’ll never find a home at a physical place because I’ve never learned to feel at home, just as I’m still new to feeling loved. Living with my parents, I truthfully felt like I was never seen ir appreciated for who I was, and I missed a big chunk of guidance.

    I hope this lenghthy tale finds someone who’ll listen: Please seek treatment, e.g. behavioural therapy, if you’re passive-aggressive. You will hurt all the people who you come in contact with, and who love you. Eventually they will want to leave, because their love may be unconditional, but trying to pass it over will leave them exhausted and let down.

    • Lex- Thank you so much for your input. You are much luckier than most for at least you see the problems you need to work on due to your upbringing. Many people refuse to look at themselves or their backgrounds to acknowledge there could be anything that they need to do to contribute to a happy relationship. Sounds like you’re headed in the right direction. Thanks for your input and your encouragement for others.

  39. I was with Shaun from 1997 to 2011. When I met him I was an English teacher in Secondary school (in the UK that’s school for 11 to 18 year olds). I was confident, independent, outgoing, attractive. When I finally got the strength to leave him I was clinically depressed, with ME/CFS, with no friends or social life (no life at all actually) and worked part-time as a cleaner. Today I happened upon a description of what it means to be passive aggressive – and it was like reading a completely accurate description of my husband, down to the last detail! Then I found this site – and now I’m terrified for my oldest daughter. I have two daughters, aged 13 and 15. The 15 year old has depression and anxiety which has got progressively worse, especially in the last couple of years, when she started self-harming and not being able to go to school due to panic attacks. Last summer she OD’d on paracetamol – which she has done seven times now (twice whilst living with me and five times with her dad).

    My ex didn’t respond at all when I left him (apart from immediately starting to date someone else). He carried on as if absolutely nothing had happened – which included letting himself into my flat when he felt like it, taking a bath, whatever. I was so used to trying to please him that I didn’t try to stop him and was afraid to stand up to him in case he turned nasty Then, after 2 years of being single, I started to date someone else. The ex was nice at first, he even offered to babysit while I went on the date, but while I was out seriously got to work on our two daughters to try and turn them against me. Mainly he seems to have been really upset – I was dating someone just to get back at him; I had never loved him (proof being that I was ‘horrible’ to his son, my step-son). A whole load of c**p, that my youngest daughter just got really angry about (and she hardly ever gets angry) – but my older daughter swallowed lock, stock and barrel. She refused to carry on living with me, and Shaun refused to let me contact her, and I didn’t see her at all from September 2013 to May of this year. Then she made contact with me, and we see each other quite a lot, but it has to be kept secret from her dad. It’s like she’s been brainwashed by him – her view of the past has been completely altered. He cleverly has used elements of truth, things that are in her memory, but put a slant on them that puts me in a really bad light.

    He is just repeating the process that he used with me – needing to have someone that he has control over but never actually giving any love. And you try and try and try to please him. Although he overdid it with me because I got so ill that I knew I would kill myself if I didn’t leave him, and miraculously I had the sense to gather my strength and leave. It’s so painful to see it all happening again and to be so very helpless to do anything about it. If I said anything to my daughter she wouldn’t believe it and it would drive her away from me.

  40. Someone spoke about the father being the “good” parent and the mother being the “bad” parent. That’s the kind of situation I had. Now to some extent my mother was the “bad” parent. She was dominant, bossy, abusive verbally and physically and I suffered a lot from her. But I see that one of the reasons why she was like that was because she received zero support from me father. Yes he worked and made sure that there was an income but at the same time he did not get involved at all in his family. Was not a real husband nor a real father to his kids. My mother, despite all her negativity, gave us a lot more education and love than he ever did. He just does not care, my mother did. It was another generation so they never divorced and I really wish she would have done that. But she didn’t and ultimately died too soon of a nasty cancer, and I can’t help but think that this unhappy marriage caused it.
    On the surface my father is a nice guy but he is constantly blocking and sabotaging things. You think he follows you but he just does what he wants and is your silent enemy. Therefore I have shut him out of my life.

    • May I ask if you are male or female? And how do you think your personality has been shaped by your parents?
      I am definitely the dominant and bossy mother you described. Although I am not at all abusive in any way, but I am the only “adult” in this relationship. I’m FORCED to be the only parent that provides any structure or discipline. My 10 yr old son thinks his dad is the nicest most amazing dad in the world and I am the mean one. I just recently ended the 15 yr relationship and made him move out.

      I was once a happy, fun-loving person…..but when forced to be a parent to a grown man that acts like an angry defiant 14 yr old, its so hard to stay positive and happy all the time.
      My son has no idea that his father is not at all what a grown man and father should be.
      Whats even more frustrating, is that his dad really thinks he’s father of the year because he works and comes home every night. My son has no idea that for YEARS I had to force his dad to play with him and acknowledge him when he came home from work. If not for my strong determination to make sure my son wasn’t ignored all day, his dad would’ve paid him no attention at all.
      And of course, I’d never tell this to my son.

      I’m in a horrible catch 22. Do I stay the course and be strict on my son so that he becomes responsible and self sufficient or ease off and be more like his ‘big brother dad’?
      How do I teach him not to be like his dad without coming off as a negative mother bashing his “great” dad?
      And then, will my son be more likely to gravitate to bossy, domineering women…because thats what he saw growing up?
      I don’t want that for him!! I was FORCED to be this way!
      I want him to know what a healthy, adult partnership looks like.
      One where both parents equally share in the responsibilities of parenting.
      Dear God why did I have a child with an ‘angry at home, pushover in public, wolf in sheeps clothing man-child’????

      My son deserved better than this….every child does.

  41. I know a man whose dad was extremely passive aggressive, his mom didn’t like what was going on but she was afraid of her husband. The Dad was worse when he drank….it was so severe the huband didn’t like the fact that the mom kept her one year old dressed in cute clothing and clean, dad felt like she was making him into a “sissy” and that he needed to get dirty, like boys are meant to, he took the little boy/infant and aggressively put dirt all over him. (The dad was so very mean and still is in his middle 80s.) He makes all little kids cry still to this day. The affects of his bitterness can ruin lives of those living with them and is passed on generation after generation, called (passive aggressive behavior). Sadly most people don’t know what it means and fail to research and understand this violent, behavior, so the cycle is repeated over and over. It is intimidating, shocking and unidentified. If there is one thing to remember, look up and learn what it is…..it is so important, parents, save the children from this abuse…end this cycle of abuse….get some support and leave so you can watch your child grow up in a “loving and positive home.”

  42. I just don’t know where to go from here

    Im a adult woman living with my PA father. Only recognised he is passive aggressive after being in a long recovery (conselling etc) from an abusive relationship myself (my first and only). Looking back it was my mum always regarded as the bad parent and my dad the angel, outside the house he is regarded as that also, the nicest guy you would ever meet. I realise now he would slowly push my mums buttons, a loud and dramatic personality compared to his shy and quiet, until she would explode and he would stand back with a look of shock and tell her to “calm down” i remember he pushed her too far one night and i was woken up by my dad and he lifted my up sat me infront of him like a shield while my mum entered the rooms screaming and waving a knife. Things like this on different levels happened quite regulary, with no regard to their two young children in the middle of it all. however if you asked either of them regarding this they would genuinely be confused and be quite aggressively dismissive.

    My mother is in and out of the picture, away on business most of the year since my early teens. This is another story! They both have just gone about the raising of their kids wrong in every which way possible but will genuinely believe jt was the best childhood ever.

    They will never change. I know that. You can never change others you can only change yourself, however how do i save myself without totally withdrawing from my family? I will be alone without them. I am surprised i even have friends from the traits i copied off my parents, mindfulness is keeping me on the right track, although i fear i will end up with a PA or abusive partner (if any at all). Financially I couldn’t cut them off and is being totally alone a better option. My brother is so independent and doesn’t seem to ‘need’ them, i ‘need’ them, im near 30 and i crave my parents approval still, they have me wrapped around their fingers, they know they can push and push and push me.

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