After 10 Years With a Passive Aggressive I’m Still Learning…

Over the last month or two we visited an old girlfriend of mine that lives about 40 miles away. She’s an older lady who is doing quite well after having a few strokes and considering she spent about 5 years in a nursing home. Now she’s back in her own home and is doing great. Any time we go over to visit she insists we stay for dinner and has the passive aggressive BF barbecue for us. What’s really funny about this is 1) he supposedly hates to BBQ on a gas grill, which is what she has and 2) I’ve been with him for almost 10 years and can never get him to BBQ. Over the years I have done almost every thing but ought right beg!

Of course this is the typical passive aggressive technique. This is a prime example of why all of a passive aggressive’s buddies think he’s absolutely terrific, while you’re at home pulling your hair out. Oh, and if that’s not enough, the other night she thought we were coming over and she was going to have him BBQ lamb chops. We didn’t make it and when she told me what she had planned, I let her know it was a good thing we didn’t make it because the BF couldn’t stand lamb at all, not even to smell it cooking. When I told him, you’d have thought I had threatened to cut her heart out with her own knife. He felt bad. I haven’t had lamb in 10 years!

Yesterday we ended up going over there house-hunting, and of course stayed for dinner. She had taken pork chops out of the freezer and had 2 lamb chops ready to BBQ. He had absolutely no problem BBQ-ing them for her. All of a sudden it occurred to me that all this time this was one thing (well 2) that he had complete control over at our house. At her house it seems there isn’t anything he can’t or won’t do.

This was so subtle and had taken place for so long, I never realized it was just another passive aggressive move. Needless to say I let him know I was on to him and those tactics weren’t going to work anymore. Tomorrow’s another day. I’m sure there will be a new way for him to express his control or anger, or whatever. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes exhausting to see what happens next.

2 Responses

  1. I’m stunned into silence, which believe me is nearly impossible… I feel like I just FINALLY found someone who actually GETS IT. I too have been researching often and a lot (Luckily my counselor also is AWESOME and has been a steady source of feeding me the message “You. are. not. the. crazy. one.”)

    I had been living in a PA relationship for nearly 14 years- something I akin to being a ‘frog in a pot of water on a stove”… PA relationships happen so subtley and so slowly it’s like the unknowing frog in a pot of water over a heat source. If you heat the water slow enough the frog will not object and sit there and naively boil to death.

    The last three years of it included ME becoming PA, something I am not proud of and intend to NEVER repeat. (That’s one of the more bizarre twists of PA I find; it turns the recipient into a chameleon – I spent those last three years thinking ‘It worked for him, maybe he’s the one who has it figured out). I freely admit that I made poor emotional choice in the final years of my marriage, but I have countered those past choices by making seriously impressive positive ones for the last year.

    I made a very, very deliberate decision to GET OUT about 18 months ago. I have a 6 year old daughter and she deserves to see and experience a childhood with a mom who is healthy, stable and a role model of self esteem. I have no dramatic past family history; I have happily married parents… I myself am a well educated, mentally stable, independent woman. How did I become part of a PA relationship?

    Frog. Water. Heat… I think in the beginning I didn’t recognize the temperature rising b/c – well, b/c I simply didn’t NOTICE! I had a good job, good friends, good family, and this guy was ‘there’, we got along, he was utterly enjoyable ( I often times would say “We never fight!”), sex was great, he always just went along with what I wanted to do. I was the frog sitting in the comfortable pot of lukewarm water.

    I went forward with my life, paid our rent (“Why not? He’s easy to live with and I don’t mind the company”), supported his career (“Someday, if this keeps up, he’ll anty up to his end of the relationship- in spades, plus interest!”), felt good that I was HELPING SOMEONE (“Look at me, I’m the only one he confides in; everyone else – especially his old girlfriends- all seem so harsh and judgmental and NUTS!”)… and the piece de resistance… in my mind I was thinking “If I throw enough ‘good’ at him, he’ll open up, change, become happy and openly loving”.

    UUUUGHH!!! Even writing that now makes me want to throw my arms up in the air and run away screaming from who I was!!! It’s perverse!

    Now, 18 months, a divorce and literally an entire changeover of my life I am beginning to reap the true, wonderful benefits of being back to ME. I am working now deeply, daily and diligently on equipping my daughter with the equipment to manage herself in terms of her father. I have guilt about saddling her with this task, and I’ll continue to tackle that guilt by outfitting her in shoulder pads of self-esteem and shin guards of healthy choices.

    • Hi Ppeggy- and Welcome. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can tell already I love your therapist. LOL. It’s so hard to find one that’s supportive and is even really open to the whole passive aggressive possibility.

      I also understand what you mean about turning passive aggressive yourself. I even wrote a post about Is Passive Aggressive Behavior Catching? early last year. I am constantly checking myself because I know sometimes I do things passive aggressively to “get even”. Usually it’s after I’ve voiced something a few times and didn’t get any results.

      Your daughter is very lucky you realized what was happening early in her life and you have so much time to teach her a better way. It sounds like you are doing a great job in taking charge of the “good self-esteem” department for both of you.

      I hope you’ll come back in let us know how it’s going. Since you have his daughter I imagine there’s still alot of interaction between you two. That can make it a little tuff. I don’t know how much you’ve read on the site, but there’s quite a bit about passive aggressives and parenting. Good luck to you and your daughter and congrats on getting your life and yourself back.

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