6 Easy Steps To Lift Yourself Up When In a Passive Aggressive Relationship

If you haven’t read it already, you can read “Depression-A Side Effect of Passive Aggressive Relationships” right below. Once again, I am not any kind of doctor and if you are in a really deep depressive state with any thoughts of suicide or any thing else that would be detrimental to your health, please see a therapist or your family doctor right away. In the meantime if you’re depressed but do a lot of “self-help” read on.

Okay, I’m done indulging myself and today I’m ready to talk about how to pull yourself out of the “black hole”. These are my “6 easy steps to lifting yourself up when you’re in a passive aggressive relationship“. I hope you find something helpful.

First of all let’s all say together, out loud, “This sucks!!” Wow, didn’t that feel good? LOL. Don’t you feel your mood lifting already! It is what it is. Recognize it and then deal with it. The place to start is by taking care of your needs first. I know that’s not what we’re taught and for a lot of us this goes against every grain of our being. You’ll get used to it. You know the saying “If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy”? Well that applies especially here.

1) As I’ve said here many times, at the top of my list is a “support system”. Either a good therapist, Al-Anon, close friends, or family, we all need someone we can talk to.  This needs to be someone or somewhere you can totally trust and unburden yourself. The load is always lighter when you have someone to share it with you.

2) If you don’t have any friends, make some. No, you can’t dump all your problems on someone you just met, but as you meet new people and develop relationships there will be people you can share with comfortably. The first step here is to get your butt out of the house. This will work 2-fold.

  1. Time spent outside the home with other human beings is crucial for your mental health. We were meant to be communal. “No man or woman is an island” as they say.
  2. Taking time to enjoy something you love to do is not being selfish. It will elevate your mood, give you more patience, and concentration when dealing with the situation at home.

3) My all time favorite is humor. There are days I either turn on the comedy channel and watch some good stand-up comedy, or if that’s not available there’s always YouTube. There are a couple of ventriloquists on there that make me laugh so hard I couldn’t keep it in if I tried. After spending so much time being serious about life, it feels so good to have a gut-wrenching laugh. Proverbs 17:22 says “a happy heart is good medicine”. You just can’t be angry or upset and laughing your head off at the same time. I think it’s a physical impossibility.

4) Music is good. Pull out some of that old stuff you used to sing at the top of your lungs with, and enjoy it. I know for me this is great because I usually do it while accomplishing something, whether it’s in the car as I’m going somewhere or home, cleaning house, let the music carry you off. If you’re singing to the music you certainly won’t be dwelling on the things that are upsetting you. Joann says this works really well for her. She says once at least one area of her life is in order, then the rest seems bearable.  Thanks Joann.

5) Sleep. You really need to make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. For me, I sleep more when I’m depressed. It’s sort of a defense mechanism. It can also be a problem if you’re living with someone who throws it in your face all the time. It is so important. It gives the body and mind a chance to heal, build itself back up for the battle, and “per chance to dream.”

“The Depression Cure,” Stephen Ilardi, Ph.D. writes:
“When laboratory rats are experimentally deprived of slow-wave sleep [a deep, restful form of slumber] for several days at a time, their brains start to malfunction and they become seriously ill. Humans react in much the same way. After just a few nights of slow-wave deprivation, most people report intense, aching fatigue. After a few more days, they begin to feel physically ill.”

6) Guilt. If you’re feeling guilty, and we all know when you live with a passive aggressive, instilling guilt is one of the things they do best, Therese Borchard at Beyond Blue says to “label” it. I had never heard this tip before and thought it was a great idea. She says to label it “helpful” or “not helpful”. It it’s not helpful, the kind where you just beat yourself up, let it go. Tell it goodbye. If it’s the helpful kind, like “I should have had this better organized” then maybe you should listen to it. Do something about it to make your life easier the next time the situation arises. We all know how damaging negative “self-talk” can be, those little voices in our heads, make a vow here and now to stop it. Cut it off as soon as it starts or as soon as you realize what you’re doing. Sometimes I have to just go “lalalalala” in kind of a melody to stop it, but it works. Sort of like “lalalalala. I can’t hear you” type of thing.

This is a good start to a long list of stuff we can do to be pro-active and help ourselves, but I know there’s many more and I’m open to suggestion, so feel free to share what works for you in the comments section below.


4 Responses

  1. I have been married to man for the last 13 years, who has never been affectionate or say “I love you” first. We have had problems recently and he was diagnosed as having passive agressive disorder. I need help!!!! Can he be helped or should I divorce him.

    • Hi Michelle- Welcome!

      I feel the desperation you must be feeling in your comment. Hopefully this site will help enlighten you a little bit about the passive aggressive man.

      If you feel that you still love this man and would like to work things out (the operative word being “work” here) than by all means keep going to therapy with him and see how he responds or if it seems to help. At least whom ever you or him is seeing is familiar enough with passive aggressive behavior to diagnose him. That’s a great start. It really depends on how much responsibility your spouse is willing to take for his actions and if he admits at all that he’s had a part in your problems. I should tell you that many PA’s have no desire to be “fixed” and many never change.

      If you don’t feel that you have it in you to go through anymore, than yes, definitely get out and save yourself. Start making a plan to make it as easy as possible on yourself when you decide to go. Start emotionally backing off if you haven’t already, and start setting things up for you financially as much as possible. Get emotional support from friends and family and be around people as you will need the added strength these relationships will give you.

      Good luck, Michelle. Feel free to stop by anytime. There are a few of us on here and if you have questions, hopefully we can give you some answers or at least some options.

  2. I have 4 young children and my marriage has been one sided in most aspects. Not only have NONE of my needs been met but the games I have to play to try and make connections with my husband has run me down into the ground.
    I very much believe in marriage and givining children both parents but I’m so unhappy that I can’t seem to pull my self out of this deep depression. I feel like if I keep taking care of my self it will work it’s way out and I’ll get stronger and leave him, but he’s on to me and now he’s sabotages the little things like my diets and exersize. He’s gotten worse because it scares him that I’m taking care of my self. I’ve thought of packing up and moving out of state w my mother but she’s passive AGRESSIVE too and I find I can’t tollerate any one who remotely resembles PA characteristics. There is also an issue of immigration. If I divorce him he could get deported so I feel selfish even thinking about filing….help.

    • Shannon- Hi and Welcome here! Sorry we have to meet under these circumstances, but I’m glad you found us.

      As much as he may try to sabotage your dieting and exercise, you can continue through your own determination. Do you have a neighbor that you could start exercising with? Or maybe join a group in your area, somewhere where you are not by yourself. First of all passive aggressives are rather cowardly if we have any kind of support, so if you had a girlfriend you exercised with, etc. he would probably have to look for a new way.
      Also sights like “SparkPeople” are set up with “teams” that are geographical, and there are always people on there looking for an exercise buddy. We all know it’s easier to be consistent if you have a friend.

      The whole idea with a passive aggressive is to stand in your way to 1)stop what you are doing that may bring any self esteem to yourself 2) anything to piss you off so you won’t do it anymore. If you show him that he can’t bother you, he will look for something else.

      You have the upper hand. Start using it. You say if push came to shove, he could be deported, tell him he better straighten up! Even with Obama’s new announcement, I would figure your husband doesn’t fit the perimeters, so go for it. Tell him exactly what you want from him, and let him know you have no problem with a divorce, that it will probably work against him more than you, and he better shape up. Do you think he feels selfish when he starts pulling his stuff on you?

      Good luck and take care. Come back anytime.

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