A Passive Aggressive Mother and Me

Ok, I gripe here and there about my passive aggressive boyfriend, but I don’t usually say too much about my passive aggressive mother who lives with us. Tonite’s the night. She’s taken to running over my toes with her walker lately, and I’ve had it so she’s getting it. LOL.

My mother is the opposite of the boyfriend in the way that the boyfriend is passive passive aggressive, while my mother is aggressive passive aggressive. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun around here. LOL. What has been especially interesting for me is watching the two of them interact. I spend a lot of time in my office so I am not privy to everything that goes on, but what I get when I am out in the other room with the two of them, why world war III hasn’t started I don’t know.

When the BF isn’t around, my mother will tell me how he watches her like a hawk with every move she makes. When my mother isn’t around, he says she’s imagining things and he can’t believe how much she eats. So of course, when I’m out in the other room with the two of them, I observe to see who is out of whack. When I catch the BF staring at everything she does, which he does do, he says he was just wondering what she was looking for (all this is usually in the kitchen). He never asks her what she’s looking for, because passive aggressives don’t do that. He just watches.

In the old days when he cooked, he used to take dinner into her, and he was her hero. He cooks very well, plus he waited on her. Since I told him not to wait on her because she needs to move around, she’s done everything she can to sabotage him. Poor guy. She even told me one day she thought he was a jiggalo. LOL. I had to inform her he paid as much towards the rent and bills as we all did.

Today I took my mother and we went for a haircut. What started out to be a good thing for charity, turned into disaster and the car broke down in a city a few miles away. I had to call the BF to come get us as I was having the car towed by AAA. Mom always sits in front, as she cannot get in the back of our 2 door vehicles.  She usually has a hard time with the seat belt, so I usually do it for her. Today he got in the driver’s seat, I was in the back, and she was having trouble with her seatbelt. The next thing I knew, he had reached over, took the seat belt, pulled on it to get it across her and of course in his passive aggressive way of not noticing what he was doing, was hitting her in the face with it until he  finally got it buckled for her. I’m sure he was thinking “Score!” She came really close to knocking his block off. LOL.

Between these two, my psycho kitty that prevents me from adopting any other kittens because she’s so crazy, and me, what is it they say when advertising the USA channel? Characters welcome!


5 Responses

  1. My girlfriend is smart, sweet, affectionate, caring, giving, responsable, etc. We’ve been together for 3 yeares, so imagine my astonishment at only now just realizing that she is Passive Aggressive.

    In the beginning everything was fantastic. I couldn’t have found a better best friend. But, over time things began to change. We started fighting more and more frequently. Of course, I always come out looking like the bad guy.

    I’m not saying everything is her fault – it’s not. I carry a lot of the responsability too. I tend to have an explosive temper. It never lasts long and I am not physically or verbally abusive, but a temper is a temper and it doesn’t help the situation.

    However, I have come to realize that my girlfriend is very good at pushing my buttons. She is always upbeat, doesn’t yell or argue. I don’t start by yelling or arguing either. If there is something I don’t like, I tell her in a calm manner and explain my reasoning. She says she understands and will try not to do it again, but she does. By the 4th or 5th time, I start yelling.

    I just recently started reading about passive aggressive behavior and thought that most of it didn’t apply to my girlfriend. She isn’t irresponsable or vengeful or gossipy like some of the articles describe. She doesn’t have a negative outlook on life – quite the contrary, she has a very positive attitude. And she doesn’t have a tendency to blame others.

    It has been SO frustrating because I’m the kind of person who likes to talk things out and find a resolution. I want us to get along the way we did in the beginning. But she’s the type to ‘let it go’. Which is a load of crap, because if she really let things go, there wouldn’t be any passive aggressive behavior.

    On the occasions we do talk, usually after I have lost my temper, she does one of several things:
    – Feigns ignorance
    – Says that I’m the one with the problem… why can’t I be happy?
    – Tells me ‘This is the way I am’,
    – Says ‘You used to like everything about me’, etc, etc.

    Part of the problem is that she is controlling. But it’s done in such a ‘motherly’ way, that I end up looking like a complete ingrate. I don’t want a mother. I HAVE a mother. Even my mother doesn’t treat me this way.

    It’s gotten to the point where I am starting to dislike her and that makes sad. Our relationship has become hostile and tense.

    But I am learning. Right now I totally understand what’s going on in our relationship. She doesn’t get angry, so I end up being her surrogate. She does something she absolutely knows will make me lose my temper. That way, at least someone expresses anger and she stills comes out looking as sweet as ever.

    So, I have decided that I am going to get control over my temper and stop playing the PA game with her. A lot of this is my fault because I let the situation get out of hand. In trying to avoid being controlled, I fell right into the trap.

    Most of our major arguments are about things she wants to “help” me with. Things that I can and like to do myself, AND she doesn’t even know how to do. I have repeatedly explained that it would take longer and be more difficult to show her how to do some work related task than just doing it myself. But she still asks… over and over.

    And, on the occasions that I do ask for her assistance, like making phone calls, she never gets it right. This is a very smart woman who has owned several businesses. i explain in great detail what it is that I need and invariably she either gives or gets the wrong information.

    From now on, I’m going to start making my own phone calls and if I do need her help, I;ll write down exactly what I need.

    Next time she asks me if I want her to clean my desk (something I like to do myself) I’m going to say “Sure, go ahead… as a matter of fact, why don’t we make that a weekly task.

    Next time she burns dinner or serves something she knows i don’t like, I’ll just say Thank you and eat what I can and go get a sandwich later on.

    I plan to make this last effort and if this doesn’t make things better, then I will have to let her go. This is not the solution I want, but since she refuses to acknowledge and or change, this is my last option.

    I love my girlfriend and I really want things to work out for us, but I refuse to continue this insanity. She deserves better and so do I.

    • PAHell- Welcome. It’s nice to hear from a man with a woman who is a passive aggressive. We don’t get very many, and even though I’m female, I know there are a lot of female PAs out there. LOL.

      I’m sorry to hear with as much as you obviously care for your girlfriend, that you can’t seem to get her help in working things out and making them better. It sounds like you have figured out how to handle a couple of things, like her cleaning your desk for instance. Once it’s made a regular chore, she’ll probably lose all interest in a relatively short amount of time. Unfortunately reverse psychology at times can work very well. It’s just always a shame when 2 people can’t talk about something directly with each other and work out a solution good for both.

      If you’re really wanting to make this work, you might ask her about going to couples counseling. Just make sure you find the counselor or therapist, and make sure they are use to working with passive aggressive behavior. Many of them don’t acknowledge it, or know much about it because it’s no longer listed as a personality disorder in their book of diagnosis. It sounds like you pretty much have a handle on what you need to work on (your temper), but it sounds like she has no intention of recognizing her own responsibility for things getting worse in the relationship.

      If she’s not willing to get third party help, I’m afraid the only advice I have for you is “run”. She may agree to counseling but only by herself. This is usually so they can manipulate the therapist. You are right. It is a form of insanity, and you do deserve better. Many partners of PAs try to reach them for years and come away with nothing more than a low self-esteem, bad memories, and a lot of wasted time. If you do decide to let her go, be prepared ahead of time. Try to make it as quick and painless as possible. It’s amazing when it comes time to split, how a passive aggressive sweetheart can turn into a total nightmare.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. Feel free to drop by any time and let us know how you’re doing. Sometimes it’s just good to have a “safe place” to vent. Take care.

  2. I’m so glad I found your blog Ladybeams. Just being able to spill my guts was great therapy. But best of all, I tried out my new strategy today and it worked!!

    The truth is I get exasperated pretty easily so I made sure to keep my temper in check. Even though on some level I believe my girlfriend enjoys it when I lose my temper (a vicarious thrill) it also upsets her, which I can understand.

    Today, I was able to manage comments that would normally set me off. I didn’t yell or answer sarcastically. I was simply matter of fact.

    One of the things that always makes me feel bad is how I respond to things she says or asks in a seemingly innocent or caring manner.

    For example, she called me this morning at 9 am and asked me if I had eaten breakfast. Normally I would immediately respond by asking ‘when have you ever seen me eat breakfast this early?’ She already knows the answer, why bother asking the question?

    It’s a simple, silly question… but it still irritates me and I immediately respond. I’ve never understood until now why something so ‘benign’ can set me off like that. Now I understand that this is how the game begins. She asks the question precisely because she knows I will lose my temper. This feeds right into our Mommy is just trying to take care of her ungrateful baby pattern.

    So, today, instead of losing my temper, I just said ‘it’s still a little early for breakfast’. Her response… ‘You know, it’s important to eat breakfast. It gives you energy for the day, etc. And THIS is exactly what I find irritating!! I don’t need or want a mommy to take care of me or treat me like I’m too stupid to figure things out for myself.

    But today, instead of getting mad at her for going over all the reasons having breakfast is good for me, I just said… “you’re right, but when I have breakfast should be my decision, don’t you think? I wasn’t hostile or sarcastic in any way. I made my statement and she backed off mommy mode.

    My number one mistake is always falling straight into the trap and acting like a little kid trying to break free from mommy’s grasp. Of course she will continue to treat me like a child if I keep reacting like a child.

    Let me tell you, she kept trying all day. We went out to dinner and had a nice time. But later on in the evening she said she had something to tell me that might make me laugh at her (code for… it’s gonna piss you off). She started to tell me, but then stopped and changed the subject as if it was too embarrassing.

    I now know that this is also part of the game… building tension. Usually I’ll insist on getting it out of her asap, but not today. A while went by and I asked what she wanted to tell me. She finally told me that she wants us to start a work project that would take up a lot of free time, which we don’t have a lot of to begin with.

    I listened calmly and said if it was something she really wanted to do, then she should do it. Of course, she wants it to be a joint project and told me how well it could work out for both of us. I don’t know that I want to complicate my life with this kind of project. Plus, when she starts a project, it’s like being dragged behind a wild boar. Even though it’s a ‘joint’ project, she either takes total control or says fine, you take over. I don’t want to push or be pulled. I want us to work together as a team, which is never very easy.

    My reaction today was to calmly listen to her idea and agree to go over it once she has all the logistics worked out. Normally, the tug of war would have begun immediately. She even commented that she thought i would blow my stack when she presented her idea to me. Which tells me that she does know the things that tend to push my buttons.

    It’s amazing how, once I decided to take control of myself, I didn’t feel anxious, tense or angry at all. I simply realized that I can say no, I don’t want to be a part of this project if that’s the case. I don’t have to feel that I will be dragged along on the ride if she decides to do it on her own. I can be supportive without becoming involved.

    We don’t have a lot of free time and we can go a couple of weeks before we get any alone time. So, it always baffles me when she looks for projects that will take up any time we do have. But, I’ve decided to stop resisting. This project will only last a few months and if I decide to stay out of it, I can do something on my own – like reading. This is always a challenge when my girlfriend is around. If we’re both reading, she constantly interrupts me so she can read something to me that she finds fascinating. I finally gave up trying to read at the same time. LOL

    I think you’re right about counseling and she is willing to make that effort, so we will be doing that asap. But most of all, I think MY attitude is key. I plan on keeping my eyes and ears open, keeping my temper in check and acting like an adult.

    Even though it’s only been one day, I’m already starting to feel better about my girlfriend and myself. I think there is a good possiblity things can work out. We really do care a lot and love each other. I’d love to spend the rest of my life with her, but I’m also willing to walk away if we can’t get our act together.

    Thanks so much for providing this outlet. I hope I didn’t run on too long. But, you don’t know how much it’s helped. It’s hard to talk about these things with friends because they always want to take sides. I’m not looking to be right, I just want to have a good relationship with someone I love.

    thanks again Ladybeams… you’re a life saver. I’ll check in soon and let you know how things are going.

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