Is Your Passive Aggressive A Narcissist?

Like the fact that all of us at one time or another has probably done something passive aggressively as a defense mechanism to not do something we don’t want to do, or avoid conflict, etc. we each have a little bit of narcissistic behavior in us, which is considered to be healthy. It’s when either of these are taken to the extreme that we start to consider the fact that someone may have a personality disorder.

One of my readers (friend) recently has been doing a lot of research regarding her passive aggressive boyfriend, and mentioned the fact that she thought he was also a Narcissist. At first, my perception being that the two are extreme opposites, I thought that could hardly be the case. I decided to research the possibility myself to see if I indeed had the right idea of what a Narcissist even was. While it’s true that many have a grandiose picture of themselves due to overinflated egos, there is such a thing as a passive aggressive narcissist. I thought it would be interesting to compare the similarities between the two just to see how close they are and to see if I am living with one or both.


Cause- Usually defects in the quality of psychological nurturing provided, usually by the mother. Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents. Cause- may stem from a specific childhood stimulus (e.g., alcohol/drug addicted parents) in an environment where it was not safe to express

frustration or anger. (Lack in quality nurturing by either parent)

Severe emotional abuse in childhood Severe emotional abuse in childhood
Excessive praise for good behaviors or excessive criticism for poor behaviors in childhood Excessive criticism for poor behaviors in childhood
If a child does not receive sufficient recognition for their talents during about ages 3–7 they

will never mature and continue to be in the narcissistic early development stage.

If a child is never allowed to express himself, he will find other ways to take out his/her frustrations and anger, never learning appropriate coping skills.
difficult for such individuals to

work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements.

difficult for such individuals to

work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements.

adversely affect interpersonal relationships adversely affect interpersonal relationships

As you can see there are many strong similarities. According to Jeffrey Young, who coined the phrase “schema therapy” for a person to be diagnosed as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) they must meet 5 or more of the following symptoms:

Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents,

expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

* Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

* Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

* Requires excessive admiration

* Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

* Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

* Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

* Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

According to the book “Living With The Passive Aggressive Man” there are 11 traits possible:

* Ambiguity or speaking cryptically: a means of engendering a feeling of insecurity in others

* Chronically being late and forgetting things: another way to exert control or to punish.

* Fear of competition

* Fear of dependency

* Fear of intimacy as a means to act out anger: The passive aggressive often cannot trust.

Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone.

* Making chaotic situations

* Making excuses for non-performance in work teams

* Obstructionism

* Procrastination

* Sulking

* Victimization response: instead of recognizing one’s own weaknesses, tendency to blame others for own failures.

People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined. Does that not also sound like the passive aggressives we all know and try to love?

Last but not least, to the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others’ needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen.

It’s easy to see how these 2 personality disorders could be overlapping in one individual. So now what kind of strategy do you use? Is he/she a passive aggressive narcissist? Dealing with the passive aggressive was hard enough. LOL.


55 Responses

  1. Ladybeams – absolutely totally agree with you on this. I had done my own research on narcissism trying to understand my PA ex and am convinced that he was both. Particularly in the lack of empathy, inflated ego and the emotional age being fixed somewhere around 6. Of course my ex wouldnt agree!! But then that’s because he’s the victim and has such an inflated sense of self that this couldnt possibly be true!!!

    we know better though huh!

    I wrote here before when I was living with my husband and trying to tear myself away from what wasa toxic marriage. It was hard and terribly upsetting, but you know, we’ve been separated for 3 months now and my God I’m SO much happier!!! No tension, no eggshells, no lies, no manipulation, no snide digs at my children and my confidence has soared and my self esteem growing daily! I am the person I was before I met him again – and it feels fantastic! Wish I’d done it years ago!

    • Heather- Welcome back and thanks for the comment. I’m glad you found the post interesting. From different comments I’ve received in the past I think there may be a few passive aggressive narcissists out there.

      I am so happy for you that you broke free and are feeling so much better about life now. It’s amazing how good a lack of stress can feel, aye? So now, should you get involved in the future, you know what signs to look for and what to avoid, right? LOL.

      Love to hear from you. If you would like to share any of your story on what it took for you to finally get loose, I’m sure we’d all like to hear it. Maybe help some others wondering if they should stay or go. Take care and again, I am so happy for you. You sound terrific!

    • Are you worried about your children? Going thru a divorce right now and I don’t know if I can make it living together until it is over. Very worried these traits are going to take a toll on the kids or be picked up by them!

  2. Boy Ladybeams, you really know how to add insult to injury…LOL isn’t it enough to have a PA? Now we have to figure out if he is narcissistic as well…LOL just joking.
    I do see a bit of nacissisism in mine, and your post is very informative… but as Scarlet O’Hara said in Gone With the Wind…”I’ll think about that tomorrow”.
    Have a great day Ladybeams.

    • jmarie- LOL. I know, not fair is it? As I look at narcissists, sociopaths, etc. I think I’m learning why passive aggression doesn’t get it’s own, singular diagnosis any more. It seems to overlap with so many. Glad you found the post informative though. It’s amazing how so many things are similar on how someone gets to be the way they are.

      • Ladybeams,
        No it isn’t fair! But life isn’t fair at times. But just think of the challenge it is for a therapist to deal with the overlap…LOL It’s not my problem anymore.

        I am dealing with age, finances, buiding my strength, and knowing what I want for my future. Age is a big deterrent, finances are too. Only thing I can do is work on me first while staying in the relationship..! That is difficult! But living in it and working on the difficulties IS building me up, because I am learning so much about myself now.

        I have to fight right now and not flee, because it will only make me stronger and that is the ultimate goal- my strength. Do what is right for yourself FIRST. One good thing that you will have done is find just how strong you can become. Remember when you were strong? Get back to that place and be proud of it. Nurture the strength in yourself, not the affects of living with a PA.

        I agree that the psychology of PA is a multifacited problem. It is almost tooooo much to deal with, but I am facing facts now.

        The PA who gets help AND utilizes what they learn about themselves will only make it better for the relationship. Again, there’s the rub. It makes us all question whether or not they want to. But that can’t be a worry for us anymore because we will SEE it in time.

        The only way we will be able to know for sure is IF they change their behavior. AND we have to change ours too sometimes to support their change. Knowing ourselves to the deepest core, even though it is a hard pill to swallow, may be what we need most. I found some amazing things about myself that I was not proud of and changed them. Not one of us are perfect, but we can work at being better —basically for ourselves and our future.

        We can’t (for our sakes) just sit around and wait and let the PA affect us any more..we have to do what is right for us and to support these little children that have to grow up and be able to see life as it is, not how they want it to stay because they fear it.

        I will know in time if my PA, narcissist, sociopath -or what ever overlaps in his personality -will change himself. All the while I am getting stronger for me. Then a choice can be made. My choices now are because I know they are right for me and not just a spur of the moment decision without weighing all the facts and protecting myself.

        In any given situation facts are facts, needs are needs, and life is what it is. Putting all of it together is what we do for ourselves in our growth.
        God bless all who are growing and learning about themselves…Remember, the PA is on their own.

        • jmarie- Very good advice. There is another lady here who I’ve corresponded back and forth with, and she too has done a lot of retrospect concerning her own needs and values while trying to understand her boyfriend. Her basic idea was to learn more about why she hasn’t been able to let go of such a damaging relationship for her. She too is working at building her strength back, but as anything worth while, it takes time.

          You sound like your head is in a good place now. Thanks for sharing with us, offering up hope and encouragement for the way out.

  3. When I initially started to try to understand mine, the first thing I thought of was narcissism. He 100% surely has indicators of narcissism. His mother was an alcoholic and I belive emotionally abused him. He has an outsized fear of conflict with anyone female. He is amazingly self aggrandizing, even where it is not relevent. He constantly works into conversation his professional successes and is always name dropping and status dropping.

    • dmg- It makes sense to me. If his mother was an alcoholic, he probably was always vying for her attention. That kind of thing would certainly carry over to his adult life, needing to feel approval from those around him. It’s amazing to me that the narcissism can come either as an acting out of total insecurity, or just the opposite and being too secure because the parents never let real life affect the child. Two total opposite extremes of the spectrum. The common denominator being the abuse as a child when it comes to a narcissistic passive aggressive.

      Thanks for your comment. I think the two may overlap more than we realized. Mine however, is strictly passive aggressive. Modest to a fault, never thinks he’s worth anything, but I find it interesting to see how so many personality disorders intertwine.

  4. Ladybeams and all,
    I have taken the opportunity to write my book, if only to share the &%^ that goes on with your mind when living in a passive aggressive relationship. It’ incidious, cruel, and definitely not love that a PA gives us and is all based around their needs not “our” needs. I am still growing. I mean really, after 20 yrs of confusion (which I allowed to affect me) Who wouldn’t be taking their time to find a way to make life better for themselves.
    Self esteem is a terrible thing to lose. Regaining it is like learning to walk all over again. I’m a survivor however…That is one thing I KNOW about myself.

    My husband is still going to therapy; not often enough, in my opinion, and only 10% improvement so far in 7 months. It’s been about 3months since my book was submitted to publish, so I have learned a lot more since then. A whole lot more!! Understanding all of this about PA is part of my growth. Still, we face many questions when it comes to staying or leaving the PA. We need to know the answers and the answers lie within us.

    Anyone living with a PA narcissist can expect it to take a very long time for him to see past his own nose when it comes to treating others with the respect that they deserve. They don’t see the world beyond their own world of selfishness, anger and fear. So my motto now is “Lead, follow, or get out of my way”.

    What life gives me, is my responsibility. I am trying to focus on what it is I want, how to get there and all the while detaching my emotions from the “dream” of this relationship ever being “normal”. Acceptance of that is a huge step, but it poses many questions. I’m trying to answer some of those questions and many of them are about myself. And, if I don’t know myself, how will I even begin to know where I’m going.

    • jmarie- Thanks so much for your comment. Reading it I would have to say is both enlightening and uplifting. You truly sound as though you are making the most out of the journey. I have to say, good for you! TIISG ‘Turn it into something good’ sounds like your motto also.

      I know that it’s hard to be patient with therapy, but you have so much headed in the right direction. For one, after 7 months I can’t hardly believe he is still going. LOL. That in itself is a big plus. Second, you said his therapist does recognize he is PA, so he hasn’t manipulated the therapist yet, and he’s still going. LOL. I would say even a 10% improvement has moved you ahead of most. Out of all the comments I get here, once the therapist is on to the PA and gives them little “assignments” to work on, they quit. I hope that he keeps progressing as it sounds like he really is interested in keeping you.

      I’m curious, does he know about your books? Has he read them? My BF as far as I know, knows nothing of my blog.

      • Ladybeams,
        Your curiosity is well founded and I will try to explain.
        YES, He knew I was writing my book. One Positive thing he did NOT do is try and stop me (by getting angry, telling me I shouldn’t do it, or acting like a baby because I was writing it). He works from fear, as all PA’s do, and I wondered how he would respond to my book once he read it.
        I wrote it because it was what I experienced. I wasn’t going to write it to protect him. That would be rescuing him from the TRUTH of our relationship. And YES, he was the 1st to get a copy! He read it. His reading style is that of skimming through and not truly reading and thinking about the words. It has always been that he doesn’t look deeply into anything. That would be too hard for him. He wants only to let others do the difficult things for him.
        The first words he said to me after reading it was: “I would understand if you wanted to divorce me.” I commented. “that would be an easy way out for you, wouldn’t it; to NOT try to help the relationship and yourself and just give up on all that could be good?” Of course I got no answer or comment from him…just silence.
        That got me to thinking…and thinking a lot ….actually by him saying that, I know that he doesn’t really want to try very hard, no matter how much he says he does. I think I mentioned his words have to match his actions ….well they surely have this time!
        It made me realize regardless of how much on a daily basis he “tells” me he is trying to change, so long as I do not see it…He is only using words to manipulate me into believing he is trying.
        Yes, 10% improvement is good, and going to see the counselor is good, but he has been known to fool a lot of people into believing a lot of things..and I just wonder if he has found a new way to manipulate his counselor.
        In my book I mention he used an excuse of not hearing me for a year…..until one day he went to have his hearing rechecked (I was present this time) and his hearing was perfect! Wow! That was a real eye-opener to me. I wonder how many other things he has lied about to other people as well? Or how much it has cost them dealing with him and the inconsistancies he produces.
        You think that going to therapy is good and so do I, don’t get me wrong, but what do you think about a person who takes his medicine only when he wants to rather than when he needs to and continues to do this and lies to his doctors that he has been “a good boy”. His consequence will be his health. That is really sad for him.
        As all PA’s manipulate situations to fit what they want; to lie, to find the easy way out of life by not speaking about it, and letting others handle life’s serious side while they just play…We can only watch and wonder .. WHY. It is shallow not to not take on the responsibilities of life for yourself. It makes me wonder –if he can’t do it for himself…surely he cannot handle caring for another, can he?
        His counselor/therapist doesn’t give him assignments that I know of…Correction, he did in the beginning, but my PA didn’t do them and always wanted me to figure them out for him. At first I fell for it…the “teaching” thing that is. (Exactly as a parent who would help with their children’t homework. Some parents actually DO the homework for them..That doesn’t help the child think for themselves and figure out problems, dig deeper for answers, ask questions, and become a thinking, problem solving person. You have to teach them how to think for themselves- not “Do” it for them.)
        Now I have stopped teaching. It isn’t my job.
        This isn’t easy , but life isn’t either. I will TIISG in time. I can’t do it for him…only me.

        • jmarie – I identify with absolutely everything you have said about your PA. My ex husband is textbook. Even when I kicked him out he wanted me to do all the work in terms of mending our marriage and did nothing but run away. In the end, I realised that I just couldnt fix it on my own and asked for a divorce and then boy did I get the victim mode kick in. ‘You asked me for a divorce!’ he threw at me like a hurt child when I wanted to discuss it – regardless of the fact that he had been having sexual contact with an ex student of mine and lied to me for year and then refused to communicate with me or face up to the consequences and try and mend the marriage. I was trying so hard to reach out, even though it was me who was the victim in reality, but he punished me for making him leave and now he’s punishing me for asking for a divorce. Poor old him! And now he’s also back to the lying – this time aboiut how much money he hasnt got so that he ‘can’t’ pay his debts that go out of our joint account, some of which are, of course, in my name as I was mummy as he couldnt get credit. And on it goes, even though we are apart.

          But you know, I am so glad I had the strength from somewhere to do this. I’m not reading on eggshells anymore, not wondering how much lying is going on, not frightened, not trying to bring up 3 boys AND him, not having to be worried in case he disapproves or throws a caustic glance, not having to put up with broken promises and not having to deal with the endless ‘victimisation’ he underwent on a daily basis. Of course the downside is I have lost the man I love more than anything. But it wasnt enough and I have gained a LIFE.

          The next man I meet will have to complete a checklist of PA and narcissistic traits before I go anywhere near him!!! They sap the life blood out of you. My ex very very nearly destroyed me as a person. People in my village have hardly recognised me since we separated – they say I look happy and stunning and is this a new Heather?? I say its the old Heather returned. As for my ex – I have to see him to hand over our son, which I hate, and whilst it still hurts to see him come through thed door and for a second I feel as though he’s ‘home’ and life is back to normal – I then realise that ‘normal’ was horrendous and thank God he goes away again!!

          • Heather- My heart goes out to you as I know you still love him very much. You didn’t wait until you were so bitter and resentful that all you had left for him was hate, as so many people do. At the same time I have to say how proud I am of you for taking the steps to make things right for you and your children, and for taking life on again on your own terms, not his. I know it isn’t always easy, but in the long run for how much better you’re feeling and the compliments your getting, you must know deep in your heart it was the best decision.

            Thank you so much for sharing your comment and giving everyone a glimpse of hope.

        • jmarie- LOL. I had to laugh when you said about him “not hearing me for a year”. I’ve always said that a man that’s been married at least once is deaf in one ear. Not the kind of deaf you would find on a machine that measures, but the kind of deaf where they have basically learned to “tune out’ the wife. My BF told me he couldn’t hear to well either when we first got together, but during the “TV Wars” where he was turning the volume down as far as he possibly could and still hear it, made me realize differently. He just brought that to the table as a built in excuse.

          It’s interesting knowing your hubby read your book and then had that for a reply. I would have probably taken that as an “out”, although I can see where it may suck me back in thinking “he finally really gets it”.

          I understand about the “teaching”. My BF is over 60 yrs. old. It’s time he started thinking, problem solving, himself.

          Thank you once again for the comments. Hope you’re having some luck with your book. Good case studies are a great way to learn.

    • Hi Jmarie and Everyone,

      It is my belief that my husband is both passive aggressive and extremely narcissistic. He is the youngest of 15 children, who grew up with an alcoholic, fully empoyed and widowed mother. He was raised among teenagers and they all learned to fill her sherry glass. I remember being there as a teenager, wondering why she never asked me. He also could make martini’s the way she liked at age 9 or 10.

      I wish I knew this information long ago, because I would have trained myself to be differnt around him. I suspect my daughter is getting some of it and that worries me. His personality is so much stronger and now that he has separated us, he is “fun dad” that she pays so much attention to and even mimics.

      He can be very immature and has been caught in a long term affair, with a woman my age and a child our daughter’s age, by the way he was this age-10-when his father died.

      There is some really fascinating psychology in his and our story and I think I’ve written some of it before.

      He thinks his affair is more real than his marriage and I work so hard to basically ignore what I can and “work on me”, but I only found out two months ago and there are so many triggers.

      He blames everything on me, picks fights and storms out. He is unemployed and was always mad at some employees, other men, who were upset when he took the glory for work tasks that were completed well. He lost two jobs in two years, one really professional, suit, tie, Audi, cell phone, office suite, employees and all and I think it was the self-image that he sought all his life. SInce then he began to change, grew sulky, secretive, very distant.

      He has every single trait on the narcissist lists as well as the p/a list and counters anything I try to say!

      His mother would only buy Volvos, would only have a giant house, would only buy Waterford crystal and a steinway and if you have the money that’s great, but i think he grew up believing that anything but the highest end brands were not good enough. Now with him being unemployed, he can’t support that image, so I suspect that’s part of this affair? I have read sometimes people have them for ego purposes?

      Sorry to be so long-winded, I could write about it all day.

      I was detatched from him in the fall, but over the holidays he created a false reconcilliation and I was very duped-again. I am back into first stages of grief and mourning and with all the knowledge I have about what he has really been doing, still struggle-I think it is with the image he made of himself for me?

      I met him at 18 and fell for him the first day I saw him. it’s 20 years later and oh-so-toxic, but to give up dreams of growing old, this house we built…all at once…it’s profoundly overwhelming.

      Thank you.

      • rouge13- So sorry to hear about the affair. As if the way victims of passive aggressives are treated isn’t bad enough, it seems like an affair is just the ultimate betrayal. Believe it or not, in time you’ll be glad he’s her problem and not yours anymore.

        As far as your daughter starting to mimic him and drawing closer to him because he’s the “fun dad”, it is so important that you stay as close to your daughter as you can right now. Try to get in plenty of “you and her” time (I’m sure grammatically I screwed that up, but you know what I mean. LOL). Try to discuss with her about proper and improper behavior in a relationship of any kind (e.g. lieing vs. truth). Teaching her about not taking abuse, mental or physical, from anyone, that she’s worth more than that. Good luck. It’s hard sometimes when you’re always having to play the bad guy, the disciplinarian.

        You talking about him sucking you in again over the holidays and having to start the detaching all over again is exactly what I was talking about regarding Valentine’s Day. It’s like an open invitation to them to suck us in and spit us out all over again. Hopefully it won’t be that hard this time since you have been through it before. Yes, it is hard to let go of living “happily ever after”, but that obviously wasn’t working for you already. The house, etc. are just things that you can get back, maybe even better in the future. The main thing is for you and your daughter to come through this with as little total damage as possible. Give you both for a chance at a “happy home” regardless of where it is.

        Feel free to come back and write as much as you want anytime, rogue13. That’s what we’re here for, to laugh, cry, rant, rave, and encourage each other along the way.

        • Thank you, Ladybeams.

          I suspect it’s the image he made of himself for me and the dreams of the future that are so hard to let go of now? I also realize that a lot of our “trouble” was fights that he almost picked, or problems that were mine that drove him nuts over the years, supposedly, that he never talked about til he felt free to leave. He could never face me to my face and cannot tolerate conflict, yet now has made the biggest conflict of his life!

          Do you or any others here believe in the “affair fog” theories? I go back and forth on that one and can’t wait for it to end. Not for me, but for him to realize it is not real but fantasy.

          P/A people amaze me because they do not choose to understand the things they do, but all of us do, don’t we? He is also extreme narcissist and fights with me if I have to wait on a plan he wants with our daughter or can’t immediately say yes to his latest wish.

          I think the affair was about revenge, am 99% sure of it, and he will even say that he didn’t think of any “consequences”, he just did it.

          Our daughter has that impulsivity and I think I have some of it, too, but would know enough not to let it hurt anyone.

          They are lessons for life that we learn from people of this nature, aren’t they? I will certainly never forget.

          It also amazes me now to hear the lies he tells other people. Most times I smile now to hear them, because he thinks he is fooling everyone, but is truly not.

          He had a hard life though not from poverty so much. He grew up without a father after age 10 and his mother taught him to make martinis around the same age.

          His family is an amazing group of people, with fifteen of them all so similar. Alcholism is rampant and divorce as well, or people never married but together with SO’s. The amount of codependents is astounding. I actually made a ist and it’s amazing to see that each and every sibling he has chose a very codependent person, also with alcholism or depression. That reseearch really helps me during down times and makes me wonder about the other divorces in the family and what really happened behind closed doors

          Every week I learn a new secret and I have known him for 20 years. It is a stunning thing.

        • I believe my husband of nearly 30 years is a passive agressive narcissist. About 3 years ago, I was diagnosis with ADD, and am taking my meds like my life depends on it (because it does!).

          It’s so easy for a narcrcissit to manipulate and control a spouse with ADD spouse, is like taking candy from a baby! Now that I’m taking my meds, it’s a different story.

          One of the really great things about having ADD, is that it causes you to become creative in dealing with life (because focus won’t get you where you want to be). So I’ve been thinking of a creative way to “deal” with the reality of my situation.

          I know my husband lives in a false reality. The pain of living with him is generated by my desire to live in a life of conventional reality with him. I’ve come to accept that he will never live a honest moral life in conventional reality. This just isn’t going to happen for us.

          To be frank, there are benefits (not necessities) from maintaining a good relationship him, as defined by him, that I want to continue to enjoy.

          I’ve decided to keep my sanity, stop fighting his reality and let him believe the lies he wants to believe. I reinforce the reality he wants to believe with my words (not my actions) because that’s the only level of relationship he really wants or can sustain with me. I basically do what he’s does to me, only this makes him “happy”.

          Since I don’t actually believe or live in the false reality he lives in , I can keep my sanity. This makes life much more peaceful.

          I know this is manipulation, and most people would consider any form of manipulation evil. I believe I truely love the man, even if he cannot truely love me. I also believe I want what’s best for both of us, and this route seems to give us both what we feel is in our best interest.

          Who knows, maybe someday he will wake up, and actually want to live in the real world? I’d be the first one there to welcome him aboard.

          In his current state he is so child like, he will always need someone to watch over him in ways he will never grow into. For these services rendered, I allow myself the benefits that come from what he perceives to be a “happy” relationship with me.

          I am taking care of myself, have removed any dependancies I’ve had on him, and keep an eye on my moral compass to keep the benefits I receive from this maniuplating of him “in line” with what would naturally flow from a truely “good” marriage.

          Do not be over come by evil, but over come evil with good.

          • Hi Kelso- Welcome. We all have to find our own ways of coping and it sounds as if you have your situation in hand. Good for you. Thanks for sharing.

      • I know what you mean when you say I met him at 18 and fell for him the first day and now it is 20 years later.
        For me it is 24 no actually 34 years because we dated for 10 before marrying. At first I thought my husbands actions were due to his terrible upbringing. My husband came from a very poor family while my was more upper middle class.
        I did fall in love with my husband the first day I saw him but we were much younger. I saw him at JC Penney with the JC group who bought underprivilaged children winter clothes. I was at the store with my mother and saw my husband hanging back from the group. When he later moved into my neighborhood I was shocked. We dated or shall I say messed around in high school. He was a sophomore I was a senior. I got pregnant and he was the father but did not allow himself to be seen as our sons father but dutifully took care of all of the duties of being a father all at the age of 18. Our son was born three days before his 18th birthday. Anyways at my age of 30 we got married and began our life. Since we had been friends before marriage everything seemed ok. Throughout our lives we had our ups and downs but never like the 24th year of our marriage. In August of 2012 I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure,. My husband dutifully stood by me at first but then became angry at having to go to all of the drs appts with me. In February 2013 he started coming to me and crying and saying that I should have married someone else and that I deserved a better husband. I didn’t understand why he was talking like that. That behavior continued on and off. My husband works nights and in May I noticed he was spending more time at work. In June he did not come home by 4:00 a.m. so I decided to play a trick on him and leave the house and check into a hotel so that when he got home he would know what it was like to wonder where your loved one was. Little did I know that I would be checking into the same hotel where my husband was sleeping with his mistress. Needless to say you all know what happened. We were working on our marriage so I thought until Sept 2013 when I noticed he was not accepting my advances. A man called my house and told me that his wife and my husband were having an affair. My husband was standing behind me while this man told me and after I got off the phone I tried to play it off but my husband knew I knew. I asked him how long and he said a month after you found out about the first. I was just starting to be myself again when I was hit with the second affair. I went into a tailspin and I honestly believe I had a mental or emotional breakdown because to this day things are still distorted but getting better.
        I don’t think my husband ever gave a crap as to how I would feel nor did he consider that I would basically loose it the second time around but I do believe he was paying me back for finding out about the first one and calling him on it,. with the second affair.
        I never knew my husband could be so cold and calculating. I am devastated. I have recently begun to look into the Passive Aggressive behavior and see so much of my husband. I am lost.

  5. Every needs a little passive aggressives in their lives…

  6. Heather,
    Bless you for knowing what you needed and telling him to leave….but most of all for saving your boys of the constant influence from him. I’m sorry he blames you even for the decisions you make which are wise and good for you.

    You are perhaps much younger than I am. I no longer have any children at home and haven’t had for many years. If you want my honest opinion, I feel any woman who has children must protect them from the influences of a PA if the PA won’t seek help and change. My only need now is to rescue myself. No one else is coming to rescue me.

    Today I announced to my husband that I no longer will Manage, Rescue, or Teach him how to be a better man. It is up to him. That is what had to be done for my growth. I will still tell him how he makes me feel when he does something passive aggressive, but when he continues to do the same things and doesn’t take me seriously…he will be without me sooner than he thinks.

    I know exactly what you mean when you say you lost the man you loved. But we all need to know what we can handle and what we can’t. I’m still trying to determine that, because mine is getting counseling.

    I wish for your new life all the happiness that you can make for yourself.

    I loved the way you said you will have a checklist for the next man..It is important to know why you picked the one you left. Once you know that about yourself, it should be easier to pick well next time…but I do like the idea of a checklist!! GRIN! Your relationship WASN’T normal, neither is mine. It is good to hear that you have such self acceptance and know what you need.

    Enjoy the peace in your life. I know what you mean when you say people think you are different now, but really you are now who you were before the relationship. Savor it, enjoy it and be happy.

    As for me, I am in a process right now which is a multi-leveled form or growth. As for my PA…who knows whether he will grow or not. He’s on his own to do it for himself.

  7. Hello and thank you all for your heartfelt comments. This has really been an eye opener for me and it helped me realize, that I am not alone or …….CRAZY! I too, have been with a narcissistic PA, on and off for 13 yrs. and we have 1 child together. I have tried leaving him over a thousand times and tried to move on, only to find myself taking him back! He can be so great at first, then, back to his old self. I went through hell and back so many times with this man. So much pain, confusion, lack of self worth, insults, degradation, and on and on, from this so called relationship, that my health was rapidly spiraling down. My friends would tell me I looked tired all the time, and they would notice I was a walking time bomb, about to explode from having to walk on eggshells, holding back my anger, frustrations, suspicions, doubts, and not be able to do anything about it. I just turned 40 and my hair is falling out, I have lots of wrinkles, my face is sunken in and I have the skeleton face, yet my body is overweight, I have dark circles and bags under my eyes from all the crying and worrying. My jowls have extra skin that sags down my cheeks and when I look down, I feel like an old woman. On top of that, I have trouble with my weight and cannot stop eating sweets!! Needless to say, I was falling apart!

    I had suspicions that he was always out cheating on me, while I stayed home with my little one. Bt I never really had the proof. I kept forgiving him when I would question him about it and he always came up with a good excuse for where he was and why he wouldnt answer his phone at 4 am! Oh and what didn’t help with this matter is that he has to work at night, as he owns topless bars and restaurants. He always gave me a hard time bc I was always against his topless bars. I don’t know how I managed to get myself caught up in his web, as I am the complete opposite of him. He is an alcoholic…and I have never taken a drink in my life, he smokes….I never have, he never goes to church….I go every Sunday and Wed. w/our child. Nevertheless, I have always been a believer in Jesus Christ, and one would think why doesnt God help her? Well He would and as soon as I would start to feel better, get back on my feet, and would move on with my life. My ex would come around again, singing the same pretty lil song, all over again! And what would I do? I would feel sorry for him and I guess, for myself too, bc I would think that I didn’t want to be alone for the rest of my life. And so after doing this a million times, thinking that this time was going to be different. I would get reeled back in again and again.

    While together and everything was beautiful, he would promise me has never cheated on me or sneak around on me. Much less talked to any of the strippers while he is working or checking on his business. But I still had my suspicions. And I am here to tell you that I was right all along! One day, we were out of town and staying at his condo and I noticed he wasnt sleeping with his phone in his hands. So I thought I would txt him to see where he had hidden it. I found it in one of his pant pockets in the closet. I helped myself to it and read a conversation he had 2weeks ago by txt and he she was telling him, she was glad they had met and all the attention he was giving her. Oh and that she accepted his offer. He had offered her to be his sugar daddy! He would help her with her bills and in return she would give him sex, sexual favors, escort him to luncheons, functions, whatever he needed and wanted!!! My jaw dropped! I couldn’t believe it! And it wasnt bc I was withholding sex either, he always said, his antidepressant medication has lowered his libido substantially! Well, I had all the proof I needed, to finally be able to let go. I started to put the pieces together from all those years of not knowing. The not knowing was eating me up alive more than anything. He was so good at hiding it, as most PA’s are known to do. So upon discovering all the symptoms of a PA and reading all the other women’s comments, I was convinced this was happening from the very beginning. I now had the closure that I so needed. I’m not sure if it was love or if you can even love a PA or is it just that we are starving for their affection and attention. Bt whatever I felt for him will probably always be there, but I am now forcing myself to go through all the steps of healing from losing a loved one. Yes, as in death. In order for me to heal and not take him back. I had to pretend he was dead in my heart and let go.

    One more thing, if I hadn’t cried out to God, I wouldnt have had the courage, strength, confidence, or self-esteem to leave him once and for all. However, it is still challenging for me, bc when he comes over to pick up our child, he is constantly smiling at me and telling me he loves me soo much. And keeps sending me these amorous txts that I just ignore. God Bless everyone who is still trying to get away from that hell hole. All I can say is seek God and continue to seek him with all your heart! Stay Strong Sisters! Thank you for reading…

    • Survivor- And yes you are, a “survivor” I mean. You are on your way! I’m sorry for the way it had to come about, but I’m happy for you.

      It always amazes me how many women have a “sixth sense” when it comes to their man cheating on them, but not all of us are lucky enough to find closure by being able to prove it. On one hand it’s one of the biggest betrayals in a marriage. On the other hand, if you’ve known in your heart it’s going on but haven’t been able to prove it, at first it’s one of life’s biggest “Aha!” moments. “you son of a gun, you’re going to get it now!” and then reality sets in that you have to deal with it somehow. I think you really know at that moment how deep your self-respect has sunk if you let him get away with it.

      As far as God, it’s my opinion that you will never have a better ally when the devil is working to get you. I find a lot of strength in God’s promises to me.

      Please, do let us know how you’re doing. If you need someone to “talk” to (LOL) we’re here.

    • Omg Survivor, my heart goes out to you. My PAN was done with me before we really got started, after 3 years of waiting … your story makes me realize how lucky I was. Good luck to you. Be strong, you deserve so much better.

  8. What an amazing thing the internet is! To find fellow people dealing with their passive aggressive narcissistic spouses.
    I am married (second time) for six years and things are falling apart.
    My first marriage was to a sex-addict and I went to 12 step meetings and therapy for years so I don’t marry another addict! Yet, here I am in another marriage who profiles an addict in most aspects of behavior, denying reality, no empathy, no amends, gaslighting, etc, yet he has no “vice” to point to. Just a narcissistic father whom he hates and a codependent mother who sat quietly by.
    And here I am, good codependent, trying desperately to get him to see my point of view, hear my feelings, admit when he has behaved in a way that caused me pain. Yet, as someone above said, he can’t see past his own nose …….They don’t see the world beyond their own world of selfishness, anger and fear. Looking back on these five years, I see that I have been the vehicle to express his anger and it feels awful. I am recognizing that he creates this chaos whenever we are having an issue so that I get so upset that we NEVER address the underlying issue. And I have been allowing this to happen.
    I am working on noticing MY part, that I actually continue to defend myself (to him directly or even just in my head) against the insanity he presents. I am working on my self-worth and knowing and being comfortable with what I experienced and heard, regardless of the distortions he presents. Yet I am aware that I continue to feel compelled to get him to understand what the “reality” is.
    But when I do that, I am clearly not prioritizing my own needs, beliefs and wants, I keep foolishly trying to “get him to understand” the effects and consequences of his behavior. To get that amends, empathy or apology and the accompanying validation. Which will never come. My mantra is “no expectations” but I know I am still expecting a lot. Progress not perfection.
    Its time to make an amends to myself, to stop asking a tree for a hug.
    Awareness, acceptance, action. I am still working on the awareness piece. And it’s hard. Reading all these posts and what has been known about the PA-N, its not very uplifting if my goal is to keep my family together. As a good PA, he has not yet initiated divorce proceedings, he just avoids everything to provoke me into action. And for now, I am back on the recovery train and working to focus on MY life and not on a mission to get HIM to “get it.” as the good codependent that I tend to be.

    • Allycat- Hi, good to hear from you. Sorry to hear you stepped from the frying pan into the fire, so to speak. No offense intended.

      It does sound like you’re making progress though. Despite what people think, once you recognize the problem is you are living with a passive aggressive, the next step really is to recognize what you’re doing or not doing to promote the passive aggressive behavior. It sounds like you are getting a good handle on it.

      If you get a chance, just from the things that you’ve said, you might want to see if there is an “assertiveness training” class somewhere close to you. Sometimes they have them through the county mental health dept., sometimes through the local “adult ed”, sometimes through the parks and recreation dept. in your town or city. I still say some 30 yrs. later, that that was probably one of the best classes I ever took for my own well being. (I could stand to take it again. LOL) Assertiveness is definitely not the same as aggressiveness, but it does teach you very simply how to state what you will and will not stand for, what you expect, etc. I thought it was great! I still use it on my mother at times when she’s trying to make me feel guilty to get her way. LOL.

      You are right about the outlook being a little glum if you are hoping for a change, or for him to finally ‘see the light’. Most of the time, even when they do they put it back under a cloud. The only thing I can tell you is even with “help”, they rarely ever really change. They do things to appease for the moment if they feel threatened, but as soon as you are back in arms length, it’s back to the same old thing. I wish I could offer you a lot more hope, but the only hope I can see is getting on with life and hoping not to be miserable in the future. If you read through a lot of these comments, many of these women have been with their spouses for over 30 yrs. and they are not one lick happier today than they were when things started to go bad.

      Please, stay in touch and let us know how you’re doing. Keep building new friendships, and support, without him, and I hope you have a little “Self Esteem File” that you can go back to to remind you how special you are. Don’t beat yourself up. It takes time, especially when you’re having to let go of someone you love.

  9. Back around 2005 or so PA was taken out of the DSM-V and folded into NPD. Trying to find the data on that but I remember, at the time, thinking it was right on.

  10. My Mother is a PA Narcissist. They go well together believe me.

    A completely self-centered person who makes everyone serve them and pay when they don’t act as expected… I finally had to draw a complete line and say stop or we are not going to continue interacting in this life.

    What have you all done to cope with such people?

  11. After much searching I’ve finally been able to understand what was going on with my husband (soon to be ex, we’re separated). I suspected for years he was a narcissist, but there was the “nice guy image” that the whole world saw. The shunning that was a big one for him. There’s one thing I’m curious about though. I’ve noticed that I’m often accused of certain behaviours that he exhibits himself. Assumes I’m always lying (he’s a pathological liar), that I’m hiding things from him (he buys stuff and hides it in the basement), I don’t finish what I start (I’m completing my masters, he didn’t finish high school and he never finishes a project). He also turns my positive qualities into negative ones: I like to plan and organize = I’m impatient; I like to voluteer = showing off; I graduated with honours and received several awards = I want people to know how much better I am then them. I went back to school for myself, I had to do it. I didn’t go to my graduation ceremony and if I didn’t have to attend an awards ceremony, then I didn’t go because I find that kind of attention embarassing. I’m uncomfortable with praise, common theme among N survivors. When I kicked him out this huge weight was gone, I thought I would feel more scared but I feel great.

    • We have no idea the burden that abusive people are and what tremendous drain they are on our energy… so sad that we are ones who choose people who will not appreciate us and make our lives a joy… that is our work to unravel and improve on.

  12. Thank you all for posting all these comments. They’ve been tremendously helpful and have given me so much insight into this behavior. I’ve had a PA-N BF for almost two years now. I “guess” we’re done now as I haven’t heard from him in about a month. In the beginning of our relationship, I kept trying to figure him out because he always kept me “off balance” by never giving me a straight answer about anything…but he made me laugh and picked on me “jokingly” all the time. Since I’d been divorced for 7 years at the time (I had been married 21 years prior to my divorce) I met him and hadn’t really dated much, I felt like my being “off balance” was because I was just out of the loop of things. But as things progressed, I knew things weren’t right and I couldn’t pin point why. (PS I am a codependent, alcoholic parents, father attempted suicide twice and accomplished it on the third attempt when I was 11) With that said, I’m fairly boringly normal.

    My first clue that something was amiss was that he was never interested in sex, although he talked about it all the time…but it was always when he chose. He always had an excuse why he didn’t want it, tired, ate too much, sore throat…I mean…really? I thought it was me, like I read other posts…I kept thinking…I’m too fat (although I work out all the time and really am not)or I’m not pretty enough, he just doesn’t desire me…my self esteem plummeted…and I’d worked so hard after my divorce to build it back up. There were so many times that he would just turn away from me and ignore me…I’ve been “shut-out” so many times, and when I would try to reason with him and find out why he shut me out, he would just say that was the way he’d always been and dismiss me. He would say he wanted to be with me, but his actions spoke differently. Like many others said above, I tried to end things with him on numerous occasions…the first time I sent an email to him because I could never find the perfect time to talk as I said before, when I tried to have a serious conversation with him about how I felt, he would derail that…so anyway, I sent a very “nice” note to him, thanking him for bringing me out of my shell from my divorce and making me want to date again…I said I understood he had a number of issues he was dealing with and a romantic relationship might not be on his agenda…I said that I was ready to date and hoped he would work out his issues, blah blah blah. I heard not one word from him after that. I felt horrible and never wanted to hurt him, but I just knew that our relationship was “toxic”. I got a call from a good friend of his a few months later, fishing, for information on why I left…this friend of his set us up initially and she had known me for over two decades so I don’t think she really bought into his excuse. When we got together, she told me he was telling (people I work with) that I was mean and angry and had broken up with him via text and midnight one night. Now, I’m nothing if not thorough…I whip out my blackberry at the time and show her the email I sent him…she read it and said…wow…that is NOT what he is saying, but I guess that is how he processed it. Long story short, we got back together…broke up, got back together…(I always did the breaking up as he never said a work and acted like I was the one who was crazy, and I was beginning to think I was…I just wanted a reaction or something!) This last time though, there was never really a break-up…he just shut me out. The last time I saw him, he basically dismissed me at the end of the night…with a smile though…
    I keep telling myself, maybe it will be “the end” if it was his choice and like all before me in this forum, I know I’m a happier person without him as he brought nothing positive to my life…I just want to thank all of you who’ve contributed…I started looking up PA disorders after my daughter mentioned (she is a college student currently taking a psych class) he sounded like he was PA….This forum AND the internet have been a God sent blessing as I know I’m not crazy…

    I have no other point LOL…just wanted to vent with people who actually understand and I have so much admiration for all of you who have endured this for so many years…

  13. I so desperately need to belong to this group. I recently broke off quite a long texting affair with a PA Narc and boy can I tell you it exists and the two co-habitate perfectly. The affair was borne out of horrible loneliness in my marriage with another PAN!! I am now in alanon, committed to staying away from men outside of my marriage and now that I am sitting with this man I’m married to, I’ve already told him not to come home to me and my two very young boys. The clarity of my husband’s danger both to me and my sons is crystal clear. He’s so wrapped up in himself that he let’s the boys run into streets, leaves knives and pizza cutters out on tbe playroom floor, and of course although he co-parents them with me, I am hypervigilant about how he cares for them. So I never feel calm. He treats our home as if he’s a college freshman, can live in total chaos, dirt and disirganization, he takes no stands with our sons, preferring to ‘reason’ with them rather than lay down the law, he has inconsistent habits with money, no saving skills, no proaction with our family. I guess he’s heads and tails above most men being a good father, but lastnight when I came home to his clothes all over the floor, watched him playing angry birds on the computer with my five year old at 9:15 pm when my son was falling over asleep, I lost it on him!! He also will stay up on his computer for hours rather than seeking to be alone with me. Twenty years of mo passion, passivity in the bedroom, a castrating mother who committed verbal incest with him and a cruel, belittling narc father. He will never get better. I know I have to go. I’m just SO tired, so scared.

  14. There are definitely PA Narcissists out there. I was married to one for 2 years and none of this really occurred to me until he abandoned me, while pregnant, just recently on May 9th. I’m going through a divorce now and while my daughter isn’t even born yet, I’m doing everything I can to keep her away from his toxic behaviors. I have done so much research about mental issues and the possibility of him suffering from one since I know that his mother is Bipolar Schizophrenic. I’ve come to the conclusion that he may be a Passive Aggressive Narcissist but also may be Borderline Psychologically Manipulative. Either way, I am done being abused and want nothing more than to prove his incompetence in parenting this little girl. Any advice?
    Thanks 🙂

  15. So sorry. These people do not change, no amount of help from anyone can change someone who doesn’t find anything wrong with themselves,only their partner, the only thing that changes is time and your perception of yourself. They will not change. I stood and made a vow to my Father that I would do my dead level best. I don’t know what he vowed too, it wasn’t me. After years of believing something was wrong with me, years of dealing with suicidal thoughts,[ I couldn’t bear the idea of my dear children being raised by either my mom or his] neither one worth a tinker’s damn at it, my strength my Dad dead, I had to continue I had to survive- when the mind games were redirected at my kids instead of me, it hit the fan. I hadn’t been able to defend myself but they were kids and couldn’t defend that kind of assault. I threw him out and despite threats to kill me and himself, he didn’t, though he did try and failed to shoot me. I survived, my kids survived and he drank himself to death. His threat to dance on my grave is somewhat out of the question now. Please for your own sake and the sake of your children get away any way you can and stay away. I DID my best, I kept my vows BUT you CAN NOT do that ALONE, and THEY WILL NOT change!

  16. my PA is a definite PA, especially below the surface (as far as i know), but since he was raised by the WORST NARCISSIST I HAVE EVER MET, most of his actions come out as if he is a narcissist as well. is it possible that being raised by a narcissist is the cause of his PA nature, and the narcissism i’m seeing is a learned action from his father rather than HIS internal reaction?

  17. Any advice on dealing with a passive aggressive narcissist sister-in- law? She ignores me and my parents, isolates herself, and makes my niece choose between us and her. My brother is powerless in this situation.

  18. This is EXACTLY my x bf (and bff). He was both, for sure. By far, the worst PA I’ve encountered. We finally broke up for the 100th time on 12/15. He took his new gf to Tampa for New Year’s and the Outback Bowl less than 2 weeks later. He was already flirting up a storm with her on FB the week following our breakup. When confronted about this, he denied it, said she was engaged or getting engaged and then got mad at me. Less than 30 days after we last had sex, he has probably already jumped in the sack with his new gf. Already introduced him to his friends bythe 27th of December. He has no soul, heart or conscience. I am into my 4th relationship with a P.A., each one getting worse. Had he not done the same thing to his last gf and cheated on his x wife, I would think I was the one with a problem. I am hurt, bitter, lost, ill, resentful, and hopeless. I have been reading and reading, trying to educate myself and yes, this is much too quiet of a subject. Unless you’ve lived it, you don’t understand it. I will write more tomorrow as it is late and I’m tired. I need to sleep when I can. I am physically ill because of this. I, too, hope to create my own website to educate and help others in this situation. I intend to post a link to this site. I will say, the first 3 P.A.’s were not NEARLY as bad as this last. I think it is because the narcissist is added in.

  19. I have been with my p.a for 12 years now and married for 6yrs. I realised he was p.a when i tried to get help on the internet. I was feeling desperate after a 3 day ongoing battle to try and tell him how his behaviour makes me feel. Our traits are both very steriotypical. My husband will punish me underhandedly and remain looking like the perfect innosent. I feel like im going crazy, i have changed myself so may times to see if it will make things better, but it never does. I have turned myself inside out upside down and cowarded to his behaviour. His family think that i am crazy because he is a master of turning it into my problems. He never ever takes me out or buys me gifts, he will promise to do something special, then cause an arguement so as not to have to do it. He does things he knows will hurt me then say ” i’m sorry i didnt realise” when i know full well it was deliberate. He never does any thing to remember special days “anniversary’s ect” He never sticks a job out, takes forever doing menial tasks or refuses to do them after he has promised. I work and he does nothing. He will punish me by with holding love cuddles and sex, to the point when he does touch me now i feel scared to let go emotionally. I am too soft i know this, but he knows it more, he knows i dont want to be alone and has left me several times, only to come back all sorry and promising never to do it again. But he only comes back when i start moving on. He has engaged in sexting other girls and is into porn, this probably enables him to deny me the love and attention i need whilst still getting satisfied himself. When i confront him he will ignore me, sulk, lie beyond belief, pass blame as it is never ever his fault, will protend to forget anything ive said or that he was ment to do. He will walk away if i pursue answers for his behaviour. He never tells people how he feels, and i have seen him do things for friends and family he really dosnt want to do, his mother is overbearing and always making him do things for her, he will make arrangements to do things she has asked but then not turn up and lie about it, like oh yeah sorry i forgot, or sorry im not well. He hates saying no, or telling people how he feels because he thinks they wont like him any more. I feel stuck in this nightmare and dont know how to get strong enought to get out. It has been a long hard and painful 12yrs and i am mentally and emotionally drained. I do however feel relieved that i can see now that i am not crazy, and although it is a sighn of vulnerability and weakness on my part, i am not what he makes me out to be.

    • Hi Dotty,
      You’ve now taken the first step on your journey and recognised that it’s not you that is the problem it’s him. Now you need to build on that.
      I’m out the other side now but it took me a long time to get there. Some of the things I did that I found helped were:
      Keeping a diary of the negative events, how he behaved , how I responded and how I felt -The reason I did this was to remind myself of what I was going through as it’s so easy to slip in to the usual doubting yourself mode. Once I started feeling the seeds of doubt I’d read through all of the things I’d written and it would remind me “it’s not me, it’s him”. This really helped build my confidence up
      Do things just for you…it doesn’t matter what it is, just do something that makes you feel good
      Read up as much on Passive Aggressives as possible – You will eventually realise that you will NEVER EVER change HIM
      Recognise that he is a child in a mans body and that you are the only adult in the relationship
      Regonise that it takes two responsible, mentayl stable adults to have a successful and mutually fullfilling relationship
      Use this site to let it all out and vent
      Start putting your needs, wants, desires first – he’ll never give you the love you deserve so start loving yourself..don’t seek his doesn’t matter what the hell he thinks
      Start to think about what you want from your future and what would make you happy
      Start thinking and planning to make that future a reality
      Don’t be afraid of “failing”
      In my opinion that last one is a biggy. In my case I had to allow myself and forgive myself for not being willing to fight to the death anymore to make my relationship work.I hate “giving up”and looking back now I know hand on heart that if I wasn’t so afraid of failure I’d have waved the white flag on my relationship at least 7 years sooner.
      I’m sure lots of other people have plenty of other ideas too but I just wanted to share some of the things that helped me.

      I have now been seperated from my EX PA husband for nearly 2 years. My life is very different, it’s not been easy and I’ve faced and still face some challenges but Im happy,content and at peace with myself as I no longer have to deal with the emotional roller coaster of having a PA in my life.
      Sending you good vibes…be strong.

      • Hi Dotty,
        I agree with Andrea. I wrote my first post here April 24, 2012 under the moniker “I Will Survive”. I had been dating a PA Narc. for two years, the month before, he just…stopped talking to me, period. It’s funny because he had me on “ignore” from April 1, 2012 until a week before my daughter’s wedding in October 2012. I WISH I had come back to this site, or done as Andrea had said above and written down and KEPT the list of all his PA – Narc ways, but as many before me have done…I went right back to him and back into this very unhealthy relationship.

        Timing is a funny thing because things had been fairly good with him until recently. A little background on “him” his wife left him in 2007 thirty days after they purchased a new home. He kept the home, she left town. He promptly found a new girlfriend/roommate but that didn’t last long either and she moved out in the summer of 2010. Late spring of 2010 he decided he would’nt (notice I didn’t say couldn’t…) make his mortgage payment anymore. He was still angry at his ex-wife for leaving him and he knew her name was still on the mortgage, so in his passive agressive way…he was going to “stick it to her” without her even knowing. Him, being him…he ignored all paperwork pertaining to the mortgage payments and lived in the house scott free for all this time. While he had his head buried in the sand, his ex-wife filed a quit claim deed on the house and she was out of it. (Karma) Of course he wasn’t keeping up with things so he didn’t know she had done this. Long story short, March 2012 he receives notification his foreclosed home is to be auctioned off April 1. And that is exactly what happened…yet he won’t leave the home. The realtor, the representative for the buyer gave him 22 days to evacuate the premises, they even offered up to $2,000.00 for moving expenses…Did he accept??? No….He wants $5,000 and to stay until May 15. When he told me of his “plans” I tried to reason with him, explaining he really had no leverage to make such demands. The Realtor had written in a letter “you haven’t made a mortgage payment in 3 years….you HAD to know this was coming…” now, according to him the Realtor is a B*tch for saying that…go figure! He says he is going to stay in the home until the Sheriff serves him eviction papers because he doesnt like how pushy the realtor is. While I’m trying every argument I can possibly come up with to reason with him, Saturday he, once again, put me on “ignore”. Late Tuesday afternoon he asks if I want to join him and his nephew for dinner…as if he hadn’t been ignoring me. When I broched THAT subject, he first denied he’d been ignoring me, but then a while later he said I was just being such a “Debbie Downer” and that’s why he hadn’t wanted to talk to me for days… He said he needed me to say things to make him feel better, not make him feel worse. That really hurt as I was trying to help, and he turned it around on me. I have a hard time blowing smoke up someone’s rear end if I don’t believe in what they are doing. He owns another property and is not destitute, he makes double what I make and my credit is good…What he’s been doing lately, along with the email I received from this site has reminded me of the type of person he is and will always be. My kids want him out of the picture and I can understand their concern…I do believe I deserve better….

        Thanks for letting me vent…once again 🙂

        This next segment

  20. It is so helpful to read these comments. My relationship was a textbook experience. My narcissist is a beautiful mid-age pilot. I met her at a party one night, I dropped in to say hi to my friends, they introduced us, we spoke a few words and I got up to leave. When I extended my hand to say goodbye, she grabbed it and pulled me to her for a hug. During the hug she rubbed my back in a seductive manner and left me confused because her partner was right there. After that we started talking and she confided how abused she was in her relationship, we started to grow close (I thought). I saw her again at another party and watched as her partner verbally abused her all night, all the while she was nodding with a stupid grin. But I knew from what she had shared that her partner was making fun of things that meant alot to her.

    Our conversations continued, I told her of my background with abuse (verbal and physical), the rejection and my sister’s suicide. She was wonderful, so comforting, loving, compassionate. She said all the right things. Then one night she was at a layover in a hotel near me and she invited me over. An affair began. She told me she was crazy about me and I was wonderful. She loved me even though I had scars all over my body from surgeries and all over my heart. She was tender and patient with me. I fell hard. I lavished her with gifts, letters, tons of emails (because we couldn’t talk most of the time. Then she started giving me her flight schedule and I felt even more part of her life. But time started passing and there was no sign of her really leaving her partner, I started to pressure her, she started to pull back. Then it was pull and push. During this time, her and her partner began having serious argument which eventually lead to a nasty breakup. We were entangled for 2.5 years during which time I may have seen her 5 times, only slept with her three times.

    At the end, Dec. 1, she told me over the phone that her feelings had changed because of all the conflict between us. I was baffled. All the conflict was because she would say one thing and do another. She said we would be friends, which I was willing to do because there was an age difference between us. But it was like I fell off the radar. I soon learned she was already involved with someone else. I was crushed, angry, hurt, emotionally destroyed. My world stopped and everything began to fall apart around me.

    But I would go back. Back and forth, it went on, I would try to end things and she would make it okay again. Finally one day the usual tug of war was going and she sent me a tm saying, “heads up, I’m giving you the ball, friends or not, it’s your decision.” She said nothing about her being willing to be more consistent as a friend or anything else. So I told her “no friend.” It’s been almost two weeks and I have been on an emotional roller coaster, mostly dark, depressed and lost. I’m starting to have a good moment here and there.

    I accidentally found a website that collects a person’s playlist. Using that list on my girlfriend, by the songs she was listening to, I figure she knew she was finished with me almost a year before she cut me off. The sense of betrayal, being used, feeling stupid and angry has been cataclysmic for me. Reading this, and other sites, is helping me to realize it was nothing personal. She’s just some kind of a machine, a monster. I guess she’s gone for good now and I know I should be happy, but I still feel the ache and wish she would come back. If anyone has any books they have read that was very helpful, I would appreciate hearing from you. Thanks for listening.

    • Trauma bonding creates an addiction for the victim of abuse..its why we often stay and try to fix things..manipulative people instinctively know this and use it to keep you hooked..until you put a stop to it. Look up trauma bonds, stockholm syndrome, and intermittent positive reinforcement.

      • Hi Ariel- Thanks for the input. I know about Stockholm Syndrome, but I’ll do a little research myself on the others. Never heard of “trauma bonds”. Sounds interesting.

  21. My husband permanently sickened me. He has the health ins. though so I have to have a little contact with him. We have’nt lives togetherin 20 yrs. He is also a mama’s boy, big time. He is 62. His mom is 90.

  22. oops he is p-a with narcissistic traits.

  23. Oh my gosh! Now I understand why after 11 years of marriage and 3 I am now on high blood pressure meds and anti-depression meds and still miserable! Those details describe my husband to the letter. God help me and my children.

  24. How do we as victims stay mentally healthy when we have been living the nightmare daily for years (sometimes since birth) with our parent(s) and then our spouse?
    I went from one dysfunctional family setting to the next when I got married. I am now divorced and both of my parents have passed so I am just now feeling like a normal person that is free to be myself without someone letting me know how lacking I am in every way. I have earned four degrees along life’s journey with one being a master (that being my way to allow me to be and feel some degree of success in me being me). I wonder if I am as normal as I believe myself to be after l living in a snake pit with vipers my entire life?

  25. How can someone call you a PAN when that is in fact their behavior pattern? Ever changing target trying to please. Says one thing is ok then says can’t handle that aspect. Really drove me crazy to the point that I tried to be passive, then aggressive. Seeming to know all along that the relationship would or could last. What is your take on this scenario?

  26. I was doing some soul searching when I asked myself if a PA could be a Narcissist? I certainly found my answers here! Thank you all for your comments on the subject. It’s really helped me connect and recognize I can depart from an impossible personality type / relationship and survive. I’ve realized that the only way to get my PAN to separate from me willingly is to completely not feed into his antics, needs, and to engage him with indifference. And I’ve had to realize why I was so drawn to his personality type, just so I NEVER do it again! What was it that I needed? I needed loving attention. I spent years working on myself, had an alcoholic mother and a narcissistic father, had low self-esteem, but felt emotionally healthy. I knew he was a liar but rationalized that his lying was so bad I always knew the truth, unlike my ex who was a really good liar! Do you see trust issues here? LOL At first, I did not recognize how needy he was, because I was too. When I realized his attention towards me was really ‘all about him’ it was too late to easily escape. It has taken me nearly 10 years to get to this point of completion. I hope I have learned all my lessons to NEVER repeat this again! What I have learned, is an impossible personality type (PAN) will never work towards inner personal growth. A healthy personality is not perfect, it can sometimes be difficult, but it is never impossible.

  27. Thanks so much for this site Ladybeams. Very interesting reading. I have been married for 16 years but my PAN has been in my life for about 26 years. We have a 12 year old daughter and I am so afraid that she is exhibiting narcissistic traits. Of course it is hard to tell because these middle school age years are so hard anyway and alot of children become difficult to deal with. Are her chances statistically greater because she has a PAN parent? I myself am a codependent and it is only in the last 18 months that I discovered that my husband has this personality disorder. Dont get me wrong, I knew something was amiss and there were RED flags left and right from the beginning. However, I thought it was my fault and I just needed to work harder to please him. Unfortunately, in trying to please him I have let him control everything (he is very selfish with HIS money) and now I am in a terrible position I work at my daughter’s private Christian school as a preschool teacher. My contract does not allow divorce unless there is infidelity involved. I havent caught him doing that althiugh I think he has

    • Sorry I hit post before I was done. I don’t make enough to stand on my own. I have tried talking to him (are you all laughing along with me now…hahaha) but you know that never works. To add to our complicated situation he is Blind and has a Guide Dog. He is very independent and spends a weekend away at a house he has on the river every couple of weeks. He has people who take him and bring him home. I dont enable him anymore since I work and if I can’t do something or frankly dont want too i just say no. He always finds a way to make whatever he wants to do happen. Of course I am chastised for not being a good wife and he tells me I am verbally abusive to him and my daughter. We have had bits and pieces of marriage counseling over the years but always at his convenience and he always stops when it gets down to too much self inflection. I don’t think he is capable of looking inside himself to change, he wants me to do all that hard work. I have slowly been trying to cut off the Narcissistic supply but don’t feel like I can completely unless I separate from him. My daughter and I are now in counseling which he wont pay a penny towards. I told the counselor that I know fixing him and I should come before helping her. However I don’t have time or resources to carry the burden of fixing my marriage. That has to fall on both of us and we both have to give 200% and be committed to that goal into the foreseeable future. That is just not a reality for him right now and sadly probably will never be. I say probably not because I am holding out hope..for me this marriage is over I am in survival mode trying to find my way out….I say it because I believe in a higher power and I never underestimate what God can do in a person’s life! I know I drug this on. I hope it helps someone out there who might be able to relate and know the are not alone. I know in some cases the PAN gets help and the relationship can be saved just not in my case. Looking forward to feedback and answering any questions to shed more light on my particular situation. He is classic PAN. No one has diagnosed him officially. I have read several books recommended to me by a friend studying to be a psychologist. My last counseling session I took him to talk about ways to parent our daughter better in our current situation. It was just him and I. She knows divorce is a possibility and he Knows it is coming. He spent the whole time blaming me for our troubles and the counselor kept trying to reign it back in since we agreed that the session was about parenting not marriage counseling. I am anxious to go back for an hour by myself. I want to know what she thinks. Would think a therapist could see my PAN from a mile away. I know what he has but would be nice to have professional confirmation. Crazy that people like him marry people like me and vice versa. Ready to break that chain for the mental health of my precious daughter!!

  28. There are at least two major types of passive aggressive narcissists. The problem is, many of us only key into one or the other and not both at the early stages of a relationship and that’s why such relationships end up being so much “work”:

    There are the arrogant, stuck-up types who brag and/or name drop.

    There are superficially “normal” types who don’t seem to have big egos but eventually you learn he/she is a VICTIM and is loathe to take responsibility for anything that suggests otherwise.

    The super confident types can be attractive because they’re charismatic but eventually the bragging can get old or actually seem to be evidence of a major insecurity.

    A lot of people are turned off by people who are know-it-alls or name-droppers but many more of us are suckers for underdogs.

    IMHO, victim types tend to get misdiagnosed even by professionals as suffers of depression vs. narcissistic personality. It takes years of one-on-one therapy before counselors are willing to stake a claim on a diagnosis because misdiagnosing mental illness can be a potential liability. But more than anything, attaching labels is just not fashionable in the mental health industry. The rational seems to be that if you diagnose a personality disorder or other such “mental illness” it becomes an excuse for the patient to quit working on themselves and/or the loved ones end up feeling conflicted about how much they can really hold a mentally ill individual accountable. (In other words, they can use the diagnosis to get off the hook or be let off the hook by others.) The main problem with this no-labels approach is that mental health professionals that are counseling couples with passive aggressive conflict issues often don’t give the partner the Bottom Line. Without the benefit of an actual diagnosis, patients can bang their heads against the same “walls” over and over again for years on end. Allowing patients to cling to false hopes isn’t ethical, either.

    Failure on the part of professionals to validate the severity of the problem by treating PA/narcissistic individuals/couples without a diagnosis can serve to give false hope to the spouse or the adult child of a passive-aggressive/narcissistic individual. This is unwise because the one thing people who are in a relationship with narcissists and/or PA individuals tend to do is to continue to try to “fix” the relationship against all odds. By definition this involves a lot of discussion, exercises, strategies, do’s and don’ts — and disappointment. If psychologists and MFTs would be willing to diagnose the PA/narcissistic individual for what he/she really is the focus could shift to the OTHER person and the hard choices they are left to make: how to go on living with a relationship that will in all likelihood never change vs. when it’s time to end the relationship.

    One of the features of those who get caught up in a long-term relationship with a PA/narcissistic individual is an over-developed sense of guilt and/or conscientiousness (self-blame). At some level the person trying to carry on a relationship with the PA/narcissistic individual understands that they aren’t going to see a dramatic transformation in that partner, spouse, parent or whatnot even *with* professional help. And yet the usual advice from counselors to work on yourself — because that’s the only thing you can control — can itself become an enabler because the therapist, in denying a diagnosis, has handed a straw to grasp at, and that “straw” may very well be the belief that if only I change so will he (or her). In dealing with “normal” relational conflicts this is perfectly reasonable advice. But my experience suggests that changes brought about by “working on yourself” are short lived or superficial at best.

    I hate to sound crass but MFTs and psychologists stand to make a lot of money because such couples or clients can come back year after year with little to show for it. The ethical thing to do, when narcissistic personality traits are also suspected, is to counsel the codependent partner not to grasp at thin straws but instead begin the work of making the more difficult choices: either give up and accept that partner, parent or sibling will NEVER live up to even minimal expectations or be willing to part ways.

    In summary, too many therapists, even if they know exactly what’s going on, don’t cut to the chase. This enables the the partners, children or siblings of PA/narcissistic individuals to hold out a false hope that they can change *themselves* — if not their partner/parent/sibling — sufficiently enough to make the PA/narcissistic person relate to them “normally”. Of course, these traits CAN change with maturity (a person in his/her early 20s may be more PA, due to lack of interpersonal experience, than someone 40+ who has been married for 20+ years). But when you’re talking a full-grown adult who habitually relies on silence, miscommunication, forgetfulness or lies as an “escape hatch” — and the problem is severe enough that such a client has landed in your office (as a therapist) — chances are that dynamic is never going to change because a narcissistic personality trait (or disorder) underlies the problem. When couples present for counseling with a passive aggressive problem, therapists should lay it all out at the first consultation. Simply saying that a PA person may not change unless he/she wants to is not enough. Counselors need to say that even if YOU change it may not be enough to shift the dynamic because at the heart of any chronic PA behavior is a desire for control. People who rely on this approach to manage relationships are *highly unlikely* to lose their controlling or manipulative tendencies just because you learn how to “be nice”, nor are they likely to respond to boundaries that would serve to motivate “normal” (more empathetic) people.

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