Passive Aggression Alive and Well Living At My House

Thanks to all of you out there for your comments, yes we have quite a bit in common. Passive aggression is still alive and well living at my house.

Don’t you ever get tired of always having to be the “grown up”? Ever feel like you would like the passive aggressive to take care of you for a change? Or what about “he’s/she’s turned me into such a nag!”

This is one of those days for me. LOL.

Over the last 10 yrs. I’ve probably learned to play as passive aggressively as anyone. Some of the stuff I find rather humorous like the “toilet paper wars” where when the toilet paper is getting to the bottom of the roll, each one uses less and less till someone has to change it.

Or the passive aggressive blind eye to the trash in the house. When my BF and I got together, he informed me taking out the trash was the “man’s job” and it was his job to take the cans out to the street every week. Somewhere since then, I think a little resentment has been brewing. Now the trash in the kitchen overflows, the trash in his bathroom overflows. Most of the time I will just go ahead and take it out, but every once in awhile when I feel it’s not just my job, I dig in my heels and pull the bag up a little more to fit more trash in there, until he takes it out. Sometimes he’ll eventually get around to it, but then gets even by not putting a new bag in. Such is my life. LOL.

All this goes on without any communication on either part.

Then stuff comes along I don’t find quite so humorous. As I stated here before, the BF has finally gone back to work. While essentially that is a good thing, his work weeks are short (so are the paychecks) plus he’s traveling from job to job so we’re going in the hole for gas. At least he’s feeling better about doing something useful again.

My problem is that since he is essentially working part time, he could be getting unemployment to make up the difference. He has not heard a word from them since he filed his form probably 2 to 3 months ago. This is where the passive aggressive behavior comes in. I have asked him over and over to check his status. This is one thing he knows I basically have no control over. While he keeps saying he “forgot”, or will apologize profusely, he still does nothing about it. The other day he even went so far as to pretend he was going to look into it when I mentioned it, but he never did. The one thing I will give him credit for is at least he doesn’t lie to me about it.

He also went to the doctor’s about a month ago. At the time he couldn’t get the lab work done they wanted so he has to go back. This too is something he could easily take care of on one of the days he only works half or one of the days he’s not scheduled to work at all. Once again, something I have no control over. He’s already had a mini-stroke so he knows that it is really important to me that he takes care of himself. This too, he seems to passive aggressively “forget”.

No one likes a nag. I am not normally a nag. I mention something and then I usually let it go, unless it never gets resolved. I would rather someone tell me either they have no intention of doing something at all, ever, or it’s none of my business, than to go through this passive aggressive BS all the time.

As I said, the passive aggression is still alive and well living at my house. LOL

24 Responses

  1. Ladybeams.
    My PA is alive and well at my house too.
    1.Yesterday the AC was out (bad thermostat) I had planned numerous things to do yesterday but of course it was I who had to put off my plans to wait for the repairman. It was I who called, set up the appointment, and dealt with it. What else is new!

    2.This Am the refrigerator was in need of repair.(when it rains it pours) LOL
    Again same old story, but this time he was asked to find out who to call. He put it off ( he figures if he waits long enough, I’ll do it- truth is he is right when it means it affects us both) He ate his cereal with warm milk. He argued that he would get to it. He didn’t. I explained to him that the main objective of this is to show me how responsible he can be and I told him he had failed on this one. AGAIN my day is shot waiting for the repairman. Why do we have to be the sacraficial lambs in these relationships?
    As usual, and not wanting everything to go bad in the fridge, I called and got a repairman scheduled. –he’s again off the hook– I guess he just doesn’t think losing a whole fridge full of food is important. He defers all the work to me EVERY TIME! I asked how it would make him feel if I forgot, put off, or didn’t care about the things that were important to him like cooking a meal, washing his clothes, etc .(Typical response of a PA: say nothing, don’t answer the question and have the look like a deer in the headlights and the problem will go away). Even his thought process is screwy..I would TOTALLY appreciate something someone did that was as major as giving up their plans to do something important for me…But my PA is only satisfied that he didn’t have to do anything and go on about his life. Selfish %^$#^!
    NO APPRECIATION. GEEZ Where’s his manners.? A thank you would have been nice.

    3. I asked if he had gotten the money from the ATM for our outing..Typical: “I forgot. How much was it again you needed” I asked why he had forgotten and again he argues the point that he was waiting for me to tell him. I explained that putting off, forgeting and having me have to remind him is not getting the job done and again he is leaving it up to me to remind him…like a mother who tells her little boy not to forget his jacket when he goes outside … Just another example of a PA not wanting to take responsibility. I asked why he didn’t just write it down to remind himself. I told him that it wasn’t my job to remind him. He came back at me very defensiively with the most lame excuse about it and I told him that it was an interesting excuse, but it wouldn’t fly. I told him the main objective is for him to “be” more responsible for us not just himself. PA’s are so good at doing only what interests them aren’t they?

    I told him the objective is not to fight about these things, but to take on what needs to be done, with a good attitude. By forgeting, putting off and not taking responsibility he is only prompting me to become frustrated, overworked and disrespected concerning what a partnership is supposed to be.
    To forget about the ATM and not remember how much $ or when to do it, is not practicing what he has been taught to practice in counseling. But then again, I guess I too have a PA who is alive and well living at my house. And I do believe the counselor is being duped!!!

    So you see, even though my PA IS getting counseling, I just wonder if any of it is sinking in for him. So Far, not a lot…or at least he doesn’t practice much of it.– Typical.
    I guess I should have let the food go bad and see how his cereal would have tasted with spoiled milk. That would have been a consequense of his actions now wouldn’t it?…but I am not that vindictive and I wouldn’t have wanted him to get sick. You have do set priorities in what is right and wrong..for yourself.. and I wouldn’t have felt good to see him sick.
    Have a good day ladybeams

    • Dearest jmarie- LOL. I should have read this post before I answered the last one. You’re right. I guess his counseling isn’t going as well as I thought. Actually the part about the refer is similar to what Nora wrote about over on her blog about a strategy for dealing with a passive aggressive husband, only she used the electric bill, but you may find it amusing, helpful? Maybe you should have let him use spoiled milk, except it costs a lot to replace everything in the frig.

  2. “I am not that vindictive and I wouldn’t have wanted him to get sick”. This is a statement you need to rephrase as it’s crucial ‘next step to responsibility freedom’ for YOU- a next step to YOUR sanity!

    You are not being vindictive when you don’t rescue him; in fact, you’re being RESPECTFUL of him. You not treating him like the child he is being is treating him with respect as an ADULT. As an ADULT you expect and respect his ability to do something that is his responsibility. Additionally, if he chooses not to do it you are respecting his choice, and respecting his choice to deal with the consequences. In short, you are treating him like a grown up. Grown ups are handed consequences when they procrastinate or don’t follow through. Grown ups figure out how to tackle it. Grown ups don’t always do something right the first time.

    Grown ups can’t be grown ups if others save them. Saving a PA is disrespectful to their intelligence, capabilities and age. Hope that makes sense.

    My new favorite phrase for the last year has been ‘That’s between you and ___”. If my PA ex husband sulks, whines or shuts down about a conflict (be it between him and his daughter, him and some life situation or him and an object) I have learned to say ‘Well, that’s between you and the fridge’ and walk away. If he let the fridge ‘die’ then he, as a grown up, needs to tackle the new problem of rotten food. If he chooses to drink spoiled milk, that’s between him and his digestive system, him and his doctor and him and his insurance company.

    I love my new phrase and I love the freedom it’s given me; by choosing to not save him I now have so much more time for me… and you know what? Slowly… ever so slowly… he’s doing things with less resistance, less subterfuge and less manipulation. It’s slow, but it’s happening.

    • Peggy,
      I appreciate your input and it made me think. You are absolutely right !! And it makes perfect sense!!Thank you for that insight. I never thought of that way, but now that you have enlightened me to this, I will take your suggestion and do just that. I will let it be “between him and the ___” from now on. It is one of the best pieces of advice I have gotten during all the time that I have tried to figure out what I could do to help me get past the situation I face and move on to become a better person for myself. You are correct in the fact that it was disrespectful of me to rescue him again.

      As a grown up myself- I too- don’t always do things right the first time either, but with this kind of insight It makes me think deeper about what I have done and what I can do in the future. And really, what I do is ultimately to make myself a better person, isn’t it? I am glad to hear that what you do is working for you, but I have a question or two…

      I noticed that you said “ex husband”. Does that mean that you have left your PA? It surely makes sense to do what you say, but in your opinion, don’t you think it is easier to do what is needed to do- for yourself- because he is an “ex”? Don’t you ultimately then have the freedom to learn more quickly and move on with your life without his attempts to strain your sanity at times? Doesn’t it make it more peaceful and more sane than when you are”with” him?
      I ask these questions sincerely because what you said made me think. I have lots of questions, but I will just pose these for now.
      I am open to what you have shared and will definitely consider it and give it a try. I may just find some peace in it for myself. It is truly a learning curve that I am going through as well, and I must also be one to change my bad habits that no longer work in this relationship dynamic. It isn’t easy, but I have to do it. for me.
      Thank you Peggy.

      • jmarie- It is terrific way to look at it isn’t it? I’m like, why didn’t I think of that? Really, all we are are enablers. I thought this was a great concept.

        • Ladybeams,
          Yes Peggy has it together! I loved the thing she said “Grown ups can’t be grown ups if others save them”.
          What a marvelous way of looking at it! Ladybeams, you and I are still with our PA’s and Peggy is not, yet still must work with her PA, for their child. You say yours doesn’t seek help and mine does. So each of us truly have a dynamic all their own don’t we?
          There should be a study done on all of this don’t you think? LOL
          I know one thing from my study on all this..and that is the way I feel now is:

          ‘My fear in leaving is becoming far less than my fear in staying.’

          I simply have more faith in myself than in him now. I feel “up and hopeful” when I think of leaving. I feel down with despair when I think of staying.

          That said, the decisions will always be what each of us can handle. And, if each of us can get to a point that a choice can be made (stay or go) for ourselves, then we will then face another challenge and another and another…It never stops. The questions are for me:

          What challenges do you want to face? What battles do you want to fight? Which do you choose?
          1. The challenge of WONDERING if he will do the work if you haven’t seen much so far? Which in itself stirs up even more questions! Do you have TRUST that he won’t pull you back in AGAIN? What makes this time any different? Is it you that will make it better by sticking up for your rights to be treated differently or is it him doing his work? I would imagine it would be both.
          If you don’t “teach, rescue, or manage” anymore, and he continues the neediness -yet you respect him enough to let it be (as Peggy says) “between him and the ___”. Do you have FAITH he will do what needs to be done for himself?

          OR- do you choose:

          2. The challenge of living life as self actualizing individuals without the “wonder” or the fear (which it truly is) that you won’t be spending your time any longer with a relationship that is not changing or able to change? We can’t change him- as we all know, but what we will be doing -in the process of regaining our self esteem- is helping to change ourselves.

          When we want to help by confronting and letting him work it out for himself – if he does not want to grow-why are we here? By staying are we not abusing ourselves? Isn’t that what we have done all along?

          There are many questions I have to ask myself before I make my decision, but I can wait for now. I am reminded of a song by Dan Fogelburg when I ask all these questions…”The Higher You Climb”

          Each of us will decide what is right for us. I do think that Peggy is an amazing woman to be able to take on this challenge and I think she is doing a great job. Kudos to her support group and counselors.

          And Ladybeams–my prayers are with your mom.

          • jmarie- Thank you so much for the prayers for my mom. She can use all the prayers she can get right now.

            I so agree with your statements. We all have a tendency to run from pain, or at least do what causes us the least amount of pain. The pain in the relationship has to be more than the perceived pain leaving the relationship before we will. Your questions for yourself remind me of the old “pro and con” list I used to draw up for staying in any relationship. Really, I guess the short version, simply put, is “Is this person adding to my life or detracting from it?” It’s always one or the other. If they are not adding to your life, then it’s time to let them go with God’s Blessings and get on with the things that are good for our lives. I know that’s a lot easier said than done, but it’s amazing sometimes how simple some things are.

            I too believe that only we, ourselves can decide when we have had enough (or too much). Everyone’s threshold is different. I have had people on here that have discovered they hit their threshold for pain within months, others 30-something yrs. for what ever reasons that bind us or cause us to go.

            Thank you once again for your commenting. I find your comments very interesting and thought provoking, which I think is a good thing.

    • Peggy- Thank you so much! I can’t tell you enough how much your comment meant to me. That is a very good point you make that as adults, we should treat them as adults! It’s so easy to get sucked in as the “parent”. Your comment was very encouraging, and I get what you are saying. Just what do you say when their decisions affect you?

      I’m not so sure how long I could put up with some things. Just sayin’ …

      • Ladybeams,
        When you said, I’m not so sure how long I could put up with some things”…and “just what do you say when their decisions affect you?” (and I know exactly what you mean when you ask that.)
        That is a HUGE and most valid question to ask…. But to take a guess at the answer, I would have to say if it STILL affects you, you haven’t disconnected. That’s the best I can come up with.
        I asked myself just that question this AM. I also asked “If disconnecting is not letting things affect you, and he does something which puts you in danger, or a loss of security, love, or sanity (which is their form of abuse anyway)- Why am I here?” Don’t I owe it to myself to protect myself from this? Is it my compassion for him and his personality that deep down I want to “fix” when I can’t? Is it my fear of leaving? Am I not still rescuing him by staying? Am I not still trying to manage the situation? Am I staying for me or for him?
        Dang! So many questions to be answered and the only answer I think that will be right will be within yourself. You aren’t a bad person for leaving someone who continues to threaten you and what you believe in, and doesn’t want to grow in your relationship to make it better.
        I then had to ask the question “Which would make ME feel better.

        Lots of times I’ve wanted to take the easy way out, but life will never be fully lived by always being safe. Security comes from yourself, not from others. That’s what I have learned.

        Hang in there ladybeams..we’re all in this together.

        • jmarie- Thanks so much. I am so glad getting to know you here. You are right. We are all in this together and the whole reason for this site, is to let each of us know we are not alone, which is what you all have done for me.

          I love all your questions. I should write each one down like a checklist and keep it close.

  3. Yes, the fact that I chose to make him my ‘ex’ lead that way for a giant, easy way to disengage from him (example, if he lets HIS fridge die, I still have a fridge in MY house! 🙂 However, we have a young child together and so I am in continual, constant need to deal with him.

    And, the fact that the shared responsibility is a daughter, the challenges of ‘letting him fail’ adds a whole new level of challenge… you can let a fridge ‘die’, i kid is a whole ‘nuther matter! I have had to literally close my eyes and tell myself ‘let them figure out their relationship…let them figure out their relationship”. I’m working on (and succeeding I believe) being my daughters’ support system, guidance counselor and role model on how to manage / survive / grow a relationship with her dad. She’s still real young so we’ll see if what I’m doing on my end is effective. My gut tells me ‘yes’… fingers crossed.

    The responsibility of a child was what finally caused me to see how unbalanced our relationship was.

    I am serious when I say that my new phrase has been BIG for me- the biggest way it’s been GREAT for me is that it totally and wholly takes off being blamed for how it turned out. Oh, he tries to deflect things back to me – but each time I simply say “I told you it was between you and ____ , and it still is.”

    I am happier than I’ve been in nearly two decades.


    • Peggy- I must have misread your last comment. I was thinking 2 yrs. not 2 decades. LOl. But yes, making him manage on his own, now that he is on his own, is probably a little sweet revenge. Good for you. Just be sure you realize if you aren’t taking care of him, it probably won’t take him to long to hook some other sucker, so be prepared. Just thank God it’s not you any more. I can’t wait to use your “montra” myself.

      • Oh Ladybeams… PT Barnum had it right; “There’s a sucker born every minute”. In classic, textbook PA he found, seduced and successfully submerged a naive youngun (14 years and a couple dozen IQ points lower than him) fully into a ‘relationship’. Notice the quotes… 🙂

        The newest recruit suffers from low self -esteem, high need for acceptance, has an alcoholic mother and her biological father is nonexistent. In otherwords; the Webster definition of ‘PA prey’. She has already significantly altered her standards to accomodate him and lost her identity under him. Sad, but true.

        I could talk a lot more about this but my kiddo is pulling my attention right now so I can’t concentrate!

        • Peggy- OMGosh! Are you kidding? Actually I am not surprised. Like you said, so classic textbook PA. What amazes me is how do you know so much about her? LOL. Don’t tell me he was stupid enough to bring her by the house to pick up the mail? (also textbook PA). How did you find out about her? I know, no matter how well you’re doing it hurts that they move on so easily, but then, they never were emotionally attached to start with so….

          Waiting for the rest of the story.

          • Well Ladybeams – you won’t be disappointed in the ‘rest of the story;
            It’s a doozy! ( You might want to grab a bowl of popcorn and a soda
            as this is better than most TV soap opera’s).

            The new recruit was a member of a troupe I coached and an employee
            of the business we owned together… and my friend… yeah. yeah.

            Let’s have a flashback sequence first, shall we???

            My PA has ALWAYS used sex and involvement in inappropriate sexual involvement as his PA weapon of choice. (This is the part where I cringe at myself, admit my past shortcomings, take my accountability and most importantly LEARN forward). I was with him for 14 years. Our relationship started in similiar fashion; his girlfriend at the time we met was starting to (rightfully so) request greater commitment from him… and what did he do???? He found me, seduced me, submerged me… (sigh. cringe. swallow pride. be honest. forgive myself. take pride in my learning).

            I was Prime PA Prey in that I was strong, perky, and a person OH SO WILLING TO HELP!!! I played right into his hands; I saw him as this sensitive, loving man whose girlfriend was being so incredibly demanding… I saw her as not understanding him- how could she be so demanding of a such a sensitive soul!!!! GASP!!!!
            (I certainly hope you are reading that last paragraph with the same amount of over drama and sarcasm as I wrote it ) 🙂

            When I put on the glasses that correct my hindsight vision to 20/20 I see so clearly what went down three years ago (that’s when it all came to a head, blew up, fell apart, etc).
            With my coke bottle hindsight goggles on I see the pattern clear as ocean glass; he simply is incapable of expressing anger/fear etc and he was angry as hell I ‘forced’ him into marriage and parenthood (THAT in and of itself is a whole BOOK. Clff notes: We had been dating for nearly a decade (NON COMMITTAL PA ALERT PA ALERT!) I went off birth control to manage migraines; he knew this but still didn’t want to be in charge of using a condom (UNACCOUTABLE PA ALERT PA ALERT PA ALERT!); I was 33 and financially stable. I wound up knocked up. Upon finding this out his response was “Guess I should have married you sooner.” (PA ALERT!!!!! Really, how dense was I?!!??!!!???). I took that as a sign that he wanted to be married and have a kid (read; three years later I am blamed for all of this).

            Well, we got married, but I miscarried. Stop and think about that for just a moment folks… that was the turning point I believe for his PA to really fester. He was angry, sad, conflicted about it all – but he never showed one ounce of emotion about it (SUPPRESSED EMOTION PA ALERT!) He did, however, in true ‘react sideways as hurtfully as possible, have an affair at that time with a 21 year old friend / employee of ours. Me, in true PA enabler form vowed to forgive him, work through it with him, survive it and repair our new, and newly fractured marital union. I took my vows seriously; for better or worse, and I had hoped that we were just getting ‘worst’ out of the way early! 🙂 (Dear God typing that makes me want to bury my head in my hands in utter embarrassment… UGH! I was so NAIVE!!!!!!!!!)

            ( I, obviously, too was reeling from that whirlwind tour of emotions… suffice it to say it was a confusing, baffling time in my life.)

            However, I was okay with how things turned out; I was feeling fine about being married, I was feeling ready to have a child – the first pregnancy confirmed that for me. I chose to stay in the marriage and chose to pursue having a child. I say ‘I’ instead of ‘we’ b/c ‘we’ had NUMEROUS conversations about it and in words he agreed and supported all of these ‘joint’ decisions; in action he didn’t. Wow, these hindsight glasses work REALLY WELL! 🙂

            So, we got pregnant again… and had a baby… and bought a house… and built up a business… and the whole time he was agreeing to all of it…

            FLASH FORWARD some years.

            From the time our daughter was born, I shifted into Enabler Overdrive. I worked Enabler Overtime. I did everything in my power to make his life less stressful, more fulfilled. I made his dinner and his excuses for him. I lived my life and managed his… because I LOVED HIM (cue more over drama expression; add an eye roll at myself).

            I will take my accountability for how bad things got to my grave. I rescued, managed and helped him at sound barrier breaking speed.O To the outside observer (and even for me) it all looked and felt good. I We were a functioning, happy family… that just happened to have a mom/wife who seemed a tad bit overstretched… but aren’t all moms? and a dad/husband who was ‘quieter’ and more ‘relaxed’ (read; moving at the speed of PA).

            Througout 2006/07 I began to recognize how I was growing weary / tired / unfulfilled in the relationship. By the start of 2007 our union was crumbling because I had started to voice my feelings of discontent. Of course, this was all MY issues, all MY problem, all ME… sigh. ugh. bleck.

            Then, in late 2007, he went out of town for work on an extended leave. The opportunity was supposed to forward HIM and HIS career (notice how the last paragraph was about me feeling yucky… but how does an Enabler tackle personal discontent?? SAVE SOMEONE ELSE!!! HA!)

            The Newest Recruit went with him… why? She was 21 and it worked for her schedule… and she needed a boost for her life; she graduated from high school but had done nothing else except bartend and was feeling a need to move her life forward…

            And during that time they hooked up…

            At the time the entire experience nearly killed me. It was by far the most horrific and awful stage of my life and I still can’t quite grasp how I survived. My daughter – and my vigilant focus to give her (and I) the life we deserve was (still is) a laser beam focused mantra. I did what I did to get out and heal.

            When I think about that year (2007/08) I still sit jaw dropped at the monumental hurt he hurled at me. Believe me, this particular nugget is only one teeny tiny aspect of our relationship…

            And somewhere around Thanksgiving of 2007 I simply had had enough and decided I deserved to treat myself much better; that I deserved a lot more in life than Made For Reality TV storylines… and thus I embarked on this journey of ‘Life Reset Button’… and I’ve learned that that button is not a button that you just push and release; it’s a button you push and hold down.

            I hope you have enjoyed the ‘show’. Please deposit empty popcorn containers in the receptacles located at each exit.

          • Peggy- Omgosh! Yeah, you’ve earned your honorary degree. It sounds like you definitely went over and above the call of duty trying to make things work. You shouldn’t ever feel bad about that (other than the time wasted. LOL). At least once you decided to make the move you never had to guess if there was anything more you could have done, if there was just one more try. You gave everything! Thank you so much for sharing ‘the rest of the story’.

            If it wasn’t so sad, you could get pleasure knowing this ‘recruit’ will get the same hand dealt to her in the future. Doesn’t sound like the hubby will change his spots. I wonder how many years it will take her to catch on.

            There’s two things that really get to me when it comes to dealing with a passive aggressive. Like you said above, you two had numerous talks about everything and he never voiced a difference of opinion. How are we supposed to know when they never give us an inkling that something is not right? I’ve told my PA, “if you don’t like something I make for dinner, tell me or you will get it again”. 10 yrs. he still hasn’t got it right. I just found out about a month ago something I like and make quite often, he’s never cared for, but I had to pull teeth to get it out of him! They are that way about everything!

            My other pet peeve is passive aggressives that cheat. I don’t know about yours, but most of them feel justified cheating because they aren’t getting it at home, but they are the ones who cut it off! Get that logic. LOL.

            Well, I have to say I am so happy for your sake and your daughter’s that you woke up and realized how much you truly are worth. While I know there are still hurts and frustrations, you sound like underneath it all you’re looking forward to the future. Something few do who decide to stay.

  4. Peggy,
    I truly am glad to hear you are working with him even though you are on your own and he is an ex. AND that you feel happy. All of this is pretty hard isn’t it?
    As you let your ex deal with the responsibility of himself however, aren’t you putting your little girl in a situation which is far harder than what she really needs or should be in the middle of? I don’t know how old your little one is, and I am glad you are a stabilizing force in her life. But I wonder about her having that insecurity to deal with from your ex- Do you think he is gaining stability? I am not aware of how “childish” he is in his “PA-ness” -only you know that. If you feel it isn’t a threatening thing to her and it’s not affecting her then your “let them figure out their relationship” is what you will do and it may allow her to see him clearer and think for herself. Which is always a good thing.

    You have taken on a monumental task of being her only support system. Have you ever talked it out with a counselor to help guide you and her in this? If she is old enough, do you think she would benefit from talking about it with someone? Like I said, only you will know, I am just sharing the idea.

    She will need all the support she can get from you so that she can think for herself and build and retain her self esteem. I understand the need to let him figure it out on his own, and perhaps someday he will, but in the meantime she has to deal with his inconsistancies and is she really prepared for that? Agian only you know that. Parents model self esteem. If you (and you sound like you have) retained yours in the relationship, then you go girl!

    I know where you come from and understand your insights into letting them deal with each other, however, as a mother myself…. There is concern for the child…. but I will let you deal with that yourself and like you say “its between you and ____”
    In Support of yours and your little girl’s happiness always,

  5. I will not sugar coat it; it’s been a GIANT challenge and I do have days of panic and doubt about some of it… but I have done A LOT to establish the support systems my daughter and I needed to go forward.

    I can honestly say I still see the work I did / do as LESS work than staying in the marriage. That was my best choice; each person has to make the best choice for herself. For me, it’s been highly beneficial to the whole family (including him) to be operating in separate life paths. My daughter, presently, is well adjusted (believe me – that was a HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE fear of mine at the start. I have to admit, it didn’t turn out 1/10th as bad as I feared and being able to say that just gave me a huge sweep of relief!)

    I’ve been seeing a counselor for over three years – specifically for guidance, direction and clarification of how to manage this.

    I love my therapist; he’s very straightforward. It’s not traditional therapy; there’s no talk about deep feelings, etc -it’s more ‘nuts and bolts’ – as in ‘he made this choice, how do you feel about that, does it cross a boundary of safety security for you or your daughter, and if it does how are you going to frame it to him with what consequence and what tactic / conversation / empowerment tool are you going to give your daughter to face this too?’

    it’s exactly what I need- Another GROWN UP to bounce things off of.

    I’ve also held vigilant to my demand of joint counseling for us, and I have a counselor for my child too. Additionally, I utilize court mediation as needed.

    I do still sometimes struggle with what I call ‘sending her off to battle’ in terms of my daughter but have been given some very great strategies to gauge my trepidations. My counselor always says ‘you’ll know when you need to intervene’ – and he is SO RIGHT. Also, my daughter is young so the two of them aren’t in the ‘battle of wills’ part of parent / child (yet) so he really doesn’t throw a whole lot of PA at her (yet). I’m already bracing for the teen years!!!!!! PA vs hormonally-laden-teen; I think I’ll start marketing it now as the best Pay Per View Epic Drama of the decade! 🙂

    And, I’m being brutally honest with myself- for the most part he hasn’t done giant damage when left on his own accord, and the relationship they have is fairly healthy for now (she’s elementary school age). A lot of that is due to the empowerment strategies I’m working on with her. We literally do a ‘pre’ and ‘post’ conversation.

    There are a few key times I’ve laid down the law and intervened (and ALWAYS with professional backup; joint counselor, court mediation). I do all my BIG demands with him in front of another professional. I never, ever, ever confront him about big issues on my own – he goes totally, completely silent and limp- but in a counseling or mediation session he will actually talk. A giant ‘pick and choose your battles’.

    My daughter has started to use some of the strategies she’s seen me use and the one’s she’s been taught, and it’s working all around, actually.

    It. has. been. hard. work. No doubt about it, but still less work than it was to be his manager/rescuer. FAR LESS.

    A huge part of detaching from a PA is your own work – and a huge part of that work is recognizing that you are so accustomed to being THEE manager/rescuer that you don’t have experience in ‘hands off’ – and that is SCARY AS HELL. And, if we are fully honest with ourselves, there’s a part of being a manager/rescuer/enabler that FEELS GOOD. The ‘look how needed I am’ voice… and when you truly walk away and let the chips fall where they may… and they fall… and no one died… there’s a sense of not being important and needed in that way that is really tough to face and survive. Recognizing that you are still whole and valuable and important outside of that role is where the real growth and happiness gushes from.

    I’m not going to lie – this has been really, really, really tough. I keep thinking about my analogy to all of this ; I compare it to my daughter getting her drivers license. That idea – the idea of her driving and interacting with a potentially dangerous, lethal machine- I can’t deny her that experience- that rite of passage- I can’t protect her from the car itself, other drivers, potholes or drunk drivers. I can, however, model good driving, instill good problem solving, provide her with the training she needs, sit next to her when she has her temps, and if need be pay her insurance bill if she has the unfortunate experience of an accident. That same car will take her to glorious places and provide her with positive experiences too.

    Her relationship with her dad is no different than her relationship to driving; I can and will be her guide, support and model, in hopes that when she takes the keys on her own one day she is as protected, equipped and ready as she possibly can be.


    • Peggy- it sounds as if you have things excellently in hand along with a support system for both of you. I love this. Thank so much for sharing with us. You are a ray of sunshine to a lot of lives I am sure!

  6. Peggy,
    Bless everything about you! You are a fantastic and well versed woman. It makes me proud to hear your strength. It inspires me, it lifts me up to know you have come as far as you have. You are an inspiration and I love corresponding with you. You are forthright, honest, and helpful. And what you say makes a hell of a lot of sense. And you have answered my questions most understandably.

    On my part…I am still learning all this and trying to decide “go” or “stay”. I decided in the beginning to stay because my PA was getting help. I felt I couldn’t just not try to grow myself while he is doing his work. I had to put every effort into it and not just give up. I felt I would be giving up not only on the relationship, but myself as well. I had to find out if what I was doing had anything to do with what he did. I know better now. I’m fine. I am still “finding myself” so to speak; answering questions, and listening better to my intuition.

    Something you said about feeling good –about feeling needed…(you know the rescuer/manager thing)….I guess in a way I did that for quite some time, but it sure got old, when I needed him sometimes and he wasn’t there for me verbally, emotionally, and even physically. I don’t want be in that situation any longer. But I can’t go so far as to say I don’t need anyone! We all do. Maybe its the fact that when I reach out to others (friends, family) they aren’t there for me either when I am just being myself. So it makes me wonder why being myself is not working. Gotta ponder that one awhile….smile.

    It is so nice to talk to someone who is so “together” as you seem to be. Yes, I know what you mean when you say you had a huge fear in the beginning when you made your choice to leave. And you still have those moments of panic. I hate those don’t you? Doesn’t do anyone any good…when all you need to do is accept the feeling, work through it and find the answers for yourself. Anyway that is what I am trying to do now. I have my UP days and my DOWN days as everyone has. I just have to work through the feelings, understand them and move on and make it better for myself.

    I still struggle with staying or going some days..due to his lack of effort towards me, my age, finance, skills to make a decent living for myself, etc. But I am not against doing any job I have to (within reason and self respect) , if it means my livelihood. Those are the days I really have to deal with and do it with an open mind and reason with myself so that I can come to a conclusion in what is best for me.

    I admire the responsibility you are taking not only to yourself but also your daughter. It has to be the one of the biggest challenges you face. You’re amazing!

    I do not have children at home and wonder why the heck I don’t just do what is in my best interest and what my gut is telling me sometimes….why do I hold back? Why do I sense the relationship going no where? And for heaven sake why don’t I just accept the all knowing peace I would inevitably find in leaving? For me it is a learning curve I haven’t quite mastered yet. I know my truth about myself (and it isn’t all that great sometimes, but I’m changing it.) I understand it, but still there are questions. It’s the “choice” that I seem to struggle with that is most difficult.

    Again, I can only work on myself and you are right about knowing that the real person I am is Okay just the way I am. It is a happy feeling -no question about it.
    Thanks Peggy, you have opened my eyes to another beautiful day …..You go girl! If anyone has it in them to succeed in life it is you..

    Too bad there are not more support groups in our local areas to hash over these kinds of things where women/men in this kind of a relationship could actually come together face to face and have one on one discussions. I always wondered about that. But with ladybeams and her blog we have the next best thing, don’t we? Have a great day Peggy.

  7. Hello ladies and any man in the situation of living with a PA. ( and maybe even those of you that hold the resentment for what your PA has done to you with his/her abuse. All of your feelings are most valid.)
    All of you are dealing with your own problems, and I have great Compassion for you all.
    I have to share this little bit of info:
    I went into my counselor for a check up (since my PA IS getting help). I am having Up and Down days and wanted to think a bit clearer.
    He told me an interesting story today.

    It’s about the difference between sympathy and empathy.
    Imagine a person in a hole and they can’t get out. There is a rope at the top of the hole.
    Sympathy is where someone comes to the hole, sees the person in the hole and says,”gee, I’m sorry your in the hole”, and he throws the rope down to the person in the hole and walks away.
    Empathy is where a person walks up to the hole, throws down the rope, then proceeds to climb down the hole himself to help the person climb up.”

    Now you might wonder what that has to do with PA.
    My PA has sympathy for my trouble, but no empathy. He doesn’t seem to want to help me out of the hole by his working on his counseling. To have empathy, one has to do more than just stand there and say “gee I’m sorry to see you there”. They have to take the extra step needed to help the situation.

    • jmarie- Thanks for sharing. That’s a very interesting analogy. I had to read it twice as the first time I just saw the person with the empathy crawling into the hole, not the lift up. LOL. (Although that would be the typical PA, crawl in the hole with you and then expect you to find the way out for both of you). At least that’s the experience I have. That’s good that you are able to communicate with the counselor so that you are getting the gist of what’s going on. Sounds like the counselor is pretty honest about how things are going.

      And that is why I say People, I believe in counseling or therapy, but please, take the time to interview your therapist or counselor. You have the power, despite what you think. They are going to work for you. You pay them. Just because they have some extra book learning in an area you may not know about, does not make them God. If you were hiring a landscaper, or a babysitter, or an accountant, if they weren’t able to fit the bill you either wouldn’t hire them, or you would fire them soon after they started. These guys are the same. They work for you and like any other profession there are good ones and there are bad ones. Don’t ever forget you are the ones that write the check for their services. Find one that works well with you. If you are considering “couples counseling” sometimes you only have one chance to get it right.

  8. I must have hit the wrong key …I had more to usual LOL.
    About the hole and the rope: Sympathy vs Empathy.
    Anyway as I said mine has the sympathy, not the empathy. In the case of anyone dealing with a PA getting help, it is anyone’s bet if the PA can learn about empathy.
    ………..end of story………
    The more questions I ask, the more that arise with my dilemna…but that is all about my growth.
    I am in what they call “Compassion Exhaustion” with my ups and downs. Fight or Flight again, only this time less emotional about it. I agree with all of you that it would be better to leave and be rid of it, but I am not someone who can do that just yet. I am a fighter and I am fighting this to the death (of the relationship). We’re only in round two. First round-he sought help and so did I. Round two-he has to learn what to do to change and be consistant with it FOREVER…Yes, I can hear all of you when you’re yelling at me…”THEY PULL YOU BACK IN, GET OUT, DON’T LOOK BACK”…..and that is exactly what happened to me several times. Don’t kid yourself, I have a time limit where I will no longer tolerate his not learning or practicing what he learned from his counselor. I do know my limit NOW. When that day comes. I make my move. In the meantime I am doing what I darn well please for myself to help me. And by the grace of God perhaps he will too.

    • jmarie- It doesn’t matter what ‘everyone else is screaming at you’. Like I tell all my closest friends, you are the only one that knows when enough is enough. Don’t ever think for a minute that you have to listen to anyone else. This is your deal. Some people leave after only a few months, some people leave after 36 yrs. and some never get out. Only you know what your threshold of pain is. You said you are getting some “ups” along with the “downs”. Maybe 1 up = 2 downs, only you know how good your guy is doing, or how hard he is trying. If you aren’t ready to give up yet, and you are still able to take care of yourself and do what you need for you, than you’re doing ok. Nobody else lives your life, pays your house payment, takes care of your kids, etc. Only you. Only you will be the one to make the decision to go or stay.

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