The Passive Aggressive and Me

I’m going through a really hard time right now with my mother in ICU for the last 3 or 4 weeks, which brings some into a little retrospect.  My passive aggressive BF is of no help at all, which is fine. I know him. I know how he is. I know what to and what not to expect.  It’s been ok. That’s why I’m here. I figured between the sense of humor, and just accepting, that things were ok. They were ok for me at least. I’m starting new businesses, I’m busy, I don’t have time for all that romantic stuff anyway.  But over the last few days I’m starting to rethink.

I haven’t been happy or joyful in quite a while. That’s not necessarily his fault. It’s up to me to choose how I feel. But you know, sometimes it would just help to feel like the one that is closest to you was by your side, or even on your side. My mother has been in ICU for 4 weeks now. He basically never asks how she is, can he go to the hospital with me, nothing. And actually, I guess that’s ok for him, because that’s who he is, and I know this. Lately, I’ve been wondering if this is ok for me. Usually I don’t question how he is, because basically we’ve come to an understanding that we don’t really care. We are Platonic roommates. It has worked out ok for both of us. But now I’m wondering, come towards the end of my life, do I want more?

I remember what it was like to have a man take care of me instead of vice versa. I remember what it was like to have someone wrap you in their arms like there was no one else on earth.  I remember what it was like to have a man take care of me instead of the other way around. I remember what it was like to be so wrapped up in a man’s arms that you thought nothing on earth could ever touch you.

Even at my age, I think the things I want and need are still possible. The passive aggressive and me may need to have some conversation.

22 Responses

  1. Ah, the inevitable questioning of the soul. God knows, I’ll bet a lot of us have come to this point. At least we should. It’s called “maturing”. It’s a time of our life when we are forced (thankfully) to examine what’s really important to our well being. I suppose we may have done it before at different points in our lives, perhaps with different needs. Sometimes we can even justify needing less and accepting less. But at a certain point ( Lauri, you’re there) the over-all picture and the things we DON’T have become a glaring commentary on the choices and decisions we’ve made. Unfortunately, it’s a time we also start questioning our own judgement. It’s like, we start wondering why,if we were so confident of our choices before and we didn’t do so well with those, why should we believe we’d do any better with different choices? We get to face the truth of something….we never stop learning. That means we never stop learning about ourselves and other people and life. Just when we’ve convinced ourselves we’ve got it all down, things change…people change…we’re all in the process of discovering who we are and what we need and happiness and fulfillment become more important. Maybe that’s why it’s called “change of life”….mid-life crisis…Lauri, to be bluntly honest, for a long time I’ve wished I could be more like you…more able to settle for less…to be satified with a “room mate”…to not expect that I would ever find a man who loves as deeply and intensely as I do….as you are capable of….as you have known. If it took your mother being in the hospital for you to re-examine what your real desires are, then maybe it is God sending you a message. As is said zillions of times around the World, “everything happens for a reason”. You are like a sister to me. You have shared your caring ways with all of us over time. We will pray that you find that which our Maker hopes for you.

    • Marilyn- You Sweetheart. Thank you so much for your comment. I don’t know, I think I may have just had one of those nights I was feeling a little sorry for myself. Even I get there. Thank you so much for your encouragement and keeping me in your prayers. He’s probably shown me the way, I just usually seem to have blinders on. LOL.

      Love you too “sis”.

  2. Marilyn and Ladybeams….
    Marilyn, you are oh so right!!! I began my search of Truth and it has changed many times even since my book was published. In Fact, on this blog only, I have grown since my book and it is reflected in my posts I am sure LOL… My life has been back and forth, up and down, just like the roller coaster we ride on with the PA. I’m searching as is Ladybeams and many of us are.
    I must say that regardless of what others will choose what is right for you- IF you take your time and ask lots and lots of questions of yourself.

    I have learned that facing FACTS puts a lot of things into perspective. It is a clearer way of looking at things even though we all just want to cry sometimes.
    That’s what this blog is about…to kick around ideas, thoughts,opinions, vent a little and think.
    I haven’t answered all of my own questions yet and until I do. I will stay put and make the choice that will ultimately BE MINE…not based on someone elses beliefs or what they do. I have to live MY LIFE not theirs.
    God bless you both.

    • jmarie- you are so right, for any of us. How many times has someone been warned about the person they are about to marry and then marry them anyway? And a lot of them live happily ever after. Everyone has to make their own decisions, otherwise we would have listened more to our parents instead of having to try things out for ourselves. LOL. As I try to tell my kids when they are concerned about some else’s opinion about what they wear or anything else, “They don’t sign your checks, pay for your housing, or live your life. Forget it. If any of the advice they give is good, hold on to it and throw the rest away. Never place someone else’s opinion of you above your own”. Looks like I should practice what I preach. LOL

  3. I wonder if it ever really was okay to go without all those things that make an intimate relationship work. Intimacy is the one thing I miss the most in my marriage with a PA. When my mother died in 2002 my PA husband told me to ‘just get over it and stop making it such a big deal!” His mother died a year later and I held him tight and treated him the way I wish I’d been treated.
    Intimacy is essential, without it there is nothing more than what you have with your b/f – a platonic roommate! Is this enough for you? Only you can answer that. I am sorry to hear that your mother is so ill – I wish I could take your hand in mine and help you feel less alone; but even then, intimacy is missing in the one relationship in your life where it should be a vital part.
    I ask myself the same ?’s you do with regard to ‘is this enough?’, ‘can I be happy and have the life I really want with this person?’. All I can say is that part of me senses that you really NEED more and it doesn’t sound like something he can give to you. I worry that you are selling yourself short. If you have boiled down your relationship with your b/f to ‘friends/roomies’ then how do you go about filling the other needs you have without cheating on him? How do you satisfy that need to be held tightly in the arms of someone who loves and cares for you?
    I love your writings, they usually give me strength to handle this PA crap in my life. This time however, I am worried about you. I hear loneliness in your words. During times of worry and stress (your mom) we need a place to fall and be ‘cared for’, do you have such a place/person you can go to for comfort?
    I am keeping you & your mom in my heart and prayers – keep going…keep searching & above all else – do what is right for you in this moment. Be kind to yourself.

    • So well said Kathleen – you are so right that Ladybeams is ENTITLED to someone who can support her how she needs supporting right now. I too hope there is (are) a person (people) for you, Ladybeams, to lean on in these times. I too have your mom on my mind and hope for the most comfort and ease possible for you and her at this time.

    • Kathleen- Thank you so much for your caring and concern. I was just a little ” off” the other day, but I will be ok. This is one of the first times I’ve really questioned how the BF and I are, because most of the time it works for me. I started detaching from him a long time ago, and have come to expect no more. I think it’s just been all the stress, and that wanting someone else to have to worry about things for a change, that I was feeling a little sorry for myself. Have you ever taken a road trip, and gotten kind of tired toward the end of it? And you remember back to when you were little and you could just curl up in the back seat, and your parents just always got you home safely? Now you’re the parent when you really would rather be that little kid in the back seat and someone else had to drive? LOL. I don’t know if I’m explaining it right, but that’s sort of how I felt.

      I’ll be okay. I always am. I have plenty of people around me and I have you guys. LOL. I’m better off than a lot. Thank you so much for your kind words and keeping us in your prayers. There isn’t anything more loving and powerful than that.

  4. Ladybeams- i just wrote something about this in my journal… about the ‘fear of the future’ and everything I so deeply (and VERY legitimately) feared to the point of clinical panic attacks; the ‘what happens when I finally….” and the “what will I do if I ….” and how I just got done telling one of my best girlfriends: My fears turned out to be MUCH WORSE than the reality.

    So, three years ago I was SOBBING to the point of “it would be funny if it wasn’t true” over the ‘Holy she-ee-it what did I just do?????’ decisions I was making in my life… and three years later I’ve landed at a place where I could have never imagined. I still have ridiculous hard days, weeks, moments. I’m beginning to think that once you have experienced the utter dismissal of a clinical PA you simply cannot ever fully recover; it’s like walking in space or serving in a war; once it’s a part of your being, it’s a part of your being; no going back and we must embrace that part of us that is forever… wary, jaded, dark comedy entertained… I digress.

    Anyway, I’m a strong supporter of each of us making and molding our own journey and I support each of us in that endeavor.

    For me, I still face the daily battle of feeling abandoned, dismissed and unsupported in our co-parent status; but since I’ve detached from my ex romantically, emotionally, financially and sexually, I’ve been profoundly amazed at the experiences that have surfaced. I want to be discreet and respectful, but Ladybeams I must say OUT LOUD; there is a lot out there … a lot. 🙂

    • Peggy- LOL. Yes there is a lot. LOL. That’s wonderful. And it’s yours for the taking.

      That’s the crazy thing about fear. It’s usually much worse than the reality. One of it’s closest friends is worry, which is usually energy spent on things that never happen. Nobody ever said getting back on your own is easy, but wouldn’t you say there is a difference when you make it through those ridiculously hard days, weeks, moments, that there is still good stuff coming, rather than going through those kind of days, etc. knowing you’re in for just more of the same? I can feel the difference just writing it here. And no, I don’t think we ever forget what we have been through and it leaves us a little shell-shocked, but the deal is to not let it make you so bitter you close your heart to other opportunities. It doesn’t sound like you’ve done that. We just try to learn from the experience so we don’t repeat the same mistakes, and move forward.

      I am so happy for you Peggy! and excited. It’s like being able to look at the world from a child’s eyes again. I’m not saying you’re a child, LOL, but there is so much good out there, and it can seem like so long since we’ve been a part of it. Sometimes it just feels so good to be living life again. Just remember always, the lack of support from him is his loss, and has nothing to do with how worthy and lovable you are. It is his problem, his loss. And you will probably never get the co-parenting co-operation that a normal person would have with their ex, but that’s not on you either. BTW, you and I know you were the best thing that ever will happen to him! Too bad, so sad, but now you are off to better things.

      Love hearing from you Peggy. You are very inspiring to a lot of us here! God Bless

  5. Ladybeams,
    Peggy is right about the fear, the trepidation and the fact that there is more out there. She is also correct in saying that experiences will surface for you that will be wonderful and joyful again. I have experienced leaving a man before who was abusive, and sure it takes some time to get you “head on straight”, but it can be done.
    In your state of mind: worrying about your mom, starting a business, and living WITH a PA, try to let your self deal with one thing at a time for now.,,and put the PA definitely in last place. Just be sure you take care of yourself first and don’t go into overdrive or overload. We all care for you here and want the best for whatever decisions you make.
    Answers to all your questions will come…and then more will surface, but there will come a time when you are sure of what you want and will do and only you can make that decision.
    Seeking answers myself

    • jmarie- Thank you again so much. Isn’t Peggy a kick? Love reading her encouraging comments. She too has learned a lot, but was willing to take the risk. I, like you think all of us gets there in our own time.

  6. I’ve very much enjoyed the community this site has provided me with these past few years… it really is a great place to feel SANE!!!

    I have a topic I’d like to hear from you all about; Sabotage.
    By far, that issue remains the toughest nugget in my co-parenting with my PA-ex. The very real, but often very stealth actions that inflict just enough angst / danger / damage to a situation to enflame it and knock me off balance… I feel like I’m doing a HELL OF A JOB containing it a it 90% of the time… that 10% is tough though. On some levels it is what it is and he’s going to simply sabotage situations from now until he dies; and each time he does I’m just going to have to get out the tools to deal with it.

    His behavior is like a really bad house fire: the big fire is out (I got out of the burning building) – but there’s still heat and hot spots in the smoldering pile and every now and again one of those spots gets enough oxygen to re-ignite… can’t really ‘prevent’ those; you just have to be a vigilant, knowledgeable fire fighter and spray the she-ot out of the new flames as they occur.

    Example of latest sabotage;
    My ex was given more child care responsibility this summer than he’s ever been given (two whole days a week! I’m such a drill sargeant!). I could tell from the start (that whole ‘learning to recognize when a PA is agreeing to agree’) that he didn’t actually want that much time. I did the smart thing and had the conversations about the summer schedule in front of a professional (third party proof of conversation so no ‘I never said okay’ statement later from him) and I followed up each of those verbal agreements with a written email outlining exactly the agreement (written proof that the conversation had occurred and he had agreed). I also directly stated to him that I was asking for his input – it was not me simply telling him ‘this is how the summer will go’.

    Sidenote; I did none of those ‘preventative’ measures in hopes he’ll change; I did them b/c I know he WON’T change. I did them for MY SANITY- so I could pull up the written agreement and I could ask the counselor to restate the therapy notes- for MY affirmation. I do everything now for me – not for change from him. That alone is a HUGE freeing way to approach a PA. I have to co-parent with him for another decade – I’m gonna keep my ’emergency sanity kit’ – my fire hose at hand!

    Long story short- when the reality of the responsibility hit him- what did he do???? He did something just short of illegal in terms of safety of a child and when I confronted him about it he literally said ‘What’s the big deal?’. I recognized this clearly as PA sabotage and am now dealing with it through legal and professional channels, and I feel good about the support / channels I’m accessing. I can tell you this: I don’t feel crazy. I have several professionals telling me very clearly that I am being reasonable and the expectations I have are rational and the level of responsibility I am holding him to is completely within normal limits for an adult parent. (Notice again it’s me getting support for ME -and my daughter- regardless of his reactions)

    However, in the end, as a result, he has successfully reduced his child care responsibility; since this has happened I have been given no choice (obviously) but to reduce his responsibility. We have a counseling appt in a week at which time I will request that the counselor address his patterns of sabotage. Again, I don’t expect this is the ‘magic’ time -but the sanity these professionals provide has been an incredible anchor for me. And it provides a paper trail and a third party accountability of his choices; which successfully frees me from the burden of holding him accountable. The courts and the shrinks are assisting me in that task.

    So my question is this- what examples of sabotage do you have? What have you done?


    • Peggy,
      You asked the question…I provide you with my answer.
      Knowing that I am at my wits end (…actually what its called is “Compassion Exhaustion”)… and that I have given my PA the ultimatum of either getting help or me leaving him; he has chosen to get help, with very little improvement in the past months in the communication aspect of our marriage.

      Since he read my book and all that I said in it, he comes to me with the “I would understand if you wanted a divorce” statement. My reply was “that WOULD be an easy way out for you, wouldn’t it?”….and watching as he walked away playing the “oh poor me” behavior for the umpteeth time. I am just wondering if I need to continue in this effort on my part for someone who now has threatened my security in just another way…
      He came to me with the idea that we needed to invest “our” money better…told me a half truth about it all…leaving me wondering if I could trust him. He then comes home and briefly shows me the papers and tells me that he has invested “our” money -(80%) of it -in something I don’t really agree with, but that it was a done deal. So much for security…! Out the window, after the fact, and manipulating the entire thing in the process. I had always wondered why he was losing money in the past investments and found that he had been paying more fees to buy and sell that what the investments were producing. He plays with money like it is a toy and throws it away on things that are not well thought out….He has done this in the past, but I think this is pretty much where I draw the line now. He is forcing my hand and it is threatening the security of the both of us. So his sabotage is alive and well by his telling half truths, not caring about what I think, and just continuing to live as if I didn’t exist. It’s still all about him…I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
      What a downer! What an assault, What a mutilation of my life he has caused? The old POOP! He- in his own PA way- has made it even harder to do what I need to do for myself…..and what do I call this? SELFISH SABOTAGE at it’s finest.
      But Peggy, I can handle my problems. I admire your struggle to keep all of this straight and cataloged for the sake of your child. Her safety comes first as I can see you doing in a very courageous way. You go girl!!
      What have I or will I do?….I will inform myself from a professional in what I can do. I’m tired of supporting someone to my own detriment….It’s all part of compassion exhaustion.

      • I absolutely LOVE the terms ‘compassion exhaustion’ and ‘selfish sabotage’. Ideal terms that sum up and describe those experiences.

        On my end, I’ve also started to actively note the POSITIVE aspects of having an ultra passive PA co-parent. In a lot of ways there ARE positives (especially since being divorced). One HUGE positive is that my PA-ex really is fine with me doing most of the parenting and the parenting decisions… and that is WONDERFUL to be able to say ‘I’d like to do this at this time’ – and as long as it’s reducing his responsibilities, he ALWAYS lets me! Vacations, sleepovers, adventures have been incredibly easy to plan. I always pre-check with him out of common courtesy, but he always says ‘yes’. No rigid schedule – and I have to admit I LOVE that aspect.

        Additionally, his clinical avoidance of…. well, nearly every awkward situation… has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Transitions of our child never, ever, ever has been negative; it’s just ‘non’. He drives in the driveway and drops her off. She comes in the door and yells for me and gives her dad a ‘thumbs up’ that I’m here (something I had to TEACH him b/c he once came early and dropped her off when I wasn’t home!!!!!). I love that it’s smooth and uneventful. I don’t need any communication with him at that time – since all communication is now done with written and third party back up.

        As a recovered enabler, the feelings of ‘not mine to worry about anymore’ are so incredibly strong and I still feel it every time he backs out of the driveway. I absolutely love the rush of ‘free from burden’ feeling I still get. I don’t wish him ill or tragedy, he’s the father of my daughter, but I can firmly say that I’m profoundly happier now that am not the janitor of his tragic life spills. SIGH OF RELIEF.

        So ladies- what parts of a PA do you admit to seeing as a ‘perk’?? It’s good to see the good in every situation, don’t you think?

        • Peggy, you ask some GOOD questions! So what are the perks that we see in our PA? Geez, are there any?LOL LOL LOL
          I remember PERKS – that’s when something is offered you for your benefit, right? In a PA relationship, in my honost opinion, NOT MANY- not if you have to live with one that won’t get help or even if he is getting help and doesn’t work on himself.
          It will then become your job to SET HIM STRAIGHT……. a very unappreciated waste of your time and it doesn’t work unless HE WANTS it to! So he still has you hooked and is manipulating and controlling the situation as usual. It’s all up to him!

          I am so glad you can breathe a sigh of relief Peggy, you have enough on your plate raising your daughter. To find the good in things is great…mine just hasn’t arrived yet…He’s on a later arrival flight. LOL

          It’s up to how each individual’ relationship is “affecting” you.

          “Do you have a PA that is more aggressive than passive? Or, more passive than aggressive? What I mean by this is:

          Does he call you names, hit you, keep you from doing anything you want for yourself? If he is the aggressive- passive aggressive and he WON’T get help……walk away….faster than the wind! Save yourself!

          My PA is more of the passive- passive aggressive, and he IS getting help. There is no way I am reading into the fact that he is getting help- that he loves me- thinks of me as special to him- or wants it to work- right now.

          – his gettting help was an ultimatum to him by me

          – loving me? He doesn’t even understand love and what it entails

          – me being special to him- GET REAL! I’ve felt “used” too long to feel I mean more than someone who can do for him and make his life easier.

          – wants it to work? If he wanted it to work, he wouldn’t be dragging his feet and would be working harder than he does.

          I feel it is just his way of keeping me sucked in longer…my honest opinion. That’s why I have put a time limit on all of this- as he calls it- “trying”….yet not really “doing”. He’s got a long way to go and time’s a runnin’ out! I make those decisions later……

          Go or stay? It’s part of your decision. I just know what I would do in each situation.

          What I do see in my situation is that when I think of leaving, I have this monumental sense of peace…a challenge yes, but peace! When I think of staying, I become numb, lost and not sure I have it in me to stay…..for what? More of the same? I become stronger by asking all these questions of myself. By maintaining my dignity in what it right, regardless of what others think, do, or say…I will have my ultimate answer for myself in time.
          In the meantime, the counselors say:

          “Don’t let it affect you”- I say: it’s easily said, but hard to do.

          “Stand up for yourself and get you self esteem back” -a long process, but very do-able if you focus, read, and talk to people who know how to help you.

          “Confront ” -letting him know how he makes you feel”-

          IF he will listen and consider your words. (this is something his counselor needs to help him with-if he’s a PA getting help- You know how little the PA listens…they hear, they just don’t listen.

          If he doesn’t work on listening it will be your walking away or kicking him out that will announce very loudly to him what you said and meant. Then watch how he squirms to “make it all better” ….but only long enough to pull you back in. Stand your ground.

          I think that the “tough love” on your part that is necessary in this type of relationship is simply a huge heartache and a headache for you, when a relationship really should have a few more moments of peace, humor, sharing, caring,goals, excitement, security, and understanding of each other than it does.

          So Peggy, In my case, the Perks will come when he is either:
          Actually walking the walk and talking the talk! (ACTIONS MUST MATCH THE WORDS that he uses and it is done consistantly!!!!!)

          Can you tell that I have lost a massive amount of trust in him? But don’t we all in a PA relationship?
          But for the sake of the period of time set…I can only sit back, grow myself, learn from it all, be patient, tolerant, and watch and see if he will ever “GET IT”.

          And in the process of helping myself grow, I can help him out of his hole as much as I can. But he may be too heavy for me to lift him too far…He may have to grab that rope and climb out himself…

          Sorry this was so long, but I had to vent today…I had another of those dreams that is evidently trying to tell me something. Beats me what it means.


        • Peggy- LOL. You are so good. You should have your own blog going! My “perk” is when I have to be gone, he is here with my mother, or when he wasn’t working he would cook so I could work. LOL. There are pleasures (or benefits) or we would never stand for just the “pain”.

          I do totally understand about having the parenting to yourself, as I explained in the answer to your other post. The one thing about a passive aggressive who really doesn’t want to parent is having the field to yourself. Love it! Thanks so much for your input. You are so soul enspiring.

      • jmarie- Ok, from his comment about your book “divorce” and now this, I would say it wasn’t “self sabotage” it was “you sabotage”. He knows you have every reason to leave him, and as long as the money was where it was you had the ability. Now he figures he’s “bought” himself some time. If I were you, I would take what’s left of “our money” and turn it into “your money” in an account he can’t find. When he discovers that you’ve moved it, just tell him you put it away for ‘safekeeping’ and you didn’t feel you needed to talk it over with him because he’s got 80% of it in “his” investment. If I were you, I would never bring it out for any ’emergency’ or anything else. I would start building on it for your ‘nest egg’ to get away if you have to or for anything else he may do that would negatively impact you or your daughter. I can see that you’re angry and I think you have every right to be. So let’s channel that energy where instead of turning you upside down, it works for you. Now that he’s shown you what he’s doing, I hope to God any money you are making on your own through your book etc. is going into your own account so he doesn’t have access to it. You’re right. You need to worry about your daughter and your welfare above anything else. It’s obvious he’s doing what he feels he needs to.

        Good luck. I was having such high hopes for you with him lasting so long in counseling, etc. but he has gone into “threatened mode, self destruct’ again. I don’t blame you in the least for being angry. Even a couple who we would otherwise consider “normal’ wouldn’t be all warm and fuzzy with this one.

        • Ladybeams,
          No, I was not warm and fuzzy with it (about the money)and I let the man (who arranged the investments) know that I was not in agreement. After a long and explanatory conversation with a third party (the man) I was assured that complete availability of the sum is in our hands, not the investment company. It IS a more secure way of investing afterall. I have checked into it and am satisfied that my PA did NOT..I repeat…DID NOT do anything shady. So MY BAD!

          But just as any PA will keep you guessing in all aspects of the relationship, it opened my eyes and now I am diligent to check out things “before the fact”. Lesson learned.

          Of all things, my PA and I had a darn long talk about it all, and that in itself is another eye opener! If he can do that (talk about an issue) then I have to give him credit. BUT, MY EYES ARE OPEN! And will be from here on out.

          Whether he is in “threatened mode” from his comment about a divorce after reading my book is another story. Whether he thinks this will “buy him some time”…that I don’t know. I suspect it wholeheartedly, but don’t live by it! He knows I mean business, and that gets the ball back into my court. And I know his ways of manipulation now and I am on to him BIG TIME.

          As for having my own account…I did that about 10 years ago and have kept it that way. I have been honest with him that my money is my money, my “mad” money and if he makes me mad …that’s where it can come to good use. I am protecting myself and have been for a very long time…and I have been honest about it.

          To be so dishonest in moving any of “our” money on my part is not in me. It’s just that I already know the things that can be done legally to protect my interests concerning the investment, his retirement, IRAs etc. should he decide to try anything shady. He can hide it all he wants, but the courts will find it. I keep good records. Even my money is subject to scrutiny and well it should be…I just have a whole lot less and to be fair to both of us in a settlement -if it should come to that- nothing is sacred, hidden, or not touchable. It’s the Law.
          Since his statement about “understanding if I wanted a divorce”…Don’t even think for a minute that I don’t know what that statement meant on his part. It is all recorded and understood by me. It would be an easy way out for him, yes, he may even be saying he doesn’t want to work so hard at this in counseling, and he may be testing the water -so to speak. I have my reasons for staying and ,like you, there are Perks in doing so. I will bide my time, and weigh all the facts, listen carefully, watch carefully, and see if he is doing what needs to be done for himself. So far don’t give up the ship just yet- if the holes he puts in the ship are fixable and HE fixes them… well….. The ship hasn’t sunk yet.

          The one thing that is helpful to me right now is utilizing an exercise of Tough Love with him. It ‘s working! I have more ammo than he does, and that is Truth about myself and what I a capable of (in a good way- not retaliatory or hateful). I am just not that kind of person…Oh I have it in me to do it if I my life is threatened, but he hasn’t gotten to my breaking point just yet. If he keeps pushing me….well even then I will walk away, head held high and ready for the world on my own. I think the process of my growth is finally taking hold in me and no matter what he or anyone else throws at me, I can take care of myself…and I will do just that, the best I know how.

          The part about sympathy and empathy I mentioned before and how not just throwing the rope down, but climbing down and helping the person up….That is what I had to learn about myself, not him. We all know he is incapable of empathy, but I am not incapable. I AM trying to help him out of the hole he put himself into. So it was ME-I repeat -ME that had to learn that, not him. How much strength I have to lift him is yet to be seen if he doesn’t grab that rope and try to help himself as well. If he expects me to completely lift him out…I can’t. His problem is too heavy. And, I will not stay in that hole with him for any longer than it takes to see if- by my encouragement- he will try harder. If he doesn’t take hold of that rope and try harder, then I will climb out and save myself. I will have given him my empathy and support and he didn’t try to help himself. All I will have left is sympathy and like the story…I will leave the rope there for him and walk away. I will know that I did all that I could do to help him save himself……then will come the time to save myself.

          Picture- if you will -a scene of battle (so apropos to living with a PA) where a person is dreadfully hurt, yet all around there is a threat to your life too. You care about this person and try ever so hard to help drag him away to a safe place. His legs work fine, but he doesn’t help you by using them as you struggle to drag him to safety. By him not trying to help himself while you are trying to help him, he is putting you in increasing danger of becoming hurt too. Have you not seen (in the movies) the look in someone’s eyes when they have to make a decision like that? To keep trying or die themselves? There is a rush of mixed emotions that flood over you and you must decide. You have to weigh the threat to your own life -with your ability, your strength, and your courage…and most of all what is right for your situation.

          I do not choose to die in this battle!! But I wan’t try to help this wounded soldier first. If by my helping, I become threatened again by his not trying to help himself…I then finally have to save myself.
          Living with a PA IS a battleground…But now I am in charge of picking my battles.

          • jmarie- I’m so glad to hear you have already (10 yrs. ago) started your own account as a safety net. I would like to explain here that I am not a deceitful person, and also believe in being honest, but there are many women who visit here, who do not work because they are home with the children, or for whatever reason, and the husband controls the purse strings. I’ve had women mention about having to beg for grocery money. If they don’t do something to help themselves financially they never will be able to “get out”. He holds all the cards. If they said anything about having their own account, they would be laughed at, ridiculed, and definitely not “allowed”. While I prefer everything to be honest and above board, sometimes that’s just not possible. Sometimes it’s a matter of self-preservation.

            I’m so happy also that you and your PA were able to get some things out in the open and discuss them. It is so darn hard to get a PA to open up. Something must be working. Sometimes, just like a kid, “tough love” may be just what the doctor ordered.

            Thanks for clarifying about the empathy and the sympathy. I obviously misunderstood the first time around. LOL.

    • Peggy- Excellent! That’s where they get us when we live with them. We don’t type out what they agreed to or said and make them sign it so they go back on it and say it’s us that’s nuts. You learned well, My Friend. LOL.

      I don’t know what exactly your ex did, but I have mentioned on here a couple of times that even if the hubby is fighting for visitation, custody, whatever, that 9 times out of 10 it will only last a very short while. I know with my ex, he was such a player, and he got physical custody, but we had 50/50 custody. In other words, I got to have the kids from the time they got out of school on Friday to 7:00 on Monday night, then he had them from 7 on Monday night until after school on Fri. It didn’t take him long to figure out he was responsible for homework, etc through the week and he started asking if I could take the kids for longer and longer periods until basically he might take them for a weekend or two. For me, in the beginning when I had them all to myself all of the time, it was hard not to have another person to share the responsibility, but in the long run I was grateful. He wasn’t responsible even when he was responsible. It worked out better for my children that he ended up having nothing to do with their care. You may not think so now, but you should only be so lucky. LOL. You wouldn’t have to deal with him, and you wouldn’t have to deal with worrying about her in his care.

      I can’t tell you how happy I am for you that the right people are paying attention and you are documenting everything. That is so important.

      Thanks so much for you input. We get so many ladies here having to deal with custody. I’m sure they learned a lot from this comment alone.

  7. My dear ladybeams,
    I am confused…I believe, but may not be right, that you have either responded to Peggy partially as Me or Me partially as Peggy. I don’t have a daughter at home and you mention it in the response to me…I can still get the idea of what you say, but it threw me for a loop there at first.
    Peggy is a strong lady and sounds like she is doing a fabulous job in her situation….I agree with you.
    You and I are still with our PA’s. That’s a whole other ballgame…I will write more on this later, but for now –Have a great day

    • jmarie- Sorry. I do know you said you don’t have any kids at home. Once again my hands are working apart from the brain evidently. LOL. Thanks for letting me know.

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