About This Blog…

Let me start by giving a little background on my BF.

He’s soon to be 60 yrs. old and liked by everyone. He’s a man’s man with sports stats rolling off his tongue about any sport, anytime some one asks. He was raised on a farm in the midwest, the oldest of 5 children. His father was extremely hard handed, and one did not defy or talk back. Evidently my BF suffered more than a beating or two. Never being allowed to express anger or frustration, he played football in high school and took out his emotions there. Then it was into the Navy, where you aren’t allowed to express your emotions there, either. From what I gather from all my research, this is the typical makings of a passive-aggressive person.

At first glance, he seems to have the patience of a saint. He would have to in order to join me, still raising two unruly kids, and taking in my elderly mother after her stroke. On top of that, I owned a bar, which was much more than just a job. He’s been great through all of it. (Most men would love the thought of owning a bar, but it can be quite the nightmare also).

That’s the upside to Passive Aggressiveness. They seem so patient, while sabatoging you ever so subtly. They are not the typical jerk, raising hell and mad all the time, or the drinker that comes home and beats their spouse. Their kind of abuse is so subtle, you have a tendancy to miss it. Then one day you either hear the term “Passive Aggressive” and look it up so you don’t feel stupid in public, (the expression is used quite often these days), or you go looking for answers to all those little subtleties you don’t understand.

I have read so much on Passive Aggressive Behavior, I feel like I should have a diploma. I do not of course, and this blog is purely for my entertainment and sanity.


72 Responses

  1. I am just learning what is wrong with my relationship, thanks to this site, I always think its me. I have been with my bf for 5 years and I have never been so lonlely and confused. Emotional withdraw is his speciality along with witholding sex, I am sick of it but I seem so beaten down I cant leave. All I want to do is stop loving him. He is popular and a social butterfly with his buddies and he always acussing me of being a DRAMA QUEEN. How do I not Let him push my buttons how do i become emotionally detached. I want to be loved and desired, ive never cheated but im so lonley and sexually frustrated. How do I stay with this man who now seems to own my soul?
    thanks any advice is apperciated.

    • Hi Kim- Sorry this appears to have taken so long to get back to you, but I actually wrote you a long answer yesterday, and wordpress lost it. I didn’t have the energy or time to put it all back. But…
      If this site has helped you at all, I’m glad. If nothing else you should know after reading a lot of the comments here that you are not alone.

      You said you have been with your boyfriend for 5 years now. If you don’t do something, where will you be 5 yrs. from now, or 5 yrs. after that? As you start getting older time just flies by and you’ve been together 20 yrs. and spent all of it being totally miserable, and still thinking about leaving.

      Have you talked to the BF about how he makes you feel, or why he acts like he doesn’t desire you sexually anymore? You may not get any answers, but at least he will know that you recognize the problems and are ready to face them head on.

      You also want to research as much as possible what passive aggressive behavior is and what tactics passive aggressive people use. In this way you can recognize what is happening when it’s happening and figure out the best way for you to handle it. When my BF does something that is obviously passive aggressive, I call him on it. Of course he usually denies it, but he knows I know and he usually comes up with a new tactic. It doesn’t cure it, but he usually stops that particular behavior. You’ll find books through the Amazon link in the side column, and there are also some good referrence sites listed.

      Another thing you really need to do for yourself is get into either a women’s support group of some kind, or a lot of people recommend Al-Anon. Al-Anon usually has a very minimal cost (a lot of times a donation) and they deal with having to emotionally detach from a loved one addicted to alcohol or drugs every day. While your husband may not have that problem, the support and the tools for your situation would be the same. If you have insurance, your local hospital or clinics may have some kind of “assertiveness training” groups or support groups. If you don’t have insurance you can check with your local health department, as their fees are usually done on a sliding scale according to what you can afford. They too are usually extremely reasonable. From the heartache in your comment it seems you really need to start taking care of you.

      Please stop in and let me know how you’re doing. Sometimes you just need to talk to some one who understands. There are a lot of comments on the entry for “A Way To Cope With A Passive Aggressive Spouse” They may give you something to think about or some useful information. Good luck to you.

    • I have read your blog for over a year. Which is when i figured out what the problem was with my relationship. Finally picked up the courage to write in it.
      I have been for 3 years with my b/f engaged then not then on and god knows how crazy and drained i have gotten with him.
      I have kicked him out several times only to not be able to get through with it because of his charm, promises and acknowledge of “I can be such a prick”
      I dont need him for any support. He has changed 6 jobs since i have met him. I have put him through school several times. He is totally unrealiable. Cannot be dependable.
      I live with my 3 children the youngest is 10 and he has totally been hurt by my boyfriends lies and manipulations.
      He has lied to me so many times about major things, he cheats on me by being on dating sites and protays himself as such a charmer. I got so insane last year as he would be playing hide and cheat games only for me to find out.
      I have taken him back so many times that i cant even count anymore. He has repeated the same issues of lying, cheating, irresponsibility, financial dependant.
      I have had so much stress in this relationship that it has effected my health. Last year i ended up with ulcers and finally IBS and they all started after finding out lies and betrayal. I took him back and since then he has threaten to call the city and revenue canada for god know what.
      Now i have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis about a month ago and still in the process of getting the right medications for me. I am told i need to cut down on my stress level. i have to deal wih making decision of how am i going to adjust my life with this very dehibilitaing disease. I run my own business.
      On haloween day i found some more sites on history of the computer he was using only to find that he is on dating sites again. I confronted him and he as usual was in deniel and blah blah. he then threatens as usual to leave and i remind him that he had promised to take my son trick or treating that night.
      He didnt care left….. on the way says i am controlling! i was left with a son who was disappointed until i phoned other parents from school if he my son could join them. The next day was my birthday and nothing! I had set up some work for him the next day and he didnt even show up of work!
      Let me add the BF has a son who is probably 12 and he has never seen him although he lives in the same city. He has had no contact with him. He tried contact with the ex girlfriend (mom of his son) only to flirt with her rather then take some responsibility for his son. The BF is quite shy in person he is always out there looking for something. He says i am his soulmate and even goes and tattos it on his arm to convince me (in another language)
      I am so sick of this and please someone tell me what the hell is wrong with me! He is not a nice person and cannot be consistant at all. It has always been a roller coster ride with him. I need to STOP!

      • Ladybug- Oh My Gosh! Stop!

        I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but that if nothing else should give you a kick in the a**. You’re going to have to deal with this illness, the stress you’re currently under is only going to speed it up, and you have a child that is an even bigger victim of the circumstances than you are. Not fair. As you already obviously know, you need to kick this guy to the curb. If you can’t do it to preserve what little of your own dignity you have left, you need to protect your child from learning these habits and from getting hurt by them anymore. As long as you choose your boyfriend over your son, your son is going to get the impression that your BF’s behavior is how to get someone to love you. You really don’t want him learning that do you?

        Have you thought about seeing a therapist? It sounds like you really could use some support in your corner and someone to help you through a final break up. If he’s so interested in other dating sites, etc. let him go get them. I would hate to think some other poor female will fall for his charms to be treated like you have been, but right now better her than you. Maybe the next female won’t put up with it. Really, when you stop to think about it, other than the charm which even a snake can be charming, what good does he bring to you and your son’s life? And now especially, isn’t it more important than ever for you to find some real happiness? You won’t ever find it if you can’t let go and put this guy in your past.

        You say he doesn’t help support you and if anything you end up supporting him, so what is it that keeps you there putting up with him? Is it the fear of you and your son being alone together? Is it being afraid not to have a man around? Is it that you just have lost respect for yourself to the point you feel like you don’t deserve better? but if that’s the case, doesn’t your son? These aren’t meant to be harsh (especially since it took you so long to leave a comment. LOL) but we all do things because we benefit from them somehow, even when they are painful. There must be some way you are benefiting from this relationship, even if it’s just when you catch him messing around he always comes back making you feel like you’ve still “got it”. It’s definitely time to take a long, hard, cold look at what is going on and the relationship, and ask yourself where you and your son will be in 5 yrs. from now if you stick with it. When you really take a look at what the future holds going on like this, it’s pretty scary.

        Good luck My Dear. You need to take care of yourself more now than ever if you ever want to see the boy of yours grow up someday and see what he’s going to do with his life, and what kind of person he will turn out to be. Don’t let this guy steal that away from you. Feel free to leave a comment anytime you need to talk.

        • THANK YOU! I dont know how to express what i felt when i read your response. I went back and read what i had written and i sounded so very disturbed. But your response was such a kick in the a…! It hurt that i was being so forgiving that i was forgetting who else was getting hurt with it. My children are the most important part of my life. Yet unknowingly i was hurting them by staying in this realtionship.
          There has been still no word from him since he walked out on haloween day. Which is normal. I always feel relief after but then as few days pass i start to think negetive. To answer your question why was I with him? It is insane! I think i have a fear of being alone and abandoned! I am a fool… as i believe and believe and hope and hope. Even though my gut tells me to i convince myself other wise.
          I have gotten so drained by this man that i dont even recognise myself from what i used to be 3 years ago!
          He has left me so exhausted and sick! It is so painful that i let him do this to me!
          For now i am going to learn to be good to me. I will be a good mother that i have always have been. I will NOT let this man into my life AGAIN! I wish that one day he pays for what he did to me and my innocent children! GOD BLESS U!

  2. I am so confused today my bf brings home a roast he wants for dinner I start cooking and everything is almost ready, he decides to leave to go to a buddys for a tatoo, just like that out of the blue. The roads are horrible and he has no licensce. It’s always something to worry about, of course I end up flipping out screaming , He always abandons me its the weekend. Recently I have lost alot of weight and feel pretty, but he still wont take me anywhere stay here and cook the roast. I have tried to call him on his cell but as usual Im being punished for flipping out. so he wont take my calls.how do i stop letting him push my buttons, I was never like this before and i dont know how to pull myself out of this mess. We just bought a home in december 2008 so according to him i should be happy all I want is for him to love me like I love him but that is not going to happen. I am not in a finacial position to leave him Iam in school for a personal support worker i am 43 years old. i will be done school in 6 months. I want to stop needing him and loving him,i am loosing myself and cant take it anymore but i dont have the strenght to leave him. Thanks so much for letting me vent I am truly lost and heartbroken.

    • Oh Kim- My heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry. I know it can hurt so bad. Nothing worse than standing there in tears and he just drives away as if it’s nothing. On top of how he treats you, he sounds pretty irresponsible in general. I’m sure there’s a reason why he has no license at his age. I hope he’s not driving a car you’re connected to. When he gets pulled over and they impound the car you don’t want to be responsible for paying for the impound. You do know no insurance will cover him if he’s in an accident or anything as long as he doesn’t have a license, don’t you? It sounds like you don’t have much choice if he drives, but you do have a choice if you’re going to be held responsible for his actions.

      I think once you get out of school and start working in your field, I’m sure you’ll feel better. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. You’re almost through with school. That in itself is a heck of an accomplishment, especially if you’ve been fighting all the way through. Be proud, Girl! It’s hard when you’re dependent on someone to not let them have some control over you.

      It sounds like you’re quite happy with yourself as far as losing weight, etc. which should help your self esteem quite a bit. Take advantage of it and any compliments you’re getting from anywhere else. I know it’s not the same, but it all helps. Did you read my post about building a “self esteem” file? You can start doing that right away and that will help.

      As far as not letting him “push your buttons”, it takes practice. One of the things to do that actually can be sort of “fun” is to just calmly ask him “why?” “Why did you decide to go now when dinner’s almost ready and I’m cooking the roast you wanted?” It’s very interesting sometimes to just watch the reaction. Whatever it is, even if you’re seething inside, you just say “Oh, ok. I just was trying to understand what you were thinking”. When he quits getting the reaction from you that gives him an excuse not to answer your calls, etc. he’ll learn a lot of his current behavior isn’t working anymore. It’s not so much of getting him to quit pushing your buttons as having a turn pushing his. I don’t know. Bear in mind I have kind of a sick sense of humor and this has worked for me on several ocassions. It does take a little practice and a lot of patience.

      I’m really glad you came back. You’re welcome to vent anytime! It does help to at least get it off your chest. My BF is just the opposite of yours. I can’t get him to get in touch with his buddies, and he rarely lets me drag him out. He gets even with me in other ways, like loading the dishwasher backwards, etc. LOL

  3. Being that I am passive-aggressive I can totally understand where your frustrations come from. It is very true that we give very subtle hints; however, it is normally done unconsciously, and then one day after years of not verbally saying anything we want to end the relationship. The sad part is that we assume that the conversation that we carried on in our heads actually happened and that our mate just didn’t get it. It takes for a passive-aggressive person to first recognize there issue and then seek help; whether that is thru self-help (like your website) or professional. I am a living witness though that once a passive-aggressive person has recognized that they have been creating there unhappiness they have the ability to change, not over night but in time. We slip back into our comfort zone but were able to recognize quickly that we are sabotaging the relationship. Love your blog site!

    • Re- Welcome and thank you so much for the complement and your insight. How fortunate for the people in your life you recognize your own passive aggressive behavior and are willing to work on it. What’s so sad is for so many they don’t even want to admit the possibility. Good for you and good luck to you.
      I enjoyed reading your blog. It seems you are quite a deep feeling and deep thinking person. Glad to see you putting that to work in such a positive way.

  4. Hi havent been here in a while, my daughter is having a baby in may and i am trying make a nursery with no help from my bf. i think i am starting to hate him sex is no more and the last time wasnt even worth it. i could have an affair and he wouldnt know.
    he says i am to presistent. i have talked to him till i am blue in the face. he ignore everything i say, but says he didnt hear me. i told him tonight if you dont love me and want me here have the balls to tell me!!. He takes the coversation all over the place because he cant talk about our relationship or lack of. i told him ilove him but i cant do this anymore im lost lonley and miserable and i hate him and love him. he says kim if youre not happy then go, i can see youre not happy so
    here i am because that was the end of the conversation he says im kicking a dead horse. as soon as i leave the house he calls me, he dont want me and he doesnt want any one else to want me . i really am ashamed of myself for loving him so much .somehow i need to say to hell with this . you can only be pushed away so many times its crushing.please avice ???
    thanks for liistening

    • Hi Kim- Congrats! on the new grandbaby. This should be such a happy time for you and your daughter. Sorry to hear things are so miserable.

      I totally understand about being told you’re too persistant when it comes to sex. It seems the more you want it, the more they withhold. Once you don’t pursue them anymore, there’s no sex at all. Unfortunately that doesn’t lend itself to a very loving relationship.

      If you’ve tried talking to him, I truly don’t know much else you can do. A passive aggressive very rarely will own up to how he really feels because they don’t know how. They don’t know how to connect to you emotionally and would just asoon things went along at a status-quo. They don’t know how to talk about the relationship because they can’t really see anything wrong and figure you’re just a drama queen.

      I can only see you solving this problem 2 ways. 1, you have to accept that this is who he is and who he’ll always be, and decide if you are willing to give up your life for that or 2) make a stand for your own happiness, even though it will break your heart to break away from this situation. The difference being you go through one big heart ache and heal through it as you part ways, or you live your life with several heartbreaks a long the way.

      Have you asked him about couple’s counseling? I know most passive aggressive men won’t really even consider it because they feel like it’s saying something’s wrong with them (which it is) but it may be worth a try. One way of looking at this is, if your daughter was in your situation what would you want for her? I know I wouldn’t want my daughter to live years in a situation without love and affection, slowly thnking she’s the one that’s crazy. I would want her to let go of the situation and have a chance to meet the man out there that will be kind and loving and supportive of her. Why settle for any less for yourself?

      I know it hurts so much to bring things to an end, especially when you still love someone so much, but it sounds like you’re really getting to the point of either him or you. Where are you going to be 5 years from now? Good luck whichever road you take, and come back anytime. I’m still here.

  5. Dear Ladybeam
    you are wonderful,thankyou for all your advice. I am still confused, maybe i will go for counselling on my own. sometimes it seems easier to stay than leave. Today he tells me children aids called him about his daughter, the result of a one night stand 16 years ago, he has never been involved with her. he does have two other children, and not much involement there either although i have seen him put forth great effort to be a part of their lives but they have no interest.. The 16 year old he has never bothered with and she is more like her father than the other two. She has grown up in a horrible enviorment, her mother being addicted to crack. We have seen her on occassion when she needs money. I know her problems are severe she has been involved in a violent robbery with a cab driver where her and a friend were at fault. Their is still court over it. Furthermore i dont know the extent of the childs problems was she sexually molested, abused, made to go hungry , i have no idea??. She has been in juvenile detention then a foster home its not working out I guess, so they have asked her father to take her in. I am at a loss for words, i said we should discuss this “yeah we will” yeah right . Maybe i could help her but im sure it is her fathers love she needs. Good luck, am i selfish too think he cant do it and it will all be on my shoulders? My grandaughter will be here soon , do i need more drama if she doesnt come home at night is her dad going to look for her? if she were mine i would will she resent me? What kind of woman would i be if i walked out now so i can have a perfect world for my grandbaby. My bf daughter needs alot of love right now, well so do i. maybe if he were more loving i would be eager to help but i have a feeling we both will be starved out and gods knows you cant have sex with a kid in the house according to bf, thers always an excuse. you know we bought this house december 14/2008 my pregant kid is moving out with her boy friend next week and then its back to me and him again not!!!. His daughter needs him im feeling jealous and selfish. I also feel like ive been there done that no thanks, and on the other hand i feel like i can help this little girl that no one not even her father has cared aboutt, how it must feel for no one to love you not even your own flesh and blood.tonight i will pray to god to show me the way because truthfully i am tired and i have given him enough of my love. my daughter all of 20 years says mom youre beautiful leave him hes an idiot. and i say yeah hailey but i love him. any and all advice is welcome thank you for letting me get this off my chest
    sincerely kim

    • Kim- You’ve got a great first step, prayer. Then a good therapist even or especially for just you, to help you not feel like you’re going crazy and give you some support.

      I feel bad for your BF’s daughter, but taking on a really troubled 16 yr. old is really, really tough. My kids and I fought like cats and dogs all through their teens over bounderies, curfews, school, etc. and they were mine. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if they were someone else’s. I don’t blame you for being a little worried and to tell you the truth, you’re probably right on when it comes to not expecting a whole lot of help from him. It is so sad any time a child has to grow up with such adversities and if you think you can help and are willing to try, that’s a wonderful statement as to the big heart you have.

      If you decide you’re willing to do this, I think the first step is to develop a set of rules and let her know what they are before she moves in. This is also a way to see a little in advance also as to how much input you’re going to get from the BF. Like little adults, by 16 they have already developed a lot of their own habits, whether good or bad, and it sounds like this young lady is used to doing pretty much as she pleases. A lot of times these kids resent any type of authority trying to reign them in. You could start her with counseling through her school to help her deal with some of her past issues. I know this worked great for my son, and it didn’t cost anything.

      It’s understandable that you’re feeling a little jealous and selfish in regards to sharing your BF, even with his own daughter, when you are already feeling like he doesn’t give enough love to you. I can see where that would be a typical reaction when you think about him giving love to someone else. I would do a little soul searching though and ask yourself if you can handle those feelings if she does come to live with you. It will be another big adjustment between you and your BF to try and deal with. Good luck, however it turns out. Between prayer and thought, whatever decision you make you should feel good about it, that you came to the decision honestly and truly feel it. You have a right to feel the things you feel.

  6. I just realized my son is a PA. He is the 4th of 5 children. All the other children have been appropriately motivated and responsive to normal parenting. He was the quiet kid. He never told me when things bothered him, but I would find signs of his upset in his room. Things broken, holes int he sheetrock. would . Early on, he fell in with a group of neighborhood boys who egged him into pot. I just learned the boys parents are pot smokers. He would sneak out at night. I helped him go away to college, but he flunked out. I became aware of how much he was into the marijuana. I didn’t realize he was a PA until this year. I thought he had been a little overlooked in such a large and outgoing family. I tried concentrating attention and resources on him. I tried to broaden his horizons by travel. I scheduled a ski trip for him, his sister, and myself and after I paid for his share, he cancelled. I didn’t show my anger at him because at this point I realized he was a PA. I realize as I am writing this there is nothing that I can do to help him. He doesn’t call me, contact me and I have stopped trying to maintain any type of relationship with him because he just wants to reject me first. He seems angry if I do attempt a relationship. I have a good relationship with my other children and they with each other. I guess I am just grieving the loss of my son. I honestly think I will never see him again because he seems to determined to not be a part of the family. I have stopped trying to contact him because he is impossible to locate. I don’t think he will even notice no one is trying to relate to him anymore because he has put up so many barriers. I am sorry I didn’t realize until now he was this way. He is 22 years old. If I had realized earlier I might have been able to get him into counseling, but now that he is an adult it is too late.

    • Hi PA’s Mom- Thanks for leaving your comment and Welcome! More importantly, I feel your pain. My son also is a passive aggressive. He is the baby out of 3 and he probably has good reason. You might want to read my post about him here. He’s 20 now, and I learn a little more every day on how to deal.

      While he has gone through so much in his little life due to me, it sounds like you’ve had a stable home life for your son and he probably wasn’t raised much different than your other 4. Don’t be too quick to feel guilty for anything you’ve done. Sometimes it’s not us. Sometimes it’s someone that impresses them that we would think is so immaterial to our child’s life, yet they make a comment that our child takes to heart, and it can screw up their whole psyche.

      I’m curious. When you would ask him about holes in the wall etc., what was his explaination? Were you and his father together while you were raising him? Sometimes if you’re a single mom things go on with the father that you don’t even know about.

      My son also is in to drugs. If your son has been doing weed for awhile, he may be into heavier stuff now, which will cause him to isolate himself from you. I kicked my son out, which he justly deserved, and he spiraled downward pretty badly. The one thing I did do was pay his cell phone bill so I could at least make sure he was alive once in awhile. Have you ever just asked him what he has against you? or have you ever been able to get him to open up at all?

      I am going to pass on a little advice I got from Broken Hearted Mom whose son is in jail, which is where his heroin addiction got him, it’s very important to get support for you. You are not alone in this. There are a bunch of us parents that have no idea what to do now. One of the places you might try is Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Those are parents and people dealing with the same type of thing, and they may be able to at least let you feel like you don’t have to be alone dealing with this. (Of course, you have this place here too any time you need to just let it out). You might also try a family counselor if that’s more to your liking, to help you navigate through the rough waters. A support group through your county health department may also give you a little support and some insight as to what you need to do to keep your own sanity while your son is exploring his.

      I don’t know that I would ever “give up” on my son, but I certainly have gotten exasperated, and you need some support to help hold you up while he’s being who ever he may turn out to be.

      Good luck to you and God Bless. Feel free to come back any time and laugh, cry or vent. I’ll always be interested in how things are going with you.

      • Thank you for answering. His dad and I were together, but I left the physical home when my son was a senior in high school returning home on weekends. My son’s behavior was already like it is today, I just didn’t realize what it was. Following his senior year, I brought him to my new home and placed him in college. He was not a bad kid, just severely unmotivated. I had to do everything to get him enrolled. But I spent a lot of time with him shopping, getting clothes, but I realize the last thing he wanted was college, he just went along. During college he came home on weekends. When the first semester was a bomb I wasn’t angry I told him that college was hard and it took awhile to get adjusted and he could do it. But he didn’t. The summer after he flunked out, I told him he would have to get a job and follow rules. He sabotaged all his job interviews. He wanted to get back to live with his dad where there were no rules and he could hang with his friends that did pot as well. He worked part-time. He was coming back and forth to stay with his sister when I had to work overnight. I let him drive one of the cars, but when he had pot in it and I would not let him drive the car anymore. I also took him off the insurance because I did not want to be liable for an accident if he was stoned. I would buy a cell phone for him, but I have a feeling he would “lose it” or “not answer” it, or “accidentally turn it off” or “accidentally leave it somewhere”. When he put holes in the wall, I would hold him, tell him I loved him, ask him what was wrong and what could I do. He wouldn’t ever answer. What he says he has against me is my dislike of “stoners” like him. I say that its the legal issues around pot that I have a problem with. I can’t afford to have my car impounded. Also it is the lack of motivation and direction that the pot seems to accentuate in him. My daughter’s graduation is coming up and I fully expect him to bail on her as well. All my other children are adult children who have a great deal of love and concern for him, but they do feel very angry about his lack of concern for himself and for his actions. They feel guilty that they didn’t let him talk as a kid, that they talked for him. Possibly true, but they are a loving group of kids. I just don’t know why he has gone down this road.

        • Hi PA Mom- Gee so much of your story sounds so much like me and my son. In fact just the other day he asked my why I hated weed so much. I told him I hated what it did to anyone I’ve ever seen smoke a lot of it and what it does to him. Lazy, lack of motivation, lack of being responsible. Like your son, I took the car away, etc. (unfortunately my son drinks also). When they’re that age they just don’t get it. They don’t ever think anything is going to happen to them, and they don’t really get the consequences of their actions. After I took my son’s car away, he bought another on his own from a friend. He did get in a fender bender at the end of our street, thank God he happened to be straight that day, but his vehicle was towed and he never got it back. Now he’s in the process of forfeiting his license for a year.

          Reading about your life, when you left, etc. I truly don’t think it’s neccessarily anything you did. My two older girls have chosen their paths and are doing quite well. They also are very upset with their brother, and my oldest basically wants nothing to do with him because of the way he’s chosing to live. We can’t beat ourselves up for not being able to pin them in, away from bad friends and bad things as we are supposed to be teaching them independence and letting them go. Some people just make bad choices. My son always knows which choice he should make, he just doesn’t chose it.

          Hopefully both our sons will reach a point where they realize all this is a waste, or at least not benefitting them, and they will put it aside. Good luck to both of us. LOL.

          • Thank you ladybeam for writing. Its so good to know that someone else has gone down this road before me. I have been thinking about the communication issue and my son has a birthday coming up. I am thinking maybe I should try getting him a prepaid phone and give it to him for a present. He recently had car trouble and was stranded and I mentioned to him that is the nice thing about have a cell phone and he thought he might need one. My husband has provided him housing, but charges rent. The boy doesn’t make enough money to actually live out on his own, but talks about moving in with his friend and the friend’s girlfriend. I actually think if he did, he would do PA things with them and the lure of this bad group might be a little less attractive. I encouraged him to get out on his own because I know living independently is a wake up call sometimes to what reality is. I do have my share of guilt. While there was not any arguing with my spouse, I just could not be with him anymore. He was probably mildly pa but was overall a good provider, hardworker, and loved me and the children. But it also seemed that he encouaged me to take on more work, more responsibilities, more self-improvement, while he remained stagnant. I changed going through a post-graduate program while he did nto evolve. I began to feel he wanted me to make the “big bucks” but all I really ended up with was a great deal of debt that together we could not pay. Only 5 years later am I able to address the school loans, the credit cards, and feeling like he pushed me away from the chldren because I had to study and work. Yes I resent him, I feel angry and irritable when I speak with him. Even thought I may spend the rest of my life alone, I would happily chose being alone that having to keep the household going on my own. While being a good provider, he is disorganized and is a pack rat. I felt overwhelmed. I just couldn’t take care of his life as well as my own. I felt his advice was bad, but I felt worse because I had taken his advice. So there was a gulf between me and my son’s father. And he may have sufferred from it. I can only aplogize for that. Thanks again for writing. I am so new to all of this, I really and inspired by the stories and experiences of others.

          • PA’s Mom- Congratulations! Sounds like you have the perfect opening for getting your son a cell phone. Of course he’ll probably be a lot like mine, and even though I pay the bill, there are many times he sees it’s me and chooses not to answer. It’s fortunate that your husband can supply your son with a place to live, but still charge him rent as if he’s on his own. It certainly helps them get used to the idea that they have to pay to put a roof over their head. My son moved in with a guy and girl in a house and it was a huge free for all, with him doing more and worse drugs than he already was doing. It would just break my heart to see what a mess he was, but I told him he couldn’t come back unless he got help. He never did. Thank goodness he and his girlfriend ended up back together and he basically pulled himself back up. She’s no angel, but she works and she tries to encourage him to be better. So now I have both of them. LOL. I know how it’s supposed to work. Not always very good at enforcing it.

            With us having to move though, I’ve been telling him if he’s not working they won’t be going with me. I guess they’ll probably go back to living with her father.

            I understand about you and your ex. Mine pushed me similarly, except once I was earning “big bucks” I turned around and he was spending most the day in his night shirt and playing with the kids. I decided at that time it was time for us to go.

            Good luck with your son and I hope you two have a wonderful time for his birthday. Maybe it’ll be a step toward being able to get closer with him. Please feel free to come back and let me know how things turn out.

  7. hi this is kim chapman and things have not changed, my grandaughter is born ,bf couldnt be there leg too sore but he hung out with his buddies.i have not one pictre of us and baby i hate him and want to leave him he has an excuse for everything.i keep wanting begging him to love me,nothing iam beaten down lonlely lost confused, what have i done to my life how do you stop loving a man that doesnt even care.i want out ineed strenght my grandaughter is not going too seee me like this no more why am i beggging to be loved by an asshole. god give me strenght toeave.


    • Hi Kim- I’ve missed you. Welcome back.
      Congrats on the new granddaughter. I’m sorry to hear things didn’t go well with the BF, but then you knew they wouldn’t. (of course knowing they won’t and hoping they do are two different things). You sound absolutely miserable.

      Do you have the ability to leave? Are your daughter and granddaughter staying with you, or could you possibly move in with them temporarily? With the new baby, as long as you “helped” and not interfered, your daughter would probably appreciate a break now and then, even if it was just for a little nap, or from the dishes, etc.

      I don’t know why we insist on falling for the “bad” guy instead of the “nice” guy all the time, but you can’t find a man who truly loves you and is good to you the way you deserve until 1) you let go of this one 2) You realize you’re worth better than what you’re getting.

      Therapy, friends, venting here, all can help you, but you need to start the ball rolling. If you truly want to build up your strength and be able to get away from him, the only thing you can do is start changing you. Unfortunately, we can’t change the other person, especially when they aren’t willing. For instance, how’s your self-esteem file coming? When was the last time you went to do something you wanted to do with your “buddies”?

      You may want to go back through some of the posts on here regarding self-esteem, etc. to give you a little motivation. That and the fact that you don’t want to teach your daughter and your granddaughter that this is the way it goes with a man, should get you going.

      Don’t be a stranger. Love to hear how you’re doing anytime. Try and do just 1 thing a day for you or toward your goal of getting stronger. Even 1 thing at a time can make a difference.

  8. I am sitting here with one revelation after another. I am now realizing my spouse is mildly PA. It is true, the harder I worked, the less he helped. He just didn’t have any ambition. I don’t think any of his was very conscious. Why did I marry this man. Probably because I had come from a very dysfunctional family. I wanted a stable family life. My sense of self was not very well-formed. But we had a wonderful family life with our children have been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I grew so much as a person trying to be the kind of parent I never had. I am beginning to think my PA son took after my husband but to a much greater degree. I just didn’t see any of this before and I am just now seeing it. I guess I was ashamed of my choice. I am so very glad I found this website. It explains a lot. My spouse is not all to blame as I am sure I had the personality type that attracted him and vice versa. But I also remember a moment in time when I realized that I didn’t want to continue our relationship. I think that is when I had changed from the person that brought us together. Thanks for letting me share all this. It has been painful keeping it all boxed in.

    • Dear PA’s Mom- It sounds like the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall in to place for you. That’s a good sign. Once you know the problem and understand what it is, you’re half way there to handling it, as they say.

      It’s definitely not unusual for couples to grow apart vs. growing together, especially if one stops growing at all. It’s sad when it happens, especially when you have so much time in, but there is no sense in wasting what time is left. Life is too short, and it sounds like you made the right decision for you.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the website and feel free to let things out here. We all need somewhere to get things off our shoulders. In my life there really isn’t anyone I can talk to for one reason or another, and being able to share with people here has helped me a lot. I love being part of my readers’ lives and having you all be part of mine. Thank you for being here.

      • Thank you for your website. It has turned out to be the very best resource for understanding and talking about this behavior. And most importantly a way to express the overwhelming pain I have been carrying. I have felt guilty about leaving my spouse, and I have felt guilty about how I have failed my son. I have been afraid to be on my own, yet would never think about returning to a truly unsatisfactory life with the spouse. I have a lot of anger toward him that often comes out in our conversations few that they may be. As mentioned, I am angry that I took on the responsibility for bettering our lot in life without him doing the same. My heart was in my home and with my children and I felt resentful of my time away from them, altho I managed to always be mom and to study when they were not there or asleep. He was a good provider, but his advancement in life came only from my prodding. He did very well in the technical program he did attend graduating with honors. Yet he had no desire to continue to evolve. I felt so angry he didn’t want these things on his own for his own self-esteem. I think I just got tired of directing and organizing his life. When I would not do things for him, they didn’t get done. He did become more angry when I began to distance myself from him. He is at heart a nice person from a very nice family. My mother-in-law has been very patient with me as I grew as a person. But that is not enough anymore. I don’t know why he is the way he is. At one point I thought he was ADD and suggested a trial of medication, but he didn’t want to do anything in the way of self-improvement. Same with his appearance. I picked out clothes etc. But I got so tired of his lack of interest in his appearance. He is really looking bad now. I would say he looks 10 years older than I do and we are a year apart. He lives in a mess of house. None of the children will go there anymore, except for my PA son that stays there on occasion. I realized directing his life was not the right thing to do and I used to feel like I was too controlling. But left to his own he is pretty directionless. He is starting to have more problems as a PA. Primarily in his job. He aggravates his supervisor and when I have spoken to him he complains a great deal about his work situation. To me you either suck it up or move on. But he endures. He is almost to retirement now, so if he can hang on a few more years he won’t have to put up with a supervisor. I am beginning to pity his poor supervisor for having to put up with him. He doesn’t call or bother me much thankfully. I just have felt so guilty for opting out of the marriage when there didn’t seem to be any logical reason for leaving. But I felt I had to carry so much baggage I just couldn’t do it anymore. Thank you for letting me express myself. I have been reading your blog entries and the responses of others and I am astounded that PA behavior is so under the radar that it can be easily overlooked. I obviously overlooked it for years myself in my marriage and did not recognize it in my son until a few months ago.

        • PA’s Mom- Sorry it took so long to respond. If you read today’s post, I think you’ll understand.

          I personally don’t think you have anything to feel guilty about. While your children were growing up you were there until your last son was in his last year of high school. By then, we should be able to talk to our children and get some semblance of understanding. Of course they rarely like it, but usually are pretty perceptive and probably already knew things weren’t well in the relationship.

          It sounds like your PA was in about the same place as my PA when it comes to work. While he was good at what he did and the people he worked with loved him, he never kept up with the changes in his field, etc. and now is considered quite a dinosaur. In this economy he can’t really afford to aggrevate his supervisor. He should think a little about what he’s doing, especially if he’s been there awhile. If your PA ticks off his supervisor too much, he’ll never make it to retirement. Companies don’t like paying out retirement anymore as it is. My mother worked for a medical clinic and as she was getting within a year or two of retiring, her supervisor tried almost everything to get her to quit, but she just hung in there.

          Try not to beat yourself up any more. You did the best you could with what you had to work with, as they say. I don’t think any of us get married to sign up as a mother to our spouses. There doesn’t have to be a “logical” reason for leaving. There are a lot of times when the outside world will never see what we see being in the relationship. Passive aggressives are very stealth, and the person we find ourselves married to when it comes to that kind of personality, is very rarely the person we knew and fell in love with when we were dating. Like most people involved with a passive aggressive, the guilt has a way of coming with the territory. They have a way of doing that to us. Recognize it for what it is, and let it go. It takes two to make a relationship work, and it takes two to destroy it, altho sometimes a PA can do that part all by themselves. LOL

  9. I am so sorry that you have had to leave your home. I can’t tell you how much your website and blogs have helped me understand what I left and what my son may be feeling and thinking. I have come to terms with a lot since I have discovered this site. It was so helpful to unload a lot of feelings I’ve bottled up for years. I hope your move is a smooth one. Best wishes for the brightest of futures.

    • PA’s Mom- Awww, your kind words couldn’t come at a better time. I’m also glad to hear from you again. I was so worried about you the last time I heard from you.

      I’m still here any time you want to talk it out. Just been busy packing, but the wireless is working fine and I’m getting a little time to try and basically keep on track. Thank you so much for the “best wishes” and “brightest of futures”. I can’t say starting over at this age is not stressful, but at the same time in some ways there is sort of a relief. WE, you, me and the rest of us here, will be just fine. LOL

      • The visit went very well. My son wanted to stay overnight with us when he got here. The kids and I got together and wanted to make him feel special and loved, so we threw him a surprise birthday party after the graduation with cake and presents. He was pleased. He has moved out of my spouse’s house unfortunately into an apartment with some not so good influences. But I told him I supported his decision to be on his own. I resisted all the old temptations of trying to offer solutions and suggestions for where he is currently in life. He was loving and kind. I think he enjoyed the interaction with his siblings. Like the old family life we had when things were a lot better. I really hope things are going well for you. A lot of our expectations as to what our lives were going to be like have been thrown out the window with the downturn in the economy. Right now my job is secure, but there was a time about 10 years ago that I literally did not know how I was going to put food on the table. It wasn’t that my spouse wasn’t working, it was just a really tight time in our lives. I remember kind of fantasizing about things I would like to buy to eat at the grocery store. No we weren’t hungry, but I kind of longed for a steak once in a while. Completely out of budget. We ate a lot of beans. But my life was so simplified that it was almost joyous. I didn’t have “stuff” to worry about. I didn’t have to choose between which product to buy. Didn’t have to return things to the store, mail in rebates, or even keep up with a lot of things. I remember that I tried to keep the faith that all my daily needs would be met and they were in fact. It was during the time I was getting an education to help the family that I mentioned before and you know how notoriously poor students can be. But going through that time really gave me a tremendous gift that I hope I can treasure to this day. I hope this trying time for you is in disguise a wonderful gift that will change your life in ways that you would never have imagined or attempted. I will continue to keep your well being in my thoughts and again express my appreciation for this website which has helped be unload a lot of pain and in the process begin to heal.

        • PA’s Mom- Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. They do help and actually there are many ways this is a blessing in disguise in many ways.

          So glad you had a wonderful visit with your son. It sounds like things went really well, and as they do he will learn to trust you and open up more. it just takes a lot of patience, which many times I certainly don’t have, but it does work and that’s what I keep using to keep myself in check. LOL. Looking forward to hearing more about your relationship with him progressing. My son even came through for me which was a total shock. It’s amazing sometimes when you actually get a little glimpse into what they actually feel.

          • I am keeping you in my thoughts as you are going through so many moves.

          • PA’s Mom- Thank you so much. You are so sweet to think of me with all you have going on yourself. Speaking of which, how is it going with you lately? I think the last I heard from you, you and your son were starting to communicate a little better. Hope all is going better for you too, My Dear.

          • It has been about a month since I have heard from my son. I wasn’t able to get the cell phone for him at the time because I was trying to get so many other things taken care of for the graduation. I asked him to give me a phone number and address but I never got it. Right now I am at peace with myself regarding this. I did all I could do. I don’t think about him as much. But I do feel sad when I do think about a young life lost and wasted up until this point. But the other kids are doing great, so I think about them and also they are in and out of the house so I get to see them. I am moving closer to my oldest daughter so I think that will help. I feel at peace with my decision not to be with my husband although I doubt I will divorce him. I like having goals and challenges and I am looking at several projects to undertake. I am moving from an area where we all hide in our homes at night due to safety concerns to an area where there are lots of activities, sports, colleges, lakes, etc. So I think that a busy schedule will help alleve much of the sorrow I have felt at my kids leaving home. I know I am not the only person who has gone through such changes, but it is never easy is it. Please keep us all posted during this time as to how you are doing.

          • PA’s Mom- Sorry it’s been so long since you’ve heard from your boy, but I think to a certain extent, at this age that’s how they are in general. Usually when I hear from mine it’s because he needs something. They’re pretty self-absorbed at this point.

            So glad to hear the rest of the kids are doing well, and you sound really good. I’m so happy for you as far as looking into moving and taking on activities. It helps so much to have people around and making new friends. Also glad you are at peace with the decisions you are making. I should think that would mean you are making the right decisions for you at this time. Inner peace is such a strange feeling to most of us. LOL.

            Thanks for letting me know how things are going. I love hearing about people being able to turn things around. Even though you still have to deal with the husband issue, it sounds like you’re able to come at it from a level-headed place. Good for you. I’ll add your son to mine in my prayers.

          • I was delighted to hear about the recent events with your son. I am hopeful that my son will eventually reach the realization that his little life isn’t going anywhere as he is living it now. I don’t try and contact him. I don’t even know how to contact him. That is his choice. But it really gives me a lot of encouragement when I read your son had reached a turning point in his life. I know eventually things will work out with you getting into your own home, but life does seem have a way of testing your patience. I am preparing for being all on my own as my daughter goes to college. But I think it will be fine. I am keeping you in my thoughts and hope a resolution to your current situation is in sight.

          • Dear PA’a Mom- Thank you so much and I am delighted to see you’re still with me. I know how frustrating it can be when you keep going back to a blog and there’s no new stuff, so thanks for sticking it out with me.

            I’m afraid I really have to thank my middle daughter for my son’s turn around. They have always been pretty close, and she never gave up on him. While I wanted to help and could tell him what path to take, I’m afraid I wasn’t truly able to help him. I could never be strong enough with him for him to take me seriously. Now he has to perform and he has a whole new environment to do it in.

            I hold you and your son in my prayers. It seems like it’s an eternity waiting for them to grow up enough to realize we are not the enemy. I hope your son finds his way back to you soon with open arms and ready to accept the love it’s so obvious you want to give him. I assume you sort of know what’s happening with him through your husband, no? That’s the part that drove me crazy with my boy, was the “not knowing” if he at least was alive.

            Good luck to your daughter as she heads off to school. What a great time it is in a person’s life when they want to take that step. I’m sure you’ll miss her a lot at first, but it does get easier as I’m sure you already have experienced. Now it’s your turn to live! Aren’t you a little bit excited? I’m excited for you. It’s kinda of a dirty trick the way children leaving home makes us sad on one hand when we should be so happy about starting our new life on the other. LOL.

            Take care of yourself and let me know about the new stuff in your life. (Tip: Sometimes it’s ok to even be a little silly)

  10. A bit of an update. Called my PA son on his cell phone. First call. He is living on his own with two roommates (not my first choice), but supporting himself on his own earnings, including keeping his car running. Said he had “highlighted” his hair a little. (Yay! Revealing a new interest in his appearance). He was a blond as a boy and has beautiful blue/green eyes. And when asked if he needed anything requested maybe some new clothes like I had bought him before. More dressy less skater dude. I have hopes that he will eventually leave the marijuana alone, but he seems to be growing up on his own. I’m hopeful. Hope you are moving toward some closure on your living situation. Its just hard to move forward in life until you are settled into your own space.

    • Hi PA’s Mom- Yeah! Thanks for the update. I’m so glad you talked to your son. That is so great! Even if you’re not happy with his choice of roommates, at least he’s doing it. It sounds like he’s taking in some personal pride. He’s supporting himself, he’s not in trouble, (or at least not in jail), he’s working, hey, as a mother at that age, I don’t think we can ask much more than that. LOL. Maybe too, now that you’ve made the first call it will open the lines of communication between the two of you.
      Thanks for the encouraging words about our situation. I’m sure things will work out.

  11. I am encouraged. But I do want to say that if it had not been for your website, I would not have been able to understand who my son is and what does not work with him. I have discussed PA behavior with my other adult children who are often very angry with my PA son over her choices or lack thereof. They are just like me. They want to take action and be actively involved in helping him find an appropriate life. But because of my new understanding of PA behavior I have been able to explain to them that the more you push and cajole a PA the more they are going to disappoint you. It is true if you love something you have to let it go. He knows what is right and wrong, what is pleasing to his family and what is not. At this point the choice is his to make and we can’t do anything but let him find out for himself. Thanks again.

    • PA’s Mom- Thank you so much for the encouraging words and I’m glad this site has helped. People throw around the term “passive aggressive” so flippantly but many do not realize it is a definite, self-sabotaging type of behavior and very hard to deal with.

      I think now that you’ve taken the first step toward your son, it’ll get a lot easier. Just don’t forget that many times with a PA it’s sort of like “out of site, out of mind” so don’t be surprised if you are the one that does most of the contacting. I don’t think they neccessarily mean it to be that way, it just seems to be how they’re made up. It is great that you’re able to talk to your other children about this and help them to understand. Maybe one day they’ll be able to just accept him for who he is also. I know my girls have the same problem with my son, but there’s always hope. LOL

  12. I am so glad I found this site. I just learned a few days ago what passive-aggressive is and that my husband is the poster boy.

    I love him and want our marriage to work, but it has taken a toll on me emotionally. It is draining me, making me angry, and I feel very lonely. If I didn’t have our daughter (1 year-old) to take care of and keep me busy, I would have gone insane by now. Actually it’s kind of amazing that we even managed to have a child, considering our sex life is pretty much non-existant. But not for a lack of trying on my part.

    I am going to start trying many of these “coping” techniques that I have read about, now that I know I am not crazy. We’ll just have to see what happens!

    • Stacy- Welcome! If this site helps you at all, I’m glad you found us also. Now that you know “you’re not crazy” you’re on your way to either beating it or getting out of it. Either way, you can now do what’s best for you. Feel free to stop by any time to say hello, or if you need a place to vent, or just see what’s happening with others. The more supportive of each other, the better we’ll all be.

  13. I just heard the term “PA” at my therapist’s office when I was explaining my situation at home. Since then, I’ve been reading up on it, and I cannot believe that this is what I’ve been dealing with these past 21 years. The more I read, the more paralyzed I seem to become. Thank goodness I am in my 3rd week of therapy.
    I, too, married the life of the party, the great guy who would do anything. And a lot of the time he is like that. But there is no discipline of the children “whatever you want” But like one of the stories I read, give him a couple of drinks, and he becomes nasty and mean. Not too over the top, just enough to make you feel like an idiot. And it usually is directed right at me. I have to say I have 2 teenagers, and have a healthy relationship with both. They totally respect me, and come to me often. My older one doesn’t feel as close to his father, a rather “superficial” relationship, but of course the PA thinks it’s “all good”. They view him as inconsistent. I have no trouble now or in the past disciplining. They come to me for advice, problems, and so many nights just sitting around the 3 of us laughing and talking. I am definitely the Iron-hand, and the kids tease me about it. Even if they ask him, they double check with me, which I try to deter, and always agree with what ever decision he made, at least in front of them. We have their friends here all of the time, so it is a warm nuturing environment. I am usually the only one here, as my husband works a lot at night due to business.
    Some background: I am in mid-forties, mistaken for 30’s. College degree, with some Masters credits, Work part-time, go to the gym 3-4 times per week, and always have. I am 5’8 and wear a size 4. I am not into the whole “dress like a teen”, I dress age-appropriately. My daughter teases me that men are always flirting with me. I cook every night, clean my own house (every other week a cleaning lady, but that is this past year since I started working more). I am very careful about spending money. I am ready for sex at any time, but have been denied that for 3.5 years. Any time I ask him why he doesn’t want me, It is always my fault for some reason, then he storms out, only to call me to apologize and say it’s him. He always storms out when I try to talk about anything. He constantly compliments me, and says how all of his friends and people we meet think I’m great, sweet, smart, pretty……but he has a wall up with me, and won’t come near me emotionaly or otherwise.
    Right now I am at the point where I am getting stomach aches and headaches. I cannot sleep. I am so glad that I’m in therapy, otherwise I’d be insane for sure. If I were to leave this marriage, everyone but those who really know me would think I was to blame. Because he is so great. And he is. A great provider, brilliant, funny, social when it suits him. We used to go out all of the time with a large, great group. We used to entertain. Now I have to beg to go out, and he always wants to go alone. We don’t travel, the kids and I do a few trips together. We do one week all together in the summer.
    I have thought it was me all of this time, and that I must be awful. I have thought about suicide more than once over the years. I feel as though the best years of my life are being wasted. I have so much to offer, I am always reading about new things, I’ve taken classes several times just to broaden my horizons. I have been approached from collegues, guys via email from HS (they got my address through the alumni book) and others. I have heard more than once “I hope your husband appreciates you” and all I want to say is “NO, he doesn’t at all”
    His upbringing was awful, dictator for a father, and (present-day definition) sociopath for a mother. Father is gone, she is still here. None of the siblings speak to one another, only 2 out of 4 speak to the mother. It’s always a volitile conversation. He gets enraged at her, but doesn’t say anything to her……..just hangs up flaming mad. I have encouraged him over the years to speak up when she enrages him, he feels it won’t change things, I say that at least you’ll get it off of your chest and had your say. Put it out there.
    You can imagine that any time something is wrong, I never hear about it, just get slowly punished……because he doesn’t think it’ll make a difference to discuss it. .
    THank you for listening. I am so alone, so sad and broken. I don’t want to tear the family apart, but I’m crumbling. Piece by piece……….

    • Hi Elaine and Welcome to our “group”.

      First off I want to tell you I am so glad you are glad you are in therapy. That is a super start and puts you a little ahead of the “passive aggressive” game. It helps so much to have someone who is supposed to know about these things validate our feelings. It’s also great that you have such a good relationship with your kids. So many times I read here where the children go the way of the passive aggressive parent and leaves the other heartbroken and demoralized.

      It sounds like your husband definitely has come from the kind of background that causes passive aggressiveness in adults. I think it’s good that you encourage him to speak up to his mother. You might ask him how he knows it won’t make any difference until he at least tries it. When you have the opportunity like this, I think I would also just come out and ask him if that’s how he sees things between the two of you also. You’re right as far as him getting past that hurdle before he will start speaking to you about things that are bothering him.

      As far as no sex for 3.5 years, I know exactly how you feel. I have tried to remember when we have had sex last, just wondering how long it’s been for us, and I can’t even remember. I think you would find the post I wrote about “Another Concept on Why a Passive Aggressive Withholds Sex” quite interesting. At least it lends a little understanding as to why, and once again it’s not us.

      Once again, I’m glad to hear therapy is working out so well for you and your therapist has recognized the passive aggressiveness in your husband. Some therapists never even admit that could be a problem. Sounds like you got a good one. Feel free to come back and vent, or let us know about your progress any time. Hopefully now that you have some place to let out your feelings and get validation, the physical side effects will go away. Have you ever spoke to your husband about therapy, or even couples therapy for you both? I know sometimes it’s just a closed subject with them since they don’t want to admit anything’s wrong, least of all their fault. Just thought I’d ask.

      Feel free to take advantage of the resources here. The recommended reading page has books from Amazon. In the side bar are a few other places and resources for free that you can help yourself to. Good luck to you, and trust me, you are definitely not alone.

  14. Thanks for the reply. Any more advice? I just discussed something that he has been doing for months that hurst m feelings deeply. He was wonderful and remorseful. Today I’m getting the silent treatment. I’m expecting it will explode over the next few days.
    Thanks. This is so hard.

  15. You all should know that you are providing each other and me the strength to go on. Thank you.

  16. Hi, I have been reading all the blogs and feel compelled to write. I live in Florida and it is 6 in the morning. My wife of 6 years is sleepign with our 5 year old son. Last night I had it out with her over her PA. I told her she had to admit she has a problem and then actively seek help. On the outside like most PA people she is sweet and charming and everyone thinks I am so lucky to have her, however she is very ill and i can’t bring myself to tell anyone how sick she really is, no one would beleive me anyway.
    One month into our marriage I pointed out that every 2 weeks she needs to start some kind of conflict over nothing with me I wasn’t sure what to attribute this to but it did not end. A pattern formed wherer anytime she had a problem it was my fault, she couldn’t accomplish anything she started, she couldn’t start anything she planned. Big plans came and went and big messes were formed and then eventually after an argument, cleaned up. Sex is when she wants it only. There is no intimacy it is just sex. I think she is incapable of true love.
    Her parents were alcoholics and drug abusers, her father died 2 years ago of liver disease and her mother lost her home and everything and is currently living in a state subsidized housing. I have read that this can contribute to PA. i cannot talk to her about it because she cannot comunicate with me I have sent her to a therapist that I do not think is any good she has not recognized the symptoms of PA and sent her home with a book on numerology!
    I show her paperwork on symptoms and it is our marriage in a nutshell. I was once a happy go lucky self employed businessman and now I am beaten down to almost nothing i have withdrawn from my old friends and any female friends I have ever had she is over the top jealous of. One more thing I am raising her 2 children and she likes to bring them into an argument when it suits her. I want to talk to the kids 13 and 16 and include them in my attempt to get her to a good therapist. This is my last shot at fixing this. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Hi Joe- Welcome. I’m so glad you decided to leave your story. It’s pretty seldom we here from the men having to deal with passive aggressive women. I know they’re out there, but like you are too embarrassed to come forward about the situation.
      Getting your wife into therapy was the right move, just sounds like the wrong therapist. Unfortunately them like any other field, have good ones and bad ones. A book on numerology? What the hell? LOL.

      You are absolutely right about her background making her passive aggressive. I’m sure she had to come up with some kind of defensive tactic growing up in a family like that. Also that kind of home life is usually pretty volatile which would explain why she needs to turn everything upside down every couple of weeks. That, unfortunately, is her comfort zone and unless she makes a conscious effort to break the cycle, she will always be that way.

      These would be my suggestions for you. First, you need to be around all your old friends for support and to help build you back up to the person you used to be, and you probably liked. If she gets crazy over female friends, then I would probably forego them for now. No need to just agitate the heck out of her. Also make a list of everything good about your old self. All your accomplishments, any note cards you have that said anything about how good you are, etc. You can refer back to this “file” when you’re feeling down on yourself. Remember, your old friends liked you. That’s why they were your friends. There must have been something good there.

      Then I would look up Al-Anon and Adult Kids of Alcoholics. If you call Alcoholics Anonymous by you, they should be able to guide you. You can start going to Al-Anon to get some support for the situation you’re in, and it sounds like she really needs the other. Maybe she can start to see how her background is leading to such unhappiness now. Both these can be fairly religious, so if you’re atheist it probably won’t suit you, but if that’s the case, then there should be support groups through your county’s mental health department or even your local hospital (if you have insurance). If you’re going to try to find her another therapist, then when calling around ask what their experience is with passive aggressiveness and people with her kind of background. Many therapists don’t know how to deal with PA’s at all. Many PA’s know how to manipulate the system.

      For the sake of your little son, I hope you can get the help you need. You definitely don’t want her past to hurt his future. One of the worst things you can do for yourself is be isolated. You know that old saying “No man is an island”. We all need others for support and our own well being. It sounds like you get along with her 2 kids pretty well if you can talk to them about therapy for their mother. Maybe as you seek out help for yourself and your son, you’ll be able to undo some of the damage they’ve already been through.

      Please feel free to come back and “vent” anytime. Everyone needs someplace safe they can go and let it all out. Otherwise we just go nuts. LOL. Good luck to you and let us know how you’re doing.

  17. .Hello, ladybeams and all others! I have been reading your blog and your story for more than 2 months. Your story and all others that have responded have pulled some heartstrings and caused an awakening in my situation.

    To make a very long story short, I have been married for 18 years, have two beautiful daughters, 10 & 6 and have been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of my first daughter. I will admit that I struggled with the transition from manager of a successful optometric practice to “just a mom”. I have had post-partum with both my babies, more severe the second time and have been diagnosed with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and have been on anti-depressants for over 5 years. My husband and I have struggled in our marriage since before our first anniversary. We were in counselling for intimacy before our first anniversary. For the longest time, the only thing we truly argued over was intimacy In January 2006, I quite literally poured out my heart to him. I tried to explain how this lack of intimacy was affecting so many areas in MY life. How I saw myself, (ugly, unattractive, undesirable). My evoding lack of self-esteem and self-worth was increasing. I felt others were viewing me differently, blah, blah, blah…I poured my heart out and he looked at me and said “I’m sorry you feel that way” and got up and walked out of the room. I have never felt so alone as at that moment.

    Now that being said, we have struggled for a very long time and some of the things that others have shared is like reading MY life story.

    As of April this year, I had had enough. He left town for a course for work and I went to a lawyer, had a home evaluation done, went to the bank, went to a marriage mediation seminar and starting looking for a new house. We have been in counselling for a year and a half and I feel it ground to a halt last August. We have not slept in the same bed or been intimate since April, 2009.

    In one of our last couple counselling sessions, he revealed that he stumbled across a description of PA behaviour and felt that he had been struck over the head with a baseball bat. His words “I always felt I was a pretty good catch and after reading this description…not so much”. He actually went to our medical doctor to get a referral to a phychiatrist for a diagnosis of PA (we’re still waiting for that from our medical doctor). He is now going to counselling on his own (with the counsellor that has done both couple and individual counselling with us) and is actually recognizing some of his behaviours AND is talking to ME about them. Compared to 6 weeks ago, when all I wanted to do was BOLT, things have improved dramatically.

    I should also add that I have started to work outside the home in a casual admin position. My self-esteem was incredibly low and shortly after starting my job, I had to leave town for an intensive 5 day course. I do have to say after passing that course (with flying colors), doing really well with my training and my job, has dramatically improved my self-confidence and self-esteem. Which, ironically, my husband has always tried to encourage me with.

    K, this is getting really long. When we went back to the counsellor after my husband’s “ah-ha” moment. My response was “This is one of three things, He actually has had an epiphany and recognizes his behaviour. He’s too slack-ass lazy to do the work involved with the separation. Of the is the MOTHER of ALL passive aggressive moves!!

    Things have been smoother since then and he really is making a huge effort to be more engaged with the girls and I, finish some projects, and even talk to me about priority of those projects. There is even some warmth starting between us. My question is…what are the chances? I truly do love this man and want to have a future with him. I’ve waited this long, do I still bolt or do I give him chance?

    I’m very torn, especially with my girls.

    This is very nutshell and only skimming the surface but any insight woul be much appreciated

    • redlily- Welcome, and thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad this site has been of some help to you in recognizing what has been going on between you and your husband.

      Usually, especially when children are involved, I am one of the first to say “Run for your life and never look back”. In your case, and because you do still love him so much, and because you can actually see drastic differences and an effort on his part to change, I would say what do you have to lose? I would certainly give it a shot. Your self-esteem and self-confidence are growing, you have things in order or know how to do it, should you decide to go, and things are moving forward on a positive note. As you have already seen, if it is just a facade, he can’t keep it up forever. You’ll know soon enough if he’s sincere or not. In the meantime, I would give him the benefit of the doubt and do what ever you could to be encouraging in his self-discovery. Yes, it is possible he’s just sucking you back in, but if he’s readily admitting that he is a passive aggressive, and is truly seeking help and seems to be doing what he needs to to improve for you and your girls, I’m afraid I’d go for it. If it is just a game of his, at least when you do go you’ll know you gave it every possible chance and you have nothing to feel guilty about, no “what ifs…?” floating around.

      I’m so happy for you. I sincerely wish you the best and hope this effort on your husband’s part is sincere. If so, you’ll be one of the lucky few. Keep in touch and let us know how you’re doing. Continuing to work, make your own friends and just being out of the house should keep helping you grow to be able to count on yourself for your happiness, no matter what happens in the future.

      • Thank you for responding, ladybeams. The encouragement and support is much appreciated.

        I am very much trying to live in the moment and not trying to prelive or worry too much about the future. I have found that that takes far too much energy from what I need to do NOW.

        I will keep you posted on our progress.

        • redlily- Wonderful. You are absolutely right. Why worry about something that may not ever happen? It does take too much energy.

          • Bit of an update!! Actually things have been going quite well here. Today for example, we (together) actually got a couple of things off the to-do list. To me it feel like a bit of a slow start but we’re doing it together and my husband is really still making a huge effort. Not just in the to-do list either, with the girls and with me. He’s even starting to show affection. Weird thing is I’m not quite sure how to reciprocate. There are times I feel affectionate but I’ve learnt to build such a protection around myself, from all the years of rejection and reconditioning my own sexsuaI needs I’m now finding if very difficult and and not even sure I want my walls to come down. We’re early in his revelation and our counsellor has said at one point I DO have to respond or why would he even keep trying. I felt like saying “well I kept trying for years!!!)

            One day at a time and I’m a very grateful for a fantastic day today. Ladybeams I have been such a great
            sounding board. I have look back at the first e-mail I sent and it looks alot like verbal diaherra and a lot of blah, blah, blah and my conditions. But they have been brought as a “possible reason” why things starting going really sideways. It really is a cluster and hard to explain.

            As a side note, I was on Facebook today and say a friend of a friend post how extremely excitied to receive her Divorce Certificate today. She was in full-on celebration mode. My first thougt was “I think I would be really sad instead of whooping it up. Maybe that shows that we might be not ready for that split -part phase just yet. Or it shows how much of a big scardy cat I am. Or maybe the world is just super screwed up in celebraing a divorce,

            Hopefully more updates soon

          • redlily- I am so happy for you that things are turning around. I know that it must be hard after all the hurt to open up again and accept the affection your husband seems now willing to show. At the same time, if you do still truly love this man, and from what you are saying, he is really trying, yes at some point you are going to have to give him some encouragement to keep going with the changes.

            If you’re having a hard time getting there, maybe thinking about why you fell in love with him in the first place, or remembering back to when you first got together may help. I can understand you not wanting to let your guard down completely because none of us wants to get “sucked back in”. At the same time, you don’t always want to be thinking he’s just going to screw up and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. I hope that makes sense. If you’re expecting the best odds are better you will get the best, and unfortunately vice-versa.

            Thanks for the update. Love to share your progress.

  18. Thanks so much for helpful & insightful information.

    I’ve been married for almost 17 yrs to a P.A. man. I’ve finally come to conclude that no matter how much a June & Ward Cleaver family we appear to have – it has been painful & dysfunctional @ best. My husband has something truly missing on the inside by way of compassion and being able to connect on an emotional or intimate level. However, he can feign them very well. In the eyes of many, he treats me like a queen and it caused much jealousy from other women in the beginning. Looking back, I remember in the earlier years of our marriage, he would jokingly say things like, “I’ve got you so spoiled no one else will want to deal with you or treat you like this.” I was obviously to dumb, naive or both to realize he was actually setting me up. I stayed home for the most part to raise our children (a suggestion from him)… which was another set-up. Apparently, this whole thing has been about control & I was the only fool that couldn’t see it.

    I’ve learned, at least in my case, that whenever I threaten to leave and move on, it is only then that he becomes extra nice, attentive, and helpful. I would always tell my husband that he was extremely helpful as long as it was not something that I needed him to help me with. I had no idea that this too was atypical of a person with P.A. disorder. I just recently went through a pretty bad bout of depression (which I now know was partially brought on by this loveless & confusing marriage). During this time, he never touched, hugged, or interacted with me in any loving & caring way, (he did the same thing while I was carrying my youngest child). As a matter of fact, I asked him to pray for me & with me & he never did. The day I pulled myself together & felt fine is the day he asked if I wanted him to pray with me… I’ve had enough of this madness! On top of everything he still thought I should have sex with him. Never mind not having any communication or connection on an intimate or emotional level. If I don’t want to sleep with him (plz tell me who would)… he just tries to get even and becomes even more spiteful by withholding or becoming forgetful of the most normal things that I like all of a sudden. There’s so many more stories of course but for the most part… I just want out & would have done it long ago if it wasn’t for my 2 beautiful children. I don’t want to mess them up but I don’t want to end up messed up mentally & emotionally by staying… I’m becoming bitter as well.

    • Broken Wings- Welcome, and thank you for sharing your story.

      I’m sorry you have been going through this for so long, as what you explain about yourself (depression, etc) is exactly what basically happens in a relationship with a passive aggressive. I think at times we just feel so inept at dealing with what we’re going through, or feel so trapped, that we just break down. I’m glad you found us and hope you find some of the posts and comments here encouraging.

      I don’t know how old your children are, but I do believe children are very resilient. If you are close to them and make communication and affection a priority with them, I don’t think a divorce messes children up as bad as staying in a terribly dysfunctional family, especially if your husband treats them passive aggressively. Not only that, but I’m sure that passive aggressiveness is not a trait you would want them to pick up from their father. I think that if you want to raise mentally healthy, and stable children you need to be mentally healthy yourself. Obviously you’re not getting that here.

      I think you should do what’s best emotionally and mentally for you and in turn, I’m sure it will be what’s best for your children. I know it’s hard, but it is harder when you think 5 more years down the line. I wish you and your children the best of luck what ever you decide to do, and please, feel free to come back and share anytime.

  19. Hello fellow travelers (on this journey),

    I’ve read some familiar stories in the blogs. After almost 10 years of marriage, I’ve learned that being married to a PA is very much like being married to an alcoholic. A few years ago, in yet another attempt to find a way to live peacefully in our household, I saw a therapist to see how I could change my behaviour in order to tolerate living with my PA husband. After a few sessions, the therapist asked to meet my spouse. We had a few joint sessions, during which time I discovered he was having an affair. The therapist told him he needed to end the affair, which of course, he wouldn’t do. I would up sending the woman an email asking her to stop contacting my spouse as it was having a very harmful effect on our family.

    Long story short – my spouse takes no responsibility for any of our issues, has never apologized for ANY of the unkind, immature or irresponsible things he has said and done over the past number of years. I keep reading up on this subject to better understand the predicament I’m in and how to cope. We have 3 children and if we separated, he’s already indicated he would have minimal contact with the children. At first I thought this odd, until I read something recently that said because PAs are so self-focused, they often have difficulty bonding with their own children. For that reason, I’ve decided that separation would NOT be in the children’s best interest. PLUS, I was a family law lawyer for many years and know how debilitating it can be for the family unit going through the court process. Not something I want to put myself or the kids through.

    That’s my story. Thanks for the opportunity to “vent” and good luck to everyone out there. Remember, as some author I’ve read recently has said, “this too shall pass”!

    • Wife of a PA- Welcome. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope I don’t offend you with what I am about to say.

      Do you really think it’s better for your children to live in a marriage where you allow your husband to cheat on you and there is nothing between him and you? Where the resentment on your side is going to be so thick you could cut it with a knife if you’re not there already? You are right My Dear, they don’t bond with their own children because they cannot emotionally connect with anyone. Do you think that will get better as your children get older and have their own demands on their father? They are better off with people that love them, that teach them what love is about, than with someone who take out their passive aggressive behavior on them because he can. If you don’t think you have the guts to go through it, than just say that, but don’t hide behind your kids. If you really were worried about them, and them growing up stable and understand what a non-dysfunctional relationship was about, then that would be your goal. If you think he is going to be any more attached to those children because they are in front of his face every day, you are sadly mistaken. Not only that, but as they get older and start asking for time, things, help from him, he may disappear more and more on the side, just to get away from them and you.

      I wish you all the best in the world for you and your children. I would hope that you will choose to do what truly is best for them vs. what is easiest for you. Please, feel free to come here to “vent” anytime. Maybe you will find something during your visits that will help.

  20. I have one thing, and one thing only to say;
    “He said if he left he’d have minimal contact with the children” is more than enough reason to leave and never look back. Reading that statement sickens me.

    A person who says that is telling you very clearly that he doesn’t care enough to do the work to stay connected to his kids. That’s his choice. That, is. his. choice. It is not your job to maintain his bonds with his kids. He’s a grown man who can and should make his own choices. Your answer to him is “if we separated and you decreased your contact with your children, that is your choice. I am sad to hear that you would make that choice. You are a grown man who makes his own choices. I hope you make different choices.”

    Believe me, I’ve lived a similiar journey. Believe me, you aren’t doing your kids any favors by providing the artifical bond of a shared roof. Believe me, if you separate from him both physically and emotionally, in five years you won’t even recognize the pattern of thinking you are presently in. And above all your kids will actually have a safety net instead of just the illusion of safety. The most maddening aspects of being involved in a relationship with a PA is the illusion of safety and support. Give your kids a gift; destroy the illusion and build them a reality.

    • Peggy- Thank you, thank you. I too just about got ill at the sound of her “staying for the kids”. OMGosh, how do I get through to people on the damage that is done when you stay in a rotten relationship “for the kids”? You are so right. Five years down the road where will they be? What is going to happen to those kids as teenagers when he turns his passive aggressive behavior on them, if it takes that long? And then, children are not stupid. If he’s allowed to cheat, they will pick up on it sooner or later, either he will slip or if he feels there is no consequence, he’ll be just flat out open about it.

      I was a little worried when I answered that last night that maybe I was being to harsh, but these are her kids she’s talking about. All I’m seeing is not her saving them, but more screwed up adults in the future.

      Thanks again Peggy. Once again I appreciate your input, and this time we totally agree. LOL.

  21. Thank you, Peggy and Ladybeams, for your comments. While it would be great for my spouse to bond more with the children, I recognize that’s his work to do. All I can do is try to provide opportunities for that to occur. Certainly, I’ve given a lot of thought to separating. Depending on the specific family dynamics and history, sometimes it’s the best option; other times not. It would be an easy “fix” for me, but not for my children.

    Having studied, worked and taught in the area of family dynamics and family breakdown for many years, I’ve learned that every situation is different. I’ve seen intact and “functional” families struggle and have seen other families do well even amid very challenging circumstances.

    I was really hoping to offer and receive support in providing a nurturing environment for my kids, one that includes positive (if limited) interactions with their father. He does interact with them positively by reading them stories and playing games with them, but he doesn’t interact with them at the level that I do (a typical complaint from many mothers). I recognize the need for my (and all) children to be surrounded by people who love and appreciate them. They get this largely through extended family and friends.

    So, thanks again for your thoughts.

    • Wife of PA- So glad you came back. I really did not want to offend you or have you feel like I was criticizing. That’s the last thing any of us need while going through the things we are. Obviously you know your family and family dynamics better than any one, especially us since we don’t really know your family at all. It sounds like your children are probably still very young if he’s willing to read them stories and play games. All we are trying to tell you is as they get older, his interaction or lack there of will become more damaging. You are already teaching them to guard their own emotions when it comes to their father by limiting their interaction. Aren’t you at all worried that as they grow older and get relationships of their own they will carry that same “guardedness” into those relationships?

      As a family lawyer you saw a lot of family tragedy, I’m sure. Please, don’t look at your own family through your “lawyer” eyes. While it may not be optimal that children grow up without a father, it’s also not optimal that they grow up damaged from a dysfunctional family. While I’m sure you did whatever you could for your client, you are in a position now to truly see both sides of the story. As I said before, you may be doing ok right now, but there will come a point where these children start having demands of their own, being picked up from soccer, or school, or a school dance, and you will not be able to count on him. Not only that but as they ask him to help for a school project or something else, he will become even more disconnected, let them down over and over. You will not have the ability to intercede all the time.

      Isn’t it possible that there is a whole world out there that is willing to love you and your children without doing damage to either? You may find a man or you may not, but isn’t a stable life with love and affection, that grows your children into loving and responsible adults important? Would you really want your children to grow up, marry, and guard their children the way you are doing because that’s all they know?

      My heart goes out to you. If I’m right and your children are young, you have so much more ahead when they become teenagers. If you don’t fix things for them now, you won’t even be able to handle them later. Trust me, I know. I just happened to luck out, but it could have easily ended up very different for my kids. Have you ever bothered to follow up on some of those cases you handled to see if they were better off? I know the statistics financially, but what about emotionally? Reading through some of the comments here, there are women who are so much less stressed, have so much more love and time for their children, the children are so much less stressed.

      Only you know when it’s time to stay or go. Just make sure if you stay or go, it truly is for your children and not your lack of courage, or because you can’t let go of him. They didn’t ask to be brought into this, they shouldn’t be the ones to suffer, and neither should you. I can only imagine what your self esteem must be like if you are willing to let a man cheat on you without even so much as an apology when he gets caught. God Bless.

  22. Hello Ladybeams,

    I have a pretty tough skin so wasn’t offended … more surprised by the suggestion to separate, without greater knowledge of our family dynamics. Please know that I am not viewing my situation strictly through a “legal lens”, nor is there any lack of courage here. If I honestly believed that separating was the best choice for my children, I wouldn’t hesitate to pursue that option.

    I’ve worked with separating families as a counselor, then mediator and later as a lawyer. Some had just separated, some were considering it, others had been divorced for several years. For some, divorce was absolutely the best choice. Others found that post-divorce life was harder on them and their children, both financially AND emotionally, than what they’d expected. It wasn’t the panacea they were hoping for. What they needed most was support – for their children and themselves.

    After learning of the affair, my first instinct was to separate, which I contemplated at length. But after getting past the emotional pain and disbelief, I knew that would not meet my children’s needs (two younger, one teen). Having daily positive and constructive contact with their father – even for short periods – is better than having NO contact with him. Other people would make other choices, and I respect that.

    My goal has always been to ensure my children feel loved, cared for and appreciated. They have extended family and friends who love them dearly. While their father could do more, what he does is still beneficial for them.

    My self-esteem is stronger than you think. Initially, it was bruised, but soul searching and therapy helped me to realize I’m not a bad person because my spouse had an affair. PAs tend not to apologize because they don’t see themselves as having done anything wrong. Yes, a sincere apology would have helped my healing, but waiting for it just kept me in limbo. It took time but finally letting go of that expectation is helping me to move forward.

    We all need to make choices that work best for our unique circumstances. I sincerely hope that you and others on this blog find the path that works best for you. Thanks and all the best.

    • Dearest Wife of PA- Thank you so much and I am so glad not to have offended you.

      You are ever so right in the fact that even though we may have a common denominator (being involved with a PA) every family, every person, every circumstance is unique to a certain extent.

      I don’t think I would say separating or divorcing is a panacea as much as I would choose it as the lesser of two evils. LOL. I do know that it is very hard to have to start over and especially so when you have children. I have to say I am surprised you’re not seeing your husband’s passive aggressive tendencies toward your teen. Many times they are fine as long as the children are young and in the “worshiping” stage, where a parent is king or queen, but when they become teenagers and start having their own demands, etc. that’s when I tend to see the passive aggressive parenting come into play. That’s great if your PA hasn’t gone there.

      Also love it that you found therapy so helpful. If you get a good therapist, it can be such a great source of support. It sounds as if you are really getting a handle on doing the things necessary for you to move on. Just as you say his affair doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, someone told me once not to take it personally. Of course to me it is personal, and if he cheats on me he better sleep with one eye open…LOL.

      Thank you for your point of view. It’s always interesting to me on how we handle the same basic problem in different ways. I wish you and your sweet family all the best. Your children are very lucky to have so many people around them ready and willing to give them lots of love. Please don’t be a stranger. You’re welcome to comment anytime.

  23. Looking quickly through this blog it might seem that only men exhibit PA behavior. NOT true. My wife of 23 years becomes increasingly PA with each passing month. She stopped wearing her wedding and engagements rings for a few months because they were “lost”. I found them with no trouble in her jewelry box one day soon after her claim. She is the master of non-communications. I have spent more time in marital solitary confinement than I care to think about. My wife has returned every gift I have given her for the last 10 years. Most recently she told our 21 year old daughter that she wanted a golf putter for her birthday. So, I shopped for one and thought a white Nike golf shirt would be a nice addition. She returned both saying that she decided she would rather have the money. The list goes on and on. Sex has gone over a period of several years from her saying “I am not really all that interested so I’ll just lie here”…to “I don’t enjoy it anymore so would prefer we didn’t”…to an absolute refusal to connect intimately on any level. And, any glimpses of nudity are completely out.
    So, living with a PA spouse is no fun. And, I know of at least one woman who is as bad as any man referenced in your blog.

    • George- Welcome, and it is always nice to hear from a man. We do know that there are passive aggressive women out there also. Just you guys never, or hardly ever, tell us about them.

      Disclaimer: I’m going to speak straight from my heart here, and I have to remind you I am no psychologist, psychiatrist, or anything else with any type of degree that could help you, but, I would say from what you’ve written here, that passive aggression may not be your only problem.

      If you’ve gone years without any sex, you found her wedding rings without any problem after she told you they were lost, and she turned in a gift for the money, even though she told one of your children it was what she really wanted, I’m sorry my friend, but I would be inclined to think she has her sites set on someone else. If you had written before about the lack of sex and all the excuses, yes, I might have said she was passive aggressive determining the circumstances. Now, from a woman’s perspective, I would say you have a few clues to lead you to the fact she may have a male ‘friend’.

      Obviously, I have no way of knowing that, but you may want to pay attention to what she’s doing with her time.

      And yes, we do know women can be just as passive aggressive as men, only we don’t hear from the men to educate us. Feel free.

  24. Ok, going out on a limb here. I just happened across this blog while looking for a funny “you say I’m passive aggressive like it’s a bad thing” badge for my facebook page. Wow. Maybe I am pa, maybe I’m not, but one thing I know I’m not is someone who would put up with someone crapping all over my life. If you think that your purpose on this planet is to be made miserable by someone who claims to care for you then you’re lame. The worst are the moms who subject their kids to some whacko just so they are not alone. Really? you compromise you kids mental health for sex? That’s a great message for your kids. Disgusting, grow some balls. I believe in choosing the people you allow in your life. If they don’t enhance your life with mutual respect, connection, support, and authenticity then you don’t need them. We have one life. One, don’t waste it miserable or you have no one to blame but yourself.

  25. I am attempting to better understand my mothers behavior. Can pa behavior develop as people grow older? Can pa behavior become more vivid to others after a loss of a spouse? How many symptoms of the pa definition need to be present to be considered having a pa personality? I am a 42 year old with high school age children and dealing with a parent that is continually focusing on my guilt for not “doing” enough with her. She often makes a plan then changes it and when I let her know I can not change she will anyway and then claim I said it was fine. She will not face things when she has hurt someone due to her behavior it is often the other persons fault. I think if I had a better understanding of her behavior I could deal with it better when I do confront her about what she is doing. There is so much more that I can not describe it all. I am really just looking for some answers. And how to deal better with her and not feel the immense amount of resentment I am beginning to feel.

  26. Hi, Andrea!

    Thank you so much for your feedback and much needed support. Unfortunately things are not as easy and NO CONTACT rule doesn`t apply to us because we share common responsibilities.
    He constantly blames me that I should not have nagged and controlled him but how could I not if I caught doing illegal stuff (that I reported to police but case was closed due to insufficient evidence) and his behaviour was escalating? I offered him counselling but he never went to get help for himself and us. I felt like I was dealing with the teenager or a man in middle life crisis, not a 34 year old grown man. Instead of listening to me, he cheated on me and 2 months after affair started he moved out.
    So it`s kind of bittersweet, one one hand I feel a little more relieved, but on the other hand, I have problems of gettong over my love towards him (I know it sounds odd but I really loved this man despite his shortcomings).
    Now he knocked up the girl he was sleeping with just 4 months after he moved out. He called me and told me he didn`t want to have a child with her but can`t bring himself to tell her that because he doesn`t want to be responsible for abortion. I think deep down he resents her because his motive was to sleep around and have fun but he got “trapped” due to his stupidity. When he found out she was pregnant, he called me and asked if I will take him back home and I`m glad that I didn`t. Now she pressures him to live together which makes situation worse becaus ethere will be 2 families involved in this mess. It is my understanding that last week he moved away from living with his mom and probably is renting apartment and started to live with that woman.
    There was a time a month ago that he would call me 3x per day and tried to manipulate with me by wanting to come back but I didn`t even answer his calls. Harassment got so bad that he would call my parents as well and question them about my whereabout, etc. and I had to tell my lawyer that he is trying to control my private life. Now he calls 1x day but I don`t even answer. He wants to see whether I`m home or I`m out and about (possibly dating). He can`t bear the idea that I could be with someone else.
    I noticed if I talk to him, I fall one step back and I don`t progress, so I choose not to talk to him unless it`s absolutely necessary. I hate his manipulations with my feelings too because he knew I loved him dearly, so very often he is trying to mess up with my mind.
    I was super devoted woman to him, we went through thick and thin together just to discover tht he will betray all of us like that.
    No whe tries to strip me off the resources that I`m entitled to by law because he doesn`t want to pay money to me. I foresee this divorce process to be a battle, he already told me it`s win or lose to him. I told him it`s not one of his video games, nobody has 9 lives.
    Besides him being PA, he is also a sociopath and narcisist.

  27. Thank you so much for this blog…I’ve been in a 15 year long relationship in which I’ve been made to feel crazy and mad! I really wanted to thank you for creating this site….if just for a few minutes a day I can feel like I’m not insane.

    To explain, my boyfriend of 15 years is a PA. I was always so confused as he is kind, inexplicably patient, never shows his emotions in public and is liked by everyone, in fact he is adored by everyone because he comes across as so calm! It wasn’t until I realised that he never expresses any real emotions and only ever uses guilt and victim behaviour when he has done something wrong that has led me to research what could be wrong….it was then that I found out what Passive Aggressive means.

    Two and a half years ago our relationship got so bad that I ended our relationship. After a 3/4 month split up we decided to give it another go but this time I set boundaries, as I wanted to see if he would keep to his promises. We agreed the following:

    1. To have a holiday and take regular breaks. To explain, my boyfriend is a workaholic and never even lets me watch TV without accusing me of “being lazy”. He is constantly working on some musical project and hasn’t taken a holiday with me in the last 8 years (the last holiday being one I paid for and organised myself). He always has no money – he’s self employed and earns double the amount I do but never seems to have enough money to take a break with me! But he always manages to find the money to fund his musical projects but never finds any money so that he can take a holiday with me! There’s always an excuse why he can’t take a holiday with me….along with the workaholic attitude it makes for a very stressful life!

    2. To be more romantic. He constantly withholds sex from me, to the point that we now sleep separately in separate rooms. The only way we ever have sex is if he “announces it”, he never tries to turn me on or touch me…he just says “sexy time?” which is a complete turn-off as this only happens a couple of times a year. He never celebrates our anniversary, or Valentine’s Day. He never takes me out anywhere, even though I’ve arranged days out for him (e.g. he likes birds so I arranged a bird of prey experience for him). He only ever celebrates my birthday….even Christmas is not really celebrated (I put up the tree alone, he refuses to buy presents and sees it as “a capitalistic venture”).

    3. To get married. At this point I had been with him for 13 years and I’ve been asking to get married for 7 years. He has used every excuse under the sun to not get married to me. First, he didn’t believe in marriage, then he couldn’t afford a ring (even though I explicitly asked not to have one as I don’t wear any jewellery as I’m allergic to most metals), then he didn’t want to stand up in front of people (claiming he has social anxiety…coming from someone who stands up in front of people for his work every day), then he didn’t want to get married because he didn’t believe in the Church (even though I’m not religious and I never wanted to marry in a church). Funnily I’ve even had this as an excuse: “I can’t marry you as marriage is an unfair concept – gay and lesbian people can’t get married so why should we support this unfair institution?” (I can laugh at this now…as I can see the ridiculous lengths he went through to avoid giving me what I wanted.)

    In return he made the request that I support him in his various musical projects….which I did, I travelled abroad with him and did everything he wanted in order to keep his musical project alive.

    It’s now been 2.5 years since we made this agreement. My boyfriend has failed to do any of the above 3 points. And I’ve had every excuse why! Again no money to take a holiday…we still sleep separately with no sex….and yep he still hasn’t asked me to marry him.

    In fact, I’m now planning on leaving him…I have told him that I can not stay as he has failed to keep to his side of the promise…this leads to him twisting on points…trying to make it my fault…trying to make me believe that I’m a bad person…trying to make himself the victim. I really thought by being clear on what I wanted from the relationship that I could get something good from it….but all I’ve proven is that a PA will use what you want and twist it against you…he’s told me things like “You’re the crazy one, who would want to marry you?….You’d make a terrible mother” Anything to make me doubt myself. Even when I ask him if he is sorry that he hasn’t done any of the things above he says sorry once and then goes on to excuse himself…because in the end it’s always my fault. “I would have married you if our lives had been happier” “I would have taken a holiday with you if I didn’t need to tax the car” “I would have been more romantic if you had been more open and nice to me.”

    I know I have to leave now….but I still love him….but I really can’t live in this mess anymore….I just want a normal (well as normal as you can be!) relationship where I’m an equal and will be loved! I hope that by sharing my story and using this blog as support I can finally pick up enough courage to leave….wish me luck! xx

  28. Two years of separation, he is in a new relationship, didn’t tell me, but got the kids tell me, and made sure it was on our wedding anniversary….how’s that for classic passive aggressive….lol

  29. I’ve been with my gf for almost 12 years now, and for the last 6 or 7 years I’ve had a feeling that something was not quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what “it” was, up until recently. Things in our relationship have become so bad over the last few years that I’ve lost nearly 10% of my body weight, I’m severely depressed, and was convinced that I must be mentally unstable (crazy). When I heard the term passive aggressive, a light went off in my head, and I decided to look into the behavior. I can not explain the relief that instantly washed over me when I finally found out a way to define how I was/am being treated. That relief was short lived when I dove deeper into it, and found out that not only is it impossible to make the passive aggressive person change, but that making them aware they are passive aggressive actually makes them behave worse.

    So I swore to myself that I was no longer going to play the game with her. I wasn’t going to let her make me angry, because that is her goal. When she does something passive aggressive, and I calmly explain that she is doing it, she will without fail goad me into an argument. She swears to me that she understands how her behavior and lying affects me, but her actions are the complete opposite of what she says. It literally makes me feel insane when she tries to convince me that what I’m seeing, hearing, and experiencing isn’t actually happening. Instead, what she is TELLING ME is reality.

    Just yesterday she left for the bank and to pick up dinner while I was preparing the house for the move we are making in 2 weeks. The places she was going are only a 5 mile round trip, and as usual she was very late coming home. Before she got home, the phone rings and she says, “hey the car is overheated and I’m pulled over. What should I do?” I told her to get the car home if she thought she’d make it, and I’ll take a look at it. The car has never had a problem with overheating before, but I expected that when she got home I’d see that the car had actually overheated and would need to be repaired.

    So she gets home way after she should be expected home, and I ask her for the keys so I can check the car out. The car was not overheated, the warning light wasn’t on like she said it was, and I tried for over an hour to get it to overheat again. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that I could not get it to overheat. I wanted the car to overheat so badly, because I knew if I had to have this conversation with her, she was going to do everything she could to make me feel bad about it. Even after driving it 5 times as many miles as she claimed to have, it wouldn’t even get a little hot.

    So after making sure that I am not being crazy, as she would like me to believe, I brought this up to her. She spent the better part of 2 hours trying to convince me that she isn’t lying, and used every passive aggressive tactic she could to try and anger me. This is what I mean by trying to convince me that reality is wrong, and she is right.

    My situation has become so unmanageable, and I have been convinced by her that I’m wrong 100% of the time, that I’m very unwell mentally and physically. I have 3 children with this woman, and have busted my ass to build a life with her. Am I unreasonable for still trying to make this work? Will she ever stop lying, saying one thing but doing the opposite, turning everything into an argument, and sabotaging our relationship so she doesn’t have to work on herself?

    Hopefully you still keep up with this blog and can give me some kind of advice I can use to make a decision. Thanks for taking the time to read this long post.

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