New Year, Same Old Passive Aggressive

t-shirtHere I am starting the New Year with the same old passive aggressive boyfriend. Like many, I have made my New Year’s Resolutions (although I prefer to look at them as “goals” instead of “resolutions”, hoping that will help me keep them longer). I have also seen where many people declare either a word or a “theme” to live by for the New Year.

I have decided I think, my word or theme shall be “Self”. I am going to be: a little more “Self-loving”, not beat myself up for how other people, namely the passive aggressive, choose to live. I choose to embrace the “three C’s” of Al-Anon which are: I didn’t cause it. I can’t control it. I can’t cure it.

I plan to be a little more “Self-Indulgent”. Get out and start doing a lot more of the things I like to do and seeing more of the people I want to see.

Being more “Self-Reliant”. When the passive aggressive boyfriend and I got together so many years ago, he said he believed the man should do the “man things” of the household like take out trash, do the yard work, etc.  As a response to that, I have found through the years that I have allowed myself to rely on him to do a lot of things I really could do myself. When he doesn’t do them, as we all know most passive aggressives won’t do something when you are relying on them to do it, I would get upset.

I have informed my dear passive aggressive boyfriend that this year, I shall not ask him to do anything I cannot do myself. This will benefit me two-fold. I won’t have to end up being a nag (which I have hated being put in that position), and I won’t keep upsetting myself when he doesn’t do something I’ve asked him to do.

On the things I really do want the passive aggressive to do, I ask him every day to please “don’t forget to…” right now, it’s drain the water heater. I have been asking him for almost a week. I haven’t decided on whether I will warn him I am about to “lose it” if he doesn’t get it done, or I’ll just ask him how many more days he thinks I’ll have to remind him before he’ll do it.

Last, but not least, is “Self-Control”. I am taking control of myself. My life, as much as humanly possible. My self-defeating attitudes, spending more time looking at the positives. There are some positives, just most of the time what those are seem to escape me. LOL.

2013 was a very enlightening year for me. I had a melanoma removed, which lucky for me hadn’t spread. I had an EKG which told my doctor I had had a heart attack at some point, though I didn’t know it. (I hadn’t been to a doctor for an actual check-up or anything since about 2000). I feel like I actually got a second chance, or two second chances, to live. This year I will live healthier, count my blessings more, and learn once again to appreciate who I am.

What’s your plan for 2014? What are you going to do in the New Year with the same old passive aggressive? Or maybe your plan is to prepare not start next year the same way?

Passive Aggressives And Alcoholism

I was visiting an old friend’s blog this morning, Broken Hearted Mom, and she had posted a new YouTube video that is actually an advertisement for Al-Anon. It got me thinking about us dealing with passive aggressive people in our lives, and how likely it is that many of them are alcoholics, which is a double whammy.  I mention Al-Anon in my answers quite often as a source for support. Many of the techniques for dealing with an alcoholic or drug addict member of the family will work in any situation, for helping us keep our sanity and a grip on who we are with or without them.

With so many people struggling with the economy the way it is, the jobless rate being up, and people losing their homes all over the place, it occurred to me that more people are probably turning to alcohol to solve problems in record numbers. I know as an ex bar owner, this type of thing was a big cause of what drove people into see us.

So for any one who needs help in coping either with a passive aggressive, which by itself is crazy-making enough, or a passive aggressive that is having trouble with alcoholism, I hope this helps.

Passive Aggressiveness or Stubborn?

I went to a motivational seminar today, all day. I love these things and that’s exactly what it’s called “Get Motivated”. If this road tour comes to your part of the country, it’s cheap and I would highly recommend it. I asked my passive aggressive son, my PA boyfriend, a girlfriend who is always complaining about her circumstances. The girlfriend was negative while I was asking her, so she can wallow in her misery. My son didn’t come home until I was up this morning having my coffee before I got ready, even though I reminded him a couple of times yesterday about having to get up early today. The BF gave me little signs that he wasn’t real happy about going even tho I asked him before I called to buy the tickets. I ignored the signs.

I thought, with my girlfriend not working and being stressed financially, my son not having a job, and the BF not having a job, that maybe they would just here something that would turn things around for them. Maybe shift their thinking. Something.

The BF is really good at paying attention to detail and he’s really good with numbers. One of the speakers today was doing a thing about the stockmarket. I thought this would be a terrific fit for the BF. Well, we bought the class, software, etc. but for me, not him. He’s not interested. He didn’t hardly participate in anything regarding the seminar, and I realized this was truly a PA. This is the behavior where they say they’ll go to the party and then make it so miserable, you want to leave or wish you would have come alone.

On the way home I realized I really need to take some of my own advice. How did I surround myself with these people that are satisfied with the “status quo” no matter how bad that status is? When did I quit seeking out people that stimulate my brain and make me feel alive? I know when it started, but now it’s my life and I’m going to change it.

I’m always telling every one here to get into some sort of support group and connect with people that don’t drag you down. I decided that time is way over due for me. I hadn’t really noticed how numb I had let myself become with my mind numbing life, but I’m gonna change it. Any body with me?

The first step I’m going to take is to find groups in the area that are interested in making the same kind of progress in life that I am. Thank God for Google. It makes the first step so easy. I’m going to give what knowledge I have and get what ever knowledge I can from those that know better than me. I felt like I had control of my life, but I realized today that I really don’t. I’m just passing time, time I’ll never get back. It’s time I put my time to better use.

I Caused Him To Be Passive Aggressive

Having a passive aggressive boyfriend, I’ve done a lot of research on the passive aggressive man, spouse, etc. Today I find myself on the opposite side of the fence in the way that my son behaves very passive aggressively and as his mother, I may have been the cause, or at least a big part of it. Now I need to start researching as a parent and see what I can do to fix it.

Part of the reason people become passive aggressive is a fear of losing parent approval very young in life when we’re most dependent upon our parents for our well being. Many children go through separation anxiety when they first start school as they fear being abandoned. My son was the youngest of my three children, and he was only 3 when his father disappeared from his little life (he was wanted by the law).

Since then he’s had 3 significant men in his life die. I was a very strict (probably a bit abusive by today’s standards) mother and during that time between being controlling and disappearing myself for a couple of trips, it’s really no wonder that now he has 1) very little respect for authority and 2)very little trust.

His life is pretty much out of control. While I have tried and tried to help him now, I’m afraid it’s a case of “too little, too late”. He’s going to have to learn the hard way and their is nothing I can do to prevent it. This weekend I think I finally really got that. I really need to let go of control and will be taking my own advice and start going  to Al-Anon or something to help me learn to do that.

All his teenage life as he would get in trouble I would warn him each time that he was going to end up in juvinal hall. I swear he led a charmed life because all he ever got was a slap on the wrist. Now as his legal life spirals out of control he doesn’t think I ever know what I’m talking about when I try to pre-warn him. Now what started as just a $170 ticket that grew to $590 and has prevented him from having a driver’s license, has turned into a few court dates and a $5000 warrent for his arrest.

In the true passive aggressive nature, when I tell him something he gives me the usual lip service but does none of what I tell him. When I ask him if he doesn’t think I’ve learned anything in all my years on earth, he really just looks at me as an alarmist rather than someone with any hard won wisdom. He’d rather listen to his friends who are either in jail or on their way. Obviously a lack of trust in our relationship.

It breaks my heart to watch him go through hardships that could have been avoided, but I guess I was a lot the same way as a young adult. When my father used to try to give me advice, I always thought it was different for me. We all have to go through some things and learn on our own. Allowing him to do that is one thing. Suffering myself from his mistakes is another.

Self Esteem Issues Living With a PA

I thought I would try to do something uplifting for us today who are living in a passive aggressive relationship instead of my usual bitching. LOL. One of the best sites I know for emotional support and uplifting articles is Belief Net . One of the best sites on there is “Beyond Blue” by Therese Borchard. She comes from a deep depression that she is still working through, and then I don’t know if it is her or her husband that is bipolar. I can’t  remember now, but she definitely comes from being in the trenches.

For any of us who have lived with a passive aggressive spouse or partner for any length of time we undoubtedly have a low self-esteem. It’s practically unavoidable given the circumstances because that’s what they do. They just wear you down until there isn’t much left. Therese suggests building a “self-esteem file”.  I’ll go through the steps with you here. Again, thank you Therese.

1) Make a list of  10 of my strengths–10 positive qualities about myself–and write them down on a piece of paper. This first step will help you to start to remember how many good things there are about you and help you start believing in yourself again. This is a hard first step when you’ve had someone telling you everything is your fault, or you’re the one that’s crazy all the time. I came up with 6 my first time through and I really had to dig. LOL.

Therese suggests thinking hard about your job and what you are good at there. Also try to remember some of the compliments you’ve received in the past when someone admired how you did something or something about you. Looks count. If there is something about your physical appearance that you feel good about, write it up!  

2) If after all your thought you still can’t come up with enough things to feel good about, have your friends do it.  That’s right. Ask your friends to come up with a list. Therese suggests asking your friends to come up with 10 things, but for me I think I would have a hard time with that. I could feel comfortable though just asking them why we’re friends, or what is it they like about me. I just feel funny putting a number on it. What if they can’t come up with 10 either? LOL. 

Anyone who is normally complimentary to you will do for this. It doesn’t neccessarily have to be a friend, just people in your life. Siblings, teachers, co-workers anyone, who knows you pretty well or has said nice things in the past. You can tell them you’re working on some kind of project or something. If they are really close friends, you can just be honest about what you’re doing.

3) If you haven’t got enough people in your life to put a list together, get more friends. I know, easier said than done, right? This is an important step even if it weren’t for this purpose. I truly believe friends and plenty of good activity can help you pull yourself out of just about anything.

There are so many great places to meet people! If you’ve read this blog much, you know I’m a firm believer in Al-Anon as a support group.  Also there are many support groups online. Believe it or not you really can make good friends online. I feel like I’m getting to know a few of you here that comment on my blog pretty well, and we already have something in common to get us started.

The same is true about joining a class about something you’re interested in, or a community group of some kind. Another place to meet people are conferences, conventions, or trade shows for a particular thing you’re interested in. Unless you totally sit against a wall and never interact with anyone, you’re bound to come away with either friends or contact information for potential friends. Start enjoying the things you used to enjoy before you quit. The friends will come. After all, you are in a group or environment with people that obviously enjoy at least one of the same things you do.

Dogs are a great people magnet. If you have a dog, go to a dog park or walk him in a fairly busy area.  I myself always want to pet a dog I’m passing on the street. Of course, I always ask if it bites first. LOL.

Therese has a list of 12 different ways to meet people. If these ideas don’t appeal to you, be sure and read her list. It’s very entertaining.

4) Make yourself a file. If you don’t have one, go buy one, any color, any style that suits you. On the front in BIG LETTERS write Self Esteem File. Decorate it if you wish. This is you’re “feel good about myself” file. Only positive things shall enter.

This is where you will put your list and your friends lists of all the wonderful things about you.  As Therese says  “Become an affirmation hoarder. That’s right. Whenever anyone says anything remotely positive (“You smell interesting today”), record it: on a Post-It, legal pad, receipt, or on anything that you can shove into your self-esteem file”.

Anything you have saved from the past that’s positive “proof” of how wonderful you are goes in here also. If you have good job reviews, cards, letters, anything that has a positive thing to say about you, it counts.

We all need to nurture ourselves and guard ourselves from the self-esteem stealers. As your folder gets thicker and thicker, you’ll have proof building before your eyes that you are worthy and you are a good person. As you start rebuilding your belief in yourself and your inner strength, you will be able to make or handle other changes and things in your life and feel so much more competent about decisions you are making, rebuilding your self-confidence at the same time. 

Okay, there you go. Get started today! If you’d like to read Therese’s article which is a little more in depth than I took room for here, please go to Beliefnet.com and enjoy!

A Way To Cope With A Passive Aggressive Spouse

I’ve read a lot of stories on the web of what people are going through, living in a passive aggressive relationship, and I consider myself quite lucky actually. My particular PA isn’t too bad when it comes to angry outbursts, or actually blaming me out loud for anything particular. It’s quite the “status quo” relationship. For me at this time in my life, it’s okay. I’m older. I have many life changes going on, and I have some messes to clean up from my last business. I’m busy. I don’t know what will happen when all that’s done, but for now…

There are a lot of people out there living with a passive aggressive spouse that aren’t so lucky. Their hearts have been breaking for years. They have gone from independence to co-dependent, from strong to begging to be loved, from confident to feeling not worthy. People living with passive aggressive spouses are often confused, not realizing what they’re dealing with, thinking it may be all their own fault. Many people living with passive aggressive spouses still love their spouses so much, even tho they’re terribly unhappy, they can’t bring themselves to give up on the marriage and leave.

As I read through these heart wrenching stories of the failed marriage counseling, the failed tries at communication, and the failed tries at intimacy, it occurred to me that living with a passive aggressive partner is a lot like living with an alcoholic. Alcoholics are good at mental abuse. Yes I realize a lot are also good at physical abuse, but I’m just talking about the similarities to passive aggressive behavior.

The alcoholic goes and gets drunk, feels guilty, comes home and starts some kind of fight to feel better about himself, and make you feel bad. When he sobers up, he says how sorry he is (sincerely), says what an idiot he is, and asks you to forgive him. You feel sorry for him because he obviously feels so bad. You forgive him, he’s manipulated you, you’ve enabled him, and so it goes until the next time. (Unless you’ve already been through that so many times it doesn’t work anymore, but until then, this is usually how it goes). Sound familiar?

Voila! Al-Anon. Al-anon is an organization for helping sober people cope with Alcoholic spouses. When I attended Al-anon many years ago while married to an alcoholic husband, they were teaching men/women how to live their lives with their spouses, but without them. Let me explain.

It was supporting spouses of Alcoholics to pursue their own interests, to unwrap their world from around someone else. To regain their independence and realize they didn’t have to feel guilty over what the spouse did and the spouses behavior. I haven’t really seen many support groups for spouses of Passive Aggressives, especially since Doctors don’t even classify it as a personality disorder anymore.  This seems like the almost perfect first step to getting the support we all need so badly to get our lives back to some sort of sanity. For me, I started emotionally backing up (detaching) a while ago. If you feel like you just couldn’t stand being without him/her, maybe this would be a good starting point. It’s like group therapy with coping skills.