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User Topic: Passive Aggressive Relationships
SI Staff
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Default  Posted: 10:30 AM, May 4th (Monday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


Posts: 10000 | Registered: May 2002
heartbroken_kk
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Default  Posted: 3:41 PM, May 4th (Monday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Oh lucky me, I asked for this thread so now I get to start it.

I am about 4 months out from D-Day and attempting to reconcile with WH, and am feeling increasingly frustrated about what I see as Passive/Aggressive behavior that puts us in a constant state of pushing-pulling-pushing-pushing back.

There is another thread in this forum for Emotionally Unavailable. This doesn't fit my WH very well. He is emotionally foggy for sure, but he does try to be sympathetic towards me and my feelings. More he is not well connected to his own internal state and not good at articulating the full range of emotions he is feeling. It tends to be anger and frustration on the surface, and only with some deep digging does he get down to other feeling states, like feeling blamed, feeling inadequate, sadness, dread, shame.

I have outlined some of our issues in a thread in the Recon forum here: http://survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=292274

Here is one example of how we interact:

I say, "The yard needs to be cleaned up, when can you help with that?"

He says "When do you want me to?"

I say "I want you to find time in your schedule and figure out when works for you"

He says "Why don't you just tell me what you want?"

I say "I don't want to tell you what to do, I want you to take responsibility for scheduling your participation in taking care of our yard"

He says "If I do that you'll just be mad at me for not doing it when you want and how you want."

MC says to WH: it sounds like you are taking an approach that puts you in a parent-child relationship with KK being the parent and you being the child. Do you see how she doesn't want to feel like she is your parent?

WH says, "um, what?" "No, I just feel like I'm getting trapped into a situation where I can't please her because I won't be meeting her expectations, because SHE WON"T TELL ME WHAT THEY ARE"

I'm hoping to learn more about my role in this. I know I can't change him, I can only change myself. I am trying to learn more about the co-dependent behaviors I must be doing that feed into his P/A behaviors. I don't see them. I appear to be unaware of my role in this, even in looking back at some interaction between us I have a hard time seeing what I'm doing.

Hoping for some feedback from others who have worked through this, or who are working on it now. If you engage in PA or CD behaviors, how do you know you are doing that? How do you see yourself? How do you see your partner and your partner's role?

kk


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


Posts: 1221 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: California
OntheRocks
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Member # 21727
Default  Posted: 8:50 AM, May 5th (Tuesday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I recently discovered a webpage that outlines the "boomerang" relationship that is the result of living with a passive-aggressive man, and how it affects the spouse, profoundly!!

Everyone can be PA at times, but my WH has taken it to a new level.

The article is pretty long, but there are a few passages that really hit home for me:

The man with passive aggressive behavior needs someone to be the object of his hidden hostility. He needs an adversary whose expectations and demands he can resist as he plays out the dance he learned from his parents. He chooses a woman who will agree to be on the receiving end of his disowned anger. He resists her in small ways setting up a pattern of frustration so that she gets to express the anger that he cannot.

Somehow, somewhere down the line in our "budding relationship" I agreed to be his adversary. I can recognize it now, but then, I had no idea what I was doing that would make him resist me so much.

The man who copes with conflict by not being there has strong conflict over dependency. He desperately wants attention but fears being swallowed up by the partner. He can't be alone and live without a woman in his life, but can't be with a partner emotionally. He's caught in a Catch 22 -- wanting affection but avoiding it because he fears it as his destruction. He resents feeling dependent on the woman so must keep her off guard. He makes his partner FEEL LIKE A NOTHING through his neglect or irritability but he keeps her around because he needs her. His script is Be here for me, but don't come too close and don't burden me with your needs or expectations.'

It's the slow and painful eating away of my self-esteem that he fed on, over and over and over.

The man with passive aggressive actions is a master in getting his partner to DOUBT HERSELF and FEEL GUILTY for questioning or confronting him.

The woman living with a passive aggressive man goes back and forth between three roles - - the Rescuer, the Victim or the Manager. Living with the passive aggressive man pushes the woman into frustration and anger as a major dynamic in day-to-day conflict. When she cannot get her needs met, she becomes: the Blamer, the Bitch, and the Rager, which then makes the man feel very insecure in the relationship.

I slowly, but surely became all of these things, over time. And he used my anger against me, which in turn made me feel more and more guilty as time went by.

It was a trap that I had no way of getting out of. Even when I would change my "fighting style" or try to not fight and "discuss" instead, I was always met with more PA behavior.
It's a vicious circle that's very hard to break, especially if the PA man doesn't want to break it, and why would he???? He gets to avoid any and all responsibility for the problems in the relationship. It's a terrible way to live, though.

The passive aggressive man lives an internal loneliness.

Her self-esteem erodes as her frustration and anger turn to rage as she feels guilty about the intensity and destructiveness of her aggression.

Reading this information has been very freeing for me.
I no longer feel that I am to blame for who he is.
He tried to blame me for ruining his life and sucking the spirit out of him, but he was sucking me dry, day after day after day.

I hope this helps anyone dealing with a PA man.
I have loads more info if anyone would like me to share.


Divorced 7-8-09
Strength, courage & wisdom -
I pray for it everyday!

Posts: 341 | Registered: Nov 2008 | From: Heartland
neverendingstory
♀ New Member
Member # 8533
Default  Posted: 12:25 PM, May 5th (Tuesday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ohhh, good topic. I (BW) came from a family that were overtly agressive and husband came from a family who "never fought" and everyone was polite and VERY passive agressive. The problem is that passive-agressive is SO sneaky so I think it fits right in there with the secrecy of an affair. Actually I think a lot of affairs are actually acts of passive-agression.

It's hard to fight and fix these issues without a good look at the FOO and the family system. I know my husband learned to be this way from his family and didn't even see or understand that he didn't HAVE to be that way. He did have to be that way to survive in his family when he was young. Problem is, he never questioned it...just assumed that was the way it was and was 'normal'.

Now, when I came along, I actually treated him as an individual person who had a right to his own thoughts and feelings and expected him to be an adult and be responsible for them. He, on the other hand, took my healthy assertiveness as demands and then "got back at me" by not saying how he felt about something and secretly resenting me and judging me. Man, it's a bitch to try to deal with passive-agression. Like walking in traffic blindfolded. You may hear noise but you never know when and what hit you.

Anyway, we went to counseling and when someone(2 different counselors) other than me told my husband that his family was not acting in a healthy way and neither was he, he finally opened his eyes to an alternative. In doing this, he got a real shock because he had to change his judgment and perception of what his family actually is all about. It's funny now, he sees them being that way with him very clearly whereas before he would defend them because that was part of the dysfunctional system rules.

After all, in a family of passive-agressives, how can there be real love since everyone is so busy defending and protecting their own butts while sticking the knife in someone else's back to further their own 'safety' all with a smile on their face and sometimes being totally oblivious to the fact that they are actually hurting someone else. I think real empathy for someone other than themselves is pretty non-existant.

As for how we deal with it...he has to be aware it's happening and then chose a different behavior or thought. It's becoming easier since he has seen his family in their true colors. It's been a matter of thinking things through instead of just reacting emotionally. Such as, if I say something that he reacts to, he asks himself why he feels that way and where that feeling is coming from. Many times he will trace the feeling back to something in his past and the way he felt in his family.

I have to be careful not to mother or enable or be guilted. After so many years, for me, I would see a victim look on his face and want to reassure him or make it easy for him. Now I see that as a manipulation and just have to stand my ground and ask if that is what he is doing because it seems like it to me. That at least gets it on the table.

Well, I could go on and on because this has been one of THE main issues in creating problems in our relationship.


Posts: 27 | Registered: Oct 2005 | From: The west
heartbroken_kk
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Member # 22722
Default  Posted: 8:25 PM, May 5th (Tuesday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks for chiming in on this thread. I have always had a very direct "tell you what I think" way of communicating. My challenge in this M has been that WH is so stubborn and resistant to direction or input, and yet he wants it, asks for it, so I give it. And then I am disappointed time and time again when he argues with me, drags his feet, fails to start, fails to finish, or does something different than I thought he had agreed to.

It is so maddening. He is the master button pusher, and I fall for it very single time. He knows exactly what to say and how to say it to get me to lash out, and get angry at him for his behavior, and then he acts all innocent and wounded. He's mister cool-calm-and-collected and I'm the angry bitch. Give me a break!

We are starting to talk about his sense of "being punished" for whatever. He told me I make him late in the morning, drag my feet, and I do it because I'm mad about something he did and I'm doing it to punish him. It is the most absurd thing I've ever heard but he is adamant that those are his thoughts and feelings. He really believes it.

In fact it is clear to me that the opposite it true: he sets me up to be late, by asking me to do the things he doesn't have time for (he expects that I will do what he wants) and then gets mad at me because I haven't finished my things, all the while conveniently forgetting that I've been doing his stuff instead of mine. If he hadn't burdened me with his crap he would be late and I'd be on time, but it's so clever, so sneaky, I don't know I got roped into it and I don't see how he blames me for it so he doesn't have to take responsibility for it.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. I feel so frustrated not only by his behavior but by the way I feed into it without being aware of what is going on underneath.

kk


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


Posts: 1221 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: California
neverendingstory
♀ New Member
Member # 8533
Default  Posted: 12:46 AM, May 6th (Wednesday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

HBKK...I empathize with you about how hard it is to know what to do. Especially being a straight talker myself. Funny how my husband and I are so opposite that way, but I guess opposites attract

The website "Get Your Angries Out" has some helpful information. Sounds like your husband is doing a lot of projection by accusing you of what he is actually doing. I feel like I've had to take a crash course in psychology to deal with it since I am not that way at all and haven't understood why someone would act passive-agressive. I understand a lot more because of a lot of talking and therapy. In fact, for the longest time I didn't even know he was doing that since I took him at face value. I have really resented being made out to be the enemy but I've learned not to react and take it personally. I just think to myself, oh, his childhood is rearing it's ugly head. Then I ask him if what he's saying or doing that seems passive-aggresive is really what he means which gives him time to look at his reaction without me accusing him of anything. I swear, it's been a long road. He used to be extremely reactive to anything I did or said that, to me, was meant with goodwill. He would interpret it wrong based on being defensive and judging me which he projected by accusing me of judging him. It is crazy-making!

We're far enough away from the affair that I have my sense of self back for the most part. When it was still new, I was reacting all over the place. It's like I was becoming what he was! It's so important to take care of yourself and respect yourself especially since an affair is such a hit to your self-esteem. I still have my moments, especially when I'm tired and sometimes I am just tired of it all but he has improved so much I know it will be worth it in the long run.

Thanks to all of you. SI has saved my sanity.


Posts: 27 | Registered: Oct 2005 | From: The west
UnbearablySadd
♀ Member
Member # 18150
Default  Posted: 2:19 AM, May 6th (Wednesday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I recently discovered a webpage that outlines the "boomerang" relationship that is the result of living with a passive-aggressive man, and how it affects the spouse, profoundly!!

Can you share the website, Rocks? Sounds very helpful!

I am married to my second p-a hubby. Great to see what I live with spelled out.

It's a Mind F**** day to day, and easy to not "see it."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGQd8M5t4Ao&NR=1

it's all about James Hunter, now ;)

And here's the 180 link:
http://www.survivinginfidelity.com/forums.asp?tid=256092


Posts: 1379 | Registered: Feb 2008 | From: This side of R that side of S
heartbroken_kk
♀ Member
Member # 22722
Default  Posted: 4:30 PM, May 6th (Wednesday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The website on the boomerang relationship is here:

http://www.angriesout.com/couples8.htm


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


Posts: 1221 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: California
sss456
♀ Member
Member # 19222
Default  Posted: 1:54 AM, May 7th (Thursday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ah yes, the PA spouse. I ask "do you want pizza of chinese for dinner?", and he says whatever, and then whatever I bring home, he says ' i wanted the other". I should have bought both, and hidden one in the car! That would have burst his bubble! Oh, no, then he'd be annoyed I spent too much!!


I have nothing to lose but my mind, and everything I always wanted. Breaking Benjamin

Posts: 222 | Registered: Apr 2008 | From: maryland
down4now
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Member # 23635
Default  Posted: 7:01 AM, May 7th (Thursday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

((((heartbroken_kk))))


A friend of ours who is currently studying to be a psychotherapist mentioned passive-aggressive behaviour in passing to my FWH, and then I saw this thread, which jogged my memory, so curious, I looked it up.
WOW - most of this stuff could have been written about my H - it feels like the sort of life I have been living with him all these years has suddenly been laid bare and explained - I almost feel a sense of relief!
The number of times I have been made to feel inadequate, stupid and insignificant. The years I have blamed myself for difficult situations, felt powerless, suffered from low self-esteem, had my opinions rubbished, my feelings invalidated and yet kept in the M because he told me he loved me and did just enough to make me feel it was worth it. Its as if my eyes have been opened.
I printed a load of stuff off for FWH and every few lines he was saying "S**T..!..S**T...!" as realisation dawned.

Thank you ever so much for starting this thread - FWH is finally going to IC on Tuesday and already is watching how he behaves towards me...I feel like we can really try and make this M work better now we know what we are dealing with.


BS (me) 44
WS (him)45
Married 21yrs, Together 25 yrs
Children boy 14, girl 19
D-Day(s)26th Feb, 1st March, 12th March 2009
5 Month EA/PA
OW: 52,former friend.
NC 4th March 09. Broken by OW 13th Aug, 20th Nov
On the road to R

Posts: 837 | Registered: Apr 2009 | From: UK
NeedingGodsHelp
♀ Member
Member # 23580
Default  Posted: 3:43 AM, May 8th (Friday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

This is where I belong!!! Now, if I only knew how to save my marraige.

How did you get your PA WS's out of their thick fog and willing to go to counseling?

He tried to blame me for ruining his life and sucking the spirit out of him

Sucking the life out of him is actually what I hear. That, and that I am a control freak.

I (BW) came from a family that were overtly agressive and husband came from a family who "never fought" and everyone was polite and VERY passive agressive.

This is exactly us.

I want so much to save our marriage, but I don't see a way to even get him to talk to me. He refuses to talk to me right now. It doesn't matter what I suggest he is against it simply because I suggested it!!

Thank you for starting this thread! I have found a home.

[This message edited by NeedingGodsHelp at 3:43 AM, May 8th (Friday)]


BS: me 33
WH: him 33
Married almost 9 yrs, together (off-and-on) 18.5 years
4 kids: 1 mine & 3 ours
DD#1: 2/12/2009 (EA#1)
DD#2: 2/26/2009 (EA/PA w/ tramp#2 - since July 2008)
Status: D 5/2010, Standing, WH living with OW, D filed 4/28/09)

Posts: 440 | Registered: Apr 2009 | From: Climbing out of hell...
heartbroken_kk
♀ Member
Member # 22722
Default  Posted: 5:58 PM, May 8th (Friday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So one of the things I'm trying to grapple with is that Passive-Aggressive behaviors are a set of habitual ways of interacting with others that on the surface seem benign and "nice", but when repeated with the same person over and over again, in time they are not nice at all. They actually subversively hostile towards the partner and emotionally crippling for the self.

My WH is someone people genuinely like and enjoy being with. He's funny, he's attentive, he's kind. He is very very good at sales; he can find out what motivates someone, find out what their wants and desires are, what their self image is about (fears, ego, etc) is, etc, and then modify his sales approach to find the perfect product to meet their needs and get them to buy. He has very good "other awareness".

His ability to shape-shift and to mold himself into a form that is friendly, cool, smart, or whatever it takes to make the other person comfortable with him is astounding.

Here's the thing. He does this unconsciously and without flinching or feeling that he is not being true to his own self. His true self is malleable for any given interpersonal interaction if he wants, if it serves his purpose.

At work, when he's selling, it is a perfect way of being. People come in, interact with him, feel good about it, and then leave.

At home, when he's interacting with me, it is an unhealthy way of being FOR HIM and for his role in our marriage. These behaviors that are intended to put me at ease, to smooth over rough spots, to reduce tension where there are disagreements, do not allow him to openly discuss and work through our differences. They do not help him fully express his own desires and needs. They do not allow him to own his internal feelings because they are pushed down so that he can focus on whatever negotiation he is doing.

He is outcome oriented.

"Just tell me what you want me to do"

Here, he is focused on the fact that I want him to do yardwork. He says he wants to cooperate and get some yardwork done so that I will "be happy".

In fact, he really doesn't want to do yardwork. He wants to do something else that is a lot more fun (hobby, hang out with friends, etc). He is angry that it cuts into his fun time, and resentful that he is being "cornered" into doing it. He feels guilty that he hasn't done it yet and has to be told. He feels guilty about shirking responsibility because he knows he shouldn't. He wants me to stop complaining about his lack of contribution to the household because it makes him feel bad about himself. He is angry at me for nagging him, and he wants me off his back. He wants to avoid responsibility, and the punishment he believes he deserves for it.

Underneath it all he is actually just turned off by the idea of yardwork. He is ashamed he is not pulling his own weight and feels a bit guilty about it. He also feels unjustly burdened, as if that shame really isn't deserved, and feels chores are a form of punishment when he hasn't done anything wrong. Yet, he is not aware of these feelings about himself, at all. He is aware he is angry at me. He redirects those uncomfortable feelings away from himself and towards me.

"Just tell me what you want me to do" puts the responsibility for the project on me, and sets up a situation where he can be the victim, the punished one, the one who has to do what his wife tells him to do. He can also do the job badly and then when I ask him to do it correctly, get angry at me because "he can't do anything right". He will do 90% of the job, then quit. Then it is up to me to finish the job, and he can sneer at me because "nothing he does is good enough, I can't be happy, I have to go in and change what he did".

"The Honey-Do list of chores" is not a shared responsibility for the household, it is a burden that gets foisted upon him. That is where he is passive. He becomes the one who has things done to him.

By putting himself in the submissive role, he puts me in the dominant role. He puts me in a position where I have to manage him, I "control" him. Then he can lash out at me for being controlling, he can be angry at me for it. So he substitutes anger for a variety of underlying emotional states such as shame and low self image. The anger can be directed at ME, instead of shame being an emotion directed internally.

And when I agree to "Just tell him what to do" I fall into the trap. I set myself up to be his manager, to be his punisher, to be the one who takes his fun away from him.

My own behavior, my willingness to be the dominant decision maker, the assertive instruction giver, the controller, and the follow upper... that is the Co-Dependent behavior I do that allows his Passive-Aggressive behaviors to thrive and become a comfortable, habitual way of being in our Marriage for him.


Whew! Am I making sense to the rest of you here? Is this sounding like your relationship at all?

kk

[This message edited by heartbroken_kk at 12:34 AM, August 14th (Sunday)]


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


Posts: 1221 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: California
Oliver
♀ Member
Member # 8648
Default  Posted: 6:22 PM, May 8th (Friday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My H is a former P-A. His A was a totally passive-aggressive act.

Both of us worked extremely hard to get out of the "boomerang" relationship we were in (and yes, that website is fantastic).

THe most important thing I learned about P-A behavior came from H's IC, who told him: "Most p-a people do not know or acknowledge that they are angry when they act in p-a ways. They are so out of touch with their emotions that they do not feel angry. They are only angry subconsciously. That is why it is such a hard pattern to unlearn."

That was a huge lightbulb moment for me (not for him--he was totally out of touch, remember?)

When *I* learned to calmly call him on his p-a behavior, rather than reacting to it, he became more aware of it, and started to deal more with the underlying emotional issues.

I also read a ton of p-a literature.

Here is my reading list:

Living with the P-A Man by Scott Wetzler;

Overcoming P-A by Tim Murphy;

The Angry Marriage by Bonnie Maslin;

The Emotionally Unavailable Man by Patti Henry;

Emotional Unavailability by Bryn Collins;

The Dance of Anger and The Dance of Intimacy (both by Harriet Lerner);

When Your Lover is a Liar by Susan Forward;

Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix


Posts: 2706 | Registered: Oct 2005 | From: New England
NeedingGodsHelp
♀ Member
Member # 23580
Default  Posted: 2:35 AM, May 9th (Saturday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

heartbroken_kk -

I could have written your post about my WH. You nailed it righ ton the head.

By putting himself in the submissive role, he puts me in the dominant role. He puts me in a position where I have to manage him, I "control" him. Then he can lash out at me for being controlling, he can be angry at me for it. So he substitutes anger for a variety of underlying emotional states such as shame and low self image. The anger can be directed at ME, instead of shame being an emotion directed internally.

It seems we are married to the same man.

The question now is... how do you snap a P-A man out of his fog? How do you get a P-A man to see that he has a problem and get help?


BS: me 33
WH: him 33
Married almost 9 yrs, together (off-and-on) 18.5 years
4 kids: 1 mine & 3 ours
DD#1: 2/12/2009 (EA#1)
DD#2: 2/26/2009 (EA/PA w/ tramp#2 - since July 2008)
Status: D 5/2010, Standing, WH living with OW, D filed 4/28/09)

Posts: 440 | Registered: Apr 2009 | From: Climbing out of hell...
heartbroken_kk
♀ Member
Member # 22722
Default  Posted: 3:25 PM, May 9th (Saturday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I could have written your post about my WH. You nailed it righ ton the head.

By putting himself in the submissive role, he puts me in the dominant role. He puts me in a position where I have to manage him, I "control" him. Then he can lash out at me for being controlling, he can be angry at me for it. So he substitutes anger for a variety of underlying emotional states such as shame and low self image. The anger can be directed at ME, instead of shame being an emotion directed internally.

It seems we are married to the same man.

The question now is... how do you snap a P-A man out of his fog? How do you get a P-A man to see that he has a problem and get help?

I don't really know exactly how to answer your question, but it is comforting to hear I'm not alone and others are struggling with the same things.

I think one clue to how disfunctional it all is, is that you ask "how do you snap a P-A man out of his fog? How do you get a P-A man to see that he has a problem and get help?"

This sounds like you are willing to take charge and be responsible for "fixing" him. Isn't that Co-Dependent behavior on your part???

WH and I are doing weekly MC sessions. Are you in MC too? I can't tell you how comforting it is to be able to bring something up in MC and have a third party take it apart, show the pieces to us, and say "he does this, she does that, he does this, she does that, do you see a pattern? Can you see that XX is going on here?

I know that telling my WH that he is being PA, is A) really difficult to do in the moment because I don't see it happening, only hours later after mulling it over do I see what happened, and B) is completely useless because he is unable to process critical observations of him that come out of my mouth.

I think the challenge for me is to look for signs that I am taking control of something, some interaction, some household decision, some project, some whatever. If I have agreed to take control I have put myself in a dominant role and allowed WH to be passive. This sets him up to be resentful because I am controlling. I need to find a way to re-frame things so that WH is always at least an equal partner in the decision. That his input has helped shape it. That I dig and ask leading questions to help him understand what HE really wants rather than accepting suggestions that are shaped to please ME.

I am so accustomed to being the decision maker. For example, for the 25 days a month when he doesn't work overtime and we eat dinner together, I decide what he is eating for dinner at least 24 of those days. He asks me what we are having for dinner. I mentally run through our list of options, share a couple of those options, he may express interest in one or two of them, and then "we" decide what or where to eat. But pretty much never does he come to me and say "I want to go to XX Restaurant tonight, does that work for you?"

So every day we go through this Passive-Aggressive and Co-Dependent dance with dinner decision making. He only wants to know what I'm feeding him, really. That is the outcome he is interested in: knowing that he will get to eat.

I am trying to learn to say "I don't know, and I don't want to be the one to decide. I would like for you to decide where/what we are eating tonight. Let me know what you come up with and I will be ready."

I have also learned I must be calm when he gets irritated with this approach. By not being the willing decision maker I am "dumping" the burden of the decision on him, and again, he tends to feel resentful and victimized. I also have to be able to accept his decision even if I don't like his choice. I try and be outwardly happy with whatever he chooses so that he doesn't feel like I'm toying with him. If I give up my controlling, Co-Dependent role I have to allow myself to accept being affected by a decision I didn't make.

kk


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


Posts: 1221 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: California
kluelesskat
♀ Member
Member # 23552
Default  Posted: 4:15 PM, May 9th (Saturday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Interesting. I wonder if this behaviour comes from a whole family behaving a certain way b/c they don't want the feathers ruffled of one family member. They think its easier to just let someone behave anyway they want just so no one has to say anything.


Me - BS
Him - WS
MOW - Ole fatty w 2 others on the side besides mine and her husband

Posts: 215 | Registered: Apr 2009 | From: Canada Eh
heartbroken_kk
♀ Member
Member # 22722
Default  Posted: 6:32 PM, May 9th (Saturday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Interesting. I wonder if this behaviour comes from a whole family behaving a certain way b/c they don't want the feathers ruffled of one family member. They think its easier to just let someone behave anyway they want just so no one has to say anything.

Our MC says this is very common behavior in "Adult Children of Alcoholics" - children who grew up in a home that had a raging alcoholic did not feel safe expressing their own emotions and learned to read the emotions of others very well in order to determine "how to act" to avoid being the recipient of an alcoholic's rage. Pushing down one's own emotions while being sensitive to others allowed one to stay sane and safe.

kk


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


Posts: 1221 | Registered: Feb 2009 | From: California
LOL_NOT
New Member
Member # 23922
Shocked  Posted: 1:28 PM, May 10th (Sunday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The PA behavior is at the crux of my break up. Thanks to everyone for sharing. Up until recently I have felt isolated. And quite frankly insane.
It is the enormous volume and quantity of daily PA behavior that has left me drained, depressed and overwhelmed. It is amazing to me that one moment my partner appears caring and the next minute denies even saying it.

I could live a whole life time never hearing the following statements again from my PA partner:

"I'll get back to you."
"Whatever you want to do."
"I'm so sorry I didn't do_____"
"That's your time schedule not mine."


Posts: 13 | Registered: May 2009
LOL_NOT
New Member
Member # 23922
Default  Posted: 1:34 PM, May 10th (Sunday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

are doing weekly MC sessions. Are you in MC too? I can't tell you how comforting it is to be able to bring something up in MC and have a third party take it apart, show the pieces to us, and say "he does this, she does that, he does this, she does that, do you see a pattern?

I'm a newbie. Can you tell me what MC is? Sounds Like I need to attend. I need support dealing with PA behavior. Thanks.


Posts: 13 | Registered: May 2009
heartbroken_kk
♀ Member
Member # 22722
Default  Posted: 4:36 PM, May 10th (Sunday), 2009View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Hi, LOL_NOT -- welcome to SI the best club you never wanted to join.

MC is Marriage Counselor or Marriage Counseling. IC is Individual Counseling.

On the homepage for SI there is a yellow box on the left. Click there on the link for the healing library, where you can find articles, a list of abbreviations, books, and lots of other resources. I think I probably read most everything there when I first joined.

I would encourage you to post in other forums, the Just Found Out forum has a lot of other folks going through the beginning stages of dealing with the shock of infidelity, separation, lies, etc.

I spend most of my time in the Reconciliation forum because my WH (Wayward Husband) has promised to end all contact with his APs (Affair Partners) and work on restoring our marriage. Not everyone gets to that point, or should. Quite a few people go from the JFO forum to the D forum, and General too.

Take care and good luck.

kk


BW then 46, STBXWHNPDPAFTG the destroyer of my entire life.
D-Day 1 1999, D-Day 2,3,4,5,6... 2009 thru 2011.

Separated, divorcing, moving on.
I edit because I always make typos.


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