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Passive aggressive husband. Is there a way past?

(35 Posts)
Cryjustalittle Mon 08-Dec-14 17:36:16

Hi, I'm on my phone so this may end up a bit of a drip feed. I have just realised after 17 years (10 married) that my husband is a passive aggressive.

He fits most of the profile as do I ad a co-dependent partner.

Has anyone ever had the same realisation as me and been able to work through or does this hellish life that I lead continue unless I leave?

I don't have a voice. I am accountable for EVERYTHING that goes wrong in our lives. I'm not allowed to be upset about ANYTHING nor am I allowed to be too happy. I am in a situation wherein if I leave, I'll need to move countries. This will cause great distress to the DC. I'll need to start from scratch as I've been following him all over the place since I was 22 without any career to speak of, and I have absolutely no cash.

I love my husband but if things can't change then I cant continue to live my life like this. Anyone who has dealt with a PA, that I can't talk about it with him. I'm not into games and Iost certainly can't uproot the kids to make a point.

thanks in advance for advice

Cryjustalittle Mon 08-Dec-14 17:37:44

Sorry bloody phone - anyone who had dealt with a pa KNOWS

Jackie0 Mon 08-Dec-14 17:41:15

You need to see a solicitor.
Is the family money / assets in his sole name?

Cryjustalittle Mon 08-Dec-14 17:43:57

House is joint- main account not

Meerka Mon 08-Dec-14 18:06:50

Pssive-aggressiveness works ... for the person being PA. Not for anyone else, of course. But it seems to be a very hard habit to give up for people.

Is there anything left of a man who could be straightforward and stop game playing? Would he have the will to stop it?

If he realises there is a problem and is genuinely willing to stop then over time you could find a way forward.

But frankly it's extremely unlikely.

I would try it, but I'd also be starting to get paperwork together and put the passports in a safe place as leaving might become necessary and a PA person can be highly manipulative if you do something they really don't like.

It's not the healthiest of atmospheres for your children to be growing up in, either.

good luck.

Cryjustalittle Mon 08-Dec-14 18:09:28

thanks meerka. You're right. It's not good for the kids at all :0(

Cryjustalittle Mon 08-Dec-14 18:11:25

Sometimes the clouds clear and he can see it, but he loses the thread of it very quickly....

TheLittleOneSaidRollOver Mon 08-Dec-14 20:17:44


sometimes the clouds clear, he realises you might have had enough, and so he temporarily bothers to be nice for however long it takes to reel you back in.

What's in it for him to change?

CogitOIOIO Mon 08-Dec-14 20:23:22

What are you calling passive aggressive? Do you have examples?

Somethingtodo Mon 08-Dec-14 20:40:40

I live this life it is hell - and has caused me a lot of frustration and pain. I do not want my children to see this dynamic any longer. My OH needs to change - he is not making sufficient effort - so after 30 years of abuse - beacuse that is what it is - I am off. These books really helped me to focus on the behaviour and specifcally call him on it.

Cryjustalittle Tue 09-Dec-14 02:24:20


COGNITO an example (and this is just run of the mill) on Sunday's before school he puts the kids to bed. He KNOWS the terrible impact tiredness has on my youngest DDs behaviour, but he'll be laughing and joking with them til well after 9. If I try to intervene - now mind I have to ask him quietly to leave the room (I can't just to go up and say, 'Hey guys, school tomorrow, we need to be thinking about getting to sleep!' - that's nagging) I have to ask very nicely for him to think about the little one. Then if I try to talk about it with him once they're down, he goes in a major sulk, and refuses to discuss. He just shuts down. This happens in EVERY aspect of our life.

The more serious issues are even worse. In order not to accept any responsibility he will become aggresive, or cry. For years, my low self esteem made me think that it was all me, but after a lot of self work, I can see both sides, the clouds have cleared and I realise now, it is not all me.

When he does listen and he does get it, it's fine for a few weeks, then we gradually move back into the old way of things. I feel like I live just outside a cage and more often than not, I'm pushed back into the cage because my behaviour hasn't tallied with his expectations. Something todo - can you relate to that? Thanks, I will definitely look at the books.

This behaviour has affected my children, but I fear that the upheaval in their lives involved with separation: moving home, new schools and loss of lifestyle will far outweigh this as I manage to keep them mostly separate from it all.

Thanks for your responses.

Cryjustalittle Tue 09-Dec-14 02:32:58

Thelittleonesaid: the only thing I think that would make him change is the thought of losing us. The problem with that is our lifestyle. If I leave him, I leave our home, our life, the country we are in, as do the kids. If and when I make that decision, it will have to be a permanent decision. I can't just move out with the kids and work things out through separation.

There's a major problem too that I haven't worked for over ten years. In the short term, I would be unable to provide for the little ones. I know he wouldn't cut me off, but I wouldn't be so sure that he wouldn't quit his job, just to spite me.

My plan is this: bide my time, and start to retrain myself with some sort of vocational course over the next year, so at least I have current vocational training in order to re-enter the job market when the time to make a move is right. I just don't know what would be the best thing for me to study....

Coyoacan Tue 09-Dec-14 03:06:10

I'm a bit concerned that you would have to leave the country you are living in. Do you not have work visa?

Because it can be quite hard to take children away from the country where one of their parents lives, unless said parent gives their consent.

Cryjustalittle Tue 09-Dec-14 04:34:45

Coyocan. Thank you for your concern. This shouldn't be a problem. IF I do this, it will be done with as much consideration for the children as possible. Doing a disappearing act would not be helpful. We do come home for holidays, so it will be most likely that I will say that we are not returning at the end of the holiday.

Isetan Tue 09-Dec-14 06:14:53

If your children are classed as habitually resident in the country you live in and that country is a signatory to The Hague Convention, your H could pursue you for child abduction if you do not have his prior permission to relocate to another country.

Cryjustalittle Tue 09-Dec-14 06:28:58

We are not affected by the Hague Convention

CogitOIOIO Tue 09-Dec-14 07:02:23

Sadly, if you bide your time too much, the treatment will continue, your ties to the place you live in will get stronger, your self-esteem will sink further and the obstacles to leaving will appear much greater than they do now.

People like your DH are all about control. They will always make it as difficult for you to leave as they can, psychologically rather than physically. So suggest you pick an end date that is much closer than 2 years away and hold onto it.

JimmyChoosChimichanga Tue 09-Dec-14 07:08:48

Do you have family you could run to that would support you initially?
I suspect the children would be happier away from him. As they get older they realise the dynamic.

Somethingtodo Tue 09-Dec-14 10:24:06

Cry - what is his background? - often people are like this because there is dysfunction in childhood - eg an alcoholic parent/narc parent....where the child spends a childhood paralysed / terrified of conflict and abandonment.

As an adult this becomes PA behaviour. Irrational avoidance of confrontation and basic grown up responsibilities which creates very difficult problems for all involved - and the abuse/aggression is disguised as hostile actions/words instead. For me it means anything I need is just ignored - he just doesnt respond and I nag and nag and then scream myself into a dysfunctional frenzie....I am aware I have issues of low self esteem not knowing when to walk away....

I have a couple of financial things to put in place before I actually pull the rug. This is a thread I started 2 years ago (there are annual updates as I revived and added to the drama) - there is great advice on there from other MNers....

I did not know about PA then - so I was using the term "avoider". I cant tell you how revelatory the book was in defining the situation and seeing that I was not nuts - but this person was "impossible and crazy making".

Cryjustalittle Tue 09-Dec-14 11:06:06

We have a house that we don't rent out in the UK. Set up, ready to go. I have support.

Cogito - we will move on from here in a few years, now that I have seen the light, I am no longer in a position where he can draw me in in the way that he has been doing for our whole relationship. I think I can eek it out - with the hope that calling him on his behaviour can make a difference - which is why I started this thread.

Something - he had a very secure albeit 'different' upbringing. He comes from a family of PA - terrified by conflict would be an apt way to describe the dynamics. Don't even ask me to go there - part of the reason this has come to light in my own mind has been because of PA in laws and his reaction to their attitude towards me (particularly with the DCs). I'll take a look at your thread.

'As an adult this becomes PA behaviour. Irrational avoidance of confrontation and basic grown up responsibilities which creates very difficult problems for all involved - and the abuse/aggression is disguised as hostile actions/words instead. For me it means anything I need is just ignored - he just doesnt respond and I nag and nag and then scream myself into a dysfunctional frenzie....I am aware I have issues of low self esteem not knowing when to walk away....'

This is EXACTLY how it is and how I used to behave. Then I realised that it just made me the bad one, so I went on anti depressants, and this gave me the clarity (rather took away any over emotional feelings), and I don't react as much anymore. It is not liked, and now we are talking about how we are not right for each other - mainly because when he does walk away, I let him. It's still awful, because in my life, isolated from my loved ones, I don't have a voice.

There has been times when he hits me in his sleep, or kicks me. When I try to talk about it with him, he gets overly angry with me. I tell him calmly that it is my human right to sleep without fear of being accosted. He gets so angry, so abusive. He is upset because I should be worried about what is making him do this in his sleep. In his eyes, I am so self absorbed to think it is all about him hitting me, when it SHOULD be about why HE is hitting out in his sleep. There's no love, no empathy. It's very distressing.

I can cope because I am on medication (TBH at this stage, I'm not sure if it is about him, or because, me as a person needs them). I have a great support network around me and I have just started CBT therapy - although it's still in its infancy and I haven't yet reached the stuff about my marriage. I'm hoping that the therapist can give me some ways to help deal with him.

I had had a glass of wine last night when I started this - after much research online. I woke up this morning and something is different in me. I can't explain it. I've just had enough. He knows it. When he came in from work last night, I told him to just let go of the anger. He thinks that every comment has some negative implication behind it. He comes from a place of spite and I don't. I get upset because I'm human, and I'm a woman, and I'm sensitive, and he has to accept this. HE has everything. A great job, great life, money, and a family that love him. All he is doing is pushing me (and them) away. And one day he'll not have THIS. It'll be easy for him (to find a new wife) to move on should we leave, but this is the best and most uncomplicated it will be and he's throwing it away. He does get that. He is a good person at heart, but he can't see the wood for the trees. He can't see past the end of his own nose.

I don't want to be in this position, but here I find myself in it. It's so sad.

Thanks for your help thus far.

Meerka Tue 09-Dec-14 11:56:58

For me it means anything I need is just ignored - he just doesnt respond and I nag and nag and then scream myself into a dysfunctional frenzie....

You've just rung bells for me .. I've seen this happen at very close quarters with a female relative. On the surface it looked as if it was all her instability but once you observed at very close quarters (stayed there a week) you realise that actually, her husband was subtly provoking this awful behaviour. It certainly wasn't as clearcut as it first looked.

Similarly to your husband the man meant well. But the way he handled thigns was subtly very destructive.

SShe got worse and worse and it was ... not pretty. It's damaged the children very badly, one in particular I'm extremely concerned about.

It's very good that you managed to break out of this cycle.

Meerka Tue 09-Dec-14 12:00:03

Also, if he comes from a place of spite - be careful. Spiteful people can quite deliberately inflict a lot of suffering on other people, even to the point of cutting off their own noses. Seriously, be careful.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 09-Dec-14 12:10:24

He's not hitting and kicking you in his sleep, love. He's hitting and kicking you to put you in your place and refusing to accept the blame for it. This is a thoroughly abusive, potentially dangerous man and you need to start planning the way out for you and the DC.

Cryjustalittle Tue 09-Dec-14 12:15:23

Thanks Meerka. The spitefulness is borne from the passive aggression. There is power in knowing after all this time WHY he is behaving the way he is. The place where I must take care is not to feed into it. Not to rise to it. The actual aggression only comes out when I push the sulking and the refusal to communicate. It's like a robot short circuiting, he doesn't know how to deal with confrontation or dispute in any shape or form. It's no way to live though. I have given him my youth, but I'll be damned that he's going to take the last embers of it.

Cryjustalittle Tue 09-Dec-14 12:17:43

Solidgoldbrass. I don't know? i know he'd like to think he didn't mean to hit me. Something clearly has to change. It's such a big scary step. I've been with this person my whole adult life.

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