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Passive aggressive relationships... sorry if this is long...

(25 Posts)
fluxy3 Sat 26-Jul-08 12:36:06

Has anyone out there experienced this type of relationship..? My H and I are going to relate as the marriage is just awful and the counsellor has identified my H as been classic PA. I always felt that there was something wrong with me and could not understand why I was getting angrier and angrier and my bad behaviour was escalating. Before this I found out by accident about PA men and wept, the descriptions were my H to a tee.
I'm not perfect ( who is?) and have identified, and had pointed out by the counsellor, weaknesses in my own character, low self esteem etc..
I just need to chat to others about this. Did you stay in the marriage/relationship or split up? I'm so worried about my 3Ds and the effect we are having on them... lots of forums say just RUN and don't look back..... and to be honest that's exactly what I want to do..... I can fix me but I can't fix him. We have been together for 17 years, married for 5, and when I think back, not only have I been unhappy for most of that time, I've desperately been trying to fix us and not getting anywhere.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sat 26-Jul-08 13:08:20

Does he acknowledge his behaviour? You have a chance if he is willing to work on it, but you are right, you can't change him.

fluxy3 Sat 26-Jul-08 13:14:50

Hi kat. He does to a certain extent but he is so ingrained in his behaviour that I'm not sure he can change. I am regularly lectured too as to what actually happened after an event and he cannot see how his behaviour and reactions/actions make matters worse.

ThatBigGermanPrison Sat 26-Jul-08 13:15:57

he won't change. How much are you prepared to? how much would you need to? If you would need to change more than you are prepared to, then forget it - and I must say if you have been unhappy for 17 years, get out before you waste your life.

GypsyMoth Sat 26-Jul-08 13:43:16

what is it he exactly does? sorry,but you may have posted in detail previously,if so,again,sorry. but just wondering about details. my ex was violent,still is with other partners. but its a strange type of violence!!!

prettyfly1 Sat 26-Jul-08 13:50:34

hey there - you sound so much like me. my x is classic passive aggressive and like you my paranoia, insecurity and uncertainy increased until i didnt even recognise myself and hated my own behaviour. i left two months ago. i still miss him because a lot of the time he was amazing but the pa side of him was awful and i felt worthless entirely by the end of it and totally out of control. its scary and you cant change him - he has to recognise his part and responsibility and until he does it will continue. going to councelling to learn how to deal with him might help. i have been in therapy for two months and i wish i had done it before i left him as i really think it would have made a massive difference. big hugs belive me i have so much sympathy for you. xx

fluxy3 Sat 26-Jul-08 13:52:45

Hi TBGP. I am prepared to change, however my behaviour is more linked to anger and frustration after being with this man for so many years. I am more than willing, and feel I need, to boost my own self esteem. I feel dead on the inside.
I have a great day or feel really good and then he just ruins it by sabotaging or dissapearing off somewhere for me to deal with the aftermath. Just at the point when I feel I can open up, up come the walls. The irony is now that his behaviour has been pointed out to him, he uses his faults as a weapon or backs up his reactions and behaviour by saying he's not sabotaging/reacting/beingPA etc.. and do you know you are right, I think after being unhappy for all these years I should get out.
There is so much more to this than meets the eye. I feel like I am trapped....

fluxy3 Sat 26-Jul-08 13:59:10

Hi prettyfly1. I know exactly how you feel too.... insecurity, lack of self worth,uncertainty etc.. etc.. I'm a well educated woman who has just got back into teaching and whilst he says he's pleased for me etc..etc.. one of the first things he said to was "I don't want you going off and having affairs with teachers" WTF!! he will shower me with praise one minute and whilst he is never verbally abusive to me directly, will do subtle other things to make me feel crap.
We are both going to relate, but I really want to go by myself with the hope that I can get myself sorted out and find the strength to leave him.

fluxy3 Sat 26-Jul-08 14:05:48

Hi Brie. It's difficult to put into words what it is like being with someone who is PA. He is, however never violent verbally or physically, it's very subtle and you just feel on the inside that something is not right in the relationship. You can't put your finger on it and for days, months and years you push these niggly thoughts away. You try talking to friends about it but all they see is mr placid/ friendly/charming and then gradually over the years, after being in it for so long, you are seen as the difficult one as you are sad/depressed/sulking/aggressive/moody and you can't explain why and they can't see what the problem is because he is so placid/laid back/ charming.......

GypsyMoth Sat 26-Jul-08 14:12:55

fluxy,not quite what i experienced then,but there were some things with my ex i couldn't quite explain too. once he started work on the kids though,that was it,i was out of there. i had great support,so took the chance. and so glad i did. a bit too late for me though,as my kids had seen/heard alot more than i had thought!! so dealing with all that still,4 years later.

what support do you have? family? friends? have you got a plan/thoughts for what you'd do should you decide to move on?
from your experience with relate,have you seen any improvement from him recently?

GypsyMoth Sat 26-Jul-08 14:15:08

lol at having affairs with teachers!!! my ex said the same when i approached the idea of returning to police force!!!

needless to say,i didn't return,if only i could turn back the clock!

prettyfly1 Sat 26-Jul-08 15:14:57

its wierd - ex used to do stuff like that. i said i was going out one sunday and he went on and on about what i was up to and when i told him it was nothing he was fine but if i dared ask him where he was or what he was doing i would be accused of being suspicious and giving him the third degree. there was one incident where he was in my sons room getting him ready and he said "ooooh look "ds" you have no clothes and mummy has a wardrobe full of = i never buy myself anything and my clothes are all three years old. a better one were the constant snipes about "beiong perfect" - if i messed something up - see your not so perfect after all - urrggg never claimed to be.if i said i wanted to see him i was clingy, if i didnt i was distant, if i was upset about anything i was creating a "drama". if i got angry i was a psycho - his entire life was miserable because of me and i caused everything wrong with him. This is a man btw i fought for, defended, protected, covered for, lied for, cooked for and loved - and as my outbursts escalated so did the need for approval so by the end i was clingy and needy and insecure - like you i am well educated, successful and independant. one of the key traits in women wih pa men is they start fantasising about leaving but dont. its up to you what you do - but i say go.

prettyfly1 Sat 26-Jul-08 15:17:47

ooh and the constant paranoia that i was lying to him about everything (he even thought i pretended to be someone else who told him off about his behaviour) - the insane jealousy of everyone else in my life - including our son, the refusal to contribute to him - he would be loving to him then tell me he felt nothing for him and was second best - the time i told him i was calling csa and he informed me i was dead to him as i was ruining his life and trying to cling to him. it never stopped and the more he did it the more i felt myself going slowly crazy with not understanding how he could tell me he loved me one minute then hate me the next.

LucySnow Sat 26-Jul-08 15:34:12

My sister was in a relationship like this for 8 years. Eventually she left but found it hard to do so but she's a lot happier now. Wishes she'd done it a lot sooner. She said everything you're saying, fluxy. She felt she was going mad for ages and she was the one with the personality problem. He's seeing someone else now and she looks as unhappy as my sister used to.

prettyfly1 Sat 26-Jul-08 16:27:50

oh - just to add something that might help - it is hard to leave bbut slowly slowly slowly we are coming back to life. I dont wake up in the night with my heart pounding anymore - i am not scared if this is going to be a nice day or a not nice day and i make our decisions for us. we are happier now then we ever were with him. My biggest fear was my son growing up seeing the arguments and frantic rollercoaster this relationship generated. good luck.

fluxy3 Sat 26-Jul-08 16:48:28

Thanks prettyfly! I think that my h is a bit more subtle than your ex...? his method seems to be complete withdrawal and /or very little affection, combined with "what is wrong with you?', "why can't you be normal like everyone else", "you've got it great haven't you?''. The minute he gets close to me or I to him ( and by that I just mean chatting/discussing being close as a couple), he shuts down or backs off. I get upset and angry and then he is justified in being distant towards me as I'm being so unreasonable.
I remember when we first met, we went on holiday together, it was a nightmare at times... but on the last day after being cold towards me all day he called me a self righteous bitch. I started crying and he then took a photo.... wtf!!! This was 17 years ago and whilst he has done lots of lovely things too, I can't get that moment out of my head. For years I tried to split up.. but always went back...... I do feel bad discussing him like this on here.. but no one else seems to understand....

prettyfly1 Sat 26-Jul-08 16:59:28

that is exactly the same as he would do, he would ignore me for days and then when i asked why "nothing - what is the matter with you - i just like my space?"

fluxy3 Sat 26-Jul-08 18:33:37

I have hardly spoken to him today due to an incident last night.. he instigated it and then I had to pick up the pieces. He has spent most of the day asking really irrelevant questions and verbally 'poking' me into talking to him. I know that if I start to talk to him he will start winding me up so that we will end up having another argument. Anyway he has already "told" me what happened, even though I was there and my experience was completely different.

ThatBigGermanPrison Sun 27-Jul-08 10:14:01

get a tape recorder, seriously. Then you can replay the entire conversation back to him to PROVE that he was indeed speaking to you like shit, and you neither started it nor deserved it.

Although ex has started blaming me for "talking down to him" - this is when I don't shout, snap, or seethe, but explain calmly, carefully and politely what I am upset about.hmm

But then, he's an ex. I can send him away when I've had my fill.

Alexa808 Sun 27-Jul-08 17:03:15

This is a darn good website:

Alexa808 Sun 27-Jul-08 17:04:54

Below are some ways you might approach your passive aggressive:

Make your feelings the subject of the conversation and not his/her bad behaviors.

Don,t attack his/her character.

Make sure you have privacy.

Confront him/her about one behavior at a time, don't bring up everything at once.

If he/she needs to retreat from the conversation allow them to do it with dignity.

Have a time limit, confrontation should not stretch on indefinitely.

If he/she tries to turn the table on you, do not defend your need to have an adult conversation about your feelings.

Be sure he/she understands that you care about what happens to them, that you love them and that you are not trying to control them. You are only trying to get to the bottom of your disagreements and make the relationship better.

ElenorRigby Sun 27-Jul-08 19:55:48

Fluxy you have my sympathies, passive aggressives are sooo draining to deal with. angry

PA ime is not an exclusive to either DP's ex wife is a text book PA.
She is the most obstructive, self piteous, manipulative person I have come across. Dealing with her is like pulling teeth. The thing is she cant see that her own behaviour is digging her a deeper hole day by day. She's not only made people around her miserable but herself too, but because it's not her fault always someone else's in her mind, she is cutting off a way of getting herself out of a self imposed mess. Very sad and very annoying too!

fluxy3 Mon 28-Jul-08 09:54:04

At this moment in time I am shutting down.... I have, am and can be really truly awful to the H at times and it has got worse over the years. I truly do not recognise myself. I am paranoid, worried, tearful and probably depressed too. I told him last night that he was incapable of intimacy and he said he 'wanted' to be intimate with me. Eh???? We have been together for years and he wants to intimate....? surely we should be already after all this time? I sometimes find myself wishing he was verbally or physically abusive ( please don't shout me down.....) as then I would have something concrete. As it is it is just me with my screwed up head, feeling like I can't breath, can't think, can't sleep, can't plan, can't let go. On the outside it all looks so rosy... big house, 2 cars, fat salary....blah,blah,blah.... but I am miserable and crying yet again..... just too many years of this roller coaster.

citronella Mon 28-Jul-08 15:40:30


Your situation sounds very difficult and I can relate to some of the things said in the posts on this thread. What exactly are the typical traits of passive aggressiveness though as I've not heard of it before?

GrapeJelly Mon 28-Jul-08 16:47:45

Basically, it's causing lots of arguments without resorting to shouting or violence so that the PA person looks hard done by in the relationship when in fact they're pulling all the strings.

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