The Passive-Aggressive Spouse

Are you dealing with a Passive Aggressive spouse? If you are, you’re probably pretty desperate to find help in dealing with this issue, because it’s one that is certainly perplexing, to say the very least!

It’s difficult to deal with someone who seems to have such a slippery way of doing things. He or she can appear to be passive, but then does things that contradict that stance.

“The passive aggressive will say one thing, do another, and then deny ever saying the first thing. They don’t communicate their needs and wishes in a clear manner, expecting their spouse to read their mind and meet their needs. After all, if their spouse truly loved them he/she would just naturally know what they needed or wanted. The passive aggressive withholds information about how he/she feels; their ego is fragile and can’t take the slightest criticism. So why would they let you know what they are thinking or feeling?” (Cathy Meyer, from article “Passive Aggressive Behavior, a Form of Covert Abuse“)

Does this sound familiar? Most likely, if you’ve dealt with someone who is passive aggressive… and it’s frustrating. How exactly is the term, passive aggressive defined?

“Passive-aggressive: Pertaining to behavior in which feelings of aggression are expressed in passive ways as, for example, by stubbornness, sullenness, procrastination, or intentional inefficiency” (from Medicine.net)

Medline Plus gives this insight:

“Some common symptoms of passive-aggressive personality disorder include:

  • Acting sullen
  • Avoiding responsibility by claiming forgetfulness
  • Being inefficient on purpose
  • Blaming others
  • Complaining
  • Feeling resentment
  • Having a fear of authority
  • Having unexpressed anger or hostility
  • Procrastinating
  • Resisting other people’s suggestions.

“A person with this disorder may appear to comply with another’s wishes and may even demonstrate enthusiasm for those wishes. However, they:

  • Perform the requested action too late to be helpful
  • Perform it in a way that is useless
  • Sabotage the action to show anger that they cannot express in words.”

Cathy Meyer gives even further insight:

“Passive aggressive behavior stems from an inability to express anger in a healthy way. A person’s feelings may be so repressed that they don’t even realize they are angry or feeling resentment. A passive aggressive can drive people around him/her crazy and seem sincerely dismayed when confronted with their behavior. Due to their own lack of insight into their feelings the passive aggressive often feels that others misunderstand them or, are holding them to unreasonable standards if they are confronted about their behavior.” “…If you confront the passive aggressive he/she will most likely sulk, give you the silent treatment or completely walk away leaving you standing there to deal with the problem alone. There are two reasons for confronting the passive aggressive. One, if done correctly you may be able to help him/her gain insight into the negative consequences of their behaviors. Two, even if that doesn’t happen, it will at least give you the opportunity to talk to him/her in a frank way about how his/her behavior affects you. If nothing else you can get a few things ‘off your chest.'” (from article “Passive Aggressive Behavior, a Form of Covert Abuse“).

In the above mentioned article, Cathy Meyer then goes on to give “some ways you might approach your passive aggressive.” You may find it helpful to read the entire article, including ways to approach your spouse, but I want to give you a “heads up” because for some reason, the About.com web site, for some reason, put it in the “Divorce Support” section —which is not something we’re trying to encourage —supporting divorcing your passive-agreesive, but rather dealing with it in the best way possible with the Lord’s help. Still, the article is a good one, so we encourage you to read:

• PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR, a Form of Covert Abuse

Here are a few other things you might find helpful to read, concerning this type of behavior (and click onto the links after the quotes to learn more):

“Passive-Aggressive people don’t usually like the aggressive posture over any issue; they’ll rather say ‘Yes’ when they already know what they are going to do. The yes is to get their aggressive spouse out of their face. Rather than speak up their concern on an issue they keep quite but their displeasure is displayed in their behavior, he/she might walk around the house banging the door after them, react to their spouse with short sentences, or act to sabotage their spouse to get even or get back at them. You never really know what’s on their mind, when they say yes, as a spouse you watch if that yes is really yes or yes —get out of my face or yes —I already know what I want to do.” (from the Christiancouples.org” article, “Home Improvement Series XXXVIII – Wired Uniquely?”)

From the Couples Institute, Peter Pearson, Ph.D writes:

“Passive-aggressive people are typically hypersensitive to actual or perceived criticism. Especially when they don’t follow through with promises. Here’s the kicker. They have great gobs of good reasons for not following through with crucial agreements.” (Does Your Partner Drive You Nuts? …The Passive Aggressive Personality)

As a spouse, you are “doomed” if you get angry and “doomed” if you say nothing. “Welcome to the crazy world of the passive aggressive partner” says Dr Peter Pearson, who claims to battle with this disorder himself. He writes:

“The passive aggressive person generally feels they are under assault and no matter what they do, they cannot please their partner. …The other partner believes they cannot depend on the passive aggressive mate to reliably follow through. Even if I am 80% reliable, as I would sometimes point out to [wife] Ellyn, she has no idea what the 80% will be or when it will be completed. This screws up the logistical part of being an effective team which supports being an effective couple.” “So what causes this aggravating problem that painfully affects both partners in different ways? Most passive aggressive folks have two things in common:

1. “A highly critical parent or parents, resulting in a highsensitivity to being judged on performance.

2. “A lot of painful disappointments in life. This results in a reflexive coping mechanism that severely restricts their hopes and desires in life. Minimizing desires is a subconscious attempt to avoid getting hopes up and then dashed which triggers a warehouse of painful disappointments stored in the emotional brain.” (Does Your Partner Drive You Nuts? …The Passive Aggressive Personality, by Peter Pearson, Ph.D)

Deborah Ward offers this insight as well:

“Certain situations will tend to activate passive-aggressive behaviour, including circumstances in which the person’s performance will be judged, or he thinks it will, says therapist Jay Earley, Ph.D., such as in the workplace. Similarly, any situation where the passive-aggressor has to deal with authority figures, such as bosses, parents, teachers, community leaders and even spouses, will often trigger an indirectly angry approach. “…Passive-Aggressive personality disorder develops as a result of a combination of genetics and environment, says Earley. Essentially, this person feels that aggression is not allowed and to survive, he has to express his anger indirectly and defeat others in the only way he feels he can.” (from the article, “Causes of Passive Aggression”)

There are other reasons, you can be sure. But whatever the reason, or excuse, how can you deal with it: If you are a passive-aggressive spouse, therapist Jay Earley, Ph.D., offers these further suggestions for creating a healthier attitude:

  • “Become aware of the underlying anger and resentment that is causing your behaviour.
  • Become aware of your desire to defeat others, get back at them or annoy them.
  • Become aware of your need to fail in order to get back at others.
  • Work on allowing yourself to be just who you are, or feeling that you are okay as you are, that your sense of worth doesn’t depend on other people’s opinions
  • Work on expressing your anger and standing up for yourself.” (from the article, “Healing and Dealing with Passive-Aggression“)

If you’re dealing with a husband who inflicts this behavior upon you and your marriage:

“How are you going to stay clear, calm and connected with a passive-aggressive man? It will not be easy, but it can be done. You must master a few strategies. “First, understand passive-aggression. You cannot remain clear and calm if you don’t understand what is happening. If you remain reactive, you’ll be dancing from one encounter to another. Notice what is happening. When and where do you get hooked? What does he say that provokes you into snapping back aggressively? Notice these patterns and determine to remain clear about what is happening. “Second, determine to be active, not reactive…”

And the list and explanations go on. To learn more on this behavior and some strategies” to help you live with your passive-aggressive spouse, please click onto the Crosswalk.com article, written by Dr. David B Hawkins, to read:

• LIVING WITH A PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE MAN

And then concerning passive-aggressive wives, Paul Coughlin writes about:

CHRISTIAN “NICE” WIVES

“How do women love passive-aggressive husbands?”

That’s the question that’s addressed in this next article. Here’s what the author wrote:

1.   “First, understand passive-aggression. You cannot remain clear and calm if you don’t understand what is happening. If you remain reactive, you’ll be dancing from one encounter to another. Notice what is happening. What does he say that provokes you into snapping back aggressively? Notice these patterns and determine to remain clear about what is happening.”

And then the list goes on to make 11 additional points to help wives who are living with a passive aggressive husband. Many of these points can be applied to husbands living with a passive aggressive wife, as well.

For more, please click onto the following link to read:

HOW TO LOVE A PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE HUSBAND

From the Meier Clinics:

PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS: Symptoms, Cures and Causes

I realize this article is not exhaustive in the information it gives, but hopefully, it gives you some insights. If you are dealing with a passive aggressive spouse, keep asking the Holy Spirit to guide you to healthy information that will work for you in dealing with this marital issue. And then keep on the look-out, for what He brings your way.

May the Lord help you, as you put your hand into His for guidance.

This article was written by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Comments

221 responses to “The Passive-Aggressive Spouse

  1. I found this after searching for a reason why my husband doesn’t seem to care that I’m sick. In fact it isn’t surprising to find a feed like this because I had learned that he was PA before we were married. At that time we both read Living with the Passive Aggressive Man. Now four years into the marriage, I’m stunned and confused. My husband acts like we never read the book and that I’m nuts for suggesting that he’s PA at all.

    I’m desperate for help because two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with chronic lead poisoning. At the time my doctor said “move”. Instead my husband said he wanted to fix the house. That would have been fine except it never happened. Since then I’ve gotten sicker. The house was assessed by the bank as uninhabitable, and has actually become even more dangerous.

    My husband took a job traveling and is in some sort of dream land. He has never expressed any concern for my health and safety. Instead he complains about money he will lose and wants to blame me. I’ve been desperately looking for a way to find another home with no money for the both of us that will help him feel like his cup is full instead of empty. He’s out of the country and I’m trapped in an unsafe place by myself.

    He called me last night and I told him about different condos I found online that would be great. His response was to question me about scaffolds that he bought and complain about the money he spent on them. He has never acknowledged the fact that I’m sick. I feel like I’m an unloved disposable slave. He seems to value objects but not me. I’m very sick, been trying to stay positive and find a win/win solution, and he’s still wondering why I haven’t set up scaffolds and fixed the house all by myself. I’ve told him over and over that it’s not safe. Is it hopeless? Do I have to die? Is that for better or worse?

    1. LiesI, I’m so sorry you’re so ill. If your husband is going to continue ignoring your illness, you may need to stay somewhere else. He seems to push and push about the costs of a bad home and has no input about your health. You need to do some inner searching and decide if your life is more important than his avoidance of his responsibilities. “In sickness and health” should be a vow taken seriously.

      If you have close family or friends you may have to stay with them until you get a little healthier before you decide a more permanent solution. The fact that you’re this ill can definitely cloud your mind, which could impair your decisions. You need to be an advocate for your health and put yourself first. Best wishes and I pray for your health and recovery.

    2. Liesl, I am also very sorry for the situation that you are in. I agree with Robin, you can not count on or expect a PA to look out for your well being and need to make those decisions on your own. I dont know your situation fully, but if you have family or friends to lean on, I hope you do; I think you need to look out for your health as your number one priority. I have been married to a PA for 30 yrs. We seperated and planned divorce while I was in grad school after 17 yrs of marraige. He was sabatoging my efforts and continued with that after seperation. I graduated without having books and computer with 3.8, but he was sabatoging our kids as well.

      He insisted on my staying in our home even though I wanted to sell and share parenting, he refused and I let it go on. Then I had an accident and had to postpone divorce to keep insurance. Things went down hill beginning at this time. I became less independent. A year ago, due to sleep disorder, I agreed to try to work things out. I cannot wake up on my own and it interferes with everything. I have gotten a bit better, but have lost 30 pounds and only weigh 100 and am 5’6″. Today I had surgery for cervical cancer cells and he took me. He left and went to the office when he knew the surgeon would be looking for him. (She will call me tommorrow and tell me how it went).

      He is worse than before. He pushed me down last year and said some really bad things. His behavior has broken me down and I am a strong woman. To the PA, I think they are happy for the partner to be broken down in any way they can, mentally, physically, spiritually. I see how it makes him happy to be the positive one with his head in the sand. He eats everything I buy and then leaves me with nothing. He has a dinner lunch out everyday. He has gained my 30 pounds and then some. My situation is not yours, and I am sure you know what is best for you. I knew he was PA when we seperated, I see I have only made it worse for myself. Just praying strength for you to protect yourself.

  2. Uhg I have been living with this for 21yrs now, took me that long to figure out what was actually happenning. Dumb me… Anyway this is the most difficult thing to live with period!!!!!! They are very hurtful, heartless, careless,and cruel people.:( it is very trying and really plays with your sanity… I have been to counsellors and they tell me to leave him… Run as fast and far away as possible…. Kinda hard to when you have 3 kids and really try to rely on hope and prayers..

    1. I have been living with a PA man for 3 years who would drown himself in alcohol for weeks at a time and blow everyone and everything off. He has humiliated me over and over and seems to have no boundaries when it comes to the levels he will stoop. He seems to have gotten his drinking under control, but his PA actions continue. I never know what is going to set him off.

      He has a fractured childhood and overbearing mother who has scarred him for life. He says he loves me and 99% of the time we are all good, but at the drop of a dime he will turn on me. It has felt like we are super compatible because we share so many of the same tastes and ideas, but he turns on me too and claims that he just goes along with me but does not actually agree. I’m left wondering what part of our life together is real and what part is a lie. I’m his emotional hostage and don’t feel loved.

      We are engaged to be married, but like every good thing in our life that I generally plan, because he does not plan anything, he finds a way to sabatoge the fun, special times. I am exhausted.

      1. If you feel like you’re exhausted now, just marry him and marry into him taking down all the walls after marrying… you haven’t known exhaustion yet in comparison to what you will experience. Remember, marriage is for life. Are you ready to vow “I do” to a life sentence of exhaustion and tending to his moods? If he changes BIG TIME –the type of one time and then ongoing change that can happen if he allows himself to yield to the leading of Jesus Christ, then you may have a chance of a good marriage. Otherwise I sure wouldn’t marry into this. This is just my opinion, but please be warned by someone who has seen this pattern happen again and again in marriage. The choice is yours.

        1. Please absorb the content of previous response. God does not create doormats and you are guided by God’s desire for you to channel his love not satan’s deceit.

          1. Suzanne that is a profound statement. I lived with a passive/agressive for 25 years – I lived with the deceit of satan almost everyday. It was hell. The term ‘passive/agressive’ does no justice to how abusive and painful it is to be married to one.

        1. Please absorb the content of previous response. God does not create doormats and you are guided by God’s desire for you to channel his love, not satan’s deceit.

      2. Don’t let your emotions speak louder than your reason. Put everything in a scale. I am telling this because I was this kind of person who always let my emotions speak out loud. I finally woke up, matured, and I am in a position now where I can balance things out.

        I am married with a kid’s pastor, Christian man, minister, who knows more about the Bible than me. He is a PA and I just figured out after doing therapy. The psychologist asked me: Is he passive aggressive? I had no idea what a PA was. So I started searching and I found out that he is! I cannot describe in a short message what I have been through. Many Christians, and I am one them, will not like what I am gonna say. But I have been through hell with him. By the Grace of God things were been revealed and after 10 years I know exactly where I am and with whom I am dealing with.

      3. Girl don’t do it. I saw all the signs, ignored them and boy am I paying for it now. All I can tell you is run. He will not get better when you marry him. It gets worse; you will not be able to count on him and you’re gonna feel like you’re single. They lie and you will never be a priority. Take it from me, I was a fool and I’m paying the piper. God is the only one keeping me sane and I’m ignoring the PA. I’m emotionally detaching with him, living in the house, so when I get him out I won’t be on this roller-coaster ride. When I say I’m done I will be done for good… RUN…

  3. I was married to a passive-aggressive man for 10 years, but I didn’t know what was going on. I always listened to his complaints about life, his being miserable, his parents not having money to help him be free financially, hating his work and the fact that he would always be miserable. I tried so hard to help him, but nothing helped. Over the years, he wouldn’t hear what I said to him, would tell me he told me things that he never did, was always late, was always down, didn’t want to enjoy life and have fun, and blamed his parents for a lot of things.

    His father was abusive – he used to beat his mother regularly, really badly, and also hit him and his sister. My husband was emotionally absent, has only one close friend, hardly ever sees his family, and was not in touch with his son from a former relationship for many years. Now that his son is grown, they text each other once in a while and speak once in a while, but my husband has no emotional attachment to his son.

    During our marriage, my husband would stay up till all hours every night watching TV. He wouldn’t come to sleep with me. He would blast the TV, and when I asked him to lower it (I work full-time and get up at 6 am every morning), he would lower it; as soon as I went back in the bedroom, he would raise the volume again. I tried pleading, negotiating and screaming at him over the years out of pure frustration and anger. I felt like I was going crazy.

    In 2010, I lost my only sibling, Lisa, to cancer at 49. Two years later, my mother, Edith, the rock of my life died from cancer. And 11 months after that, my father, Abraham, dies of natural causes. My husband was caring and helpful during those 3 years and I’m grateful for that. But right after that, everything went back to the way it was. My husband always told me that he couldn’t be emotional with me because of the way I am and that we don’t mesh. I always took this to heart and thought if I tried harder, was a better wife, did more for him to try to make him happy, he would be able to be emotional with me. Nothing worked. Ever.

    I was done and couldn’t take it anymore. I started to withdraw from him emotionally, because I needed to protect my sanity. In response, my husband totally shut down – he would talk to me about every day necessities, but otherwise was totally uncommunicative and I felt like I was living with a roommate who I didn’t know. I told my husband we need to go to marriage counseling and he agreed. At the 3rd session, after hearing both of our stories, the therapist asked my husband if he wanted to work on the marriage, and do the hard work that is necessary to have an emotional, loving, physical, affectionate relationship with me. He said that in his life he’s always done what was expected of him. But now there’s a little voice in the back of his head telling him not to do this. My therapist then turned to me and said that I can stay in the marriage the way it is, with a man who is unemotional, unaffectionate, who will continue to do things his way, and isn’t willing to try to change things for the better.

    She told me I can stay married and live this way, if I choose to do so. And I said there’s a little voice in the back of my head telling me that I’ve done this for 10 years and I can’t live like this anymore. My husband refused to go to therapy, with me or alone, after that, and moved out of our apartment one month later. That was in May. I continued to see that therapist and still do. I was a mess when he moved out, cried all the time, was suicidal, and thought I wouldn’t get through this. It was one of the most painful times in my life, especially after losing my whole family. But now, a little over 1 year ago, I feel a lot better (not totally, but I’ll keep working on that), have looked into myself and my issues to try to see why I married and stayed with a man like this for so long.

    I was also able to recognize that my husband not being able to be emotional with me has nothing to do with me or our not meshing. I realized that he has the same problem with everyone – his best friend, his family, his son. He can’t be emotional with anyone because of the abusive family situation in which he grew up. I also realized the reason why he never married any of the women before me, who were smart, professionals, pretty, etc. He had many long and short term relationships, which always ended. And my husband never broke off the relationships – the women did.

    Now I understand how that works: my husband does not end relationships, he stays in them and tortures the other person with the way he acts, until the person can’t take it any longer and breaks up with him. He was engaged once before, years ago, and told me the woman threw the ring at him at their therapy session and called off the engagement. He never understood why. But I understand now – he did to her what he did to me and forced her to break up with him. It’s a sickness. I am so much happier today, with freedom, independence and a better understanding of myself.

    Getting to this place was extremely difficult as I had to deal with my own issues, including why did I stay in such an abnormal marriage for so long, but it was worth it. I encourage other people in this position to get therapy if you’re in this kind of relationship. Anything is better than staying in a relationship where you don’t feel loved, cared for, your feelings are not reciprocated, and you feel like you can never do anything right or make your partner happy.

    1. I see myself in your testimony. My husband was divorced once but his ex-wife asked for divorce. He said that he will never ask for divorce, I have to do it.

    2. Congratulations on coming back to life! You are able to be loved. You hung in there because you thought you were supposed to. You are lovable, wonderful, kind and caring. Hats off to you. Go out now and conquer the world and recognize you do not have to live with anyone that does not reciprocate your love. Life is way too short. You have too much to offer. Proud for you and of you. Never ever be a doormat for anyone again. Way to go woman! God created you to be his equal not his footling.

  4. I am kind of numb right now – I consider myself to be a pretty smart person, so I really can’t believe it took me so long to figure this one out – but when I started internet searching passive-aggressive husband behavior I started having some serious lightbulb moments. And there is an article out there entitled “What kind of woman marries the Passive-Aggressive man”…talk about eye opener – that’s me in a nutshell.

    I really did think it was me – I really did think it was my fault. I really did think if I just did xyz I could fix this/us/him. I really did constantly search for things to try to make things better, to make myself more lovable – to make him care. I really did think he just had a bad memory. I really did think it was just the blood pressure medication. I really did think……… a million other things that were really stupid when the truth is – he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t really even like me that much to be honest…he is not connected to me…he doesn’t care about me…he never has – and he never will. I felt it in my heart, but I didn’t want to believe it because it was just too awful to consider.

    At least NOW – I know. At least now I can make choices based upon the truth. My biggest hope and prayer is that my daughter DOES NOT end up in a marriage like mine…THAT would really break my heart.

    1. Omg I hear you right now. Sounds like me. I think he is doing just this but I find myself still not trusting myself. I’ve been told so long I shouldn’t be able to trust myself in so many different ways. It’d be great if you would change but mostly I just want to totally get it and trust myself 100% again.

    2. Your words are mine as well, I have been married for 18 plus years and just now through research am having lightbulb moments of what I have been living through, finding the truth is the only thing that has saved me. I keep reading and re-reading as it helps me to cope knowing exactly what has been going on. This is a dangerous condition as it can and does drive the partneer of the passive aggressive to suicide.

      My mother is dying right now and my dad is 86. My mother has a violent form of dementia, I was supposed to have the help of my husband with her care but Ifound myself taking care of my parents for 3 years alone while my husband took over my business and soon subtly took it over. Now with my mom approaching the phase of not being able to swallow, my husband announced he hasn’t loved me for 10 plus years and is leaving me.

      I feel like I am in a prison as I can’t protect my business because I am commited to my parents care, all the while my husband becomes more and more cruel. I wish I had known sooner what he was, especially when he had affairs and I took him back because I believed he had made a mistake. Had I walked away then, it would have saved my children and my sanity, I had money in the bank and stellar credit, all ruined now.

      1. You still have yourself. Tuck money away and make a plan. You will find strength you didn’t even know you had. This is where I am at right now. I have lived…if you can call it that for 20 years with a PA husband. About two years ago, he promised me to move to Seattle and even made me think he was excited. I got my hopes AGAIN… mistake… after I paid for all the plane tickets for interviews for him… he decided at the last minute he didn’t want to move and turned down a fantastic job.

        From then, I’ve been planning, and tucking money away (I do have my own job). We don’t have any children but we had a beloved greyhound who passed away. He is gone now. I waited for one year to see if he would change… but it has just gotten worse. He is withdrawn, selfish, sullen, egotistical, not interested in me in the least. I’m a nice looking woman, etc…

        I’ve been co-dependent my whole life and now I am truly at 54 years young… happy and excited to be myself. This is what the PA man does… it is a lesson… learn it please! Best of luck to you all.

    3. Oh Deb! ditto on everything you said! I too felt I went into my marriage with forethought and believing I was making an intelligent decision. Of course at that time he knew just what to say so I would marry him. I was very blessed to have a great counselor, as well as another friend who was a counselor that knew my husband. They have both affirmed that I could not have realized what I was getting into, that it was not my fault. That is the life of marrying a passive/agressive. It is so insidious, so covert. It is well hidden, and they are incredibly good at making you feel like anything that is wrong is your fault.

  5. I might be missing something here but almost every negative topic about relationships on the World Wide Web seems to blame the husband. Some are a little kind and acknowledge there are times when the wife is at fault, but it generally is anti male. My experience in life is quite different and the females are the instigators of many problems, including passive aggressive behaviour. John

    1. I agree everything tends to blame the male in the relationship. I think because it’s mostly women who comment about these types of things. I’m reading this article because I searched, “Why does my husband do things on spite to annoy me.” It seems that my husband has ALL the symptoms listed and I am in tears after almost 6 years of marriage and going through this thinking I was all to blame. But, I’m also thinking maybe my husband and I both have it. Maybe I have all these symptoms too.

      1. Wow, Felicia, that’s quite the revelation –a real “ah hah” moment. I hope that now that you have had this revelation, it will help your relationship in some way, as you work on your issues. May God bless your every effort!

    2. PA applies to women as well. However as a woman dealing with a PA husband, I can tell that for 22 years it been a dance with the devil. I’ve lost so much, dignity, self worth, my great credit rating, real estate. He sabotaged me even to this day, and ruined me financially and in many ways. Therapy was just a subtle outlet for picking up women. So was his job.

      Of course he never admited it, but I have various types of proof, including his online membership to a sex club. He had many online relationships that I also discovered, I just stopped looking because it got overwhelming as to the amounts. For someone who can’t keep track of his wallet and car keys, he managed several relationshipsmall and online dating sites. We have 3 kids, 2 very small, and he blew through several 100ths of thousands of dollars I brought into this marriage. I thought he was adhd, abusive, bipolar for a long time before I realized he really is a PA.

    3. I agree, I have known many PA women. I believe though it’s more focused on males in the forums because they’re more prone to this type of behavior. But please feel free to tell us your story. It is always a lesson learned… thanks!

  6. My wife is passive-aggressive from a very conservative and legalistic religious background. She’s been taught to not solve problems by not facing herself. I can’t see any real solution to our horrible marriage, because the passive-aggressive will not want to confront themselves anyway with what they are doing. It’s a catch-22. I do understand the theoretical solutions, but how can they actually work in reality?

    1. It’s nice to see Brent, that I am not the only man in the world who is married to a passive aggressive woman. We always see this applied to men. I feel for you and agree that I hear lots of talk about this, but the only solutions I really hear are “leave or never get started”?!? I have 2 kids and can’t “just leave.” My wife will NEVER admit she does anything and when she’s confronted she says “You’re being crazy again” and denies things she says and does things she just did and plays the victim. I see no way to repair this, when she won’t admit she is doing anything.

      The other night I suggested we go to a counselor. She always says men won’t have enough commitment to go, when woman are always willing if they are committed to the relationship. But, when I suggested it for us, mainly because I can’t stop the emotional abuse, She said “That came out of nowhere, we’d have to discuss that.” I never heard another word about it, which tells me she has no real desire to change at all. Anyone know what to do? I feel very helpless. I’ve been in love and married to her for nearly 30 years and something changed along the way and what I once treasured I now fear and avoid.

      1. Mr. Mike, I read and re-read your post. I am not the type of person to respond to anything online. I value my privacy greatly. But I can tell you that I feel as though I am married to a male version of your wife (based solely upon what you have written here) and this site has helped me tremendously. So I seek to encourage you. However, this is a faith based website. If you are a believer in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ, then everything you need to help you through this season of your marriage can be found in his word. If not, the short answer is…you can’t change her, you can only love her. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25. Frustration is not a reason to give up. God bless you and your family.

      2. Mike- who wrote Oct 28, — Reply to Mike and to all: I am hurt over my husband being passive aggressive also. I may have been a little PA when I’m being nice, but that was just to get along and cooperate with my husband and try to have a good time. I can’t have my way all the time can I? That’s just playing fair. I may come across moody but I try to get over it, not like I create a reaction or anything. But if I was not married to someone so sick with the major symptoms of PA, we could at least play fair and take turns and care about each other’s preferences. But when I hear a woman like your wife who used to be cooperative more often than not, and had the capacity to be in love with you but now is giving you trouble with these classic symptoms of PA, you might want to seriously take her to the doctor and get her thyroid checked. I did for myself.

        My husband and I both had some personality issues but mine started to clear up when I got my thyroid checked and it was a little low. I also had yeast throughout and I had brain fog. I also had food allergies. I found out I was allergic to eggs, wheat and milk. As I slowly improved, I realized I had missed out on a normal adult life due to these health problems and as I got healthy again and seriously on an altered diet, I had to work out and get overt my own anger issues by trying to cope long term with my condition of an under active thyroid. Now I am strong but my husband got worse. He had been an alcoholic and smoker and on dating websites for years with all the classic PA symptoms. Then when I was emotionally able to begin to address him on what he had to do, he would not agree that he was a problem, that it was all my fault.

        He had all the classic symptoms for years ever since we married and now he left me and has not talked to me or the kids for two years. He continues to provide but without saying a word. He used his sister as a conduit for a year and I agreed to it but she took his side and now I don’t talk to her at all. It’s better that way. This website’s information regarding PA and all these comments made me realize that there’s nothing I can do to bring him back. I saw him a year ago at a relative’s wedding. He told me he likes running a dating website and working and living alone. We don’t know where he lives. He doesn’t want to speak to me or the kids. The kids are young adults and would not agree to see him, unless he agrees to work things out with me and them in a psychologist’s office and go back to church and get mentored by a pastoral team.

        We aren’t letting him go so easily. He is my life’s work at this point. I’m trying to get a second career after raising our kids, so I can support myself in case my husband stops paying the bills. I also have to look after my family and give them a sense that they have parents. Someday my husband might just get the help he really needs and wake up. I’m sure that in the meantime, he would make any headway with a serious relationship to anyone he dates. He/She will figure him out and find someone else within weeks at the most. It’s not hard to recognize he’s not a good catch for them. Really, I’m over the tears, the anger, and the resentment for putting up with his shortcomings for so long.

        As soon as I read those symptoms I felt they were talking about my husband. I regret not going with my gut feeling years ago and not marry him. We both thought we were giving each other a second chance: he divorced and I a single mom. We’re still married, and he’s independent and doing with strangers what he should be doing with me. I am staying in the house as long as he pays for it and I appreciate him for doing so. I only wish I could help him. But I am becoming better and better mentally and I feel like I’ve got my youth back to go back to school and work. I am forgiving my husband and his illness to better myself and to someday free myself from being dependent upon someone who is so ill personality wise but who can be very functional for work.

        I hope I have a full career ahead of me, get to meet wonderful people in the future, build a retirement for myself and live with a retired widower in good standing with his family and accomplishments and enjoy his grown kids with him and he enjoys mine and all the grand kids from each of us. I believe if you honor those who are sick, and make yourself independent someday of them, when they no longer need you, and you no longer need him, you can then negotiate a friendship. Why get rid of the relationship entirely? At the right time, it’s better to work out being friends. It only works when you can each accommodate different plans separately, eventually. I’m not ready for that now and that day may never come. But I hate the term “move-on” because that describes not caring for this beloved spouse anymore. Yes, they are sick, but they are beloved.

        You can’t erase them especially when you’ve had kids together. No, he did not take care of them or seem to care to think about them on a daily basis, or even buy them shoes or spend any time with them, as well as me also. He’d just loaf off to a room and turn on his computer and drink beer and smoke and not pay attention. That was not a good life. It was not my fault. I tried to get him close to us. His mind was always somewhere else, or somehow resentful that he was uncomfortable when we got him away from his computer and beer. You know the whole personality list; it goes on and on. What gets me most was he would not engage, got moody when you tried to get him to engage, and on top of that, he would not provide some of the basics. In the meantime, we can all try to console one another here and understand a little better and have hope for our own futures and look after our spouses from afar, if they will let us. Prepare to help them if they let you and then help yourselves. One day you will be safe and happy. Keep in prayer, keep safe, and seek your peace.

      3. Mike and Brent – I’m sure it must be hard to see all the negative towards passive/agressive husbands. I am now the ex-wife, after 25 miserable years, of a passive/agressive husband but I wish to speak out that it can definitely be women as well. I admire you for speaking out. It should be said that a passive/agressive person can be a woman or man. Either way – it is very difficult. Best of luck to you.

      4. Oh man! You hit the nail on the head! I now dread and fear instead of loving, so not of God! Can’t get the good feelings back.

    2. Yes John you’re correct. I’m in a relationship with a PA, and it’s not just about who instigated what. But if you look at the signs and symptoms that is more of what you are looking for: – Acting sullen – Avoiding responsibility by claiming forgetfulness – Being inefficient on purpose – Complaining – Feeling resentment – Having unexpressed anger or hostility – Procrastinating – Resisting other people’s suggestions.

      I’ve taken a few out because they don’t apply to my situation. The situation is still new, but I’ve seen the PA tendencies and wanted more insight. It’s not a matter of man or woman, Passive-Aggressive is a behavior. From everything I read, it can be brought out by a man or woman, but the PA can be either a man or a woman, as well.

      1. Vivian, OMG you have one of the worst personality partners to live with and it ain’t easy! But there can be hope depending on what you are willing to overlook and what you won’t put up with. I also recommend looking into you and your personality type as to why you are attracted to a P.A. and how that helps contribute to the cycle. They are angry, scared, low self esteem and have the largest walls of protection built up that you can imagine. Keep searching; that is what I had to do and you’ll find your answers for you. What helps me? Not getting angry. I don’t want to help feed his addiction. Talking honest and direct.

        “I see you’re not at work yet” P.A. husband. Because I understand were the ugliness comes from and I am a reactive personality type I take a deep breath – “That was a rude and mean thing to say” and look him straight in the eye with NO emotion. He squirms, excuses, etc. I repeat “I understand what you are saying but I am letting you know that was rude and mean”. This may continue but eventually he says sorry or I’ll try not to next time. Direct talking to P.A. always. The cycle has lessened up quite a bit sense we started but as long as I do not feed into it, talk directly, stay on point, things get better.

        I struggle now with can I tolerate this and this slow change? Is this permanent slow change? Do I have to stay on my toes for the rest of the marriage even though my gut is s good instinct he’s being P.A. again? Or is it really time to leave because there is love between us and strong I just don’t feel like I can do this anymore?

        16 years with a P.A. Finally had name for it since Jan. of 2015. Been working on us and he has all the traits and then some of P.A. Snide remarks, jokes that are jabs, didn’t hear you, defending every action, can’t make a decision etc. I can’t work on his past that caused this but can remind him he is loved and safe now but certain behaviors are not acceptable. Guess if I didn’t know how much he loved me than I would probably have left by now. Dang, it just ain’t easy!!!! Good luck all!!!!

  7. Hello ~ Praise God I found this site! I have been reading about passive-aggressive and narcissistic PD on all kinds of sites and generally the bottom line for advice is “RUN!” My husband and I have both been married previously and have adult children from the previous marriages – none together. We have been married for 10 years. We are both Christians. I love him, but I think I love him a lot less because of his behavior. Although I don’t want to “Run”, honestly, if it weren’t for finances, I think I would temporarily find a different living situation.

    Most of the time he is wonderful – thoughtful, caring, loving, generous (to a fault – and that causes problems). He is deceptive – he withholds information from me. When I discover something he has withheld from me and try to talk with him about it, he downplays what he has done, and will not have a discussion with me about it. He reverts to statements such as, “Oh yes, I forgot, you know everything,” rather than talking things out with me. In the past he has screamed and cursed at me – and resorted to name-calling. Fortunately the screaming and cursing has not been something he has used recently.

    The current situation is that his eldest daughter (that I do not care for – 33 years old – self absorbed and inconsiderate – she wouldn’t even pick up her dishes – and expects everything to be provided for her, and doesn’t contribute anything) from quite a distance away, came to visit 10 days ago. A few weeks ago he ‘mentioned’ that she would be coming, but I didn’t know when until about 2 days before she arrived. After a couple of days I asked my husband to talk with her about helping out with the dishes and meal preparation. He was very thoughtful during our conversation and said he would talk with her. The next day when I came home from work, she had washed the dishes! Lovely! He never shared any of the conversation they had, so a few days later I asked him about it. He told me that yes, he had spoken with her, and that she told him that he just learned she is homeless! The person she was living with told her she couldn’t come back! So, of course, he told her she could stay with us – on the condition that she find a job. He did this without even talking with me about it!

    I understand this is a difficult situation for her and would have agreed to have her stay -for a while. I never did find out anything else about their conversation. Last night during dinner I told her that I had just learned of her situation. She was shocked that her father had not spoken with me earlier. Anyway…later I tried to talk with him about a plan for our situation. He apparently was very angry that I had spoken openly in front of the two of them. The conversation went no where. He resorted to his typical tactics of deflecting by making sarcastic comments about how “perfect” I am and how I “know everything” rather than talking about the situation we are in. I am so hurt, discouraged and angry. Now I’m sure we will go through 2 or 3 days of silence – which he will blame on me. I hope I have given enough of a picture of what I’m dealing with. Please – pray for us and please give me some advice. Thank you and God Bless this ministry.

  8. I’m so glad that I came up on this website tonight. I’ve had a history of entering relationships where my needs were unmet. I was pushed aside through all kinds of nonverbal behaviors. Commitments are made to me that were falling through, or I would’ve been told that my needs were unimportant. But just because something is important to me, doesn’t mean it’s important to them.

    I did a lot of research as in my current relationship. Certain behaviors that my husband has been engaging in have popped up again. I guess you could call it my moment of intervention. I’m thankful that my husband’s behavior has brought me to the place where I could address my personal suffering. I did more research. I always knew I was carrying baggage from my childhood. However, I thought I had effectively dealt with it. Yet here I am again, same dynamics as other relationships where I’m pushed aside. And trust me, I’ve done everything from being accommodating, to swallowing my pride, and even swallowing my self-respect.

    So when I stumbled upon the same behaviors my husband was engaging in without consulting me, I started taking a deeper look at myself. I read an amazing book, called The Narcissist You Know by Joseph Burgo. It’s with that book I realized that I’ve been conditioned since childhood to be the caretaker ––that I was present to anticipate and fill the needs of my mother, and put my own needs aside as a child. This is exact opposite: a child should be an extension of the parent, with the parent anticipating and for filling the child’s needs. So needless to say throughout my relationships I’ve been in the caretaker position.

    This woke me up, as I really felt I dealt with my issues of abandonment. Yet apparently I had to face why I kept putting myself in adult relationships that reinforced my sense of worthlessness.

    The book discussed how the author’s mother was a narcissist ––and after reading a case study where her mother was a narcissist, I saw that everything that I experience with my mother, including how I was treated and what was told to me, has been happening in past relationships and in my current relationship. So I now realize that my role as a caregiver, almost like a parent, is enabling my relationship. And I also realize this is why I’ve been attracted to passive aggressive’s ––they’re pushing me aside, ignoring my needs to the point where I’m breaking down, leaving me and in medical situations helpless ––reinforcing my sense of worthlessness.

    I’m so happy I discovered this in the past two weeks. I’ve increased my therapy visits to address my defensive mechanisms in my triggers so I can have a sense of emotional peace as I’m navigating through my current relationship with a passive aggressive husband.

    I’ve read all the comments of other women who have children, who waited so long ––my heart really goes out to you. I could not imagine managing this for so long. I myself have a 2-year-old son. And now I clearly see that my husband’s passive aggressivenss is extending to my son in order to hurt me. When my son is sick, he doesn’t take him to have medical care. When my son is running a fever, and it’s my husband’s responsibility to put him to bed, he “forget” to take his temperature. Sometimes he goes to bed at night with a temperature so high that it’s dangerous. And I also see that my husband is trying to undo all of the education I do with my son –-my husband fed some bad food, let him watch television, drink Coca-Cola, takes a stuffed animals to the grocery store ––doing things I’ve worked so hard to get my son independent of so that he feel safe emotionally within himself. I can clearly see that my husband does this just to spite me.

    I understand it’s my responsibility to work through my own issues. And I hold myself accountable for that. I absolutely refuse to take on the responsibility of doing this for myself to make my relationship better. My husband made it clear to me that he feels therapy doesn’t work, that it’s useless. He also said to me again the other night that just because something is important to me it doesn’t mean it’s important to him.

    What I’m taking away from all of this is that passive aggressive people put their anger on the other person in a passive way. I will no longer carry his anger. Because when he puts his anger on me, it makes me more angry, which then makes me look like I’m insane, over emotional, needy. And I refuse to play this role of his life any longer.

    I’m sharing this with you, admittedly towards women as I’m a woman and a mother. At the end of the day all you can do is be responsible for yourself. It’s our responsibility to deal with our emotional pain. It’s not your role to fix the marriage, only yourself. I know that it’s easier said than done. And I admit, after being with this person for five years and married for three years –of course I’ve recognized these behaviors off and on. It really took a repeated event, poor choice on his part, to wake me up. And in the interim I’ve been without a job for 18 months and am still looking for work in a foreign country.

    And even though I’m afraid, still looking for work, I can honestly say that especially after seeing how my husband uses my son as a pawn in his passive aggressive quest to take his own personal issues and personal story related to anger and project it me –next week I’ll be consulting an attorney to finalize the separation papers. It’s scary to think that even with a small innocent child, passive aggressive nest knows no limits. And even though we are adults, with the ability to rationalize, empathize and armed with the healing of our own personal stories ––the matter how healed we are, the passive aggressive or will still succeed and sabotaging everyone around them. Wishing all of you coping with the same much love.

  9. I know that my husband is passive aggressive, and I know that nothing I do or say will change that. My continuing problem is that when he procrastinates on doing something for which he is responsible and that affects me personally (in this particular instance, financially), I am torn between attempting to let go and let him deal with the problem or just doing it myself.

    I have asked God for peace and for wisdom. I try to not repeat ineffective behaviors. I still do not know, however, when to let go and let God deal with the situation and when to take the matter into my own hands as Abigail did when David was about to kill her entire family because of her stupid husband. Suggestions?

    1. Laurel, I don’t think this is a “one size fits all” advice issue. This is a type of “thorn in the flesh” that will continually try to take over your undivided attention, as it needs some attention here and there. It seems to be a matter of staying close to God, continually asking Him for wisdom, and the eyes to see that, which you need to tend to, and that, which you need to release and let go. It’s also a matter where you look to God to for help so you don’t get so discouraged that you give up.

      In every marriage there is something that can get to you. If it’s not this, it’s that. But what matters is what you do with it. Do you use it to draw closer to God, or allow it to get to you where you push away in your own strength? It’s like what I read in my devotional thought today, “When you know that the God wining you reigns above you, you won’t succumb to what’s around you.” And it is easy to “succumb” when you’re dealing with a passive aggressive spouse. I know, my husband used to be passive aggressive for years and years. But he finally had an epiphany and worked to change his ways. So, miracles DO happen.

      Here’s something else to consider, that I read in yesterday’s “The Word for You Today” devotional thought: “When it comes to the important decisions in your life [which you will encounter regularly with a passive aggressive spouse], stand on these Scriptures: ‘Lead me…Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies—make straight your way before me’ (Ps 5:8 NIV). ‘Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long’ (Ps 25:5 NIV). ‘Teach me your way…Lord; lead me in a straight path’ (Ps 27:11 NIV). ‘Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground’ (Ps 143:10 NIV). When you pray that way, God will guide you in the right direction.” Pray, persevere, and put feet to the wisdom God gives you. I hope this helps.

  10. I’ve been married 40 years to a man that betrays me, talks about me to his employees and my mother. They gang up I me. He called my mother after being arrested for breaking my ribs and she helped him! They laugh behind my back (I’ve heard them when they leave the cell phone on). I’m 67 years old and I think I’m going crazy! Everything is falling apart!

    1. Judy, This does not sound like you are living with a passive aggressive person but a narsasistic personality and is definitely an abusive situation. Contact your local social services office or victims advocacy through your local police department if you want to get out as I recommend you do. As a senior there are many organizations to help you so don’t take no from these places. Ask if they know of some place that can help. If you choose to stay I highly recommend you get yourself into therapy, talk to your local church, call on a friend, even if you have not spoken for awhile; but get a personal contact with someone about this issue to help you mentally and physically if you are going to stay or you just may not make it out of this alive.

      Leaving is not losing or failing or sinning. It is saving grace, yourself, and being a role model for others. Whatever your choice from here on out you need help from local people about this situation. I know it’s hard and I am so sorry you have gone through this. Not what love should be. Remember all that love is and should be and that you deserve it and a choice will become clear to you. Wishing you the best and keep reaching out even if I didn’t help someone might be able to.

    2. Judy I am so sorry for your pain. YOU are not going crazy, but you are living with crazy. I am praying for you. This kind of abuse, in my opinion, is worse than outright physical abuse. It is the nice people who often attract the abusive people.

  11. If you want a passive aggressive to change you also have to change yourself. There is a reason why you attracted the P.A. and why you chose the P.A. Because their walls are so it is they chose you so you need to find out why. Change that behavior pattern and not help feed into the cycle. If you are easy to anger that is the first deadly magnetic attraction for them that needs to change. Stop getting angry and you stop giving them fuel for their addiction. Be upset, peak your mind you have a right to be hurt when someone intintionally tries to mentally hurt you but don’t get explosive or yelling or facially irate. But do get it off your chest straight and to the point and then repeat as nessecary.

    I personally like labeling who’s problem belongs to who. Helps my sanity and opens his eyes just a bit. I usually start with him…”When you sit there past what is considered a reasonable relaxing time and do not go shovel snow from the walk it does not hurt me but shows that you are not a caring person and tells people that you choose to be lazy over doing your responsibilities. This is not a reflection on me but on you so this procrastination is your problem not mine. I however feel that you are angry about something and won’t come talk to me about it and I feel helpless that I cannot help you with this issue but that is my problem and I can work on why do I feel such a strong need to help you.”

    Or

    “You’re the one that put the dishes away incorrectly and now has to come back and fix them. Not me. That P.A. behavior only hurt you not me so what caused you to do this?” And mine? “I screamed and yelled again and I’m a reactive personality. I don’t want to reflect that I’m the type of person who goes off at the drop of a hat. I own it and need to keep working on self control and assertiveness over tantrums and trying to control others.”

    Long, but that’s how I feel. Lots of info out there on passive aggressive and yourself so it takes two in this and if you want one to change you have to also change or the small quick cycle of insanity will continue. Best to everyone staying or going in a a relationship with a P.A.!!!!!

  12. Wow! I clicked on this site because it was titled The Passive Agressive Spouse but all I can find are references to passive aggressive husbands. I clicked through the comments section and found more of the same. I married the poster child for passive aggressive wives and it’s driving me over the edge. Guess I’ll have to look elsewhere. Good luck.

  13. I am at my wits end with a passive aggressive husband. I have been trying, praying and doing my best for 20 yrs. and my son of 24 just moved out. I am now alone with a selfish, self consumed, spoiled man. He has had several affairs; there has never been much intimacy, trust, honor or respect. I want him to leave my house. It was our house but during his last affair ten years ago he signed it over to only my name and it is legally paid off. (my parents bought it and I was making house payments to them when we met). He is a manipulator with an angry arrogance about him. I am 51 and want some peace in my life. I travel a lot for my job and this has only made it worse. Please help. We’ve tried counseling together several times. He won’t commit to going until the end. I am one tired, beat down woman who’d like to live with some peace before my life is over.

  14. I knew before we married that he was a PA – or at least, I had a pretty good idea. I had come across this term/concept in the past, but I ultimately dismissed it. I decided I was over-analyzing the situation. Recently, a minor issue occurred. I caught him in a “white” lie. It really wasn’t a big deal, but the underlying principle of trust nagged at me, and I knew I needed to talk to him about it. I gently confronted him about it a few days later, and the way he responded finally confirmed for me that I was not over-analyzing things in the past. He spun around this untruth as something that was done for my benefit. His story made little sense. I (once again, gently, with no anger) pointed out that what he was saying didn’t fit, and he became wounded, blamed me, and withdrew.

    Even though the issue itself that started the conversation was minor, and this one example was not at all the first time this had happened, I felt like all the air left my lungs. I felt horrified. I thought back to many other similar scenarios – I thought back to other “white” lies as well that I have had explained away over the years we have been dating and now married. It was like the rose-colored glasses had come off. I know I’m not perfect, and I also need to say that my marriage is not in some dark place right now. I just didn’t admit to myself until that night that I truly had married a PA. I now admit that he will not work through problems. I now admit that he gaslights me. It terrifies me to think that I can’t even work on any behaviors that *I* may be doing to hurt him/anger him since he won’t ever point them out to me! Even though things are okay for now, what will happen in 10 years or 20 years? That is why I am now so disturbed.

    As for the behaviors he exhibits: Stonewalling is huge. He withholds sex (headaches, tired, backache, you name it). These first two are very hard for me. Everything is, “Whatever you want to do, sweetheart.” He procrastinates. If I do bring up an issue that is bothering me, he says absolutely nothing or gives me a look that reminds me of a wounded puppy. Everything is twisted so that I am the one who has the problem or is imagining things. And the thing is, none of this is new. I just didn’t want to believe that this was a real problem for us.

    Understand that I know I can’t change him. Understand that I want to stay married to this man for the rest of my life. I just know it’s going to be a real struggle as the years pass by.

  15. Any angel out there? My whole life did not make sense, until I realize my husband has this disorder. Thank you for this. It is the most useful article that explains what is going on in my life… I just would like someone who’s in the same boat to talk to me. I have a living hell with my husband who has this disorder and it is because of a domineering, possessive mother …so he has this disorder but I cannot make him understand his disorder at all. I cannot even bring it up cos he is so unreasonable, and hypersensitive, and process all comments differently…and the underlying problem and damage to our kids is the negativistic sarcastic attitude they are ecposed to. I feel so sorry for myself and the kids cos I cannot get through him. Please save me.

  16. When I ask my husband to do something–like a trip or museum, etc.–he always says yes. Then when he gets angry he tells me that he feels he HAS to say yes; therefore I’m a shrew. Recently, he told me he went to the museum with me because he knew it would please me. In other words, I have these unilateral plans and he just “carries my bags.” He actually uses that term. I don’t want a porter, I want a companion.

    Today I told him I would inform him each day what I plan to do –movie, museum, etc.–and that if he wanted to go he should let me know. That way, I don’t go somewhere with him with the nagging feeling he doesn’t want to be there.

    Am I handling this correctly? I will admit when I said it I was angry. Very confused.

    1. Joan, the fact that he will even go with you to places he doesn’t really want to go to shows something good. Many spouses wouldn’t do that. They just go to what THEY want to go to, and completely ignore their spouse’s wishes. At least yours is trying to please you. Whenever my husband goes somewhere that I know he doesn’t really care about, or watches a movie with me that isn’t really something he would pick to watch I make a special point of thanking him for loving me enough to do that for me –that I enjoy his companionship, and it helps me when he “carries my bags.” And then I make sure that I go to places and watch some things on TV and such that I wouldn’t normally pick, if it wasn’t that he liked it. I’m not bragging –I’m just telling you that this is something I’ve learned to do over the years that has a positive effect upon our relationship.

      I used to also get mad or feel put out when I found out that Steve didn’t like to do a lot and go to a lot of the places I liked. But then I realized that we could work this out. That’s what “marriage” is all about –finding ways to marry our ways. We both could concede sometimes, and other times we can be more creative in making different preferences work. I’ve learned to focus on what we DO like together, instead of fixating on those things that highlight our differences.

      And you know the crazy thing? My husband, through the years, has expanded his taste in movies, and such, and so have I. Neither he or I realized that would happen. We’ve both grown. I also choose to go some places that I know Steve wouldn’t like with some of my friends, and let him do that with some of his friends. This can cause more enjoyment sometimes. Husbands are not supposed to be a clone of us, nor visa versa. It’s okay that we like different things, and that we sometimes go places with our friends. As long as we find some things that we do together –that’s fine.

      Expressing appreciation to our spouse for going out of their way for us is a good thing. It’s amazing what many men will do for us when they know they are appreciated. And that’s okay. It’s probably one of the reasons why our spouse fell in love with us –we showed love and appreciation for even the little things, and we noticed when they made sacrifices for us and gushed all over them for it. They don’t lose the longing to be appreciated just because they married us. The fact that your husband would try to please you and choose to be a “bag carrier” rather than sit in front of the TV alone, shows he cares and that’s a positive thing you have going for you, rather than a negative one. At least this is my humble opinion.

  17. Sounds like you are an overly aggressive spouse with controlling issues and your spouse isn’t allowed to speak without condemnation. Take a good look in the mirror before you spout this. If your spouse was free to speak and share their heart without you going over the deep end you wouldn’t have this. Being Christ centered is first looking at who you are and what you need to change. It is not about wanting divorce and looking for reasons for that divorce. People eventually become passive aggressive due to being bullied. You are not helping the person with this article when you fail to ask the very first question. Why is the other person being passive aggressive with you? Are they like that with others? How can you build confidence in that person?

  18. Hi, I married my husband beginning of November 2015. After a wonderful 2 week honeymoon he changed dramatically toward me. I noticed very quickly he had become passive aggressive to which it has become worse. I’ve been married for just over 3 months and it has no doubt been the worst 3 months of my life, a roller coaster of ongoing emotional abuse.

    He has currently chosen to work away this week to ‘teach me a lesson’, as he stays away during the week, I found out he has been talking to a woman on face book which I challenged him about. Again he turned it around to be me being ‘paranoid’ and said he wants to get away from me so he chose to be away. Its been 2 days now without him contacting me other than replying to me about how everything is my fault. I text him to tell him our marriage is a sham (which it is) and told him to make a decision about what he wants to do when he comes home as I cannot cope with his behaviours which have continue non stop for 3 months.

    I said to him I was not continuing to discuss this by text and said if he wants to talk to me then he should call me and if he did not then not to bother. I’ve heard nothing for 2 days. My friends and my adult daughter and son have all seen a dramatic change in me. They see I am desperately unhappy. I’ve tried to talk to my husband but he takes no responsibility although he did send me a text a couple of weeks ago when he was working away saying he knows he has not been a good husband and he would not blame me if I went with another man (I had arranged to go for a meal with work friends and he accused me of meeting a man). I have scoured the internet for tips and advice and tried them. I cannot go on anymore, I need to get out now. Help.

  19. I notice all the comments only apply to “couples.” What about relationships with their parents and the children? My daughter married a man 8 years younger who immediately adopted my 7 year old grandson. My daughter was a single parent & the birth father lost his parental rights. I was the de-facto “other parent.” This was not a plan in my life! My grandson has aspergers & severe seizures. His NEW daddy beat him with a belt for talking in the lunchroom at school. My heart broke for this sweet, happy child I love as I have watched him turn from a happy, carefree little boy, into an uncertain, fearful little boy.

    I am now no longer allowed ANY contact with him. There had been no disagreement between me and them. I NEVER question my grandson nor discuss topics that could be upsetting even if he is in the house. I have never spoken one critical word of my daughter or her husband. But her husband swears I have!!!!! The only conflict I had with my daughter was her criticism of me preparing breakfast & lunch for him and putting clean sheets on his bed always. She said I was spoiling the “little prince” rotten! I was floored! I don’t indulge in gifts for him except special occasions and I am firm but loving always.

    My grandson had a sobbing breakdown during one of our last visits together & he begged me to “tell THEM whatever they want to hear, so all this will go away!” I was stunned! Once I had calmed him, he said his daddy said he could see me when he was twenty and do stuff with me then. I asked him why he believed that & he said I don’t believe the same as his mama & daddy! I am a Christian woman, but for some reason Jesus has turned into a “tool” for their agenda. They have decided I am a heathen and want to end all contact with me.

    I feel like I am living in some bizarre world now. I found a video tape my grandson made for me. He never told me he did and I never looked at his mini “extremely” restricted. His message revealed a broken terrified child! Begging me to save him if I thought he was dying and begging me not to die. He said he didn’t want to go to heaven and didn’t want be to be “everlasting!” I was devastated for him. Not hearing his voice or seeing his face for six months has been hard enough but this stuff is truly demented that they are doing to him! Who talks with a 10 year old autistic child about death just out of the blue?

    The following day, after spending 6 months of not being allowed contact with my daughter or my grandson, I went to an attorney. Papers will be signed this week to take them to court. I want to know who is homeschooling my grandson and why my daughter quit her job as a neonatal nurse and why the “daddy” has decided to be a househusband instead of work. And they are both deeply steeped in some brand of Christianity that is harsh, mean, divisive and believes everyone who doesn’t believe exactly as they do is the enemy! And I don’t mean in a casual way. I mean a rip the flesh off their bones enemy! My daughter is not a young girl! She is 46 years old and her husband is 37. What they have done to my grandson is not from any instruction from the God of Abraham! And they ALWAYS say God has led me to…blah, blah, blah. And it is always something vitriolic and harsh. And they hang all their messed up understanding of God and His holiness around my grandsons neck. I will do what ever I need to do to save my sweet little guy.

    So how about a little discussion about percentages. What percentage of church goers really understand God’s instruction? I don’t drink or swear or carouse or anything and I love the Lord. What is wrong with this picture? I wanted to finally be able to just be grandma, not tossed to the curb!

  20. After 4 years of marriage I am so glad to have found this site! Now there is a name for what I thought was insanity. The stress of this has caused many problems for me, not for him. No surprise there! I’m nor sure what my next step will be, perhaps focus on making a life for me… stop playing the game!

  21. My wife was molested when she was 12 years old by an uncle who repeatedly tried to touch her genitals as she was sleeping on the couch. I found out about this 2 years into our relationship because she was acting very cold to me one day and I asked what was wrong, and she said “sometimes things happen to people that make them not want to be touched” and then it all came out, except she said it only happened once. The uncle has long since died of a heart attack, which is good because I probably would have hunted him down and ended up incarcerated. I told her she needed to get some help with this and she flatly refused.

    We married a year later and I kept thinking I could help her through this and guide her to a better place. Anyhow, in the meantime, my wife always seemed “easy going” but the reality was once in a while she would get very sarcastic, very mean, even bullying to me when she was stressed out and especially when she was on her cycle. It was always a weird comment here and there, (backhanded “compliments” and so forth) but otherwise it was smooth sailing and easy going over anything and everything. The bottom started to fall out with us though when I realized her father was abusive and I did not want her to be around him because he was trying to kiss her on the mouth when she was 25 years old and caught him with pornography (some really bad stuff) and then started wondering if it really was her uncle that did this or her father. The more I tried to keep us away from his mouth and controlling behavior the worse it got in our relationship, and the more angry I became because she allowed her father and then her mother to constantly dictate what we would do in our marriage.

    The issues hit a head when her father assaulted me when I was on the way to an operation on my back–he pinned me against a car because I would not let the kids go with them camping up in the mountains where there was no electricity, no phone, no nothing. I didnt trust him and on the way to the hospital he pulled this. I told my wife “look, doesn’t this prove the toxicity and what he is?”–but she blamed me for the whole thing. Its been over 25 years now and the situation now is worse with her than ever before. We have had counseling both individually and as a couple over 10 times and spent a huge amount of money. I have acknowledged my anger towards her for allowing the stuff with her family to go on, and apologized over and over.

    However now, there is nothing said when I hurt her feelings if we are joking (or when I think I am kidding around with her), if I forget something, etc. and she gets mad, says nothing, and then I pay for it later with the cold shoulder, withdrawing, and sarcasm/mean comments. It has driven me to the point I feel that I am losing my mind, and am so angry over all of it. She will admit nothing she does and then when I confront her in any way shape or form it is denial, denial, denial. I have taken a class on passive aggressive behavior and have tried benign confrontation and it does nothing. When I ask her to be honest with me how she feels, she says she can’t do that “because of whats happened before and I would just make fun of her, tell her to “grow up” or blow up at her”. The truth is that she never to my recollection has EVER shared with me once that she was upset about something. I have no idea if I am coming or going, and it finally came to a head a few days ago because she was telling me “not to live in the past” but then said because I had been grouchy on a vacation a year ago she didn’t want me on the vacation this year because I would ruin it for everyone. I asked her “how is that not living in the past by asking that question?” and she shut down on me, and would not talk to me. I finally just asked if she hates me that much then why are we married, to which she replied “I don’t know”. So, I am ready to just file for a divorce because nothing changes and she will not be honest with me, nor will she forgive anything I have said or done evidently.

    If anyone has any direction for me I am all ears. I never thought it would get to this point but to be blunt I don’t know who I am living with anymore–does she really secretly hate my guts and is putting on the happy act for the kids and public because she’s too embarrassed to just divorce me? Who is the real wife I am with? I have no clue. I am a teacher and counselor myself, and have counseled so many people on so many issues but have never had to deal with a situation like this as a professional which is leaving me so totally depressed I am without hope. I am by FAR not a perfect man, but have honestly tried to figure this out and do what is best for all of us and am wondering if it’s beyond my ability to deal with. I feel like I am going crazy and there have been times I wanted to just smack her for the crass comments and mean behavior. If nothing else, saying all this has gotten it off my chest and maybe someone else can relate.

  22. Please… Does anyone out there have any suggestions on how to deal with the Silent Treatment ?

    1. Hi Susan, Very GOOD question! As a husband married 36 years… I have had that tendency to be silent, simply because I do not know what else to do, nor do I always know exactly what to say, nor can I always how I feel. People also do this because they are mad, and they know this is hard on their partners.

      Either way, the tendency is to try and break the silence, to resolve the conflict NOW… to chase the silent partner to get an answer. I think that if the opposite approach is tried… to take a step back, to be slightly aloof… will give the silent person space, and also make the silent person wake up and say, “This is not what I want!! What kind of a relationship do I have anyway?” Then the silent person has room to open up and approach the partner. I am NOT saying to “repay evil for evil” and also be silent, no… but rather not to chase the other right away… and also make it clear that the silence is not OK and that talking and communication are desired.

      Basic message, “OK… if you want to be silent and difficult… I don’t like it… but I do have other things to do. When you’re ready to talk, I’m here :))” Really distressing!! See what you think and prayerfully consider this idea. I hope the silence breaks soon!! WP (Work in Progress)

  23. My second marriage is ending and it seems I should be glad, but I’m so sad. My estranged husband is PA and it’s certainly his way of controlling. It’s taken 6 years for him to acknowledge his ways -including 2 yrs marriage counselling and 5+ counsellors/psychologists. I have not coped well with his PA. I suppose that makes me human! I love him so and see his ways as a product of his past; I don’t understand why he can’t be strong against his negative thoughts and ways.

    We have been together 16 yrs. I feel like an idiot for still loving him and wanting our marriage to continue. We are “unevenly yoked” and in his leaving I know it is biblical grounds for me to be comfortable moving on. I’ve suffered depression over a 20 yr period and have had 3 exacerbations of Multiple Sclerosis. He has 3 grown children and I have one. I don’t want to write more… I’m trying my best to find inner strength to let go and move on. We’re only in the early stages of separation. Just need people to pray for peace in my heart. My head knows I’ll be okay, but my heart is struggling.

  24. Every since my husband was laid off permanently from his job back in 2009 and has had to resort to working for Walmart part of his behavior has changed and not necessarily for the best. He is hoarding everything. He won’t throw anything away. If he empties, the fabric softner bottle he leaves it on the shelf. If we have a clear space on the coffee table he has to clutter it. If he does the dishes he doesn’t get them clean. He even puts dirty dishes back in the cupboard.

    His parents live this way and it’s driving me nuts. He doesn’t want to do anything around the house and expects me to do it all and clean up after him. It takes me going on a cleaning rampage before he and our three adult son’s will do anything to help. I refuse to cook because I want a clean kitchen to work in. I’m not able to stand and do dishes because of my back.

    We live in a 2 bedroom home so a small mess looks huge and yet he and the boys can make messes faster than I can clean them up. It’s driving me crazy. He’s even irresponsible when it comes to paying the bills. Because he didn’t pay the gas bill we went two months without hot water and a way to cook food on our gas range. I’m expected to work and then come home and clean up after 4 adults. Help before I lose my mind.

    1. Armilda, you have a LOT of dysfunction going on in your home. It sounds like you have a major clean up that you will need to accomplish. The first is something that I need to ask a question about… why do you have your 3 “boys” who you also claim that they are “adult sons” living with you? Are they mentally and/or physically challenged? And why aren’t they helping with the cleaning and paying of the bills if they are “adult” in age? That’s my first question and then challenge to you. We can talk more after you consider that one and clarify the reasoning in having them live with you in a 2-bedroom home. Can they not pool their resources and get a small apartment for themselves and not live with mom and dad –adding to the confusion?

  25. I finally have a name for this terrible struggle between my husband and I. He is extremely passive aggressive and I constantly feel anger loss and now more frequently despair. Counsellors have not been very helpful because he is so gentle and hard working in the sessions.

  26. This has really been helpful, thank you so much for writing this article on how to manage an aggressive husband. The Lord will strengthen you.

    1. I pray the Lord strengthens you too, and gives you wisdom as you try to figure out how to interact with your spouse, now that you have been given more insight. “May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

  27. I’ve been married for 23 years to a recently self-diagnosed passive aggressive husband. This was my second marriage, his third. Between the two of us we had nine children. Blending ourselves and our kids was a nightmare. I naively thought that after they were grown and we were out from under all the ex’s interference and torture, that we would be happy. Not so.

    Long story short, I was a stay at home mom and homemaker most of my married life. I believed it was for the best to raise and nurture children instead of working and putting them in daycare. I’m now 61 years old, no retirement, no income of my own–the age when most people are getting ready to retire. When I try to talk with my husband, he says I need a job. He has expressed resentment that I get to stay home and do nothing if I choose while he has no choice but to work another 11 years till his retirement at 67. His number one punishment of choice is the silent treatment, while he scowls and pouts. Whatever I tell him I need from him, he does the opposite while saying I am complaining of him and have low self esteem, and nothing pleases me. I am drowning. I am not suicidal, but just have been wishing the Lord would come because all I see in this world is meanness, cruelty, and evil. Please pray for me. I need a friend with a kind word.

    1. Debbie, as I read what you wrote, my heart tugs for you in sisterly love. What occurred to me as I pray is to encourage you to find a ministry in which, you can get involved. The Bible tells us that those who refresh will themselves be refreshed. Look for ministry opportunities for those who have it worse than you. It gives us greater appreciation for what we have and blesses in ways we never could have imagined.

      As for your husband… honestly, he has a point. It has to be hard to be the only one having the responsibility of bringing in the income. If he expresses to you that it is causing resentment within him, ask God to show you how you can find a job –even a part time one in the beginning. If it didn’t bother him, it wouldn’t be an issue, but it does. So even though it would be difficult (because your husband doesn’t appear to have handled his emotions in mature ways), try to express your appreciation to him for working as he does, bringing in the money that puts a roof over both of your heads. Try to find ways to bless him. It’s amazing how that can sometimes start to turn things in a better direction. Keep in mind that whatever you do for him, you are doing it as unto the Lord.

      Perhaps this is a new chapter in your life that even though you are 61, God wants to use you within the work place and within ministry opportunities to shine His light within a darkened world. We are in our 60’s and it is amazing how God is opening doors for additional ministry opportunities –exciting ones at a time when most people think it’s time to sit back and “retire.” That isn’t always the plan God has for us. It isn’t for us, and I have a feeling it isn’t for you. Seek God’s face in this and ask Him where to look, and what to do as you are facing this new time of change in your life. I pray God gives you insight and guidance, as you do and gives you HIS vision for what you are to put your hand to, to do. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ —to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11) May He bless you as you reach out to Him.

    2. Thank you Cindy Wright for your words of encouragement. You are so right in your advice. I will get my mind on helping someone else. Self pity is disgusting. Thank you also for your sincere prayers. They have renewed my strength to get on with life in a positive way. Love in Christ, Debbie

  28. I notice my husband trying with me. I would never deny that but, his back tracking is confusing, and when he antagonizes it is a conversation killer. It’s why he does it because, it works. If I try to ignore it and get us focused on a good place again, reminding him, this is only us expressing ourselves, it’s good but, it shouldn’t come between us. He reacts resentful but obliges. Sometimes.
    What you said is all true but, I feel him pulling away and it’s really hard to feel secure. How does one keep their security?

    1. I’m not sure if this will help at all, but I highly recommend you read the book, written by Milan and Kay Yerkovich titled, How We Love: Discover Your Love Style, Enhance Your Marriage. It’s published by published by Water Brook. The authors of this book “draw on the tool of an attachment theory to show how your early life experiences created an ‘intimacy imprint’ —an underlying blueprint that shapes your behavior, beliefs, and expectations of all relationships, especially your marriage. They identify four types of injured imprints that combine in marriage to trap couples in a repetitive dance of pain. The principles and solution-focused tools in this book will equip you to… –identify the imprints disrupting your marriage –understand how your love style impacts your mate –break free of negative patterns that hinder your relationship –enhance your sexual intimacy, and –create a deeper, richer marriage.” I heard the Yerkovich’s talk about this subject and could see how it could absolutely change the lives of many couples in positive ways as they better understood each other’s communication styles. It’s truly an enlightening book –revealing things I never realized before. I’m thinking it may at least give you some insights into your husband. And because they give solution-focused tools in the book, you may discover that some of them may help. I hope so. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Please know that.