Marriage Missions International

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

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 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 it by clicking onto:


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” 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, Sep 15, 2005)

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 article, written by Dr. David B Hawkins, to read:


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


“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:


From the Meier Clinics:


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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141 Responses to “The Passive-Aggressive Spouse”
  1. Paul from United Kingdom says:

    Hi. It asks that comments should be positive. I’m sorry, I think they should be based in reality and sometimes that is not positive. My wife is a passive-aggressive who has taken that behaviour to such extremes that it is a miracle I am alive. She refuses to talk about anything unless it is to say how she wants something to happen -my views are irrelevant to her. When I was so physically ill that I could not work, she refused to work herself and made claims that I was mentally ill and needed to be sectioned. She always refused counselling but eventually went for a few sessions to use those sessions as a form of character assassination against me (because I was unable to work) and when a counsellor told her that only violent people get sectioned shes made claims that I had tried to strangle her.

    I have suffered ill-health for almost 30 years because of her behaviour but I stayed due to my two daughters who, perhaps wrongly, I loved more than my own life. I am sick to death of reading about what women should do if they have an abusive husband but when men are faced with being married to a passive aggressive woman (a far deeper form of abuse than physical – I ASSURE YOU!) that we should deal with it by understanding and patience and, and, and… etc.

    This has made me a prisoner, it has destroyed the “best” years of my life and the law even allows her to claim maintenance from me if I divorce her, no matter that my daughters now have their own lives as adults. It is about time that men were treated as equals. Women have made a big enough fuss about it and arguing the Biblical interpretations of a society which was male dominated doesn’t cut it today. Surely, if the Bible means ANYTHING, it is that we are all culpable of our own behavior, men or women, and it is NOT the proviso of being a man that should protect abuse from a woman like this!

    • Mark from United Kingdom says:

      Paul, I’ve just read your reply and it’s my situation exactly. I, myself, have severe sight loss and am unfortunately at the mercy of my wife who shows all the signs of Passive Aggression. I also agree that men are put in an impossible position in today’s world. I always find in these situations that there is no way out at all as ill health or disability plays a huge part in a person’s imprisonment.

    • Brian from United States says:

      There aren’t words powerful enough to convey my appreciation and absolute agreement with this statement. I’m a disabled combat veteran who is currently in the middle of a nasty divorce with my abusive and passive agressive wife. I too am tired of the gender stereotype of domestic violence. This is misleading and only leads to misandry. The authors of these columns and books are well educated enough to know this.

      I finally got to the point where I realized that my mental health and well being is worth more than whatever maintenance I will have to pay. With PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury, my spouse knew all of my fears and triggers. When I was having a good day she knew just what to say or do to put me on alert. When she saw me being a great father, she would act jealous or angry, as of we were in a compitition and I was in the lead. I always felt that I was to blame and I was the bad guy. She started telling me I was abusive and I wasn’t doing enough for our family, and that I was using a disability as an excuse.

      Knowing of some of my experiences in combat and the scars of shame, loss, fear, guilt, and that I would often question did I use the appropriate level of force or how I wished I would have done more to help a brother in arms, made it easy for her to exploit and manipulate me. It got to a point where she told me I couldn’t stay in my house because she was “terrified” of me and that she was going to call the police. So I told her I was going to the police station to find out what exactly my paternal rights are in this state. She called the police forty minutes later and said I was arguing with her and being verbally abusive and I had just taken off not knowing where in went. Fortunately for me, I had responded to five text messages from her asking me where I was and told her each time I was speaking to an officer. The same officer I was speaking to when dispatch relayed the call.

      Now I am in a situation where not only gender bias but bias twoard mental health puts me at a severe disadvantage when it comes to making a case to be the custodial parent. Because I have the desire to live a better life and recieve mental health care somehow translates to PTSD+Male+Veteran= Abusive, and the countless phone calls, childrens stated desire to reside with me, letters from doctors and counselors (including our marriage counselor), and text messages from her, which clearly detail my stability mean nothing because she has not been diagnosed with anything. What pains me the most is that, in my absense, she has turned to my oldest son as her preferred target.

      She is sick and really needs help. She has not displayed the ability to be happy no matter who she is with or what she is doing. She calls me at least weekly saying she wants to come back and this isnt what she wanted but when I say it is not going to happen she tells me all the things I did wrong, that I’m evil, she’s scared of me, and how it’s my fault. I realized a while ago that she is somehow saying that to herself by laying it on me. My concern is for my children and if anyone has advice or experience with this, I would appreciate you sharing it.

  2. Kay from United States says:

    I feel so hopeless; I’ve prayed my knees off!!! If God is speaking to me I can’t even begin to believe I would hear. The frustration and confusion in my life is so deafening. I have been married for 15 years. I’m not only in a dysfunctional union I’m damaged goods myself. I sit now on my porch alone feeling like I’m dying. I have no place left to turn and either God’s choice is not to help me or I as said, can’t hear him anymore. I just don’t want to feel the pain anymore.

    I came into this marriage believing I had found the man of my dreams, only to find myself around a few months in emotionally gutted, crying my heart out in the shower. The words I said out loud are still, as clear as yesterday. This is really what I’ve got, Oh my God I’ve done it again! I said that because I’ve had self esteem issues from a early age. I’m a victim of childhood trama that includes sexual abuse, parents that loved me but were neglectful and unavailable. I also have ADD/ADHD, PTSD.

    Long story short this is my third marriage to emotionally unavailable men. And yes, completely aware, I’m the poster child for co-dependency and self-sabotage. First mistake, I was too young and clueless. Second disaster lasted almost ten years until I found out he was in fact gay and not in a happy way. All I ever wanted was a loving supportive marriage. I have poured over many different personality disorders for months to no avail until finding passive aggressive personality. Nothing fits like this. Every point I read is spot on word for word as though some one just shined a spot light my life!!!

    All these years I thought their was no good reason for so many unbelievable actions that left me shaking my head and speechless. I’ve always known there is something terribly wrong with my husband. No matter what I try and believe me, I don’t give up easily, with the hope addiction I suffer from. He remains unplugged on an emotional level despite any attempt I make, not to mention that he seems to have a complete void for intimacy. My husband has no problem saying I love you but has no idea how to show it. Example, I just walked into the house moments ago, tears streaming down my face as I said I don’t think I can do this any more. If I thought there were some possibility of hope you would participate with, I could go on but I know there’s not. Not once did he bat an eye from the TV. His response to my pain was do you want to go to the flea market tomorrow. I so need to connect with someone who understands my pain. Any comments welcome.

    • Brenda from United States says:

      Hello Kay, I want you to know that there is absolutely nothing you can do to change your husband. I was a very strong willed person. I married a passive aggressive man. I love The Lord. I learned I love helping others, which helped me become codependent. I’ve learned the hard way no one can fix anyone else.

      Today for the first time in 27 years I don’t blame myself and am letting my husband to deal with himself, while I find myself. My husband doesn’t communicate and withholds sex. He looks like an angel to others, because when others are around he acts loving and the minute we’re alone it’s like a different person. This did nearly drive me into the looney bin. Kay, God wants you to be happy and healthy, so my suggestion would be to concentrate on your needs and health. This will not be easy, but the book Happy No Matter What by Richard Carlson will help you. Prayer is also helpful. Sincerely, Brenda

    • AloneAgain from United States says:

      Hi Kay, I can completely 100% understand what you are going through because your story is mine as well. Almost all of it. Please connect with me and maybe we can help one another. I see you wrote this awhile back…are you still in this situation or have you found an answer?

      • Kay from United States says:

        Married 14 years now. They say love is blind for good reason!!! I look back and wonder how I’ve done it? Why am I still here? As much as I have researched, understand, and completely know what I’m up against and dealing with. At this point, there has been years and years of praying, pleading, crying, screaming, begging, talking to a man who stares out the window, TV, walls anything but me while I have exhausted every resource, tried every tactic anyone couId imagine. I just don’t want to do this anymore! I want to feel love, kindness, share a connection with another person who cares that I exist. I want to feel peace instead of constant frustration, defeat, loneliness, and dare I now say rage!

        Maybe GOD is telling me to love myself and stop hoping I may receive something from someone who is unable to give it! I love my husband, we have all we need to share a wonderful fulfilling life together but this is killing me!!! I feel trapped and don’t know where to turn. I am the poster child of lost. Can’t leave, can’t stay, wish GOD would move my mountain, truth is I don’t even want to pray over it anymore. Is there anybody out there? I’m so tired!

    • Deb from United States says:

      Oh my goodness, I get the same thing from mine, except he is abusive in all ways. I try to talk to him about the issues and I get it, I suggest counsling or therapy, and boom, ” he does not have a problem, its ok to snap, yell, smack and choke” according to him.

      I have had to get a tape recorder because he says things and denies it right then and there or later down the road. I don’t know who is crazier, him or me for staying with him so long. I have wanted to committ suicide because of this. I wish he would get better. Is there any hope besides the victims having to be the ones to give in and “understand?” A person can only take so much.

      • Andy from England from United Kingdom says:

        Hello I have just read your post. I pray for you x. I am in the same situation as most people on here. I ask you to find a quiet place in your mind and carefully plan your total escape.

        Please get away from him. Don’t think of ending your beautiful life because of him. Think, plan, run, and breath a new life. God bless you. I wish I could afford a place for us all to live. We would be kind and peaceful and…knowing.

        • Julie from United Kingdom says:

          Hi Andy, I’m replying for two reasons. The first is I’m hoping you have managed to find peace love and contentment. The second, I am in Scotland and it would be nice to speak with someone nearby who just gets what it’s like to live with a passive aggressive partner. I have been with my PA Husband for 24 years I am currently praying that I have the strength to leave this Friday. I have no money no place to go and a 6 year old to take care of. I do not want her thinking this is how lucky be is. A couple of things thiis past month have been the catalyst for me being able to make that huge decision to leave.

      • Carmen from New Zealand says:

        Oh my God, thank you for this site. I come from a different culture and there isn’t any trained advice on marriage for us. I can so relate to all of this. Sorry to the men above but passive aggressive is more common in men’s behaviour. The sabotage has been a big issue in our marriage with it getting so bad where my husband didn’t declare income.

        This putting us in debt of $20,000, which caused me great anger because it ended up in my name only. I am the only one who struggles to pay it off after three years. He has not paid one cent as apparently it’s not his concern. He can just leave when he has been “advised” without having the responsibility, and have his credit rating intact.

        I pray to God I can get through this with my sanity intact. I have almost been driven to find solace in the wrong path, as well as the other things such as ending my life may God forgive me and lead me to find ways of dealing with this stress and back to happiness.

  3. Stacey from United States says:

    About four months ago I thought God had FINALLY answered long awaited prayers and brought me together with the man of my dreams/prayers. I’m in my late 40’s and have waited and prayed and prayed and waited for God to bring the man He has prepared for me into my life and me into his.

    We fell in love quickly and I thought and still think this man is supposed to be my future husband. Unfortunately, he has taken a huge step back away from me and is now questioning whether we were meant to be together. Thankfully, one of my friends mentioned that he may be passive aggressive. Being the “analyzer” personality type, I took to the internet and discovered that Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder appears to be this man’s issue. Most of what I’ve read on numerous sites describes him, much of what he has told me about his past and his family of origin, and what happened when he broke up with me via an email because he is so unable to do the confrontation thing.

    It was a complete and total shock to me that he was feeling the way he described in the email because we had a “talk” the week before because I was feeling what I now know to be his uneasiness with our relationship. During that “talk” he said we would continue to work on our relationship and that things were ok and he was glad to have me in his life. Then I find out less than a week later that he feels the exact opposite of what he told me. There is so much more to the story, but it appears as though most of you already realize how serious this condition can be and how it can affect and even destroy a relationship. I am not saying I don’t have issues because I do… trust me… I do, but I’m aware of them or the majority of them and am in therapy.

    I’ve informed this man about PAPD even though all the information says not to do that. But if someone who loves him doesn’t tell him, who will? That is a bell that cannot be unrung now anyway and I’ve always believed in being straight forward with people (well that’s not completely true… I used to be VERY passive aggressive but I worked through it on my own when I realized it and began being able to say “no” and express my feelings more effectively mostly in work situations… I still struggle with it sometimes so I KNOW how it can affect a person and how very difficult it is to suffer from this condition).

    I am trying to trust God and pray for both this man who I still love deeply and myself so we will have the strength to get through this difficult time. Unfortunately, I think this man now feels as though we don’t belong together for the long term even though he was quite enamored with me the first two months of the relationship. He communicated with me and initiated discussions on important topics, and he even brought up marriage often early on. Then the last three weeks before he broke up with me, his attitude just changed almost over night and he did a 180 degree turn around on me. It was and still is devastating to me even though I understand how this disorder affects the one who suffers and all those around him/her.

    I’m rather isolated now and would appreciate some serious prayers not only for God to give me strength to endure this disappointing time in my life, but for this man who is obviously struggling inside himself and making himself and everyone around him miserable. He is a VERY good man and I KNOW this is not who he really is or how he wants to handle stress in his life. Life has kicked both he and I around quite a bit the past few years. He deserves to be happy and I want him to be whether it’s with me or someone else. God bless all and I pray that any of you who are either suffering with PAPD or on the recieving end of it for God to be with you and help you navigate through your trials with ease and grace.

    • Helen from United States says:

      First you have to stop fixating on him. Passive aggressive people by their very actions will become center stage in your mind. As you try to outwit them, you try to figure them out. Break through to them. Do you see you cease to exist? Your dreams. You are lost in trying to reach them connect with them.

      I believe passive aggressives are all narcissists. Stop giving your husband so much of your time and attention. You focus on YOU!!! It’s your life. Let him be unhappy. Quiet sullen brooding. It’s all about attection like little children. The sun is shining. Flowers blooming but he is brooding sitting on the sofa as you ask” what’s wrong”. He mumbles “nothing, just tired”.

      • Kay from United States says:

        Easy to say… I wish I could count the times I’ve pledged to do just that. Then my PA husband neglects me so long on every level to the point of madness that I crack into reaction, not to mention the endless excuses and reasons that can be found to not hear me, avoid me, ignore me, forget pretty much over all requests etc. The selfishness, self centered actions that never cease to amaze you even when you really thought by now you had experienced it all!

        At some point in nearly every day I find myself walking away shaking my head wondering how can one think or do that?! Oh and then the times when you stumble upon something you were not supposta find, something says loud and clear you really don’t know who you married to. They have secrets that not only threaten your sanity, possibly your physical health, as well. Don’t bother to question them. All you’ll get for your question is the preverbal game of ring around the not rosy!!! I love my husband; it may sound as if I don’t, but it’s exhausting trying to. God be with all in these unions!!! Someone please pray for me!!!

        • AloneAgain from United States says:

          Once again, Kay, I hear ya. What you are writing hits home. The deception has caused my health to decline…I am shocked to find out that this seemingly put together man with no expression of many feelings or displeasure in anything, has lied about having been with prostitutes, having had herpes from which he protected himself with meds, but never told me about (luckily I’m fine), etc…the lies go on. I am already insecure damaged goods from childhood as well so I started taking responsibility for everything in our marriage when he made it seem it was all my fault. Oh lots of stuff I could write about dealing with this but I have written and felt so much that I just don’t want to anymore….it gets old trying to figure it out when nothing is changing by worrying about it. Please pray for me too and I am here praying for you and everyone going through this. God bless.

          • Kay from United States says:

            Thank you for support dear, alone again! This is so hard, I had a melt down last night. It’s been so long that I forgot about this support line. As they say misery does love it’s company and there are no words to express how much it means to feel connected to kindred spirits. Talking to others who can not relate or have any understanding of this sort of situation seems to only frustrate me more. Thank you for reaching out to me. Words of wisdom and prayers are a true blessing to me. I will pray for you, as well.

        • Susan from United States says:

          Kay , I’m so sorry that you have to go through what your going through! I completely understand, I’ve been married for 20 years to a PA man. I unfortunately, didn’t come to recognize this until about 3 years ago. I’m a strong woman, but realize I too have fallen into the co dependant category. It took my therapist much convincing to make me realize my problem wasn’t me and my past, it was actually my husband.

          After allowing myself to let the fog lift, I saw clearly that I put my husband on a pedestal for years. I realized he withheld information and neglected to recognize me as his partner. I too would bring up topics but was faced with his back every single time I did. I could go on and list all the passive aggressive actions he has done through the years, but let’s face it I need a book for all the pages I’d write! The sad part is I never saw it through the years. I just thought we didn’t get along and we fought a lot. I feel I wasted too many years reacting. I now recognize his behavior, call him out on it, but still get caught reacting (which passive aggressive people love by the way). I recognize he gains control and all he has to go is light the fuse… I create the explosion he’s looking for.

          I think the advice to not focus on him is very astute; however, I’ve also recognized when I seem happy and am doing things for myself. He figures out a way to sabotage that. I’ve figured out that when I want something I don’t tell him, when I want to ackomplish a goal, I try not to let him know what it is. For example I started going to a boot camp and saw incredible results. Others would compliment me, he wouldn’t unless it was in front of someone else. Then he’d undermine my success with comments meant to break me in private… unfortunately, I let him and its taken countless situations to allow me to now see, I let him and that is probably the saddest part. I’ve also realized, the PA partner makes you feel crazy and the reason we do so much talking about it is because it is a sickness we cannot wrap our brains around. It’s a behavior that goes unrecognized and leaves us baffled, so we talk about it in search of validation… Because everyone else thinks they are so great and also prove that we aren’t crazy!

          So, I pray for you Kay. I believe God has given us the information to understand our situation. It won’t change. I believe we need to trust that God will guide us… If we will just let him.

      • JoAnn from United States says:

        Thank GOD someone understands me!!!! I have felt like I was losing my mind.

      • AloneAgain from United States says:

        Helen, you are right. I believe the PA is narcissistic as well. Your comment speaks volume.

    • Kay from United States says:

      Dear lady, I’m speaking from years of truth, you’re in for years of pain. I really hate to advise you this but sometimes the grass really is greener elsewhere. I’m sure he has many wonderful qualities but think long and hard!! I would say run for your life; you’re going into this with eyes wide open and believe me, that you don’t know what you are in for. If he loves you, ask him to prove your worth it, then ask him to go with you to couple’s council. Get help together for the things that will go wrong later. If he’s willing to work on what you both need to be happy, then run to him, other wise run for your life, dear!!!

  4. Mark from United States says:

    Paul I agree whole heartedly! Run! Run as fast as you can! Do not try to “deal with it” because you’ll waste every minute. It’s like quick sand… the more you try, the more you struggle and the more you lose.

  5. Texas Queen from United States says:

    I have a question that I need help with. I am divorced from my passive aggressive husband but we share 2 adult children. We currently have court orders to not communicate with each other except thru lawyers. I stopped communicating with him 18 months before the divorce or the court order because of his craziness. He continues today…sending little notes with his spousal support, even committing fraud by using my checking account to make car payment, and not paying for things for our college age son stating, “your mother is working get it from her” or “I can’t help you because I have to pay your mother,” which is bogus as he makes plenty of money. All of this I have completely ignored except fraud which I reported to my bank and they took care of it but they did not press charges against him nor did I contact him.

    My question is when and how do you get them to stop? Before court hearing he would call me trying to make me angry and I would just ignore. If I had to speak with him on the phone I would hang up when he started the blame game. He of course would spin this as well. I would just say I am not angry but I am also not going to take your ugliness so either stop or I will hang up again. This usually made him angrier so I would hang up again then not answer his call. He would respond to how I was being immature by hanging up. This is what he wanted btw so he could leave a voice message and I would not have a rebuttal.

    He continues to break the rules but if I take him to court for this little stuff we all know the spin!!! Do they ever stop? He is so angry that you can see his vessels when he speaks but is smiling the whole time. He seems to be angry because I exposed his lies to his children and friends.

    He was having an affair, totally justified of course because he was unhappy. He continued to lie about it and I confronted him and forced him to admit it to his adult children. This was over 3 years ago. He lives with the OW but refused to introduce her to his children stating that his personal life has nothing to do with his relationship with the kids. This way they can all live in “Never Never Land.” He has never had them over to where he lives so he can continue the lies. All I can say is WOW! I can’t believe this woman does not see the light but my punishment for her since she knew he was married is to not expose him to her. Let her find out the hard way.

    I was hoping that if he was happy then he would leave me alone but that does not seem to be the case. He used to tell me how he never wanted to speak with me again but would call, write or text when he wanted something from me I would say then stop calling me! It is like maybe he can’t be angry with her so he is still taking it out on me? Just trying to understand in hopes to put a stop to the his harassment to me and the way he continues to not only put our kids in the middle but his angry comments. Thank You for all of your help!

    • Brenda from United States says:

      Hi. It sounds like you’re still trying to control your ex husband. The best way to get him to stop is to ignore him. And as far as your checking account, I would change to a different account and file a police report if he touches any of your accounts without permission. You cannot change him you can only change yourself. You are not responsible to show others what he’s really like, including your children. Enjoy your children and let them enjoy you by being happy with whom you really are. Sincerely, Brenda

      • Judy from United States says:

        It does not sound like she is trying to control her ex-husband, it sounds like she is asking for help to get him to leave her alone.

    • Judy from United States says:

      “My question is when and how do you get them to stop?”

      He is passive-aggresive, he knows you and probably has a good idea what buttons to push to suck you into his confusion. From what you wrote it sounds like you are taking many positive steps away from the crazy-zone, and that in itself is a cause for celebration.

      He will never stop. . . it is a mental illness. He may eventually direct his focus somewhere else, but he will be PA for life (unless the Lord heals him).

      • Christine from Australia says:

        Hi. I have been married to a PA for 29 years. We have 3 sons and 2 daughters ranging in age from 16 to 26. Everyone thinks he is a really nice and good person, especially him. I am so tired now. I had been praying to God for a holiday, but at the same time knowing it would be temporary; everything would be the same afterward, so it wouldn’t actually be real. I have started doing some study (theology). God did answer my prayer. When I am doing the study my mind is focused. I am getting physical, mental and emotional rest.

        Last year I painted the back deck, all the outdoor furniture and landscaped and planted most of our yard (we built the house 22 years ago). My daughter and her partner disappeared with their daughter just over a year ago. Living with a PA spouse means that your kids will blame you for every negative occurrence in their lives. I really miss my daughter and grand-daughter so very much. Human nature ensures if there is someone to show/teach you how to never take responsibility for anything you’re going to learn it fast and well. There is so much grief when your spouse is PA. There is such a loss of living, such a death of life. It is a major theft of our lives.

        I can’t begin to imagine how this will affect my kids future families. I also have a daughter with bulimia, 2 sons with depression and another son who is just starting to relate (he is 17). What other people take for granted; lawns mowed, tap fixed, daughter who gets home from school at 11 pm grounded, we don’t have, even when there has been an agreement made. There is so much grief for what should have been. I should be able to see the great mum that I am sure my daughter is, and I should be able to see my grand-daughter giggle and run. Yes, I am having a bad day, and yes God can change the situation but there needs to be repentance.

        When I look at my spouse’s PA all I see is pride. That’s why they always have to be the nice one. They wouldn’t “belittle” themselves to expose their true self that would take courage. It’s all about self. They always put themselves (that is; making sure they are going to be liked) first, even before the welfare of their children. I apologise if I sound despondent and hopeless but tonight, for the first time, I need to share with people who understand what I have been going through since the wedding reception 29 years ago. This week for the first time since being married I have actually felt feminine. When you’re the only parent and the only one who cares about anything at all, I seem to have lost all sense of my gender. Just something that does everything for everyone. He doesn’t like anyone to be responsible for their things or themselves.

        Of course whatever I do he could have done much better, and I wish he did, but he didn’t. Well maybe tomorrow I will be able to find my way back to the person God is making me to be but for tonight PA spouse is sleeping in the spare bed. It’s not been a good day and if I can’t be with someone real then I rather have a break. I need to be away from him tonight. It’s tiring never knowing if what they are saying is true, the deception of his PA disorder can really be detrimental to my self-esteem. I believe the Lord gives me perseverance, strength and courage for the journey, I’ll get a fresh dose tomorrow, praise God.

        I didn’t stand in line long enough this morning. You know this PA goes all the way back to Adam. Eve passed the apple to Adam. This means while the serpent was tempting her and as she ate Adam was right there DOING NOTHING then he ate and blamed the whole thing on Eve. But God made Adam the protector and carer of everything. He was responsible for her but he decided to be passive. That’s the hard part. When all is explained to the PA and they say they can see it, the next time it’s been a choice. A choice to hate. I don’t understand how they can do that to their own children. Even though PA is incredibly deceptive they themselves in their conscience know. And that’s horrible.

        • Dee from United States says:

          I’ve lived your life. My the Lord bless us all here, and remind us of the promises to come. We will not always be here suffering like this. It’s only temporary. Praying for you, dear sister.

  6. Terri from United States says:

    I’ve been married to a passive agressive man for 12 years and 4 months. At this point I’m beaten down emotionally to the point that I sometimes don’t want to live just to end the pain. He has never been physically agressive in any way shape or form. To family and friends and his and my co workers and our neighbors he’s the all American super great guy who is caring and kind and giving. He is held in high esteem by all who know him. He is highly educated, extremely smart and workd traveled He holds a Hugh ranking position in his company and excells in his career. He makes a high salary and his work is out if the norm as far as adventure and travel.

    He was 41 yrs old when we married. He had not ever been married before me and has no biological children. I was also 41 yrs old when we married. I was a divorcee of 7 1/2 yrs when we married and I have two biological children. They are each adults and married now. My husband swept me off my feet, charming, attentive and very kind and caring. Our courtship was fast. He would not accept no for an answer. Although I had deep feelings for him and it felt so right… I married him knowing something wasn’t right; I ignored my gut feeling.

    Almost immediately I recognized that he behaved in a way that was passive aggressive. It’s such a sly behavior that it’s hard to pin down. My passive agressive husband always has an explanation/answer and usually it’s perfectly logical OR my fault, therefore making him the shining star and me the demanding one or just plain off my rocker for even questioning anything. Sometimes things are said that he says he never said. When I request something or talk about a concern he twists it up inserts words talks in circles then wants me to explain what the whole thing is about. He is a master mind at subtle put downs and gestures that can go undetected by others.

    The thing is he pulls these tactics at the most critical situations and events. It’s terrible. I feel like I’m going crazy so much of the time. He wants to control me without looking like he wants to control me. I cannot take it anymore. I’ve asked him to get help. I’ve worked myself to the bone to try healthy ways of relating to him. I’ve voiced my concerns for our marraige and that’s always the wrong thing to do. The only way I’ve been able to stay in for so long is because my dependence upon God. I too have issues… I go to counseling and a support group and do all I can possibly do to grow and look at myself and my part in things. It wouldn’t matter if I were 100% perfect in every way he would still continue with passive agressive behavior.

    I need to leave this marrage because I don’t see that things will get better only worse. I’m fearful because the passive agressive is undetected by everyone we know that for me to say a word about it no one would believe me. Each time I even attempt to plan to leave he makes sure I don’t somehow. What can I do? I really don’t believe in or want a divorce. I know that will need to happen though because it’s gone on for so long with no changes. He will not even consider the thought of his behavior being passive agressive. Any thoughts on solutions? I know for 100% that God is the solution and I pray for his will. Has anyone felt like I do now? What have other wives done in this situation? Any suggestions?

    • JoAnn from United States says:

      I myself have felt like this for the last 7yrs out of a 20yr dysfunctional marriage. He had an affair 6 yrs ago that hurt me to my core because of the manipulating and way he treated me during his 8 months or longer affair. I knew things were crazy wrong before that, but this is also a second marriage and I am a Christian trying to live the right way.

      You’re not crazy!!! I have/am in the same boat you are. My last child is 22 and graduating college in December. I am seriously contemplating divorce. Since his affair his behavior has worsened and the emotional abuse is more than I can handle anymore. I have given my “good years” to him and feel as if my married life has been a serious waste. I have so much resentment now towards him that I’m not sure there is any love left.

      I am unsure about what this relationship has been to him all this time. My husband is Mr. Wonderful to most everybody; sings lead in our church praise team. My son and I both were on the team also for 4 yrs but within the last year we both resigned and a great part was because of him and how we feel he is conning our congregation. Living this “LIE” is almost too much for me to bear.

    • AloneAgain from United States says:

      Terri, you explained it very well. I see now that I am married to a PA without a doubt. You should write articles… Very helpful. Thank you! Unfortunately, I am in the boat you are in so I don’t have the answer. I wish I did. I have boxes in my livingroom right now to pack and leave yet he too talks me out of it. I’m not perfect myself, I have abandonment issues from childhood but I keep thinking with his PA and my insecurities the only answer is God wants to teach us both something. However, I am now sick due to not knowing how to cope (not relying on God as I should) and do not know how long I can continue in our marriage. What have you decided now?

    • Sally from Canada says:

      Terri, I can fully relate to what you’re expressing. My ex-husband was very similar to yours. I believe what you are describing is more of a narcissistic personality type. True passive aggressive people are generally low achievers. Your husband is a high achiever. He is also manipulative. These are traits of a narcissist. I feel for you. I was married for 18 years to a man similar to your husband and it destroyed me to the point I tried to end my life. It took me six years of therapy to understand who he is, and more importantly, who I am.

      I know you want to do the right thing and stay in your marriage. My advice is to read up on narcissism and see whether this is maybe what you’re dealing with. Know your worth. Love yourself as the woman God created you to be!

  7. Jackie from United States says:

    What to do, what to do? I went into this marriage knowing my husband has passive aggressive and deflection tendencies. I’m about to lose it though. It’s the small things that irk me. Asking for help with things around the house for days upon days on end only to be attacked with a comment along the lines of ‘Oh, I’m so sorry I work 80 hours a week and am tired”.

    No, that’s not a real life apology, that’s being passive and putting all household responsibilities on me, who also works. I’m a naturally reactive person and respond as such. I refuse to accept that because he willingly works excessive hours that I am being unreasonable when asking for help.

    Another common response is to deflect and make me the bad guy. It’s draining. He’s always right and I’m apparently always wrong when these situations arise. Help??

    • AloneAgain from United States says:

      With every story I hear it confirms what is going on. You are helping others by sharing so that we can piece together in order to determine. Thank you. What you wrote is part of my situation too. There is nothing we can do, it is always our fault/blame…They will always be right. I say they are know it alls with no (supposed) issues of their own because they are perfect and expect us to pretend along with them, but if issues do arise it is never them. There is no working together in marriage, no mutual understanding or resolve, no compassion or understanding bc why bother when things are better left under the rug…this type of marriage is impossible in that it will never grow unless the PA sees BOTH partners in marriage need to work together. Which is going against their defense mechanisms to do so. Idk…..sad,

  8. Sue from United States says:

    Sadly, married a p/a man. I won’t divorce; I need coping skills so he doesn’t make me sick.

    • AloneAgain from United States says:

      3 years in. I am sick. My spirit is distraught. Get professional before it takes hold. Seriously, it is horrid to not know why you are so angry, depressed, withdrawn, lonely, desperate and not know what to do to fix the situation. I feel for you and the pain you are going through…you are not alone.

  9. lena from Canada says:

    Driving me nuts! I get the “I’m sorry that I have dyslexia and my parents were idiots” then bringing up stuff from 6 years ago to “win” an argument that never should have been. I get yelled at, like the above, in public: parking lots, grocery stores etc. Then he’ll be sweet and kind after the argument. I have learned some of the clues to know when the “bang” is coming it’s just so freaking frustrating!! It’s like he needs for me to be hurt and then he’ll feel better. Try this one: Go out to my parents place- normally a talkative guy, nothing not even a grunt. Then he leaves me at my parents place- to go get a soda- then phones back to my parents place and when he arrives back I have to get in the car and go home. Finds obscure or years ago perceived hurts to get what he wants.

  10. Dwyer from United States says:

    I just really hope I can learn something today because I need this marriage too WORK, GOD WILLING, because I don’t know how long I can take this…

    • Pearl from United States says:

      You can’t change your spouse – you can change only the way you respond to him/her. After almost 39 years of marriage to a passive-aggressive husband, I’ve given up (and I should have given up a long, long time ago). He can’t change, he won’t change, he doesn’t want to change.

      He does not want intimacy, a meaningful relationship, or even friendship. He wants the world to think that we have a good Christian marriage, so he tries to hold my hand and hug and kiss me in public – I no longer allow this. If we’re not going to HAVE a real marriage, we’re not going to PRETEND that we have a real marriage.

      Does it make him mad? Yes, but breathing air makes him mad – he’s always mad! In his own quiet, insidious, manipulating way. I live my own life now and let him stew in his anger. Is there payback? Of course! But I no longer care. I’ve practically turned myself inside out to make this marriage work – to absolutely no avail. If both people don’t want it, it just can’t work.

  11. Emotionallyspent001 from United States says:

    My wife of 25 years started this behavior about ten years ago. So I put into google some of the things she said. And what came up was “what does a passive aggressive say”. So I started reading and it was spot on!! Then I clicked a link to narcissism and was stunned yet again!! Both said the behaviors stem from childhood issues. This I found to be true one night when I mentioned her parents and she flipped out and said they didnt love her. And that they got their son and daughter (her older sister and brother) and she got what was left. Not sure exactly what that means, but she said they never loved her.

    So she has a lot of issues and wont go to counseling. We went for a few sessions and she said I was conspiring with the counselor. Because I agreed with her, I think. No affection or intimacy. No touching, compassion or caring. And because I want sex once in a while, I’m a sex maniac. She gets mad if I touch her and when I say she is beautiful she looks at me like I’m from another planet. And as a lot of others have said, everyone thinks she is so wonderful. And she acts loving until we get home, then turns it off!! I feel confused, lonely, crazy and I cry a lot!!! I know that makes me sound wimpy, but its true!!! I feel so alone!!

  12. Julie from United States says:

    My marriage is miserable. I’m a 43 year mother to 3 beautiful children who are the loves of my life. My husband and I have been married 13 years. I picked up red flags when we dated (he’s a binge drinker, his family of origin drinks; he was a non-believer when we met, his mother is domineering and controlling, dad passive, I let him treat me awfully). I got pregnant and we married. We had a tumultuous dating era, and our marriage has been the same.

    We have stayed married and tried to work things out, but there are patterns of behavior that have not changed. We have been to many counselors. I feel as if I’m married to a child. He’s immature, selfish, avoids responsibility, doesn’t pick up after himself or turns the light off when leaving a room. My kids pick up better than he. There has been verbal abuse, things have gotten physical, and I feel constantly neglected. He has never done anything special for me as far as going to dinner, date night, etc.

    He’s closed off. I always felt disconnected from him even when we dated. There was an intimacy (emotional) that was absent. He works and is a good provider for the family but that’s it. He constantly upsets me or the kids by his inconsiderate, inattentive, unloving, smarty attitude. He wants everybody to respect him while he ignores me. He doesn’t hug me or kiss me good night or even say I love you, yet wonders why I tell him to get lost in the bedroom. I find myself dreaming about an ex-boyfriend who was romantic and attentive to me.

    I’m a pretty 43 year old who has a college degree, keeps herself physically fit and tries to live a life that honors God. My marriage makes me feel dead inside. I’ve been to the doctor 3x in the past few years from chest pains due to anxiety. He’s lazy around here and prefers to do things with the least amount of effort possible. I give 110%. I’m neat and he’s messy. I’m thoughtful and he’s sarcastic and selfish. My kids are picking up on things and I know it’s effecting my oldest son who is 12.

    I’ve researched a lot online and read a lot of books and passive aggressive fits him. I have trouble trusting him because he half-heartedly does things or doesn’t do it at all and says “what do you want me to say -I have no excuse.” For example, this morning I was feeling sick (which is rare, I usually push through when not feeling well) and instead of making coffee and packing school lunches I was lying on the sofa -which I never do, he came downstairs and walked right by me and didn’t say a word -not are you okay, good morning, anything. Just ignored me. He was in our bed on his phone. Had to ask him to come in the kitchen and help. Huge argument ensued, response -“no excuse.” He’s always disengaging via his phone or a book. We can’t have alcohol in the house because he can’t monitor his drinking. No self control. He looked at porn when we dated but swears not anymore. He used to travel for work but recently changed jobs to be home, which I appreciate. I hoped things would get better but they haven’t.

    I’m worried about the kids. I want to be in a happy marriage with a man that expresses his love to me. I don’t expect fireworks and roses all the time, but I feel non-existent. I know divorce is not God’s will except in infidelity (which there have never been signs of). I’m miserable and trying to still function for my kids.

    This is my first post online ever, so please bear with me if it’s long or rambling. It feels good just to share this. Thank you and God bless.

  13. Kay from United States says:

    Truth really is stranger than fiction! If I told anyone ALL the traumas I have experienced since the age of four they would not believe me. I know this because a psychologist actually asked me if I’m sure these memories I have are real!!! REALLY??? I won’t risk reaching for that Apple again. Falling from the tree hurt far worse than the courage it took to climb it!!! That said, reading others stories have shown me how PA, individuals seek out the kind hearted, wounded submissive personalities. We are the perfect match, moths to their flame, dispirate for love, addicts of guilt, people pleases etc.

    Here is the only place I feel understood, thank GOD and all who support this site! Honestly out of all I have survived in 51 years. I gotta say living with my PA husband is above and beyound the most painful situation I’ve had to endure. I live day to day. Having others who can relate to here is my soft place to fall. God bless and thanks to all.

  14. Brandy from United States says:

    I’m reading this and I’m so thankful that I’m not alone. I’ve never joined a chat group or made comments on anything like this before. I was starting to think I was crazy. I don’t go anywhere, I don’t leave the house; I’m always feeling like my only way out is a disease or sickness. My self esteem has gotten so low. When you live with someone who is never wrong, what does that make you? Always wrong?

    I’ve even been telling my husband for years I need affection and romance and for him to say something nice once I a while. He never does. When I confront him he says he does; it’s not his fault I don’t hear him! Everytime I snap and express my feelings he says I don’t give him what he needs either, and he should just go because I don’t love him. I can’t take it anymore. I’ve gained so much weight and my health is failing. I pray and ask for instruction and strength and I know it’s our there. I just don’t know where to begin to look, or how to even get him to agree that we need help.

  15. NotYetMarried from United States says:

    All..I met a man through church about 1.5 years ago. He seemed perfect; Christian, single dad, raised 3 daughters, successful, handsome, sweet, caring. We like to do the same activities.

    When we did start to date, it was a whirlwind courtship. We got engaged in 6 months. But it seemed like we fought alot and I am pretty easy going, so I kept thinking that maybe because I have been alone for so long I was having difficulties getting along with a mate.

    We are getting married Jan 2nd and just had a crazy fight last night. I found myself thinking Passive Aggressive and decided to google that. I’ve spent all day reading and am sitting here with my mouth open..this is exactly who he is.

    We are actually going to pre-marital counseling with the church, but the funny thing is we have only made it twice and we are supposed to read through a book together and talk about it, but he gets mad at me and then won’t talk for days and then we don’t get the homework done. Our next session is tomorrow and I am not sure if he will speak to me today or not…I waited so long to find a husband and the fact he was Christian, I just assumed it was God that brought us together.

    I am hurt and disappointed…and was praying to God if he wants me to marry him or not…we only have weeks until the wedding. But, then I found this site and my heart is pounding, but I know I should not marry him, I just need the courage and grace to tell him. Please put me in your prayers.

    • RYT from United States says:

      If you can foresee years and years of agony like the many people commenting here, and you’re obviously not OK with that, then don’t marry him. Read and re-read all the posts here. You can’t and shouldn’t marry someone expecting and hoping for a change, just imagine that it won’t change for the better.

      If you need encouragement to call it off, you have mine. Canceling now will cost you only a few days of sadness, that’s all. Compare that with the other comments you see here.
      You should marry someone that you can be “all in” with, and not have any reservations. You deserve better.

    • Candice from United States says:

      Whether or not to get married is ultimately up to you, but reading all this after yet another terrible weekend with my husband, I thought I would weigh in. I’ve never posted online about any of this, and have only told my closest friend… I will be 44 next week, and have been married for almost 22 years. I had one (not passive aggressive, but significant) warning sign when I was engaged. I wish that I had taken it seriously and not followed through. Part of me thinks I went through with it because it was after the invitations had gone out!

      Anyway, some background -my husband grew up in a Christian home, which was one of my criteria for choosing a husband. What I didn’t know is that his parents are THOSE Christians: the ones who have extra “rules” not found in the Bible and judge everyone and everything, and only the people in their church are going to heaven -everyone else is to be shunned or looked down on. So my husband kept his head down all the way through college to win their approval and support, and to this day still hides things from them. So I know where the root of his PA behavior came from.

      As others have mentioned -he looks perfect from outside our marriage. We used to go country western dancing, something we’re very good at. Almost every time we went someone would come up and tell me that they wished their husbands looked at them the same way mine looked at me, and that we were obviously in love. He would act very romantic and make a big show of it. Then most nights as soon as we got in the car or home, the act would end.

      We had always had a push/pull relationship with sex. If I didn’t initiate often enough, he’d complain. But if I did initiate he’d act disinterested or like he was doing me a favor. In 2009, I started saying we needed to have sex more often. This was around the time that he started denying me sex. At first it would just be 3-4 times a month, but at this point from October 2013 to present day we’ve had sex once.

      He started in with the PA actions pretty much right after marriage. I actually recognized it at the time, just not how destructive it would become. Just some of the things he has done/does: -I worked nights for nine years, normally he left the porch light on and the front door unlocked for me, except when he was mad. I’d have to fumble in complete darkness to get up the steps and in the house.

      -He always made the coffee in the morning, except when he was mad, then I’d awaken to no coffee and he would already be gone for work.

      -When we got married he got mad at me for changing the oil in my car by myself, something I was accustomed to doing. So I said if he’d follow the proper schedule then I was ok with him doing it, if it was that important to him. I’d usually give him 2-3 weeks notice that the oil needed changing soon, but he’d never do it on time. After a couple years of this I had to start taking it to a repair shop to be changed, or risk more anger.

      -For the first 10 years of our marriage he criticized everything about me. Literally. He didn’t like the way I talked, or my friends, or when I drank (I’ve never abused alcohol), my cooking or house cleaning, or pretty much anything else about me. Around the 10 year mark he accidentally blurted out that he was trying to help me be a better person. If looks could kill… He had to be more subtle after that because his consequence for random criticisms became too severe, since I’m a very direct person.

      -As soon as he knows I want something, he immediately stops doing it for me. Early on this included compliments and kissing me, or having any kind of meaningful conversation with me. Eventually it led to him withholding sex as well, as I mentioned.

      -As soon as he sees me acting happy about something, he’ll ruin it. Gardening, raising rabbits, taking day trips, etc are all things he has ruined for me in the past year and a half.

      -He’s a master at designed inefficiency. Whenever we sit and plan out a project together, we’ll work to get it all down on paper -then he’ll go and build/do the project differently than planned. He’ll deny it, but when confronted with the paper he’ll say that’s not what he agreed to. On a couple occasions he has actually said that I must have changed things after he was already out building it -even when the plan was written in INK!! He’ll also bring the wrong things home from the grocery store, etc.

      -When we’re having a conversation about issues, he won’t look at me. He doesn’t care if I tell him I’m hurt, or sad, or lonely. He doesn’t care if I cry. Of course, he tries to turn it all around and act like I’m crazy or making things up. He’ll say “Why would I do that?” or that I’m just making up meanings to the things that he says/does. This is just a partial list, but my post is getting too long!

      He “acts” like he thinks he’s a great husband. I’ve had moderate to severe chronic pain for almost five years, and am in terrible pain and fatigue every day. He’ll do small chores for me but continues to deny me any of the things that I need from him. He has made it so that I can’t get out of the house, because I rarely drive, and almost every time we go anywhere he ends up picking some petty thing to give me the silent treatment over or berate me publicly, or he’ll yell at me over some perceived slight.

      I’ve noticed for some time now that my pain level increases when he comes home. We were supposed to do some freezer cooking yesterday, and he came home from shopping and immediately sniped at me. I felt my pain level rise and became nauseous. Most of the time if I tell him he’s stressing me out and increasing my pain, he’ll actually ignore that and continue yelling at me or starting a fight. I end up in severe pain that can’t be managed with my meds. There have been times that I was sobbing and yelling at him to leave me alone because of the pain, but he would just keep hounding me about how everything is my fault.

      One last warning sign for this post -I did make my husband aware of the whole PA thing last year. The 1st time that I told him about how big an issue it is, and said there was evidence online, he was enraged and didn’t believe me. After the second or third time he looked it up and had this big “pretend” conversation with me about how he read up about being PA and was shocked to recognize so much of himself on there. By the next day he was back to himself and created a huge fight that left me pretty much in bed for almost a week.

      Since then there have been several occasions where we were fighting and I called him on something PA, and he became enraged. He has gotten in my face, and once pushed me backward over some boxes so that I fell to the floor on my back and hit my head, getting me a mild concussions and severe pain in my back for a few weeks. He hasn’t touched me since that event. I don’t think it’s likely he will. I share that just so people can be aware, the characteristics of being PA is NOT something that a PA person wants to hear. I’ve never seen that look on his face any other time that he gets when I say he is being PA.

      I’m no angel, and have never pretended to be. I’m very direct and when pushed I push right back, which made me a prime pick for a PA man. But I do believe that I deserved better than what I got in a husband. At this point I mostly keep to myself and don’t expect anything of significance from him. Between that and being mostly housebound and the constant pain/fatigue, life is not much fun anymore.

      I recommend that anyone not married to RUN not walk away, because many experts believe that this deeply ingrained condition can’t be reversed. I do believe that God can do it, but I’m not sure how He would do it without the participation of the PA person.

    • Laura from United States says:

      If you’re not happy before you get married –you’re in for some very bad times after you get married. I always thought I would come to love my husband after we got married since he was such a “good” man who took his “faith” seriously. The Pharisees took their faith seriously too –it was important for them to look good not be good.

      How I wish I had not gone through with something I was never really happy about. I didn’t trust my own judgement since it had been belittled by parents and family members so often. Love is security –if you’re not feeling secure, you’re not loved. If you don’t feel peaceful, calm and happy, you’re not loved. If I could rewind my life, I would prefer never getting married unless it was a happy, peaceful, and secure place. I feel like I’m living in a Nazi prison camp. I cannot leave until my children are in a good place and I have some way of supporting myself –pretty intractable dilemmas after 26 years of painful effort. I would never wish this life on anyone.

  16. Diana from United States says:

    I wanted to comment on almost every post. I don’t even know where to start. I feel like I have so much to say but can’t articulate. I think the hardest part is that to deal with the p/a spouse you almost have to become like them. If you simply just say what you think or what you want there is a fight -usually resulting in him saying what amounts to, “See, I can’t do anything right. Look how you’re making me feel. I would be happy if you were happy.” The thing is that I cannot create a conflict free world for him. Raising kids, dealing with holidays, inlaws (both sides)… Life has conflicts. I would love it if we could face them side-by-side, together. Really in any conflict, the thing I fear most, is his reaction. It’s not that he is particularity violent -although he has punched a hole in the wall.

    I had a family member sending threats and thought to protect my family, we should get a restraining order. I was so alone in that effort. He made me feel like it was all my fault. The guy was saying he was going to bring bloodshed to my doorstep. The hardest part of the entire ordeal, wasn’t the $20k spent on lawyer fees, it was my husbands attitude toward me. It was bad enough that this was my family doing this, but it was harder doing it almost completely alone (well, he does get points for letting me hire a lawyer). I know if I was severely ill or in terrible trouble, immediate trouble, he would come to help. But it comes at such a high price to get his love, while we just live day-to-day.

    I totally get the post on how they make the counselors think they’re picked-on. We finally had a pastor tell him, “keeping everything in isn’t good”. No one seems to understand how toxic and destructive p/a is. I know what you all mean to say you are emotional beaten down. I just keep questioning myself, because now that he has to talk about things (because of the pastor), it’s all my fault. Well, really I’m saying it’s mostly his fault, so am I different? He has admitted that I’ve changed and come a long way. But still, those changes make him angry. I used to be opinionated, direct, and passionate. All the things he didn’t like. Now, I don’t care if the Christmas tree gets decorated.

    Things I used to think were fun or good, causes so much frustration for him and the last thing I want is to get him frustrated. He becomes emotional distant, and I haven’t found a way to resolve it with out a fight. He says, everything he does is to make me happy, so the problem is just me never being please with him. For us, he doesn’t necessarily have to be right, he has to be the nice one. Which automatically makes me the mean one-right.

    The only thing I know is to dig deep and find God in the middle of the choas. God is there, even when I don’t feel him. I’m starting to see that my worth doesn’t come from how happy my husband is. I need to quit working so hard to make him happy. It’s just so hard to be emotionally distant ,to keep myself intact and not get reactive because he knows and then blames me for being emotional distant. I used to be quite out going, and some might of said, “peppy.” He wants to continue to be distant himself, grumpy and negative, but for me to be singing about rainbows and unicorns.

    I was oddly comforted by the post one of you said, about how your husband could tell if you started feeling better and would undermine your efforts. YES! I get it. If I let him know I’m happy or content, it’s like it doesn’t settle right with him. I just don’t get why someone would choose that behavior. I’m just ranting now. Sorry. Anyway, you all, you’re not crazy. Thanking for your comments.

  17. Deb from United States says:

    My spouse is a passive agressive, he denies it. He has verbally, mentally and physically abused me where he would choke me. The police were called and he got arrested. But he did not stop the abuse, he told my boss that I was hitting him with a pet gate, even though this was not true. I lost that job, because he lied so well that they believed him.

    He says and does things then turns around and denies saying or doing it. His abuse and making me think I was crazy almost caused me to committ suicide 4 years ago. I am to the point that I want to leave again sometimes, but I have responsibilites that I have to take care of.

    I told him he needs to get help, he has lost so many jobs from this and his attitude, that he was once again not working. that is not the problem. He has stole over 35,000 dollars from my mom’s money, he said he would pay it back when he had no intention. Now he says that it was my choice to borrow the money to keep a roof over the kids and his head. He is a liar and a con artist.

    He talks to himself and then denies it. He says he is going to do something and he doesn’t. He yells at me and treats me and the kids with disrespect. I am lost, I cant take it anymore. Now we are losing another house because he refuses to help out financially on the bills. Now I will once again be without a roof over my kids heads.

    I need help, I cant take it anymore, I want out of this world and everything. There is so much more that he has done, I can’t keep trying to keep it all together, I want to be happy, I want to feel like I matter to someone.

  18. Terry from United States says:

    My heart aches reading all these stories. After 25 years of wondering what was wrong with my husband, I decided that I was not going to live like that any more. I started reading everything I could get my hands on: Leman, Chapman, Ingram, MacDonald; “How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You”, “Sex Begins in the Kitchen”, “How to Have a New Husband by Friday,” just to name a few.

    After 7 years of this, the living with a Passive Aggressive man practically jumped off the shelf, after fleeing the house to avoid yet another futile confrontation. I finally got him to agree to see a counselor and around our 30th anniversary we went together a couple times; it went very badly. He has continued with a female counselor for 18 months, and has developed an emotional attachment to her! I am dumbfounded!

    I met with her several times, and she is completely hooked on his “poor me” it’s all her. Even after meeting with church elders, these men all side together. I have been abused the 32 years of our marriage, and I am not heard, he now has been “coached” by his counselor and puts me on the defense, because it’s not him! This man attends men’s group and church with me! When will this stop?

    Oh, I have to change me! Waiting for another book this week “The Silent Cry of the Christian Woman”. I believe this needs to be addressed in the church! Who is teaching men to be spiritual leaders? The 70’s did a number on family values, and it needs to be reversed! No place to go.

    • Carmen from New Zealand says:

      Wow, the more I read the more happy I have become knowing I am not alone. There is so much that has happened that I can pin a tail on it. I read another site that stated we women choose men like this. Had I known the signs of him not forming close bonds with others I would have really run for the hills. This was hidden because he was a migrant and new to the country so I assumed it was circumstance.

      However hindsight is always a wonderful thing! There where other signs on first meetings: defensive when questioned deeper on a subject, avoidence etc. My friends treat me like a leper now cause all they see is the wonderful believing man and a good provider etc. What do I have to worry about and one won’t give me her new address cause she doesn’t want drama at her place. Not supportive I have never been to her place taking my “drama”. Wow, if they could only lived in my shoes one day being ignored for months on end in between bouts of happiness and real closeness .

      It’s like just when you begin to trust again and become happy then bam, the door is shut. It makes me very weary of sharing when I am truly happy with him. I pray for all the sufferers here that God gives us the strength to get through all this.

      • Lisa from United States says:

        You’re not alone -ever. These men are the ones who choose us, not the other way around. So many times I trusted and was betrayed. Even my mother thinks my husband walks on water. And so many times I almost told her how he cheated on me -but stopped short -not sure why. Maybe she would blame me for it, who knows? I talked to some of my girlfriends about it but am always afraid they’re tired of hearing about it. So glad I found this forum!!

    • Susan from United States says:

      I read your story, my heart goes out to you. I have dealt with a pa husband withholding money to pay our lease and bills out of spite. I have had to make excuse after excuse for him to family and landlords. And finally one day God gave me the courage to stand up for myself and my children and tell the truth.

      As I told the truth to everyone at different times of course, it became clear to me that I wasn’t insane to rely on him for financial support when we are married and have mutually agreed upon a certain amount for the monthly maintenance of our home and business. I filed for divorce because it hasn’t gotten any better.

      I know that it’s not God’s plan for my life nor my children’s to be without a home. Yesterday God opened a door for me to move to a place affordable on my own. And He will do the same for you. I have endured verbal, physical and emotional abuse for three years. It has been the worst experience of my life. Every holiday and birthday is ruined, and I’m not exaggerating one bit. It doesn’t get better, only worse, because the manipulation is always an underlying factor.

      I had to fight through many sleepless nights crying and wondering if I was living in the twilight zone. And when you come to the truth and speak it, and seek God’s holy guidance, you’ll begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel per say. When you do, run as fast as you possibly can to that light. You cannot help a person who will not help them self.

      • Cindy Wright from United States says:

        Susan, I’m so sorry that you came to this point in your life… truly. But please know that there ARE some P.A.’s that do change –maybe not as many as we’d like, but we can’t go forward thinking it never happens. A miracle may or may not happen for Terry… and I love your heart to ease her pain, but please be careful in recommending your path to her. It MAY be her path, but we still need to be careful not to eliminate the fact that hope may come in a different way than it did for you. Thanks though, for trying to reach out to comfort her. We both need to pray for Terry that she will know what God will have her do in her case.

  19. Lisa from United States says:

    I have a PA husband, too. We’ve been married 36 years and are currently going to counseling. I know I should be grateful and hopeful, but it’s all a sham. The person he pretends to be at church, in small group, during counseling, at parties, is a far cry from who he really is. And most people “love” him. he’s very social and thrives on attention -always the funny guy. But at home he’s anything but charming. Of course he paints a picture of being a victim always. The counselor even told him during one session that he needed to stop playing the victim! Inside I was actually joyful -not because my husband was getting called out but because I finally had someone who got a glimpse of the real person!

    My adult daughter sees him for who he really is and finally told him over Christmas that he was abusive toward me and if it didn’t stop she wasn’t going to come home anymore or be around him. So now, of course, he’s nicey-nice and trying oh so hard to be the perfect husband and dad. But I’ve seen this many times before and I’m always sucked into it with hope that MAYBE this time it’s real. I must be an idiot.

    PA’s look for someone who is codependent and easily controlled. Given my childhood growing up with a narcissist controlling mother I was a prime candidate. I foolishly thought because I had grown up with someone like that I could resist and be strong enough to deal with another controller. But that’s incorrect thinking. They’ll wear you down over the years. I must turn to the Lord for strength. He will supply. I don’t know how anyone can get through this without Jesus Christ.

  20. Calli from United States says:

    I didn’t realize my husband was Passive Aggressive until it was too late. I knew something wasn’t right at times, because it’s like he was there, but not really. He was good to me in 14 years of marriage, but I felt a sense of loneliness. If I asked him for something, he’d always get me whatever I wanted. I feel that he is a good guy, but he just doesn’t know how to have a connection. If we argue, and I’m pleading with him, at times even throwing a mug on the floor to get through to him, he’d just sit there repeating the same thing. It was exhausting, I questioned myself throughout the years.

    He got a DUI back in July, and when I look back now, this is when he started to slip away and withdraw from me and our son. I just never thought he would distance himself from our son. He was still being a dad, but he was different. He laughed less; he just was there playing on his laptop ignoring me like I did something to him. And if I dared to ask why he was behaving this way, he was utterly surprised.

    He accused me of keeping our son from him. By this time, I just stayed on the computer and I finally realized what it was, PA. But it’s too late, I just couldn’t take it anymore and I asked him to leave. For 3 months he stayed, even after he said he didn’t want to be with me, and just wouldn’t talk, or eat dinner. He was just there, punishing me. I miss him, but I’m happier. We’re happier.

    • Susan from United States says:

      Everyone goes through hard and difficult times in a marriage. But when you do not have a connection that is positive, then it makes it hard to grow as a married couple or family. I came to a point where my pa husband was so negative and uninterested,that I did what you did, found myself busying myself with the computer as he was, shutting down. Then he would blame me for always being on the computer or phone. It’s a no win situation that doesn’t end without a true miracle from God. I truly believe God has given you a gift of peace.

    • Laura from United States says:

      Today I stumbled on the Passive-Agressive term and how a person with those qualities manipulates a relationship. That term fits my husband perfectly. But when I began reading this site, I didn’t see many references to leaving the marriage or divorce or separation. It seemed like a “put up or shut up” mentality.

      I know in my heart God would not want us to suffer under someone else’s hand. And knowing that Passive-Agressive person cannot be “fixed” without serious intervention, I was a little confused.

      But Calli brought everything back into perspective for me. (Thanks, Calli!) Her last statement resonated so very loudly. “I miss him, but I’m happier. We’re happier.” I filed for divorce three weeks ago with that very hope in mind. I explained to my husband that I thought he would be a better father and I could be a better mother without the baggage of our relationship weighing down our responsibilities to our children (11 and 17).

      Yet, the damage he did to my self-esteem, self-worth and independence is already making an impact on the children. And like my situation, God would not want our children to suffer under his manipulation. Our son (17) already exhibits the damage through low self-esteem, truancy, poor academic performance, forgetfulness, etc. My PA husband has already said that I have a hand in that damage, too… (passing blame) yet I’m the parent our son turns to when he’s frustrated, hurt or concerned.

      We’ve tried counseling, but as soon as the counselor (male or female) calls him to task, my husband withdraws and proclaims they don’t know what they’re talking about. Even a role-play where the counselor asked us to reverse roles was quickly dismissed when the counselor indicated that my husband was a “bully” toward me.

      I read that PA divorces are also drawn-out, expensive and painful. I hope I have the strength and resources to pull through unscathed. But always, I’ll keep my eyes on the desired outcome through my faith. God wants us to be happy. And maybe happy for me and the kids is away from the tyrant at home.

  21. Tom from United States says:

    I’m so glad I found this website. It describes my wife pretty much to a tee. I think what makes it really tough for her is she’s a passive aggressive with real responsibilities, a husband, a job, and a special needs son. Many times she has said she doesn’t like her job and has said she wants to quit. I always say the same thing, look for another job and then quit. But she doesn’t do that. On a bad day at work she’ll say I want to leave but YOU won’t let me; you’re forcing me to stay.

    A lot of times she seems to hold some small bit of anger for me not being a mind reader, instead of just communicating her desires in a traditional manner. A lot of times when I tell her to get the things she wants and needs for her happiness she’ll bring up that we don’t have money and I’ll say were ok, but she still doesn’t buy the stuff. Other times when she asks for things I may say can we hold off on that till next month or two weeks from now on payday? She seems again to be very disappointed like a kid without getting a toy from a store.

    A lot of times she’ll say inappropreate comments that are hurtful and then seems mad that I’m asking her later why she said those things. You would expect a person to come back and say yes, I know that was ridiculous of me. Any thoughts?

    • Kay from United States says:

      Welcome to the madness Tom. After reading your post I can share some of what I know for sure. If in fact your mate is PA don’t torment yourself thinking your doing something to cause her to withhold emotions. I’ve been with my husband 15 yrs. Not once, has ever willingly expressed any verbal emotional feelings, without me starting the conversation of which I get little to no response and no eye contact.

      True PA’s will not tell you how they feel but they’ll always show you! Mind reading is a prerequisite for the passive aggressives counter part. It’s not you; if I had ten cents for every time I’ve said “you think I can read your mind!!!,” I’d be rich. Keep the faith I’ll add you to my prayer list.

      Last thought Tom, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones, that could talk your mate into counseling or marriage therapy. I believe with all my heart, with the right help and PA is not extreme; this would get much better for you and she. Pray for God to lead to you to therapy because I think unless PA is mild, the help you need for your relationship will only come from JESUS or along with a trained professional.

      Although I can add before closing, when first I stumbled upon this wonderful site and realized what I was really dealing with. In my excitement to learn I asked my husband to review the information. I told him that I realized some of his actions may not completely his fault. I also expressed sympathy for a condition I truly believed he has. After some research he partly agreed to my astonishment and his behavior somewhat changed for a while. Maybe you should try the same. Good luck and prayers, Tom.

  22. Tom from United States says:

    I believe my wife and twin sister are passive aggressive. There are many signs but here is one that happened me on a cruise. My wife and I and her sister and her new husband from Australia went on a 7 day Mexican cruise. Some of the ship seemed to be doing some light on going maintenance. One morning after breakfast we walked down a hallway that we shouldn’t have. Because the signs were not clear, when we got to the end of the hallway a Philippine man in dirty overhauls seemed upset with us and was a little impolite for being an employee. We turned around and went the other way he wanted us to and that was it, so I thought.

    My wife’s twin sister said she never wants to come on this cruise line again. My wife said nothing but seemed to be sullen. We were headed to the deck to see the sun come up but both my wife and sister wanted to go back to the cabin. My sister’s husband looked at me and kind of rolled his eyes and slightly shook his head to me as if to say here we go. When we got back to the cabin my wife immeadiately said she didn’t want to take the tour of the ruins in Mexico that day, that we were all doing. She said she had a headache but when I pressed her she said she didn’t want to run into that man.

    I didn’t feel like I wanted to go on tour as a third wheel and decided to go golfing alone. A few minutes later my sister’s husband knocked on our cabin door and said they weren’t going either because sister wasn’t feeling well but he did that roll of the eyes thing again as if to say it’s more than just a headache. So he and I both went golfing.

    The next morning we decided to go to breakfast. The girls seemed better but didn’t want to return to that particular restaurant. Instead, we went to another one on another level that had no view. We didn’t go back to the other restaurant for four days and that was because the construction crew was now on the other level near that resturant. We were going to to avoid them… any thoughts?

  23. Dr. Johnathon Webb from United States says:

    This a very informative website but what I realize is no one talks about the underlying cause of the Passive Aggressive disorder and that is he or she being a victim or perceived victim. Last month I had a very nice couple in my office with some issues the wife had with her husband, neither of them knew the term passive aggression or its meaning.

    For the purpose of this story I’ll say the wife’s name is Jane and the husband’s name is Stan. Stan had spent 11 years working at the same job getting a nice yearly bonus. He was a passionate Chicago White Sox fan but had never had season tickets. This year was going to be different and he commuicated to his wife that he was going to buy those tickets when they went on sale after he got his bonus. Jane was in total agreement with the purchase and felt he derserved the tickets.

    Unfortunately, Stan received one of the lowest bonuses he ever got, lower than the one he got his first year at the company. Stan was a real victim at this point from his job and any bad choice his company had made that year that would cause him and other emploees to get such a low bonus and Jane agreed. Stan was understandably dispointed as was Jane for him. Stan told Jane he was going to get those season tickets regardless of his bonus and was going to get them by maxing out two credit cards, something Jane was not in agreement with. Jane’s reason was the that in four months they were going to have to start making loan payments on their sons first year in college and the extra debt would be difficult even without the new credit card debt Stan wanted to create.

    Stan then felt that he was a real victim by his job and a perceived victim by Jane and Jane became the center of his passive aggression mostly through comments by Stan accusing her of control and reminding her continually that she, and not, the job was the reason he had no tickets. This is why Passive Aggressives usually take out their anger towards people who will accept it because Stan knew the job wouldn’t.

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Thanks for this needed insight. I’ve seen this to be true with the passive aggressives that I’ve known. It’s something for the other spouse to realize so he or she has this hidden piece. Perhaps it can help in some way to be aware of this.

  24. Kay from United States says:

    Hi there alone again & my other friend Susan if you’re still here. Feeling sad, overwhelmed, mostly bitter. Last night all I felt was rage!!! This site has saved my life!!! Knowledge is a powerful thing. I as well, did not know there was a title for the insanity we’re all living in with PA mates. The worst part of all I believe, other than giving up on love is when you feel like giving up on yourself!! There was a shift for me yesterday. I’m not looking for answers anymore! Feed back is wanted but please not in the form of this can get better or my marriage has a chance; it does not.

    I need to vent, we all know talking to the one we live with is out of the question. Coming from an early background of sexual abuse and abusive relationships not to mention my mental issues, no matter how hard I pray or try I keep reacting in his traps. Extreme ADD, PTSD, combined with bipolar doesn’t leave one highly skilled in emotional control! I manage well with what I have to deal with, according to all who plainly see, without me making it verbal.

    There are many times my husband’s behavior has caused me embarrassment, often leading to unwanted advice, comments as if they think I’m soooo stupid I don’t notice how inconsiderate or rude his action may have been. My GOD… I’ve spent years defending his actions as he thought I talked about him, instead of for him, which is something I waste little time on anymore.

    I said something about a shift, right? Well here it’s as stupid as it will sound!!! All the hudge things he’s done, losing my 15 yr old blind, beloved, pet after me saying a million times “please don’t forget him when you let him out!” Oh and that other small incident when he forgot to pick up my child from grade school!!! Nor did he think it was a big deal after all he said he was sorry! he didn’t mean to forget her or have time to stop working outside long enough to help me find her!!! I discovered when I came home she was missing 5 hr. After school was over!!! Funny how I was the only one who didn’t realize she was missing Huh???

    But no… not the straws that break the camels back for me… go figure!!! What could it be? a TV show, that’s what!!! YEP, you heard me. I met my limit over a TV show, silly I know! After watching the weather 30 mins or more and able to resite verbatim forecast to me for next several days, my husband goes outside to do some chores, at least 15 mins gone. I decided to do something [really stupid apparently] and change the channel to a show I don’t even try to watch if he’s in house. He enters the house, begins to berate my choice of which I ignore for a bit. But he won’t stop… on an on, then walks past me an says “stupid just stupid.” Me or the show, who knows, who even cares anymore? Continues on and on, he hates it, can’t stand to listen to it, etc, etc.

    I ask “please stop” not very nicely I’m sure, then explain I really want to watch this. I go for another cup of coffee, and he changes the channel to the weather again!!! Three guesses… yes I did stand up for myself! I grabbed the remote back, cussing, shouting, no you won’t do this to me!!! “You will not treat me this way,” by a filthy word ending in hole!!! “Excuse you I’m watching this!!!” Oh yeah, I was not going to have it, I will not stand down this time!

    Then I change change back to my choice. After all I live here too, I have rights, right? WRONG!!! I must have lost my mind yet again with that thought!!! Even if he didn’t mean me, when he said stupid, he was right, because from time to time, I have these relapses. Pointless I know but it happens. Sometimes I think I’m worth something, or that I should matter to someone!!! But then again… he goes on to prove I’m not. He proves just how competely unrealistic that sort of thinking really!!! The remote is in my hand… so he unplugs the TV and my value gets turned off with it!!! I feel such resentment, rage, frustration, dare I even say hate, toward someone I am supposed to love.

    I would not have lost control as I did, had he not pushed button after button on me for days before this, impatient, insensitive I’m sure many know the drill! I end with this with his thoughts, which are, I was in the wrong because I pushed his buttons first. I should have known that he didn’t want me to change the channel because he was still watching THE WEATHER. And even worse, I put a show on, which I know he hates!!! Oh and, he did nothing wrong by changing the channel on me. He was simply going back to his show. I’m the one who changed it on him!!! COMMENTS PLEASE PEOPLE!!!

  25. Ann from United States says:

    Reading this, and reading all the comments, makes me feel like I’m not crazy. My husband of 18 years is very passive aggressive and I haven’t really recognized it until recent years. I’m realizing that no matter how hard I try I will never be good enough and things will always be my fault. I don’t have a car so I have to use his. My husband throws a fit about me using it, but if I ask him to take our kids where they need to go, he throws a temper tantrum about that too. No matter what I do I am doomed. I’ve just ignored the tantrum about me driving & it seems to have toned it down some. I think what bothers me the most is that I feel like I don’t have a partner, I am raising a grown child. That, and the fact that my children are watching this behavior. I pray my children don’t fall victims to this behavior when they get married & I pray they don’t victimize someone this way.

    What a terribly, miserable life. My husband struggles keeping his job. He is always the “victim” and takes everything his boss says as a personal attack. I worry all the time that he’ll lose his job. He doesn’t usually keep one for more than a couple years at a time.

    I’m exhausted and I have no one to take care of me. I had major surgery & he couldn’t even come to the hospital. When I got home I was told to stay in bed, but I was up getting him what he wanted & making him food because he “didn’t feel good.” I feel more like a servant. I know we’re to happily serve others, but this is extreme. I feel like I have no control over my life. If I try to work out & get in shape, he’ll put me down or start arguments so I don’t go exercise.

    What has helped me the most is calling him out on his behavior at the time he does it. I have said “blaming me doesn’t solve the problem,” etc. I have no help. He refuses to do anything but work and sit around & watch tv. I’m there to work, cook, clean, serve, raise the children, I could go on & on. There’s no relief for me. No one to ask me what I need.

    He sleeps in a different room to avoid intimacy & then blames me. We have sex about every three months. If I don’t initiate I’m berated, if I do, I’m ignored.

    There were warning signs before we were married but I ignored them. I thought my love could fix everything. Warning sign #1 anger out of nowhere. This anger isn’t always directed at you. It could be because a restaurant messed up, because someone pulled out in front of them. It could be directed towards you though. Maybe you miscommunicated (which is very common with them), or you made a mistake. It happens, but to them it’s the end of the world. Warning #2, they blame others. They didn’t get a promotion? Clearly their boss trashed them to management or someone else kissed up. They forgot a something important? It’s your fault for not reminding them. They lost their job? Their boss lied, a coworker lied, someone sabotaged their job. It’s never their fault. This brings us to warning #3, they are always the victim. They tried their best but someone didn’t like them. Poor them. You don’t love them enough, no one loves them enough, no one understands them. Warning #4, they discount anything important to you. If you have something important for work, or if you are graduating, or even a family get together, they’ll create drama or a distraction to turn the attention back on them. Warning #5, they’re jealous…of everyone! They’re jealous of your successes, friends, coworkers. No one deserves anything as much as they do. If you’re dating someone like this, RUN! Get away while you still have your spirit & dignity.

    PA’s are selfish, lazy, entitled, angry & insecure. They will sabotage child raising, finances, even something simple as a good day. I’d like to think God can heal anything, but they have to be willing to listen to Him. Being a good Christian wife doesn’t make me a doormat. I’m slowly finding my voice. Either he’ll change or he’ll leave. At this point, I have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

    • Tally from United States says:

      Great website. There is hope! Me NOT being CRAZY has been confirmed over and over again, via this blog :0) I’m SO happy and I declare tonight that my husband’s passive-aggressive behavior will no longer rob me of my joy. Thank you – EVERYONE. I will continue to pray for myself, my son and my very weak husband. This passive-aggressive sickness is real! Tonight, I am free, truly free because, I believe that my God shall supply all of my needs according to his riches in glory. I am fortunate that I have a mother and sisters, and prayer warriors that pray for me and my family. I am blessed that my family is not mean to my husband, and is always willing to talk to me if my stress is at a level 10 (out of 10). I feel so at peace. I cannot put my trust in “any man”. That’s what the bible says. I would love to be able to depend on my husband. But, I can’t. I know there is a bright future for me. My main focus will be on God, staying healthy (eating, resting, working out, staying connected with others and planning for my future). I thank EVERYONE who have commented on this blog!

    • Anna from United States says:

      There were so many things in your post that said, “We’re married to the same person.” You described my life (without children, mine were grown when I married him). Then, I married him, a large child. Thank you for posting what you wrote. It is like riding a roller coaster and never getting off. It breaks you down and breaks your heart.

  26. Rita from Lebanon says:

    Hi, I’m a totally drained out person. My boyfriend showed to be a passive-aggressive based on all my readings about this issue. He approached me crazily and was so “in love” with me that I ended up integrating him in my life, heart, mind, family and all. We had plans for the future etc. He showed to be so nice by words and care, but deep inside I was always feeling a sense of selfishness and stinginess as if all he was giving was only from the surplus he had. And my judgement was based on several details and of course, plenty of times, I received the silent treatment while communicating my ideas, thoughts or feelings, but back then I thought it was him or this would change. Not to mention the many wonderful promises and even ideas and perceptions of his that showed to change 180 degrees afterwards!

    Point is an important incident occurred and his reaction was so disappointing to me that I exploded in anger and maybe I hurt him. But that was a reaction towards a very unreasonably passive response from his part, which I could not comprehend! And that was the point of inflection of this relationship! He became another person, always defensive and detached from me, which KILLED ME! I was shocked because I thought things were deep and that we would hold onto each other no matter what! Conflicts are part of a relationship but must be resolved, which he could never never do!

    At the beginning, he called me every 2-3 hrs daily. He stopped communicating and since then all common sense flew away! All that I saw right was wrong to him and vice versa. I was accused all the time I was the bad one in his opinion and not to mention that he was never wrong! Yet all his mistakes, if ever, were only BECAUSE OF ME! I noticed this even when he was in the “in love” mode: if I ever approached him with something wrong I found in him, he manipulated the story to make himself a victim and me the one to blame! Further to this, I found myself at the end in a co-dependent relationship. I found myself following him to beg for communication and he hiding himself and making himself the unavailable guy + I noticed paranoia from his side that whenever I’m around, if I ask a question or show a demand whether kindly, nicely, badly or whatever, he always believed I was criticising him. He was paranoid to criticism and he even said it bluntly! “I can’t hear any criticism anymore”! I can’t deny I have criticized some issues at the beginning, but a regular guy would take these as constructive and this is what used to happen in the past with others and by the way, I also accept criticism if constructive. Beside being passive aggressive, I noticed he could blow up in anger when I stick him into the corner and make it impossible for him to manipulate evidence! Above all this, he never admitted he hurt me while I was crying nonstop alone and Jesus knows the degree of my suffering!

    Anyway, there will always be more and more to say. He drove me nuts by his perpetual sarcasm and provocation and as a result, I ended up blowing up and hurting him so he can say “look at yourself, how bad you are!” But of course he never sees the bad things he did or said to me first that drove my reaction! The point is when I felt he was hurt regardless whether he was right or not, I tried to be by his side because I cared. However, HE has NEVER, EVER been by my side even though I told him several times he was hurting me! He didn’t believe he did anyway! And he always ended up blaming me for things that existed in HIM by excellence like being stubborn, angry, provocative, unbearable, etc.. He allows himself to act as such and then blames me for this.

    I didn’t heal because I seriously loved someone who apparently never cared for my TRUE feelings. He only wanted me around when I’m happy and sweet, which means for his own needs and comfort. All his old promises and perceptions became “nonsense.” Now when I reminded him of them. And once he said I wanted to dominate him, which was untrue! He said so because I wanted to be a priority in his life and he a priority in mine because I believe in what the Bible says that we should become ONE!!! I was aiming for a DEEP relationship!

    In sum, any form of communication never pleased him; any kind of approach didn’t work. He totally blocked and to him I was a monster! I’m praying now hoping that God can help me heal my wounds. I just hope one day he’ll discover his sickness. We broke up of course. BTW, he was 17 years older than me, which should make him smarter and more experienced in dealing with me and not the contrary. He was unable to do concessions, I found myself doing all concessions. And another detail, he is divorced 13 years and couldn’t stay for more than 3 months with his spouse under one roof. I think all this makes sense because he is a PA. Please pray for me to heal because the suffering was so big. Thanks.

  27. Ivy from United States says:

    I am really thankful to the owner of this website who has shared this great article at at this time.

  28. Elsie from United Kingdom says:

    Just found this website, and I would like to thank you all for you comments. I’ve been marriad for 58 years, and just realised my husband is P. A. It is good that I can put a name to this disorder after living all this time in a lonely, frustrating, and confusing way all this time. I’ve had a horrible life but haven’t been able to tell or explain to anyone what has been going on as everyone thinks the sun shines out of him and yet I’m treated like rubbish. I can now relate to the P.A., and am very pleased about that.

    • Saskia from United Kingdom says:

      Hello all. At last, after 30 years of marriage I have at last discovered the problems I’ve had to deal with on a daily basis. IT ALL MAKES SENSE! My husband is not only PA, he is also a hypochondriac and a hypocrite, so much so that I can’t bear to go to church anymore. Ironically he’d only go when I went, never without me. Everyone thinks he is such a lovely, considerate, loving husband who “worships the ground I walk on”!

      I won’t list the symptoms, but they’re pretty much identical to all I’ve read today. I’m astonished that I didn’t realise this earlier in my life. We have 4 adult children. They battle with the fact that their dad is a wally and childish sometimes. He’s the biggest ‘victim’ in the world, anything anyone has, he wants or envies, even down to presents I get for my sons… ‘Oh, I need one of those phones’ or ‘I can’t believe you’re giving him shirts -I need shirts’!!! (He actually has hundreds of shirts). Anything that goes wrong is NEVER his fault.

      He’s willing to waste hundreds of pounds as he knows this upsets me, on tickets to fly abroad only to be wasted due to yet another doctor’s appointment. Only my closest friend REALLY understands what it’s like for me… we do laugh about the antics, but it isn’t really a laughing matter. Other very good friends think he is marvellous, in fact they envy the way he treats me in public. He has perfected the art in disappointing me and letting me down. I’m strong in character, but this is a slow grind, grind, grind. I’m amazed I put up with the behaviour, but thankfully I am NOT ALONE! That gives me SO MUCH relief!! But not much hope. I would leave, but somehow can’t.

      The reason for all this is clear as crystal. His father is selfish, dominant, and spoiled. But no excuses. He’s an adult. I’m fed up with it. I shall now look into ways with dealing with it all and let you know. In the meantime, if you have any ideas, tips etc, I’m open to suggestions. Thank you all.

      And God, I guess better late than never, eh?

  29. David from United States says:

    I am a Christian man who has been married to a passive-aggressive wife for 40 years. It has been very difficult because of the absolute incapability (unwillingness?) of my wife to recognize what she’s doing as abnormal and harmful. There has never been even the slightest glimmer of recognition that her attitudes and actions are inappropriate. She cannot be reasoned with on this subject. The feigned comments about a meaningful relationship cover over one in which I am only used and “loved”, like a favorite chair.

    Many of the P-A characteristics identified in articles fall far from my wife’s own brand of the disfunction, which are as follows: 99.9% of my wife’s P-A behavior is suffered only by her immediate family. Since our two daughters are now grown and moved out, this means I am now the only victim. Everyone else thinks she is fine.

    She is never sullen. She’s always more than ready for verbal conflict, even when it has to be created unnecessarily. Control and domination, rather than compliance with any idea I put forth, are her absolute requirements.

    Procrastination and lateness are certainly part of her disfunction, but because they’re easily publically identified as faults, she has reduced these. This only causes more pressure that is released in more private ways. The love I maintain for her is without any expectation of personal intimacy because she makes it impossible.

    Thank you Paul, Mark and Brian for you comments. We have a shared understanding of this misery.

  30. Anna from United States says:

    I have been beating myself up until I found this website. Understanding, there are people in my husband’s family who are bipolar and schizophrenic, I truly believe I am dealing with someone who is Passive-Aggressive.

    For three years, I have tried and thought I was going crazy. This is my third marriage so I felt like this one was ‘It’. He always uses ‘boomerang’ terms on me. In other words, he says things to me he should say to himself. He says, “It’s your way or the highway.” It’s never been my way and if it isn’t his idea, it’s never going to happen.

    I threw him out in February and moved all my things out but I went back. We loaded all the furniture back into the house only to have another weekend of misery, silence (him) and he was lying in the bed all weekend. When I talk to him, he calls it bantering. He said all I did was talk for the past three days. He told me all he heard was the word, “I” (as in myself). I am a professional and I did learn how to constructively ‘argue’ years ago by not placing blame on someone else but instead say, “I feel hurt when ____.”

    He is a 53-year-old man, still very much controlled by two parents who divorced when he was ten-years-old. He has seldom been able to hold a job while we’ve been together for three years because he starts out with a bang and then fizzles out, making mistakes on the construction site, not getting along with others, and then blames me.

    He picked out the house we are living in (barely). It is not a home, it is a partially-remodeled house because anything he started was never finished, nothing.

    Understanding you don’t accept explicit language, I do have a blog I started writing my feelings down this past February after I forced him to leave. I have a few words in there that might not be acceptable and I do start the post out stating the post has explicit language, mostly slang unacceptable words that someone of my professional capacity probably shouldn’t use freely.

    This person I am married to, I feel like he has no heart, no emotions, and when I try to communicate with him, he crosses his arms and stares. It is like I am talking to a table. That is silent abuse. He isn’t always like that, only when he wants to be. That is the problem, there is no congeniality in our relationship whatsoever. I suppose this gives him power.

    Our house is falling down [around us], the house of marriage and relationship.

  31. Jane from United States says:

    Thank you for having a website that supports marriage. I found this article very helpful and look forward to following the link that you provided.

    • Ellie from United States says:

      It’s good to know I’m not the only one in this situation, although it doesn’t make me feel any less ALONE! I’ve been with this man for 43 years and known he is PA for the past 23 years. I have no friends (he made sure of that). My now adult children who grew up in this angry environment have suffered the consequences. Both daughters married to abusers and a very selfish angry son.

      I’ve had very poor eyesight for all my life so I don’t drive, which makes me dependent on the PA husband. I, like most of you, had a terrible childhood and am codependent. I left him once for 2 years only to return. I’m 70 years old and feel I’ve lived a miserable life and my last few years will be no better. My husband knows he is PA but that doesn’t change things. I really have lost hope! I appreciate this web sight and wish all the best to all of you!

  32. Kristen from United States says:

    Posting with heavy heart. Married to P-A for 26 years; two lovely daughters resulted from our union so our marriage can never be considered a mistake.

    I was a lazy Christian (God took the seventh day off –why shouldn’t I do the same?!) until a local police officer –an openly Christian woman –was killed in the line of duty. (Relevancy –my husband is a career law enforcement officer.) Woke me up to the fact that I wasn’t serving my family well so I started attending a nearby church with the girls. VBS, AWANA, youth group, communion steward …doing it all. Husband, fairly agnostic, didn’t object …but when he did occasionally attend service with us he was nothing but critical.

    Husband’s apathy/disconnection from the family grew to a point that he sequestered himself in the master bedroom when he wasn’t working. He declined counseling, stating that too many personal questions were asked during in-take (via telephone).

    I made the exceedingly difficult decision to leave the marriage in a bid to provide my girls with a life of happiness and choices. The girls and I moved out for a period of roughly thirty days over Christmas, and moved back in to the marital home after Husband left. He has not seen them for 144 days and has had no contact with them other than a few text messages.

    We’ve been fortified by weekly visits from LDS sister missionaries during this time of strife (we are not Mormon); they have reminded us time and time again that we are loved, both by them and God.

    Please pray for my husband, that he may be comforted. And I truly wish the same for you.

  33. Patsy from United States says:

    Oh my oh my, and as a full-blooded Norwegian I would say “oofta”! I am not jumping up and down that there are soooo many of us in this club, but it’s so helpful to finally get an “identity” to this mess! I chuckled at the person who said he wished he could get a place for all of us! I so smiled at you.

    I don’t know if it would be of any help to tell my story, but I absolutely know for sure that none of you would out and out blame me for everything! I want to say this, my prayer life stinks, I’m at 188 pounds and just beginning to understand things at the fun age of 61! I know that God has better for all of us. That’s the truth.

    Now how we find and know what’s better I don’t know for you, but for me it has to begin with changing my communication with God. I am going to start there today. In my prayer time I’m seriously going to ask the Lord if there is something I can do to turn this MAJOR problem around. With His help, nothing is impossible.

    I really truly will devote energy to pray for you blessed souls. I appreciate any prayers coming this way as I need help also. I am sick in my spirit that this is so wide spread a problem. I have not hung a shingle out, but I truly love to do public speaking where/when God can get the glory. I’m going to get serious with God. The devil has had a may day way too long! Stand strong! Lets put the armor of God on today! Ok?

  34. Paul from United Kingdom says:


    I’ve studied psychology and trained as a counselor. Check out “Epigenetics”. Also check out “Janovs Reflections On The Human Condition”. . . Excellent stuff in there. . . Everything you need to know about the human condition.

    Passive aggression is a very good way to ‘survive’. . . That is as long as you don’t infuriate others to the point of assault on you. I’m not sure what potential there is to evolve by such ‘behaviour’ though (!)

    It’s ‘parasympathetic’ nervous system dominant. That is ‘rest & repose’ and imprinted in early gestation/infancy. This is the opposite of ‘sympathetic’ nervous system dominant (action stations / forward thinking etc) which is also imprinted early on.

    Sometimes people switch between the two without knowing it. Sometimes one starts as one and changes to the other. . . It originates in trauma &/or un-met need, it’s imprinted. . . Normal people have a healthy and integrated balance of both nervous systems.

    I’m generally aggressive / sympathetic dominant (hard working grafter / workaholic etc) but as a result of compound traumas I’ve become depressed and a little passive too. . . But I know it. The problem with passive aggressives is that they generally have difficulty perceiving their own condition because they are so ‘down – printed’. They have poor self consciousness due to a massive load of repressed emotion. They may be ‘aware’ of their condition but without those ever so important true feelings, well. . .

    I had a 17 year relationship with a very passive aggressive partner. (She has all the money & power by the way). Her catch phrase was “Maybe, Possibly, Might Do, Perhaps”. . . That was funny at first, we used to joke about it. . . then it became the fulcrum of everything in our lives, including our business, (which I became responsible for entirely, particularly when it failed) and our children.

    Both of us had much therapy, most of which doesn’t really ‘work’. . . it’s mostly all ‘cheerleading’ (checkout Janov’s Blog). She went into therapy with a budhist nun, feminist, gestalt family constellations therapist who (IMHO) brainwashed her and helped her to ‘re-invent’ herself and dump me. She learned to “act out” assertiveness (her sister used to bully her and I think she has displaced that onto and taken revenge on me). . .

    Eventually I had a breakdown and she ended up with ALL the assets. She “asserts” herself randomly and controls me through our children. I have found it’s better to tell her what I think about her behaviour and her motives because I simply cannot cope with the ‘silent treatment’, the procrastination, the denial, the forgetfulness and the totally unconscious way she made the relationship ALL about her and got ALL my colleagues and (so called) friends to tell me the opposite. They all say things like: “So, you see yourself as the victim then”? Idiots!

    Her family are cold fish and extremely wealthy. . . She is oblivious and often ‘spaced out’, i.e.: dissociated. Every one apart from her disabled stepson (whom she dumped along with me) and myself, thinks she’s such a sweet and charming (CHARMING) person. . .

    My part in this? I was trying to heal my mother and avoid a repeat of my early separation trauma of course. . . I’m not too proud to admit it either. She, on the other hand (She who must be obeyed) has never admitted anything at all nor made a clear statement about her part in anything we ever did together. . . I blamed myself for years and occasionally exploded with frustration and blamed her. . . big mistake there. . .

    Beware. . . putting up with this kind of ‘behaviour’ for more than a year could seriously damage your entire life AND all the good memories you have. I did 17 years and it’s still screwing my mind up even after 5 years of separation. If it weren’t for our children I would have NOTHING to do with her at all.

    Paul G.

  35. K from Hong Kong says:

    I’m not sure whether my other half is or not. He has NEVER cried (even when his brother committed suicide), which I found odd. He always accuses me of being aggressive. I was always like that at school, to be honest. You have enough crap shoved at you and you blow. Having said that, I am NOT violent. I can mouth off yes, but only when I’m really angry. He always plays the victim. I do EVERYTHING for him. I’m more like a mother than a partner. I live a very secluded life in a country which is very different from my own. I have spent 7 years with hardly any friends. Is it me? rO is it him?

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