There is a slow progression in the process of realizing the main cause of some spousal behaviors. First you feel that something is odd, because you have some feelings of hurt that don’t correspond with the objective situation…you are happily married, and then some response from your spouse makes the whole perception shake, and you are not so sure who you are.
One person at the end of her rope described this constant passive aggression as a situation where she would receive either punishment or love, in a sequence without any logic.
Mental torture followed by a bit of love then disappointment then promises and apologies then heartache again, in an endless roller coaster. She never was sure of his affection and began doubting herself.
Was she the cause of this treatment?
Perhaps if she loved more, if she could be more patient…things would be more stable?
There is no need to blame yourself. As long as she is showing her vulnerability and her unsolved needs to him, she is giving him sole control over the couple’s power.
There is no way of changing a passive aggressive person when he can manipulate his marriage to fit his own style of communication, regardless of her needs.
What is the right way of dealing with this personality?
What we need to understand is that a passive aggressive personality has been many years in the making, and is part of the very core of this person’s ability to relate. It is NOT a response to her behavior; it’s his “normal response” to everything that happens in his world, his marriage included…
Without entering into the psychological elements of what makes this person behave in such a defensive way, what is important to see is that this is a way of being, structurally organized, and nobody can change it from the outside.
Only the person who has learned to react in this way can realize the damage it causes to any relationship and make a plan to modify his own responses.
The only role a wife can have is to be a witness, and let him know what is the impact of his behavior on people around him, and on the relationships he says he needs. By denouncing as hurtful some of his responses, she is helping him recognize how inappropriate his answers are…and then hope that her words will motivate him to do otherwise.
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