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05/01/2012 08:46 AM

Passive Aggressives

Meg1129
Meg1129Posts: 14606
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Sometimes it's hard to see an abuser as being abusive. He doesn't do many of the typical abuser behaviours. Still, you have a strong feeling that something is not right with him and the relationship. That's the tip off that you might be dealing with a passive aggressive.

"Common Passive Aggressive Behaviors:

Ambiguity: I think of the proverb, "Actions speak louder than words" when it comes to the passive aggressive and how ambiguous they can be. They rarely mean what they say or say what they mean. The best judge of how a passive aggressive feels about an issue is how they act. Normally they don't act until after they've caused some kind of stress by their ambiguous way of communicating.

Forgetfulness: The passive aggressive avoids responsibility by "forgetting." How convenient is that? There is no easier way to punish someone than forgetting that lunch date or your birthday or, better yet, an anniversary.

Blaming: They are never responsible for their actions. If you aren't to blame then it is something that happened at work, the traffic on the way home or the slow clerk at the convenience store. The passive aggressive has no faults, it is everyone around him/her who has faults and they must be punished for those faults.

Lack of Anger: He/she may never express anger. There are some who are happy with whatever you want. On the outside anyway! The passive aggressive may have been taught, as a child, that anger is unacceptable. Hence they go through life stuffing their anger, being accommodating and then sticking it to you in an under-handed way.

Fear of Dependency: From Scott Wetlzer, author of Living With The Passive Aggressive Man. "Unsure of his autonomy and afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs, usually by trying to control you. He wants you to think he doesn't depend on you, but he binds himself closer than he cares to admit. Relationships can become battle grounds, where he can only claim victory if he denies his need for your support."

Fear of Intimacy: The passive aggressive often can't trust. Because of this, they guard themselves against becoming intimately attached to someone. A passive aggressive will have sex with you but they rarely make love to you. If they feel themselves becoming attached, they may punish you by withholding sex.

Obstructionism: Do you want something from your passive aggressive spouse? If so, get ready to wait for it or maybe even never get it. It is important to him/her that you don,t get your way. He/she will act as if giving you what you want is important to them but, rarely will he/she follow through with giving it. It is very confusing to have someone appear to want to give to you but never follow through. You can begin to feel as if you are asking too much which is exactly what he/she wants to you to feel.

Victimization: The passive aggressive feels they are treated unfairly. If you get upset because he or she is constantly late, they take offense because; in their mind, it was someone else's fault that they were late. He/she is always the innocent victim of your unreasonable expectations, an over-bearing boss or that slow clerk at the convenience store.

Procrastination: The passive aggressive person believes that deadlines are for everyone but them. They do things on their own time schedule and be damned anyone who expects differently from them.

The Passive Aggressive and You:

The passive aggressive needs to have a relationship with someone who can be the object of his or her hostility. They need someone whose expectations and demands he/she can resist. A passive aggressive is usually attracted to co-dependents, people with low self-esteem and those who find it easy to make excuses for other's bad behaviors.

The biggest frustration in being with a passive aggressive is that they never follow through on agreements and promises. He/she will dodge responsibility for anything in the relationship while at the same time making it look as if he/she is pulling his/her own weight and is a very loving partner. The sad thing is, you can be made to believe that you are loved and adored by a person who is completely unable to form an emotional connection with anyone.

The passive aggressive ignores problems in the relationship, sees things through their own skewed sense of reality and if forced to deal with the problems will completely withdraw from the relationship and you. They will deny evidence of wrong doing, distort what you know to be real to fit their own agenda, minimize or lie so that their version of what is real seems more logical.

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 let you know what they are thinking or feeling? God forbid they disclose that information and you criticize them."

http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/abusiverelationships/a/ Pass_Agg.htm

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05/01/2012 10:10 AM
NaniCam
NaniCamPosts: 288
Member

All true!!!!!!'

That is my ex husband. And the more I saw it the worse he got at hiding it.


05/01/2012 10:59 AM
LifeAwaits
LifeAwaits  
Posts: 715
Member

I don't know if my abuser is this way. He did some of these things. I re-read it. He is. My immediate thing is to deny it, but when I think about it, he is.

•Ambiguity- he is so good at this, it seems like he only says things that can be taken another way to deny and defend himself. Like when he was staring at other women and told me "don't worry about it" and I knew it meant, shut up and take it but he later said I took it wrong and it meant that I had nothing to worry about because he loved me so much.

Blaming- This is obvious to me. I don't need to think about it.

•Lack of Anger- Definitely. Talked about this the other day. He grew up with an EA father so he was never allowed to get angry just like my son isn't allowed to get angry because of him.

• Fear of Dependency- I did everything! I handled the repairmen, I made hair apppointments for him, I handled auto repairs, etc. I did things for him he wouldnt do and I did things that are normally "man" things and when I pointed out to him numerous times that he can't even wipe his ass for himself, he would get mad and talk about how it isn't true and how he does all kinds of things for himself even though he would pout when I told him to make his own hair appointments. Lol- he always said he was too busy at work to call but he had time to call me, tell me to do it, listen to me tell him no, and tell me how busy he was.

•Fear of Intimacy- I think I've pretty much covered that base. Wink

Obstructionism- Oh yeah. When I wanted something, I'd wait and wait and wait and ask for it again then get bitched at because he was going to do it, but when he wants something, forget it!

•Victimization- He is the ultimate victim. People wrong him allllllll of the time. What happened always revolved around him. This is him life's theme.

•Procrastination- Always. So very selfish.

"He/she will dodge responsibility for anything in the relationship while at the same time making it look as if he/she is pulling his/her own weight and is a very loving partner." Yep!

"They will deny evidence of wrong doing, distort what you know to be real to fit their own agenda, minimize or lie so that their version of what is real seems more logical."

This was the outcome of every single discussion or argument we had.

"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 let you know what they are thinking or feeling? God forbid they disclose that information and you criticize them."

This is soooooo him. Can P/A people not be abusers or I guess being P/A is abuse in and of itself. Do they choose to be this way or does it come naturally to them?

The label doesn't matter to me. Realizing all the ways he abused me and understanding what all he did to me is what I want because I think it makes me less confused and can heal from it. But, I'm tired of learning new ways he abused me. Ugh. Just when I was getting a grip on the abuse, something else pops up.


05/01/2012 11:20 AM
Meg1129
Meg1129Posts: 14606
Group Leader

Yes, PAs are abusive. It's the same underlying principles operating underneath, just a different way of expressing them.

05/01/2012 01:16 PM
Schefflera
Schefflera  
Posts: 4965
Group Leader

Dear God, SO much of this is my father!! It's actually painful to read! I hope you all don't mind me venting a bit here... I haven't done it in awhile, so I'll fill out a few of these points too:

Common Passive Aggressive Behaviors:

•Ambiguity: My father was a master of this. If I didn't understand his very vague requests and asked for clarification, he would accuse me of not paying enough attention or not loving my family because I didn't know what he meant (and still not get clarification... naturally I would do it "wrong", and get punished anyway.)

•Forgetfulness: When I left my father's house in the middle of the night (the last straw, so to speak), he called me over and over again the next morning despite me leaving him a message letting him know that I was safe but that I didn't feel comfortable staying there. I asked him in the message NOT to call me until after 10am because I basically had to drive all night/morning to get home and I knew I would need sleep to deal with him. I got messages left on my voicemail (had turned off my phone thankfully) from him and his wife, saying he was crying and he was desperate to talk to me and that "you need to call your Daddy" (I was 24 years old, by the way.) I called him back when I woke up, and left a message saying I was ready to talk whenever he wanted.

3 months went by of me freaking out, and nothing. Finally he called me on my birthday, ready to just pretend nothing happened. This time though, I was ready. I wasn't going to let it go. So I asked him, "why didn't you call me back? Did you get my message?" His response? "Oh yeah I got that message at some point but sweetie I was out kayacking on the river all day I didn't have time for that and it just slipped my mind afterwards."

I had actually LEFT in the middle of the night. He was supposedly "crying his eyes out" and was "desperate to talk to me", but then a few hours later suddenly he couldn't be bothered because he was busy playing with his kayack (not a planned trip or anything, he lived near the water and this was a hobby). Sure he just "forgot"... for 3 months??

Not just that, but the common behavior of pretending like nothing happened, "forgetting" supposedly... but not really of course. He'd magically remember when it was to be used against me in some way.

•Blaming: When I left in the middle of the night, it was because among other things, he had decided to have some very loud and obvious sex in the next room when he was well aware that my husband and I were awake (and he could have easily put us in a bedroom further away, but he seemed to deliberately put us sharing a wall). This was after just a month or two before, they had done this to me when I was visiting alone, and I had confronted his wife about it saying it made me very uncomfortable. She had assured me that she didn't know it was so loud and that it wouldn't happen again. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, it was a new house, and perhaps they just didn't know how loud it was.

When I confronted him about the second incident, he actually said it wasn't his fault because he couldn't have sex for 20 years while he was with my mother. He almost seemed to blame me for it, since he "had to stay with my mother" until I left for college. Of course, as most have you have read here, I actually begged to move out sooner because I knew he was unhappy. Yes, he was being abused by her, but he turned around and abused me for it because he couldn't accept that he could have changed his situation. He had plenty of money and a high paying job too. Just sickening to blame me. It also makes me feel sick to my stomach to think that he was pretty clearly trying to make sure I heard him having sex. It felt almost incestuous.

•Lack of Anger: This was a constant with my father. He never yelled, because that's what my mother would do. In turn, I learned never to yell, and somehow felt almost noble for it. When I confronted him, he actually just sat there silently for awhile and I could almost see the smirk on his face. I asked him if he was understanding and hearing me, and he said "Oh you can talk all you want, I'll just sit here until you're finished just like I used to do with your mother." He didn't raise his voice at all, but as I started to explain to him how he made me feel, being sure to focus mostly on how his behavior affected me (trying not to directly accuse him or berate him.. I honestly had hoped that if he understood how I felt that he would genuinely want to do something about it)... and he actually said "You're being very terrible towards me right now." I was being "terrible to him" by describing how hurt I felt! Ridiculous, right? Finally the anger started to leak through since I wasn't letting his normal tactic of guilting and "pretending nothing happend" work this time. Eventually he said "I can't believe I could raise someone as terrible as you. I can't believe you would even WANT to talk about this stuff." I said: "I can't believe that I have to Dad, but if we can talk about it then we can do something about it." His wife finally hung up the phone on me.

• Fear of Dependency: At first, I didn't think this applied to me... but even though the father-daughter relationship is a bit different, I can see some traces of this in our past as well. In that last fateful trip to his house, there were so many things that went wrong. We showed up, thinking that he was extending an olive branch and really wanted to get to know me again. That's the impression I got from the emails. He seemed almost welcoming! However, once we showed up, he basically ignored us. He didn't have anything to do, but he couldn't be bothered to talk to us. Finally out of boredom we decided to go swimming, but of course he didn't want to come. I asked him if he'd like to just hang out by the pool and talk, maybe have a snack outside or something, and of course, no. It was like I was a houseplant all over again. I had driven quite a distance to see him and he couldn't be bothered to talk to me.

I kept wondering why in the world he would invite me so earnestly and claim to be "so excited" about me visiting and then just want to ignore me the whole time! It didn't make sense! Later on I realized though that it was all about what I like to call, the "family portrait." On many holidays I've left in tears, but I'd always be conned into taking a "family picture" before leaving. I honestly think he just needed to be able to look himself in the mirror and say "my loving daughter came to visit me because I'm a good father", but wasn't actually interested in me being there. I think he needed me to help preserve that image of a non-dysfunctional family. As I started to drift apart from him after college, I think it threatened his image of "family." He needed me, in that sense. I think he also needed me to punish and feel like he was in control of something.

•Obstructionism: In many ways, my father took great care of me financially growing up. I got clothes when I needed them, never worried about food, got to a doctor when I needed to, etc. I got lavish gifts for holidays to the point of quite spoiled I'd say. Again, I thought surely this one wouldn't apply to me, but again: it does. I remember in high school I was very talented in foreign languages, so one of my teachers suggested I study abroad for a semester or two. I jumped at the idea because I also desperately wanted to get away from home and language/culture was a real passion of mine. My father claimed we didn't have the money to do it (but in retrospect, I know he did)... my teacher actually called him personally to try to convince him but to no avail. The truth was he needed me to stay home (there's that dependency thing again!) and be just as miserable as he was. He couldn't stand to see me happy and he still can't. He knew this is something I felt strongly about but he would laugh in my face about it.

When I felt suicidal, I confessed to my sister that I needed help and that I wanted to see a therapist. She appeared to take it seriously, but then when she talked to my father about it things changed. The next morning when I woke up I got ambushed by the two of them, and my father said "So you want to see a shrink huh?" I nodded. My sister sneered, "Oh and who is going to pay for THAT, MOM?! HAHAHA!" They both literally laughed at me. Of course, money was NOT an issue... our family had new cars in the driveway and all sorts of luxuries, but our insurance wouldn't pay for therapy? Yeah right! As a child I didn't understand finances, but now I know better. He made over $100k a year and yet had me convinced we were in poverty somehow.

•Victimization: The sex thing comes to mind here too. He felt like he was a victim for not being able to have sex so that it was not his fault that he has to have sex with me in the next room. Completely ridiculous of course. Another thing that comes to mind is when a friend of mine was brutally murdered, I elected to stay at college because I felt like I needed to grieve among the people around me who were going through it with me. Goodness knows I didn't want to go home to my unwelcoming and uncomforting "home." To this day, he "blames" me because apparently I should have come home immediately to comfort HIM! Of course when I told him on the phone that I was staying, he seemed calm and said that I should "do whatever I want", but in a later argument he said "I can't believe how you would intentionally hurt me by not coming home that day! I've NEVER forgiven you for that!" That story has so many of these points wrapped up into one! He felt the victim, he "needed" me for comfort, he looked calm on the surface but was secretly seething with rage about the whole situation, and of course was ambiguous about what ne needed! I told him he was welcome to come visit me if he needed to see me, but of course he didn't. It has to be all about him, even though it was my friend who was murdered.


05/01/2012 02:12 PM
LifeAwaits
LifeAwaits  
Posts: 715
Member

"When I confronted him about the second incident, he actually said it wasn't his fault because he couldn't have sex for 20 years while he was with my mother." That is absurd!

It is heartbreaking to read your story. I'm sure that my daughter will probably be going through the same things with her dad.


05/01/2012 02:31 PM
Meg1129
Meg1129Posts: 14606
Group Leader

Incestuous is exactly the word I was thinking of when I read the sex thing in your post, Scheff. Some guys get off on that kind of stuff. Mine was kind of like that too in a weird way that I still can't put my finger on. I mean he would watch movies with our daughters in the room that ... well, they didn't contain outright sex scenes, but there were sexual references and maybe a hot steamy kiss or stuff like that. He also really enjoyed those sophomoric juvenile movies with a lot of crude jokes and sexual references. I thought it was very inappropriate for a man to not change the freaking channel when his pre-teen girls were in the same room watching the same thing. I mean it would have made me very uncomfortable to watch something like that at that age with my dad in the room. Sometimes I wondered though if I was being too prudish, but then I began paying attention. A few times I saw him looking over at them while he was laughing as if to see what their reactions were and when they got a little older, they would just get up and leave the room. That told me all I needed to know and after that when he would do it, I would tell him to change the channel. He always did, but I knew I'd pay for it later. I didn't care though. It was like he had no idea how to behave as a parent.

Post edited by: Meg1129, at: 05/01/2012 02:32 PM


05/01/2012 05:44 PM
Schefflera
Schefflera  
Posts: 4965
Group Leader

LifeAwaits, there's a key difference for your daughter though: She has you as an ally on the outside. That really works wonders. Goodness knows it helped my husband when he was growing up. I had already been forced to "divorce" my mother years prior, and I got zero sympathy from my siblings... I've basically lost my entire family at this point, save a grandmother that calls to chat about the weather once every couple of months or so. I didn't have anybody fighting just to be a part of my life. I only had people fighting for me to be used as ammunition against the other. I can't imagine how powerful it must feel to have a parent love you so much that she's willing to go to war for you. I hope you can take some comfort in that, at least Smile

05/01/2012 05:51 PM
Schefflera
Schefflera  
Posts: 4965
Group Leader

Meg, my father didn't watch movies like that really, but I always did feel like he had a very weird relationship with my sisters. An ex boyfriend of mine commented one time that they acted more like his wives than his daughters, but they never seemed to mind. I don't THINK there was anything sexual there (aside from some awkward family photos which I mentioned in another thread), but I suppose I don't really know that for certain. That was also mind-boggling to me though: they were so happy to take care of him, to cook his meals, to pick out his shirts, to pay his bills (with his money though) and arrange his appointments.... they seemed to genuinely enjoy spending time with him too, which is something I couldn't relate to at all. Since I wasn't like them, I think he felt more compelled to "punish" me.

Even my mother, as awful of a person as she was to me, occasionally felt like her position as a wife had been usurped. A few times I know she had mentioned how she didn't like them doing things like that for him. I'm still confused as to how to look at that situation. On the one hand, she seemed to revel in his misery, so perhaps she couldn't stand seeing anyone be kind to him. I used to pity him working so late so I would do the dishes at night and she would yell at me that it was HIS job, not mine. (turns out he wasn't working late at all, he was staying at the office until after she had gone to bed so he wouldn't have to deal with her). On the other hand though, she would go through periods of what I called "supermom" where she would briefly become interested in being a parent/wife and expect us all to pretend it had been like that all along. One day she would want to hang out with me and go shopping or something, and even seemed interested in what I was doing at school, but then for the next week or two she couldn't stand the sight of me. I have wondered if she would occasionally become interested in being the "loving wife" for an ego boost and then lose interest again just like with her parenting. Who knows.


05/01/2012 05:53 PM
Schefflera
Schefflera  
Posts: 4965
Group Leader

Also, I just want to thank you all for reading my "vent"... boy was that exhausting! I've been having a rough past few days and I think it's just a lot of this stuff processing STILL... sometimes I feel like it never ends!
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