Passive Aggression Abuses Your Rights

There are many ways in which people use power to control and abuse others. This is especially true of passive aggressive behavior, which is often about making the PA look his best, while taking power from others and making them look or feel bad. Which of these ways is your passive aggressive husband using to control you?

There are four main things a passive aggressive person will try to control or violate, in order to protect themselves from rejection and/or confrontation.

  • The Right to Know
  • The Right to Feel
  • The Right to Have Impact
  • The Right to Space

When he violates your right to know, he gives you unclear information, withholds information that you don't "need" (like the finances), or gives you too little or too much information. With too little, you are left shaky and uncertain, realizing after he leaves that he didn't really answer your question, or in fact made the situation look worse than you thought. This is where you may feel as if you're expected to draw your own conclusions or "mind read." With no information ("the silent treatment") you feel like you're walking on eggshells - or a mine field. When you are given too much information (anger attacks or blaming), you are not given time to speak, defend yourself, ask for clearer information, or set boundaries.

Your right to feel is violated when he tells you what you're feeling, what you're about to do or how you're going to react. He may make claims about how you "always overreact" or how you're just being "emotional." He'll make emotional demands about what not to feel ("Don't cry") or what you shouldn't feel.

Crazy-making situations really start to show when your right to impact is violated. This is when he denies (by ignoring you, by overriding your needs with his own, by refusing to meet your needs) that you have an impact on his life. We measure our existence by how much impact we have on others, both physically and emotionally. If you feel like you don't matter to him (don't have an impact), it's like being told you don't exist at all! He can make this worse by "thinging" or objectifying you. He may treat you like a piece of furniture, coming to you only when he has certain physical needs. He may also deny your impact on him by denying contact - in other words, anything you say about his faults will bounce off and come back as something to use against you.

The last way he may violate your rights is to deny your right to space. In many ways, this is your right to individual power - the thing he wants you to have very little or none of. He may violate your right to emotional, physical, time, or mental space by saying that you doing x violates his right to do y (thus painting you out to be the bad guy, every time). For example, your right to be alone in your office violates his right to come visit you. Your right to have friends and family over violates his right to privacy and quiet. And so on, and so on.

These are the four main ways a passive aggressive husband exerts his crazy-making control over his partner and other people. Looking at them as your rights helps to understand this behavior as abusive - a denial of your personal rights to sanity and respect. Which of these ways is your husband using against you? More than one? Maybe all?

We encourage you to explore our blog, videos, and discussions (under "Ask Nora" and "Your Voice") to learn more about these abusive behaviors and how to defend yourself against them. But for immediate action and sanity-saving help, please visit Coach Nora, and receive a free coaching session.

 

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. In this ground-breaking guide I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today.

We can begin by you having a complimentary consultation (by clicking here), with a plan for action to change your life with new skills included. Just click this link and get started now!

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