Passive Aggressive Holiday Horror Stories

Passive Aggressive behaviors can increase dramatically at the holidays.  Emotions are running higher for both a passive aggressive person and for you which makes his defense system kick into overdrive and turns you into an  easier target.

Love, hope and family are the focus this time of year sending a passive aggressive person’s abandoned inner child into a tailspin of need and fear.  With parties to attend, mistletoe to stand under, dinners for you to hostess and extra tasks for you to need support on, someone with passive aggressive behavior has many opportunities to take out his anxiety and confusion on you through hurt, neglect and humiliation.  You are not alone though.  Passive Aggressive people all over the world are acting up this time of year.

Today I encourage you to share your holiday horror story of your worst passive aggressive experience - airing the atrocity can a be good release in this safe place and you may help someone else to be prepared for a holiday passive aggressive attack so she can maneuver herself to get through it and doing so, salvage her holiday.


A little bonding can help bring laughter to an otherwise ugly situation, so along with participating in the forum we will be awarding one free copy of our latest ebook:  “Love, Sex and Passive Aggression to the person with the worst “Holiday Horror story.”  So  join the discussion now, even if you don’t have a story maybe you can give a little advice or support to someone else struggling with a stressful season.

  1. Lex, 06 December, 2012

    My mother in law and I don’t see eye to eye on a few things, one of those things being my diet. I am vegan. Now, I choose to eat the way I do because I believe it is healthier, and I have no problem being around meat or with other people eating meat so the holidays do not typically pose a problem for me. Last year we went to my husband’s mother’s house for the holidays instead of to my mom’s. “Carol” began asking weeks in advance about whether I “could just eat meat for that one day.” I explained to her that no I could not, not only do I choose not to eat meat for a reason, but at this point my system can no longer process meat and it makes me quite sick. Every time we talked after that, she asked again, then got frustrated, huffing at me about how awkward dinner would be and how she had no idea how to cook anything for me. Each time I listened patiently and explained that it wasn’t awkward for me, told her of some of the meat and dairy alternatives that could be used and offered to not only bring her those ingredients but to either help cook, or bring dishes myself. Each time she stated that no, she would find the alternatives I told her about and make the changes “if you say it’s so easy.” This conversation occurred about twice a week for the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. I checked in one last time a few days before the big dinner to offer to help and she very abruptly told me she had taken care of everything and that I should “stop worrying about it!”
    Christmas dinner came around and everything looked pretty ok. She smiled and presented everything to the family, finishing with a very loud “Well of course Lexie won’t eat any of the turkey I worked so hard on, but I know the rest of you will appreciate it.” I remained quiet, not letting her bother me, and we began eating. Part way through the meal I looked up to see “mommy dearest” smiling at me and when I smiled back she said “Oh see there, I knew you were making a big deal out of nothing and there you are perfectly happy with my cooking. Everyone knows that my traditional gravy especially won’t turn out right without the beef broth and I just couldn’t let the real eaters down by making it with your mushroom stuff.”
    Needless to say, I stopped eating everything immediately, but I still spent the next two days sick as a dog.

  2. Lex, 06 December, 2012

    This year thank goodness I don’t have to go to “Carol’s” house, but now I know I can’t trust her at all and that she cares nothing for my physical well being. My husband is saying I should just forget it, that she didn’t know it would be a problem for me. Does anyone have any suggestions for me on how to deal with this, especially considering there will be more Christmases to come???

  3. Cara Randall, 08 December, 2012

    A few Christmases ago, I was to meet my father and his family for the first time at Christmas. My mother and he had been divorced when I was one year old, so this was a big situation for me. My father gave directions to the house on the phone to my husband. Early on, I noticed my husband stalling about getting ready. He is late to almost all things, but I told him it was important for me to be there on time and not look bad. That didn’t stop him from making us leave 30 minutes later than we should have, so I was grumpy. He assured me he knew the way and we would get there fine.
    He didn’t know the way. We got lost, we drove around for about two hours trying to find the place with me getting madder and madder. I was so upset that he didn’t appear to care about how important this night was for me, and was taking it all so lightly. He didn’t have my father’s phone number to call him and let him know we’d be late, but I hadn’t brought it either. I trusted him when he said he knew the way so I didn’t think to bring the number. After ending up three hours late, my husband finally stopped at a gas station and found my father’s phone number in a phone book. We arrived to the party three hours late, and my father was obviously a little unhappy with us because he felt we didn’t think the party was important enough to show up on time.
    My husband and I had fought terribly in the car while he just drove around and around. I felt hurt, betrayed, taken advantage of, and totally unloved. Now that I understand PA better, I realize that my husband probably just didn’t feel comfortable going to the party and didn’t know how to convey that to me because he knew I’d get mad. And to be honest, I probably would have. I am learning that I am half of what makes PA happen in our marriage, and I have to learn how to change my behaviors to help change my husband’s.
    Nora is helping to teach me better ways of coping with my husband’s PA and showing me ways to regain my own self esteem and improve my own life while improving my marriage. IT IS HARD WORK, but we can’t go on as we have for the past 15 years. My self esteem is so low and I am so tired of not being cared for or having my needs cared about for all this time. It will be worth the work if it saves my marriage and keeps our family together. We have three daughters, and I would not want to lose my marriage and see them hurt. I have seen improvements already in just the beginning steps of changing my own behavior, but we have a long way to go. At least I know have hope.

  4. No home, 08 December, 2012

    Years ago Christmas, I was pregnant with my first baby. My husband and I went to his father’s house. All his sibling was there. They decided to go to the “Bar”. I told my husband I don’t want to go because of the smoke. Well my husband told everybody, “my wife is pregnant and she does not want to be in smoke place. So I do not go.”

  5. Nora Femenia, 10 December, 2012

    Hi Cara,

    I hope you have realized that is better to have a Plan B, just in case his PA kicks in at the wrong moment…It is obvious that is too much for him, but instead of speaking up, and negotiating a different approach, he sabotaged your visit with his “forgetfulness.”

    I do remember a similar opportunity, when I badly wanted to go to a meeting…and we had an only car. The agreement was that we would go after his return from the office. Well, he “discovered” some problem in the engine, proceed to take apart some pieces of it…and finished putting it together near midnight! I waited and waited, up until I realized what he was doing…So I learned my lesson: don’t put yourself completely at his mercy, because he will do something to sabotage your project. The sad part is that this decision breaks the trust and leaves you having to do all by yourself…If you can take this attitude with a grain of salt, you could say: “OK, I will ride the bus to my meeting while you finish putting the car together again….”

    In your case, it was: “As it is important for me to be there on time, why don’t we plan carefully to be there on time: either I drive, or you drive with the directions I have, or we agree that we can use the two cars if one of us has something else to do….”
    So you send the clear message that you will go there either with him, or without him, because it is important for you.

  6. Wiser with detachment, 11 December, 2012

    Last year at Christmas, PA husband and my sister get into a political debate. I know his pattern of never conceding a point – it can be aggravating, so I learned long ago not to push for it. But my sis doesn’t know his ways and was provoked to anger. Silly me did not realize how far gone she was and jumped on the karpmann (drama) triangle, trying to ‘rescue’ her by adding a brief argument for her side. Then BOOM. She turns on me and barks loudly, THAT’S ENOUGH! in front of everyone. I am stunned. When I calmly say I found her attack disrespectful, she threatens to walk out of X-mas dinner – bullies turn into babies and run for the hills. Bottom line: Husband has this thing about provoking women to anger. He won’t admit to it of course. deny deny and stonewall. I have learned to deal with him through blessed detachment. Don’t go for the bait. He likes to portray me as a difficult uber biotch when I am not. I am forthright and plain spoken. I have so many many examples of his PA behaviour, but it’s all so sneaky and hard to describe to anyone who has not experienced it. I had to laugh to think my bull-headed sister was on the receiving end of it. She told me she would have murdered him years ago! I think she scared him, tho. haha.

  7. Exhausted, 29 December, 2012

    My non communicative,PA husband got up a few days after Christmas and drove to the border of Mexico (3 hours away) without telling me. I woke up to go to my exercise class to find the car and. Him gone. When he got home, when I angrily told him he shoudn’t have done that. He of cource, took off leaving me without a car and holding on to 4 game tickets that were. Christmas gifts that I couldn’t use. My teen son was so looking forward to going to the game. Once again, he punished me and my son for his ugly behavior. He never allows me to show emotion. I am exhausted and can’t keep going…

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