Passive Aggressive Non-Communication Battles

How do you get to this barren, desert place where there is nothing but self-defense and contempt?

"My Husband and I can barely have a discussion about anything without us getting thoroughly annoyed with each other (subject matter can be anything from the most mundane to the most sophisticated) because we are both hurting and feeling unloved and unfulfilled by the other....so there's not much of an effort to really engage. Or interest, or excitement about the other person's ideas or feelings anymore.

The bad communication, constant traveling, blame blame blame and hurt hurt hurt followed by silence silence silence and loneliness loneliness loneliness all happened first and then you add that to a passive aggressive type A constantly working business man who is blameless and always focusing on "facts and data" vs. emotions and feelings....and you get to this place."

We need to be talking first about the shared responsibility to keep communication alive in a marriage.
To avoid getting to this place, women usually try to ask, demand, invite and cajole husbands into "better communication." They even make appointments with counselors and therapists and priests to get help.

The more they press for communication that includes reference to feelings (husband's feelings) the more he is in alien terrotory and more and more distraught by the request. Isn't it enough to bring home the bacon? what else does she want, that he can't or will not provide by his own will?

Of course, the usual response is more silence, more isolation and more defensive talk about how she is pushing him or forcing him to something that:

  • Is not his responsibility.
  • It is obviously in her sphere of action (the feelings talk).

So, why is he forced to say things he doesn't feel/know/care about? Is better to clam up, and wait for the storm to pas! Or, if he is forced, he will promise anything, only to get her off her case. End of story!

Finally, they can be truly bewildered at how frustrated the wife gets with them.
They say 'yes' when they mean 'no', or 'Sure! No problem! ' to even a benign request so that she moves on thinking it is all good .....but habitually they don't do what they agreed to. Because they never meant to go through, but wanted to end a demanding conversation, and the only way perceived to end it is agreeing verbally, and forgetting everything about the promise afterwords.

Or perhaps, only perhaps they could be hurt when confronted with the unfulfilled promise, because they were still thinking about getting to do what they promised, but procrastinated so long that they either became irritated about it hanging over their head, becoming angry at you because you requested something, or react to your frustration by eventually making such a useless attempt at it that you wonder why you ask them at all.

If confronted with their intentional non-compliance, and the sad result of their efforts that doesn't solve the original problem, they will bemoan bitterly that "you're so demanding or impossible" and that "nothing is ever good enough for you."

An impossible trap?

Of course it is! when are wives going to learn the lessons and stop requesting cooperation to do some domestic tasks, if they realize that they will get nothing in return? The final point is, let's be aware that we are looking at a battle in the war for control. The passive aggressive person is fighting a hidden war for "who controls this relationship," by using his own tactics, of which she is unaware of. Perhaps framing this as a fight for control could help understand such a destructive behavior.

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.

 

  1. alfaprima, 06 July, 2009

    I have read the ebook and it helped me a lot to deal with the situation in a way that brought peace and easy handling of issues that normally used to go out of control aand caused a great deal of helplessness, anxiety and frustrations.Thanks you for your support and assistance. Clarissa

  2. Sally, 26 July, 2009

    I am receiving your updates regularly and have been in a confused state in my relationship for about 4 years, I could not understand the contradictory words and behaviour and the sabotaging and general stagnant quality of our relationship, in my eyes it was kept alive by him.

    I wanted to say though, that throughout this I noticed it wasnt just my life he seemed dis-interested in, our goals in relationship, his own life was going around in circles too. The cuplrit it seems may be Adult ADHD and I am posting as having read a lot about it and waiting for my partner to have a formal diagnosis, it can look a lot similar to passive aggressive behaviour and probably is, but the underlying cause is perhaps treatable, or at least understandable that it is certainly nothing to do with me.

    I hope this helps in all ways to reassure those of you that have a hard time remembering it really isn’t you, you are probably trying too hard to compensate for the frustrating behaviour. I may well be leaving my relationship, but I will be leaving with the clear decision and awareness that things wont change however hard I try, which is a point we have to get to with any situation that we are hoping will change. Change needs to happen from both sides I believe and sometimes it is really, really, hard.

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