Do you find yourself the target of nasty behavior?
After having presented several angles of the passive aggressive behavior hurting so many marriages, we want to answer the deep “Why does he behave in this way? question….
Perhaps we need to refresh here some of the stronger indicators of passive aggressive behaviour:
having a general negative attitude towards others
going against other people’s wishes and beliefs, on principle
forgetting, complaining, disliking other people’s ideas
giving sarcastic comments and feedback
blaming other people for his own problems
Is a lot of negative responses…and sometimes this person can be exhausting your patience always coming out with the worst possible angle for any circumstance.
What do you need to read, here, is his mental model of the world:
“others can’t be trusted; I need to defend myself from others; nobody is good enough for me to respect, value or cherish him/her; don’t expect anybody to value or respect you…”
Where is this model coming from? Your partner may have not learned how to be in an equal, mature relationship because of unresolved personal pain and repressed anger from childhood, as you can learn from knowing the story of his family.
Now, we are on the right path! now you are going to discover who primed him to be so defensive, so suspicious of other human beings around him, including you: the first relationship was with his mother or caretaker!
We know a lot now about attachments, and perhaps you read our first article here.
Now, you need to learn how to read people with insecure attachments:
If they were shaped by early experiences in which they could not expect constant attention from their mother to solve such basic needs as eating, being held, soothed, and comforted, the model of human interaction they learn is: “Others can fail you and let you starve to death; is better not to trust, take care of your things yourself, and don’t let anybody get so near as to frustrate you.”
It is from this very primal model that your partner manages his world: he has only this restricted view of relationships to apply when adjusting and creating relationships with other people
The main point of this article is to make clear that passive aggressive behaviour indicates having an unhealthy personality, based on a childhood model of the world. If you really look at your partner using this frame, you will begin to see a child dealing with challenges he can’t manage (as the emotional demands of a grown up spouse) using his only and one strategy: retreat, hide, clam up, withdraw into his cave.
And if you push him to deliver, you can get the whole gamut: negative, sarcastic comments and put downs, blaming “everyone but me,” promising but not delivering, and a wide variety of clever procrastination and sabotages to activities you want and he can’t enjoy.
Need more suggestions about what to do to manage this rebel child you have at home? Perhaps the information here can help you?