Is Your Mate’s Passive-Aggressive Behavior Driving You Crazy?

Kayla’s husband Jon is an expert at getting out of things he doesn’t want to do. He “forgets” to stop by the store on the way home from work when he doesn’t want to be bothered. If he doesn’t want to help Kayla with the house cleaning, he does such a poor job that she ends up redoing his part.

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Outwardly, Jon is agreeable and compliant. When Kayla asks him to do something, he’ll generally say “okay” or nod in agreement. Kayla has been let down so many times now that she’ll generally grill Jon on whether he will really remember to pick up the milk on the way home or drop off the cleaning

Each time he promises to remember, and sometimes he actually does follow through. But much of the time he never has any intention of doing what he doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by. He has found that it’s easier to say “yes” when asked and then offer an excuse

Jon has become an expert at sabotaging Kayla’s efforts to get him to take on more responsibility with the kids and housework. He has “taught” her that he can’t be depended on and that if she wants to be sure something is done right, she’ll have to do it

Kayla has begun thinking that she doesn’t really have two children, but instead that she really has three, counting her spouse. Behavior that was age-appropriate when Jon was five and deliberately “forgetting” to put his toys away after being asked isn’t appropriate or helpful now as an adult. In fact, a pattern of passive-aggressive behavior can destroy intimacy and happiness in a marriage.

Hidden Anger and Manipulation Create “Crazy-Making Behavior”

Individuals with passive-aggressive behavior express their anger and hostility through indirect, passive actions. Instead of saying “I don’t think it’s fair that you expect me to clean the bathroom,” he ( or she) doesn’t protest–he just never gets around to doing it.

Then, when the mate eventually explodes after numerous frustrating experiences, the passive-aggressive partner just looks at the mate calmly, making her feel like the crazy one. He always has rationalizations and excuses ready and never takes responsibility or admits he’s at fault in any way. He always blames someone or something else.

He can be so convincing that sometimes the partner will find herself apologizing for getting so upset with him. Thus, the manipulation comes full circle and now the spouse still has the original problem on her shoulders–not enough help from her husband. He has “won” because he knows that he can get off the hook again whenever he needs to.

Sarcasm and Sabotage Can Also Be Indicators

The passive-aggressive spouse knows the weak spots of his partner and is often practiced in using sarcastic and cruel remarks under the guise of “humor.” He’ll say that the mate is too serious or doesn’t have a sense of humor if she objects, but the “humor” is barbed with hostility and criticism–another indirect way of getting back at a partner instead of expressing feelings directly and looking for solutions.

Many wives have had their diets sabotaged by a passive-aggressive husband who suddenly started bringing home candy or encouraging the wife to have dessert “just this one time.” Fear of the spouse becoming too attractive and being noticed by other men is generally at the root of this type of passive-aggressive behavior.

On the surface, the husband may sound supportive, but he is really working to sabotage the wife’s efforts to improve her looks and wellbeing. He is threatened by it and doesn’t want her to succeed.

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