I am Guilty of being Passive/Aggressive

11 Nov

I’ve been doing a lot of research the last few months, trying to nail down the monster that is my relationship, trying to name my fears and anger, trying to see where it all went wrong. So far I haven’t really admitted my part in the problems that have arisen in my relationships. Today is the day to come clean about what I think is part of the problem, or what has become part of the problem.

Passiveaggressiveabused is living with a passive/aggressive husband. She has helpfully added a page to her blog that very thoroughly explains just what passive/aggressive means and I see some of myself reflected there.

I don’t think that I’m P/A with everyone, just (at this point) with M. I use P/A behavior to side-step his rages, to diffuse a situation, to buy myself time to figure out what the hell just happened. I see it as a defense mechanism, while he has accused my P/A behavior of being the root of all of our problems. He thinks that I would benefit from therapy. Lots of therapy.

Since I am not allowed to have an opinion that differs from M’s, I will say that I agree with him and then do what I feel is right, even when I know he will be angry. Ambiguity.

I “forget” things that are important to him. In my defense, his “rules” are in a constant state of flux that depends on his mood or new circumstances that arise. What he said yesterday may no longer be true today, so why bother remembering? Forgetting.

I sometimes blame others if I know it will get me out of trouble – the long line at the grocery store explains why I’m later than usual getting home, when the truth is that I drove slowly because my stomach was in knots anticipating arriving home and not knowing what mood he would be in. Blaming.

I am not allowed to be angry, so I don’t show anger, even when it’s boiling inside me, even when I can’t speak for the tears. If I do show anger, he mocks, belittles, deflects, denies, and projects his own crap onto me. It’s easier to show no emotion. Lack of Anger.

I fear being dependent upon him or any man because any time I have been, even if only temporarily, it has been used against me. I am called “lazy,” “worthless,” “stupid,” etc. I prefer to have my own bank account and my own money. I prefer to pay my own bills and buy my own toys and special things. I don’t even want to receive gifts of things that I might really need because they have strings attached and that makes me afraid of consequences. Fear of Dependency.

M will say that I am a pro at obstructionism. I will assert that he makes me so fearful of his verbal abuse that I freeze like an animal in a trap. He has me trained well – I will do anything to avoid his anger and mockery. Obstructionism.

I do feel that I’m a victim of M, and of my father and previous relationships. It forms a very clear pattern. The first time I was too young to object. The second time I thought I was in love and could change him if I only loved him enough. The third time I thought I had finally found a real man. Turns out he was a little boy in a man’s body. The last time I thought I had found a man who had already worked out all of his shit and would treat me like a woman should be treated. He told me so, in the beginning. He swore he would never hurt me, but he finally killed a vital part of who I used to be, that part that was wounded by the others is finally dead. Victimization.

I tend to procrastinate completing projects for him. He will ask me to do something, I will agree to do it, and then avoid doing it because of all the criticism that follows. I want to avoid that final “you didn’t do this the way I would have/good enough/fast enough/with the proper techniques” that always follows. The fact that I did it is never good enough, there are always qualifiers and I have come to dread them. Procrastination.

So, yes, you could say that I am P/A. Did I become that way through training by Narc men, or have I always had these tendencies?

It’s pretty easy to see how M can turn any situation around so that it appears that my P/A behavior is a much larger problem than anything he contributes to our relationship.

What say you?


Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Emotional Abuse, Passive/Aggressive


Tags: ,

21 responses to “I am Guilty of being Passive/Aggressive

  1. Melanie

    November 12, 2012 at 3:48 am

    Ahhhh…no. Your P/A behavior is not a much larger problem than anything he contributes to your relationship. Your P/A behavior reads more like a defense mechanism and an abuse tactic. Don’t let his projections become your reflections.
    He is using abuse “to unfairly or improperly gain benefit,” whereas you are using P/A to gain a defense against his abuse. I don’t read that anything you are doing P/A-wise isn’t a wall of protection. His goal is to kill who you are; your goal is to save who you are.
    It’s normal to question yourself as the abuser when you are on the way out. I did it. I still do it. We all do it to some degree – wonder if it wasn’t me all along. But it wasn’t; it’s part of how they keep us under their control. You are not to blame.

    • Sofia Leo

      November 12, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you for confirming what I know intellectually. It’s still difficult not to try to see every.damned.thing. through his eyes – trying to find the reaction/action that will cause the least amount of fallout. Because everything I do has consequences. He has trained me well 😦

      • Melanie

        November 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

        the un-training has already begun. you know in your head, and your head will convince your heart.

      • Sofia Leo

        November 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

        My heart is convinced – he never loved me. He doesn’t even like me, he just likes the idea of me, the things I can do for him, how I add something to his Image.

        The problem is the physical responses that I have while even thinking of leaving – the roiling stomach, clenched teeth, fearful sweating, whirling thoughts of doubt. Those are proving hard to overcome.

      • Melanie

        November 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        yes, they are. I remember, very clearly, changing my mind in the days, hours, minutes, and seconds leading up to leaving. I had help; family who wouldn’t let me change my mind.
        Call 1−800−799−SAFE. They can help you move past the paralyzing fear.

  2. Paula

    November 12, 2012 at 4:32 am

    P/A behavior is a defense mechanism I often used with My X narc. Your P/A behavior is a reaction to his poor Narc behavior. His poor Narc behavior is rooted in his own sick mind. He’s not reacting to anything; he’s acting upon you because that’s what his mind dictates him to do. He’s evil; you are not. Your P/A behavior will magically end once you’re away from him. No need for therapy.

    • Sofia Leo

      November 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      I hope you’re right – that my P/A tendencies (if that’s what they really are) will disappear with time and distance. I don’t feel like myself, and haven’t for years. Deep down I know who I am, and it’s not this doormat who caters to a goddamned MAN for fuck sake! That’s not who my Mama raised me to be!

  3. Janine

    November 12, 2012 at 5:40 am

    I agree with both Melanie and Paula. You are in survival mode…whatever it takes. You will be fine once you get away and take time to learn who you are as an individual and what boundaries you need to put in place and hold. A key part of this will be spending enough time by yourself to truly determine who you are once you untangle all of their crap from your personality. That may or may not require help from a professional, but I think either way, you will discover that you are amazingly normal!

    • Sofia Leo

      November 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      I hope you all are right 🙂 I need to do some research about just what boundaries are and how to be firm about them – my boundaries were knocked down many years ago, and that’s probably the root of my problems – Narcs can see me from a mile away.

  4. passiveaggressiveabused

    November 12, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I have some thoughts to share with you. One is that, in what I’ve read of passive aggressive behavior, it is very rare that a person who is passive aggressive will actually see and admit that they are passive aggressive. They usually live in denial rather than seeking a solution, an answer as you are doing. Also, behaving passive aggressively in certain situations does not mean that a person IS passive aggressive. I think, like the others commented, that you are in defense mode, you are protecting yourself in a bad situation. I don’t think I would call you passive aggressive. You actually admit to anger. A passive aggressive person will not admit to anger. You said that you “blame” the line in the grocery store when you procrastinated in the car. But YOU see what you are doing. A passive aggressive person will not see. They are absolutely innocent in their own eyes, while you realize what you are doing. Him saying that you need therapy is his way of not taking responsibility for himself and his part in the relationship. I don’t think that looking after yourself and protecting yourself is the same as a fear of dependency. I, too, often procrastinate, but the root of that is fear of failure, fear of not being good enough, rather than passive aggressive behavior where one would procrastinate to get back at someone else. Victimization has other roots, as well. A person who is co-dependent can also see herself as victim. Often people really are victims. How they respond determines whether or not they stay in the victim mentality. Good for you for trying to learn more about yourself, more about your reactions and the roots of them. I think that is very helpful in becoming a stronger and healthier you. I wish you well. :}

    • Sofia Leo

      November 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      So just by being able to say, “that was P/A behavior” about a situation means that I’m not actually a P/A person? What a relief! He twists it around, though, to demonstrate one of the many things that are “wrong” with me and our relationship. He goes on and on about how if I could only admit my part in our disagreements we could be on our way to healing, that my denial of wrongdoing is what is holding our relationship back. What a sick fuck!

      Thank you for your insights.

      • passiveaggressiveabused

        November 16, 2012 at 4:24 am

        You might read up on codependency and see if any of its characteristics sound like you. It seems to me that often women who are in toxic relationships are codependent. And a few of the things you said sound like codependency. Regardless, talking to a therapist can help you sort things out, help you detox, help you focus on what you want and need from your life! But just getting away from him will help you with those things, too! :} Take good care of yourself!

      • Sofia Leo

        November 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

        If I show codependent traits it is because they have been forced upon me. I always only wanted to be single. I knew from a young age that I did not want children or a husband. I was told that I was “unnatural,” “crazy” and “strange,” that no woman is complete without a man. I knuckled under to the pressure from family and peers, against my better judgement. Once I got rid of ex#1 everyone wanted to know when I would get married again. And so it goes. I want nothing more than to be left alone to live my life the way I always wanted to.

        I don’t think that brainwashing necessarily makes one codependent, but I will take your advice 🙂

      • passiveaggressiveabused

        November 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

        But giving in to what others want rather than what you want does! :}

      • Sofia Leo

        November 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

        True…but it could also be called Getting Along or Compromise. Where is that line?

  5. goldfish

    November 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I hate to say I agree with M, but you might benefit from therapy. After I finally got out, I was at my wits end trying to figure out how much the me that was left over was actually me and how much was a result of going through all of that. I had no idea who I was because I lived inside myself for so long. Therapy helped. If nothing else, just having someone impartial to listen to you is nice.

    It sounds to me that what you perceive as P/A might just be a coping mechanism. In any event, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s hard to make it through unscathed.

    • Sofia Leo

      November 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Therapy after detox might be a good idea – gotta get him out of my brain first!

  6. Blathering

    November 13, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Thank you for liking my blog! Like many others I want to urge you to take that most difficult step and get out. But I think what you are doing now – writing about your situation, being heard, allowing yourself to take a step back and talk about it, and hearing others talk about similar situations – is all massively helpful in building up to that point where you can leave. I imagine there will never be a point where it will feel easy to leave – isn’t the definition of courage someone who feels shit-scared but does the thing anyway? When I was very young, I had no self esteem, and passively entered into a relationship with someone much older, who I am reminded strongly of when I read your posts. The switching from pompous superiority to pathetic whining. Fortunately I found that combination repellent, and, mIraculously, I broke up with him after only a few months – thanks to the urging of a good friend. I reckon now that he was a narcissist, amongst other things. His previous girlfriend had committed suicide.

  7. passiveaggressiveabused

    November 18, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Hi, Sophia Leo, I am not sure where the line is between compromise and co-dependence! That is something I struggle with myself. Please understand that I am not saying you are co-dependent. You just sounded like you were looking for answers and it was only a suggestion. Only you know you and only you can figure out what is the answer for you! :} Hang in there and leave as soon as you can!!!! I wish you well!

    • Sofia Leo

      November 18, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      I think that it’s hard enough to decide where the compromise line is, but add an abusive situation and it becomes impossible!

      I am indeed looking for answers and will likely swing to the “oh, hell no!” side of life for awhile as I figure out just what works for me.

  8. El Guapo

    January 2, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Nah. It doesn’t read like it’s P/A on its own.
    More like a conditioned response/survival mechanism.


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