Passive aggressives and their anger - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
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post #16 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 10:42 AM
jld
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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At university, I shared a suite with 2 other women. It was the 80s, so well before the digital age or any time that having a cellphone could fit a stundet budget.

I put an anwering machine on the phone as they were called at the time. The other 2 women were able to access their messages. One was very good about writing down my and the other womans' messages. And I did the same whenever I accessed the answering machine.

What I noticed and what other people who were trying to reach me noticed was that the answering machine was never reset.

It became clear that it was down to one person. I aksed nicely if she could reset the machine once she checked the messages. She said would, she didn't.

Finally accepting that my gentle reminders were getting what I wanted, I asked her is there was something more that I needed to do.

She said "whatever you want, I'm willing to do whatever you want."

So I explained to her that I want the answering machine reset to receive messages since all three of us depend on people who contacting us ...like for study groups.

So I still found the answering machine UN reset after she took messages off. I would ask her what is preventing her from doing it..... trying to have an open honest discussion with her.

Her response was whatever you want that's what I'll do.

Which never happened.

@jld, please tell what I was doing wrong in that scenario.
It does not sound like you were doing anything wrong. For whatever reason, there was some sort of communication or willingness gap there.

How did you resolve it?


One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #17 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 11:01 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

For the PA in my life she does this to maintain the moral high ground. She is very angry, sometimes the things she is angry about do not even involve the person she is being PA with. Being PA she can exorcise her anger without having to apologise for a thing. Particularly when she is pulled up on her behaviour she can maintain the impression that she wholly innocent and possible even a victim of some unfair accusations. It is also an act of childishness and an inability to deal with their feelings in an adult way.
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post #18 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 11:14 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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It does not sound like you were doing anything wrong. For whatever reason, there was some sort of communication or willingness gap there.

How did you resolve it?
During the spring semester she left me a note asking if I could ensure that the answering machine was set because she was interviewing for summer jobs and she may get some "callbacks" from the initial interviews she had.
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post #19 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 11:36 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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During the spring semester she left me a note asking if I could ensure that the answering machine was set because she was interviewing for summer jobs and she may get some "callbacks" from the initial interviews she had.
So then she started writing down your messages, too?

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #20 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 11:46 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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So then she started writing down your messages, too?

No, she did not.

This is the problem with PA people. You ask them a direct, open, honest question and then they come back with something canned along the lines of "whatever you want" and sometimes exactly those words.
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post #21 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 01:02 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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No, she did not.

This is the problem with PA people. You ask them a direct, open, honest question and then they come back with something canned along the lines of "whatever you want" and sometimes exactly those words.
Sorry, I thought your response was in answer to my question of how you resolved the issue.

OP, you cannot make your husband or anyone else be direct with you, at least not that I know of. You can invite it, though. Making it safe for them to do so is a way to do that.

If you want to go that route, realize it may take a while for you to earn their trust enough to be vulnerable with you. You may have to be patient and persistent in modeling and treating them with respect before you are treated that way in return.

And some people may never be direct. For whatever reason, possibly having nothing to do with you, they may just never be able to do it. Those people probably do not belong in your life, or at least not in any primary capacity, at least imo.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #22 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 01:20 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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Sorry, I thought your response was in answer to my question of how you resolved the issue.

OP, you cannot make your husband or anyone else be direct with you, at least not that I know of. You can invite it, though. Making it safe for them to do so is a way to do that.

If you want to go that route, realize it may take a while for you to earn their trust enough to be vulnerable with you. You may have to be patient and persistent in modeling and treating them with respect before you are treated that way in return.

And some people may never be direct. For whatever reason, possibly having nothing to do with you, they may just never be able to do it. Those people probably do not belong in your life, or at least not in any primary capacity, at least imo.
okay, at least we got that straight.
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post #23 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 01:32 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

Being with someone who is passive aggressive is a soul sucking experience. It makes you not trust anyone especially yourself. You turn into someone who you just do not recognize and your self-esteem and confidence are gone. They blame you for everything. It is very hurtful behavior to those on the receiving end of it. Until you live with someone who is that way, you cannot truly understand what it is like.
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post #24 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 07:29 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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During the spring semester she left me a note asking if I could ensure that the answering machine was set because she was interviewing for summer jobs and she may get some "callbacks" from the initial interviews she had.
Please tell me you forgot to write down her messages before resetting.
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post #25 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 07:31 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

I find it funny that in a forum for 'Long Term Success in Marriage' someone starts a thread about passive-aggressives.

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post #26 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 11:14 AM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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Please tell me you forgot to write down her messages before resetting.


This is one time that I can't remember what I did. I don't think she got a summer job either. OTOH, she would blow hot and cold. If I say hello, she might ignore me. Then on another day would initiate conversation like I'm supposed to come when called. She had a couple of friends in our grad program but people who knew me would tell me that she was weird.

These days, my patience is much shorter. I don't care someone is PA, narcissistic or just plain shy. If I am asked to repeat myself more than once, I just "oh, you'll figure it out." If I ask for something more than twice and don't get it, I am already figuring how to go around you. People who "forget", quite often "didn't see anything" or "didn't hear anything" are also people I don't have much patience with. People who value a friendship with me will try a little harder; and if they don't a little harder then it's best we part ways.
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post #27 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 12:22 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

Interesting thread. My wife is PA, even self proclaiming that she is the queen of PA. Her anger is mostly just below the surface and I realize which subjects will make it surface. Our kids even see it.

Just yesterday my 14yo and I were talking about a run in he had with mom. She described him as being non compliant and refusing to do as she said. When I asked him about it he said "Mom asked me a question. I answered it." Ah, there's the miscommunication. Mom sees herself as having a primary characteristic of harmony. (Not sure of her source. Maybe a personality test type of thing) So, she will ask a question to her 14yo son that is actually a demand, met with anger when he doesn't respond correctly. Son was confused and rightly so. I told him that some times when mommy asks a question she is actually trying to tell you something. My advice was to straight up ask if she's asking or telling. Sucks that he has to be on the defensive with his own mother but he is learning some valuable lessons.

The anger associated with PA is interesting. In my situation the W is so PA she proclaims it, then flips it upside down and describes it as a virtue by calling it a 'harmony' personality trait.

~ Passio
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post #28 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 01:20 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

"The anger associated with PA is interesting. In my situation the W is so PA she proclaims it, then flips it upside down and describes it as a virtue by calling it a 'harmony' personality trait."

That's some serious spinning. It's almost scary to think how her mind operates.
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post #29 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 04:03 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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"The anger associated with PA is interesting. In my situation the W is so PA she proclaims it, then flips it upside down and describes it as a virtue by calling it a 'harmony' personality trait."

That's some serious spinning. It's almost scary to think how her mind operates.
Well, it is my fault that I drove her to anger by disrupting her harmony. Because she's not an angry person.

~ Passio
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post #30 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 04:14 PM
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Re: Passive aggressives and their anger

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I asked my therapist this very same question. And her answer was no. Passive aggressive people will do everything they can to keep from feeling or showing emotion. It is brutal for the spouses. Because as you and others said, nothing gets resolved. My STBXH has no empathy and I feel mimics emotion. It isn't real. Because if they can't feel their anger, they can't feel love either. I point blank asked my STBXH why was he passive aggressive? I have said many times I had rather be told no or the truth. His response, "I don't know. I only do it to you". Nice huh? That is just how he operates and how he is probably operating now. He doesn't think there is anything wrong with him and it is always someone else's fault. I know why he is like he is, and I grieve for that terribly abused little boy. But, it was his choice to become the cold, selfish, hateful man that he is now. Unless they become self-aware, you are in for a world of hurt. I am sorry but you are going to have to accept who he is since you are choosing to stay. You're not ready yet but there will come a point when you draw the line and actually mean it. Then he will most likely leave you because you no longer give him his passive aggressive payoff.

ETA: I no longer search for answers why he did what he did. I am now looking for answers on why I did what I did and allowed it.
I wonder if you can diagnose passive aggressiveness the other way around by first noticing that the person is not capable of feeling love and is cold and and selfish.

"I've paid double for every transgression I've ever made and that motel and that boat are little to ask for"
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