This is my first post to the forums. Here are some quick details for background. Me:37, tall white guy, tattooed, goatee, kinda rock and roll, really hard working professional artist(11 years building this career to no longer starving, just a little hungry). Her:38, Phd professor at small college, runner/biker now a training tri-athlete. Us:married 6 out of 13 years, no kids, 2 pets, still renting a home.
I started hunting around because I am passive aggressive and learned it from my father. I came across this thread; http://talkaboutmarriage.com/anxiety...-behavior.html
I began to wonder just how PA am I? Am I NPD?BPD? What about her? We are actively seeing a therapist for marriage counselling. We started last year right before my wife left to teach in England for 4 months. I continued solo in therapy while she was gone and we resumed as a couple when we returned. I like our therapist. I've asked about several things while I was solo, ADD, ADHD, NPD, BPD, being a sociopath. According to our therapist I am only slightly depressed (or some kind of a little down that wasn't a big deal) and am far less damaged than I thought I was.
I saw these copied and pasted points in the thread I had read and wanted to address them to see what other people think. I know I can be passive aggressive and would really like not to be.
*FEAR OF DEPENDENCY - Unsure of his autonomy & afraid of being alone, he fights his dependency needs - usually by trying to control you.
-hmmmm. I was serial monogamist. My wife is in control though. I had a late career change (at 27 after getting laid off, glassblowing just kinda fell into my lap). She was well under way to Phd at the time so I worked hard to keep things together. She wants more out of life than I do and I've learned just not to fight and go along with what she wants. I was for more PA about this issue in the past but have just given up on fighting back. Travel is expensive but it makes her happy.
*FEAR OF INTIMACY - Guarded & often mistrusful, he is reluctant to show his emotional fragility. He's often out of touch with his feelings, reflexively denying feelings he thinks will "trap" or reveal him, like love. He picks fights to create distance.
-I uhm, don't really know what to say here. I'm a man, aren't I supposed to be strong? I remember discussing quitting the glass business (it's hard, I work 6-7 days a week, and I ain't getting rich by any means) but it became a huge fight because I never know what I want, never finish anything (I'm also a gemini btw), never take anything all the way, and why am I so afraid of working to succeed at something? My parents programmed me to fail, I really haven't yet and it does keep getting better every year.
*FEAR OF COMPETITION - Feeling inadequate, he is unable to compete with other men in work and love. He may operate either as a self-sabotaging wimp with a pattern of failure, or he'll be the tyrant, setting himself up as unassailable and perfect, needing to eliminate any threat to his power.
-Well, I always knew I wasn't the best guitar player in the world. I also know I'm not the best glass blower in the world either. I saw myself as a failure most of the time but therapy has helped a lot. I am socially isolated and haven't found many others in the glass community to judge myself against. I do decent work and am really reliable, although not a "high concept guy".
*OBSTRUCTIONISM - Just tell a p/a man what you want, no matter how small, and he may promise to get it for you. But he won't say when, and he"ll do it deliberately slowly just to frustrate you. Maybe he won't comply at all. He blocks any real progress he sees to your getting your way.
-I've gotten much better at this. I can't always say when and sometimes I just don't care as much. The hose reel broke (I tried really hard to fix it) and after a huge fight yesterday which ruined our plans I still went and took the dog out/bought dog food/and a new hose reel as planned, although on my own which was unplanned. It just needed to be done and I haven't said anything to my wife yet about the new hose reel. Now of course the screen door, I'm fine with it, why can't my wife be a little careful when she opens it and stop ripping the screen out all the time?
It's also hard to always commit to a when-I-will-do-that-chore, I work alot, have deadlines for client orders, art shows, and am always trying to live ahead of the game and keep the work flowing and the money moving.
*FOSTERING CHAOS - The p/a man prefers to leave the puzzle incomplete, the job undone.
-uhmm, I really don't know how to respond to this. I've shaved down hobbies/distractions so I can focus on my business first and everything else second.
*FEELING VICTIMIZED - The p/a man protests that others unfairly accuse him rather than owning up to his own misdeeds. To remain above reporach, he sets himself up as the apparently hapless, innocent victim of your excessive demands and tirades.
-yeah I do. She wants more than I do, wants nicer things than I do. I remeber one time we went to Target to buy a new rug for the dining room (my $30 oriental-esque rug from a guy on the side of the road wasn't cutting it anymore). We got into a huge fight in the store because she asked "Do you want this rug?" and I said "No, I don't." and she blew up at me. I didn't want it, we had a fine rug, the new one was really expensive and I didn't feel we needed it, but I wasn't going to stop her from buying it. I just chose not to lie about my feelings. Is that ok? I just don't care as much...I wanted a simple cheaper couch since we have pets, she bought a $2300 leather sofa. I learned to say "Yes, that's great...awesome" instead of fighting. Of course the couch has blankets over it all the time so the pets don't destroy it and it's uncomfortable in the summer, but I do not complain about it.
*MAKING EXCUSES & LYING - The p/a man reaches as far as he can to fabricate excuses for not fulfilling promises. As a way of withholding information, affirmation or love - to have power over you - the p/a man may choose to make up a story rather than give you a straight answer.
-uhmmm...I clean the house (since I work from home) and when I said "Ok, if I just clean it in stages throughout the week it's kinda like cleaning the whole thing at one time. I know it's great to have it all cleaned and smelling pretty on a Sunday but if I work in stages I can be more efficient with work and other chores." That was me passive agressivley looking for an OK from her, a "it's alright you're doing a decent job and I'm ok with it". Where she saw it as "Applaud me for trying, I deserve a gold star every time I do something right".
I do thank her for cooking, I thank her for going shopping, I try to thank her for anything she does that's chore wise between us.
*PROCRASTINATION - The p/a man has an odd sense of time - he believes that deadlines don't exist for him.
-dude....I'm staring at the computer clock and it's already 10am. I have over a months worth of orders and they all want it at the same time. I've got a major trades how to drive 2 hours to this week, a grandmothers birthday (an hour away), an order to deliver (1.5 hours away), need to call said guy since I moved more product than I thought at a brewery rock festival over the weekend (that I busted my hump to get ready for).... I have constant deadlines. We do things as well and I'm always trying to meet those deadlines to...be ready on a Friday by 4pm to leave for a friends party, have dinner ready on time for a night when my wife needs me to cook, switch production schedules around so I can take a pet to the vet, make one day an easier day so I can walk action dog and make the therapy appointment.
So it's tough. I know I am passive agressive, but how bad am I? What can I do to do better? Where can I turn? I plan on opening this Thursdays session with my behaviour to see what we can do about it. My wife calls me a ruiner, but I also feel that I am not allowed to be angry, or have any negative opinions in my marriage.
I'm starting to think it's a power struggle. Therapist wants us to have an even playing field, wife does not feel I deserve it. She makes most of the major life decisions and handles the finances. I pay into the joint budget every week without fail and toss in extra whenever I have it to purchase things (like $100 for dog food and a hose reel, without complaint).
A good example of my behaviour would be yesterday. Sunday is my only day off (it took years to get to the point where this works). We ride our bikes together. I like to ride my bicycle, she has a training plan to increase distances and do sprint training. I wake up at 7am, do dishes, clean a bathroom, mud room, kitchen, vacuum, and got the bikes ready. She finally wakes up, I cook breakfast. She calls her mom, I wait around getting angry. Mind you, we had a 25 mile bike ride, a trip to the beach (hour drive 1 way) so she can do her first open ocean swim in the new wetsuit (I gave her money towards it) and let action dog swim, buy new hose reel, stop at outlets (I could use new daily shoes), and some food shopping. She needed to talk to her mom, whohad hand surgery on Friday, but couldn't she of called her later during the day? Like during the hour long drive to the beach?
So yes I gave her the cold shoulder at first, for about 15 minutes of "uhm" or just single word answers. Then I was ok and opened up to talking with her. We talked about the amish, buying a farm, the large amount of rebel flags. It's not always easy to keep up a good pace, not get killed by cars/tractors/amish buggies. My sinuses, inner ear, and back teeth hurt during the ride, I'm sorry I couldn't help it, allergies suck. I also kept asking her to check the GPS to see how far we had gone. I had picked a loose route with lots of options so I needed to keep thinking about which way to go to hit the mileage target. I'm also not an athlete and I will grunt and groan and curse in a huge headwind.
Finally nearing the end at 18 miles, in a huge headwind, she made me stop and challenged me. What's going on...nothing I'm fine.... what's your problem... nothing I'm fine. She left me, rode off on her own.
Yes, I was passive aggressive at first. I try to just be curt or terse and not say anything. Our therapist suggests when I am angry she should just let me vent, as I usually get over it pretty quickly. Yes I could've woken up her up, but she is an insomniac who can't sleep, and needs 8 hours of rest since she works out all the time. In the mornings when I wake up I am to shut the door and stay quiet so as not to wake her.
Huge fight at home, I am ruiner, I ruin everything, we can't do anything together. I admitted to being angry at first, she countered we had nothing important to do that day...although she starts her summer break today, I do not. I have multiple expensive car issues to get ready to fix, another quarterly tax payment in a few weeks etc. etc.
I just feel like I'm not allowed to be mad, I'm not allowed to be angry, I can't criticize her for anything. I'm not her equal, but I need to be.
I told her yesterday I'd heading to friends home studio to record with my band on Saturday. We have no plans for the holiday weekend, nothing in the planner at all. She was upset that I only gave her a weeks notice. She told me she had been thinking about doing a 10mile race in another state that day but wasn't sure yet. So a week isn't enough time for me to plan something? but she can hit me up a few days away and say "I want to do a race on Saturday, is there anyway you can come?"
This is just the beginning of looking for help online. I welcome any thoughts, critiques, questions, and will do my best.