I know, don’t say it, I know that no one can ‘make’ you anything. If you’re the kind of person that has never been provoked to anger by a passive aggressive man, you might not want to stay for this post. (Some of our stories might disturb you.) It won’t do any good in the moment to advise me to not marry or stay with a crazymaker, because you’re preaching to the choir. It won’t help to ask, “Why don’t you just leave?” We’re already asking the questions, and encouraging each other to sort through, heal, gain strength, and find the answers.
All that stuff we’re aware of, yet for many of us, here we are, married to and living with a crazymaker.
Reactive anger can sometimes look like reactive abuse, and feel like slippery, treacherous ground to explore for victims of a crazymaker. When he behaves in crazy ways, our sensibilities are shocked, flabberghasted, befoozled, thrown into painful fog, and at times even traumatized. When he behaves in covertly abusive ways that are irrationally destructive and toxic (even destructive to himself), it’s difficult to wrap my head around it. I try to make sense of it, and can’t. It stymies sane thinking. Most of the time, his behavior impacts me. It would be one thing if the consequences were only affecting him, but that’s sadly not how it works. If the consequences of his bad choices and crazy behaviors are building over time, or blowing up suddenly, it can produce the proverbial straw to the camel’s back. Only it doesn’t really look like a regular camel, but a mutant camel that turns part wolverine, part rabid bat, and part tasmanian devil.
Think about it. A crazymaker makes you crazy. And sometimes, the crazy just saturates and before you know it, you are feeling, looking, and acting kind of crazy yourself.
Crazymakers actually kind of like this, even though they have to deal with the shock and awe factor present when their victim explodes. Crazymakers like the big reactions because it not only means that they can manipulate you into expressing emotions for them, but it also gives them the opportunity for you to ‘share their badness’. Your reaction means the crazymaker can point an accusing finger and say, “Tsk tsk… look at you! Why, you’re acting abusive! I feel abused!”
Warning: This will only produce more shock and awe to erupt from the already ignited victim of passive aggressive abuse.
It was cute and humorous when Milo made his mild mannered mommy cat upset in Milo and Otis. This is nothing like that. This is when you know you’re better off not to be near any sharp objects.
It’s when you suddenly realize that you’ve leaped up on the bed, and you’re jumping up and down and waving your arms.
Yes… that really happened.
And you ask yourself, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Who am I?”
It’s when you feel an anger that you didn’t know you were capable of feeling because he’s hurt someone you love. It’s when words come out of your mouth that are so angry, that you feel like you’re having an out of body experience and listening to a stranger.
That’s really it, you become a stranger to yourself in those moments.
And you don’t like it. Actually, that’s an understatement. You can feel rather horrified, and along with that can follow a powerful feeling of grief. A mourning for losing yourself. The anger can flow back to yourself as you ask why you would ever say or do such a thing. It’s really feels like temporary insanity, because that’s rather accurate. The insanity of his passive aggressiveness has temporarily loosed the anchor that tethers you to the foundation of your being, and your thoughts and emotions have become a maelstrom of reactive pain turned to anger.
What’s the difference between what you do and what he does?
His passive aggressive abuse is repetitive and seemingly without remorse or empathy for its impact. Ultimately, he’s okay with it, because it works for him. He’s offended that you took offense at his offending you. He doesn’t truly feel he does wrong, and has a thick book of excuses to use at every turn and incident. He can offend in calm, premeditated ways, and emerge seemingly unaffected and unscathed. You’ve seen him hum, whistle, or laugh and joke from around the corner while you’re barely able to think clearly through the pain and fog.
When he elicits a big reaction, you are usually caught by surprise when the pain erupts and exceeds normal levels. You try to always brace yourself, but just when you think you’ve anticipated every event, he unpleasantly surprises you. You don’t always see it coming, no matter how hard you try. (Add in the self-recrimination that you didn’t see it or prepare for it.)
When you get that angry, you don’t like it. You don’t feel okay about it, and no matter how much he’s hurt you, you eventually calm down and take ownership for your own words and behavior. Then you work harder on your own character flaws, weaknesses, blindspots, and your ability to enact and hold to healthy boundaries.
P.S. If you’re a passive aggressive husband snooping on your wife here, then shame on you. Why don’t you use the time to fall on your knees and plead for mercy and a miracle. Use the time to find a therapist who can help you understand how deceptive you are, how much denial you’re in, how disordered your thoughts and character are, and how much destruction your passive aggressive ways have brought into the lives of people you’re supposed to love. You don’t even really love yourself. You’re just defending who you want to think you are with every fiber of your being instead. You have a slim thread of hope, and the odds are against you. That’s the best I can offer. The rest depends on how much courage and manliness you can muster. Just in case you’re out there, I’ll try to work on adding Resources with links soon.