What happens when I ask him for something

Here I go again.  Use me as the role model to avoid.  What Happens When You Marry a Passive Aggressive Man 101

I do know that asking is fraught with risk and a high probability of being sabotaged in whatever I’m asking for.  You see, I know that, but yet I asked.  Yesterday, I told him I wanted us to go to Costco together the next day (instead of just him going or just me going).  I told him that I wanted to try to find something to wear.  Something I could go walking in or go to town grocery shopping in.  Maybe a pair of lightweight exercise pants.  I told him that I’d like his support to face going in a store. 

Does it sound strange to you that the simple act of going into a department store is a giant giant overwhelming step for me to consider?

If you haven’t walked in the shoes of a world that’s been shrinking to a very small size (translate: manageable), then you are probably not going to understand this post at all.

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have understood at all the me that I’ve become.  I’m not sure how much compassion I would have had either, probably disbelief or bewildered horror from total incomprehension.  When I was young, I would not have believed and not understood that one day I’d not only have hardly anything to wear, but would feel paralyzed to change that.  I would not have believed and not understood that the thought of having to go into a store and try on clothes would make me want to be sedated somehow first.  (hmm… not unlike the thought of going to the dentist now)  It involves spending money (which always gives me anxiety now), and facing myself in a mirror. 

Facing myself.

To be fair, the mirrors in dressing rooms in department stores are universally kind of awful.  I’ve heard most women say they dislike the dressing rooms.  Still, just the thought of even walking into a department store makes my heart rate start to speed up unpleasantly.  I need a haircut, and I’m thinking of cutting at it myself rather than have to go to a salon.  The last time I went to a salon to get it cut was probably only a couple months ago, but it wasn’t a good cut, and I think it notched my depression factor up a little.  Now the weather is warmer, and going to the salon in sweatpants would make me stick out like a sore thumb.  It’s a humiliating kind of feeling that I need to prepare to swallow and forge ahead with.

For those who are normal, I could try to explain that it’s worse when the weather gets warm.  Normal people are out in shorts or sun dresses.  You don’t typically see women grocery shopping in sweat pants in July.  I love summer.  Ironically, I love to go to the lake to swim.  I have a swimsuit!  I put it on, stick my pajama bottoms on over the suit, go quietly to the beach, and quietly into the water.  Once I’m in the water, I can just swim for an hour or two, and completely feel soothed.  I know what’s coming, and it makes walking through the crowd of people bearable.

On Saturday morning, I asked him about going together to Costco on Sunday, and that I’d like us to go together because I wanted to try to find something else to wear

This man is my husband.  He lives with me, so he has to be aware of what those words meant.

He said, “I don’t want to go to Costco on Sunday.  What about a different day?”

(Hm.  A weekday means he shouldn’t go because of work deadlines.  Putting it off until next weekend means we won’t have some of the staples we’re running out of.  Also, did he just hear the reason I asked him?)

I replied, “I really hoped we could go together so I could get moral support from you.  Even though I wish I could be drugged or inebriated to face trying on clothes, it wouldn’t seem as horrible with your support.”

He said, “Oh.  Well.   I just thought it would be good not to shop on Sunday.”

I replied, “Please.  It would mean a lot to me if you were supporting me.”

(knock head against wall)

Late that evening, it came up again. 

I said, “I’m hoping we can leave early tomorrow before it gets warm, and get back at a decent time.”

He said, “I really hate shopping on a Sunday.  It’s something I’ve been wrestling with my conscience about, and feel like I should be honoring the Lord’s day.  I know I haven’t been good about it, but it just seems like it would be better to plan to shop on a different day.”

I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.  Because that sounds like the reasoning of a Pharisee to me.  What kind of conscience thinks it’s okay to treat your wife in unloving and hurtful ways, but focuses on tithing mint and not shopping on a Sunday?  Okay, it’s not that I’m against honoring the Sabbath, it’s not that.  But it was the only day we could go together, and you know what a big deal this is for me… You know how hard this is… Wouldn’t that be more like helping your donkey out of a pit than sinning?”

He said, “You interrupted me before I could finish!  I was about to say that even though I don’t feel right about it, I was going to say that –“

“Just stop it!  I will interrupt you now!”  (I’m feeling angry and stupid to boot now.)  “Don’t even bother to tell me that you’ll go against your conscience to help me, if that’s what you were about to say!”

(He pauses… looks like his thoughts are scrambling as to why that might upset me.)

I said, “Your first response indicated nothing of intending to go with me.  When I started to point out that it felt uncaring and hypocritical to me, you tried to make it sound as though you were intending to go.  And even if for the sake of theory you were intending to go, what possible motive could you have to tell me that you’d have to go against your conscience to do that for me?  Why would you even tell me that?”

He snapped, “You never let me finish!  You gave me about thirty-five seconds to process going tomorrow!  I needed time to think about it!”

I replied, “Uh… I asked you this morning.  That was many hours ago, and should have been plenty of time for you to process.”

He said, “Oh… hm… that’s true…”

I said, “I was stupid to ask you in the first place.  I know better.  I should know better.  I’m going to ask oldest Son to take me sometimes soon.  I’ll explain to him, and I know he’d be low key and patient to try to help me with doing this.”

(He’s getting that wheels turning look again.  Now sad puppy.)

“No, no, you aren’t stupid to ask me.  I want to do this for you.  I really want to support you.”

I said, “Why do I feel like you’re saying that because you probably realized that you’d look uncaring and not supportive?  Why do you suddenly want to do this, when you were so resentful about it before?”

He said, “I really want to do this.  It has nothing to do with what you said.”

I said, “I think now it’s probably a bad idea, and would cost me too much.”

Fast forward to today.  We’re walking around outside. It’s my first walk around since hitting the knee and twisting the ankle.  I see the damage the hail did to the garden and fruit trees.  Discouraging.  I look at the cosmos popping up quite well.  Happy thought. I try not to feel awful about my battered garden with dead plants, or the apples that won’t happen in the orchard this year. I notice that the hoses need to be turned on, and mention to him that the plants need water, and would he turn on the hoses? 

He responds that he will, and that he thought he’d tie up the roses, and do some weeding. 

Weeding.  He’s already been busy inside cleaning up a laundry shelf (he said our youngest son didn’t do a good enough job and felt he needed to redo it).  Cleaning and weeding. 

I asked, “Isn’t that working?  Why is that okay, but it upset you to go shopping with me?”

He said, “Being outside isn’t work!  It’s joy!  It’s soaking in the glory of creation!  It’s completely different!”

I turned to go back in the house, realizing that if joy is his criterion for whether something is okay or not to do on a Sunday,  there was apparently no joy for him in my taking a step towards healing and growth.  At least it looks that way to me, but maybe I’m missing something or looking at this from a skewed perspective.

The question I’m asking now to myself, is why did I ask him?


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20 Responses to What happens when I ask him for something

  1. GainingStrength says:

    My opinion, you saw him as a normal husband. I think that’s part of why I’ve stayed so long, I saw him for what I wanted him to be and ignored the reality. If only I worked harder, loved deeper, etc. then he would l-o-v-e me. Really he would, it’s all my fault.

    When they are in their somewhat nice time it’s easy to believe in fairy tales. Except we don’t realize we are living with the evil ogre, not Prince Charming. It’s hard to see the stark reality as it is because it makes you feel stupidly worthless (just like they make us feel) to still be living with them. These men have messed with our thoughts and emotions so much, it’s hard to concentrate on reality when you’re just trying to focus on living and remaining sane.


    • newshoes says:

      True. But you cannot blame yourself my dear. They say hindsight is 20-20, well that’s so true when it comes to the pa men (or women), they show us what they want us to see in order to keep us near them. So they will give us just enough to hope and dream that all will be well and that we will be love the way we should but they are also just bad enough to make us “crazy” so no wonder we stick around… don’t be so hard on yourself (I have to be honest and that’s a piece of advice I could use on certain days).


      • GainingStrength says:

        newshoes, thank you for your kind words. I only take the blame now for what I allow after I realized what he was/is doing to me. Of course I don’t know how long the self-doubt and fears will remain, but they are ever so slowly diminishing (still have those dark days on occasion). I’m one of the lucky ones…we’re in the process of divorce.


  2. Exodus says:

    A+ for effort!

    You asked him because you’re married to him and it’s only normal that a wife would want the support of her best friend/husband. You explained that to him and he used religion to guilt you. Lovely.

    Does your husband like to shop? Realistically, ( I’m not referring to you and your husband specifically) it’s probably not a great idea to ask someone do something they don’t like to do since it will inevitably result in hurt feelings or disappointment. That said, I would have asked my husband too but only because I have no one else to shop with. I have no friends, no family and so, he’s the only one to ask and of course, he’s subconsciously strategically organized my life to be this way. If I ask him to shop with me, he will throw a very ugly tantrum and tell me that it’s his day off and he doesn’t want to do anything. Fair enough, I get that but, then he starts working in the garden and I’m not talking about flower-sniffing- I mean he will climb trees and prune them, make huge piles of brush, etc.. and I’m thinking, ‘ This is doing nothing?” When he actually does go shopping with me, it’s usually because he has a secret agenda of his own. i have to go to the front desk and have him paged because he walks off like a toddler and abandons me so really it’s like shopping alone. Why do I even bother to ask him? I can drive myself to the store. From now on I’m not going to ask.

    I’m really glad to see that you’re at least trying to fix yourself up! Yay!! That’s a first step and it will get easier PJ’s. I’m trying to do the same and yes, I also have a very difficult time in stores. Maybe you should try a smaller store? I never shop in big stores given how they stress me out. Humans stress me out period and when there’s a crowd of them i get very anxious. I shop online mostly and there’s really only one or two stores that I purchase clothing from anyway. Clothes today are horrible quality and look even worse on which really stresses me out since I’m wasting my money on cheap poorly made goods. Costco would be a panic attack in a building for me. I haven’t been to a mall in probably 15+ years.


    • wornout says:

      Exodus, I love your description of your husband walking off in the store like a toddler. That gave me a much needed laugh. It’s not funny that they do that to us, but your description of it made me laugh. And it just happens to be that my husband did the same thing to me yeterday in the store. Aaarrggghhh. On another note, you guys, I am shocked to hear about how you don’t like going out anymore. I am the same way! It gives me anxiety to have to go out and do things. I try to avoid it as much as possible. Why is this?! Have we just been so beat down emotionally by our guys? Is this a common thing that happens to a spouse who has had years of PA covert abuse? I have been wondering why I am like this now, and what’s wrong with me. I can’t believe that others feel the same way. This is so eye opening.


      • Exodus says:

        Yes, he really does behave like a toddler! A sneaky toddler at that. It’s not as if my husband doesn’t know where I am. I’m almost sure he keeps an eye on me even though he keeps a great distance between us so that he doesn’t need to participate in the grueling task of helping me shop. I also know that he keeps an eye on me because one time I was so livid that I actually just went to the car and planned to leave him at the store but no sooner than I was about to drive away..he came poking up to the car, mr. cool, and asks, ‘ why are you leaving?’.

        …..so, when he abandons me in a store and I can’t find him and must have him paged, I tell the cashier that my SON is partially deaf and that it’s critical that they enunciate VERY loudly through the PA system so that he will hear them and repeat what they say 3 or 4 times. Works every time ;D He will come up to the cashier on aisle 3, poking along very slowly and then ask, ‘ Now, why did you do that?” Maybe because I got tired of standing at the checkout for 20 minutes? I have done this many times and will continue to do so. I know it seems so utterly childish but the way I see it is that I’m not going to waste time searching for him anymore. Imagine the cashier’s face when they see a grown man arrive at the register. One woman whispered that she was going to use my method with her husband in the future.


  3. AlonewithGod says:

    GainingStrength, I agree. We ask for something, no matter how small, thinking “he’s been nice lately, so maybe he will help me out”. Hoping that my husband is really normal, has some issues (who doesn’t?), but KNOWING that something is desperately wrong with him. Giving him the benefit of the doubt time after time. And he ALWAYS let me down. So I completely stopped asking for anything at all. No expectations at all. If he came up with an idea to do something for me, I didn’t believe it, because it never materialized. Those ideas were just to make him appear to be a caring involved husband. Might have made him feel better about himself that he was making promises to me, but PAs don’t keep promises.
    PJs do you think your husband wants you to take steps towards healing and growth? These guys undermine us. I think my ex was very resentful of my organization, taking care of bills, savings, etc. He is the type of PA who won’t pay his bills, won’t open his mail, files bankruptcy (I did not join in that, although he badgered me for weeks to declare bankruptcy too). So I marvel at those of you with financially successful husbands who provide for you.
    The way I survived and came out healthy was to have a great life independent of him. A life that centers around serving God and others. My husband was fearful of unknown social situations where he might be rejected, so he rarely went anywhere with me. If my friends came over, he was nice; everybody got along and liked each other. But he never wanted to socialize. I longed to be part of a group where normal couples do activities together, but he is soooo very distrustful.
    We had many many negative experiences during our marriage. He was a nasty alcoholic and I saw so much demonic activity within him over the years. But I still prayed fervently for him and loved him unconditionally, always forgiving. And yes, the marriage covenant was extremely important. More than a commitment, but someone who doesn’t understand the blood covenant established by God won’t really care about vows and commitment.
    Anyway, my ex could not control me any more to the extent he desired. So he moved out, leaving everything behind and is now living with a younger woman he met at his job. Everybody says I’m better off. I think they are right.


    • Exodus says:

      YOU ARE better off!! Count your blessings! Underming truly is what PA is all about. I’m in such dire financial situation now because of my husband. The man has such an aversion to ANY success whether it’s financial or otherwise. He earns money but devalues it by throwing it on the ground, losing it, wasting it or giving it to people that are using him and are not grateful. It’s his way of devaluing his work/efforts.


    • AlonewithGod…how was you able to leave your PA spouse? What was the deciding factor for you? Right now i’m reading the book, The Silent Cry for Christian Women, It was suggested by one of the bloggers on this web site. The book is really helping me but I feel like its going to be decision time soon. I know God will help us change but only if we allow him to.


      • alonewithGod…i apologize, i just re read your reply again and realized your spouse left you. I’m very happy for you!! I know you have to go through the greiving process but I agree that you’re better off.


  4. lonelywife07 says:

    There are times PA Man will offer to go with me, and we seem to have a good time, and then I find out later that he ran me in the ground to my son! It happened just this weekend!

    I THOUGHT we had a fun time meeting my bro and SIL at my moms house to help her move in some new furniture that she bought…and PA Man gets along great with my bro…but he complained on the way home about how long it took, my mom lives 1 1/2 hrs away, etc…But as I pointed out to him, he hasn’t been to my moms house in over SIX months…so a day spent there helping her isn’t asking to much…and he agreed with me.
    Then I find out later that he complained to son #2 about it taking so long, and how he works hard all week long, and he likes to have the weekend to relax…blah, blah, blah!

    But I won’t say anything to him, it does no good, you all know that already.
    But I refuse to let him get me down….I had a really nice weekend, and like you AlonewithGod, I serve in my church, that’s where I put my focus! And I love it!
    I keep telling myself that God knows how PA Man is treating me and He isn’t pleased with it….so I take comfort in that!
    I enjoy being by myself, so I don’t ask him to go with me…if he’s home and wants to go…fine. But I figure the less time spent with him, the less stress on me trying to figure out if he’s being sincere or not.
    I do find it interesting how many of us seem to have husbands who are SUPPOSED to be men of God….but are fake!!
    I do trust and believe that God can change a person, even a PA…but I also believe that they have see the problem within themselves and WANT to change…and there lies the problem.


    • Exodus says:

      I agree that nothing ever changes until someone recognizes there is something that needs changing and possesses the desire to change it. I don’t believe that G-d changes anyone. If that were true than we would not have been given free will and He would change a lot of things in this world that are just plain evil. What I do believe is that both good and bad people serve a purpose in this world. G-d chooses his teachers wisely and the best teachers are those who reap wisdom through adversity. I wondered why it is that people like my husband never seem to suffer anything. Nothing bad ever happens to him directly and when he has ‘ accidents’ that cause me grief, I’m the one who pays the price and must fix everything and prevent future disasters. I have wondered if G-d’s plan for me was to protect my husband and improve his quality of life. I know he suffered as a child but as he grew up, he was always the one inflicting the suffering and everyone was in his pocket taking care of him. It occurred to me one day that bad and evil people will only suffer in vain so where’s the purpose in that? In other words, they have no desire to better themselves by learning from their mistakes so, for G-d to allow someone like my husband to suffer, serves absolutely no purpose in this world. I on the other hand want to learn from my mistakes and from the adversity in my life and become a better person. I want to be able to empower others to achieve and overcome adversity. When I get out of here, I’ll have gained enough wisdom to do that! It’s always been important to me to do what I can to heal the world and I believe that the only way to do that is by learning from experience and having the desire to give back. As difficult as it is to wake up and accept that there is most likely a silver lining in all my suffering, I do, in my heart really believe that. Sometimes it even scares me to imagine myself actually enduring all this and coming out of it at the rainbow because what if I am so happy and secure and all that gets destroyed? It would hurt worse than losing something painful. Losing a wonderful husband or friend is so much more painful than losing a bad one, right? But G-d does not want us to fear the joy of being loved.
      I’d like to tell everyone here that they are special and have been presented with an opportunity to better themselves and achieve greatness that has much greater purpose than we can imagine right now. Keep your hearts open to love but discern and be wise and don’t settle for anything less than the real thing. G-d picks on powerful people ;D


  5. newshoes says:

    Sabotage. Plain and simple. He saw an opportunity to sabotage your progress. It’s easier to keep you there than to face you getting stronger and healthy. Keeping you under his control. Poor you. Don’t be scared PJ’s, you can do this. I know what’s you have been through, at some point many years ago, I was way way way too big for my body frame, I had one pair of pants that actually fit, everything else was too tight but I wore them anyways because I had no choice, making me uncomfortable all day at work. But I did it, I went out and bought stuff that fit, it doesn’t matter what size you are, if you feel good in what you are wearing, it’s half the battle. You can do it girl. Go for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for comng by my site this morning. I am following you. I haven’t read your current blog but the title says it all. Can’t wait to get back to read. Have a great day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. WritesinPJ's says:

    Okay. I didn’t get out and get there yet, but I want to say THANK YOU to all of you. You all made a huge difference to encourage me.


  8. DotedOn says:

    I have goosebumps… Reading all this was like narrating any given day in my house for the past 16 years. I’m leaving “the man” soon… I have 5 kids from 13 to 1.5… What’s ahead scares me… but nothing can be worse than my life now. PJ, I didn’t believe in depression until I was deep down there. Asking the man for help was like asking him to jump on me and dig me even deeper. I started painting my toenails, two layers, first a dark color and then I added some glittery nail polish. Every time I looked at them, it reminded me that I was alive… Some wounds take more time than others to heal. Keep writing, keep smiling. You are not alone. 🙂


  9. DotedOn says:

    I wanted to add this and I pressed send too early… Even when everything was dark, I left the bed and dressed up.. Not because I felt like dressing up, but because the idea of infecting my PJ’s with the mess/filth/dirt (choose one or all of the above) around the house, crept me out… I really didn’t feel like doing anything,.. so I didn’t do anything… Till I decided to start from my toenails 🙂
    Have a great day! You deserve it 🙂


  10. Expat says:

    Why did you ask him? Because we hold onto hope that these people will change and act normal/do normal things. A normal supporting husband would have come along with you. I kept hope in my ex for around 11 years then gave up. It took me two years after leaving to figure out what was wrong with him.
    I wanted to ask if you had any friends to go with you to the store, but probably not. If you are in a relationship with a PA likely all your friends are out of your life by one means or another. :/

    I can really relate to living in pajamas, I too lived in pajamas and then only in a shirt and underware for a portion of my marriage. When I got pregnant I got the silent treatment and we couldn’t discuss anything about the baby. That also meant I couldn’t have any maternity clothing. So it was pajamas to eventually no pants because nothing I had would fit. Then I gained weight. I asked for $50 one day years down the road so I could get a pair of pants and other clothing. Guess what the answer was. I had to share his clothing. I actually did not get to buy / have my own clothing until I left him then I bought everything I wanted. 🙂 But I remember the anxiety of when I went to get those new clothing. It required a lot of planning ( I even felt self concious looking at clothing on the racks when others were in the general area. I thought I wasn’t worthy of having nice things or people would laugh at me) and the trip took hours.


  11. Pingback: I have new pajamas | my life in pajamas

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