Is he passive aggressive because I do or don’t X,Y,Z?

A particularly judgmental person named Bill responded to this post from one of the best bloggers on passive aggressive abuse.  You can read his comments in full, but particularly I addressed the following:  “The more you ruminate about how much you hate him, the more he will continue to meet your expectations. You have spent three years bemoaning him on the internet behind his back; no wonder your relationship is in the toilet. If these feelings were addressed with him openly, maybe he would be able to change some of his behavior. Instead, you repress your true feelings and immaturely and passive-aggressively take your problems to an anonymous forum. Grow up and talk to your husband about these feelings. Show him this blog! If you truly feel this way, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it and certainly shouldn’t hide it from your partner.

My response is below:

I agree that bad marriages aren’t a good way for kids to grow up. I felt that way as a kid growing up in a bad marriage, and despite my best intentions and efforts, it was a painful awakening to realize that I’d repeated the pattern. I can’t imagine anyone plans to have a bad marriage.

I disagree that anonymous blogging is passive aggressive. That’s one perspective, but many others find it to be a process for growth, clarity, and support. Passive aggressive is aggressive; it’s sugar coated hostile aggression disguised in ambiguity and pleasantness. It’s also so mind twisting that over time, you lose confidence in your own thoughts, feelings, choices, and reality.

Those who actually read this blog, know that this blogger has openly communicated her feelings to her husband. Those who really understand what deeply passive aggressive people are like, realize that open and honest communications typically don’t alter their thinking or behavior. This isn’t just my opinion, but the consensus of professionals that work with them.

The woman that writes this blog has been on a slow and steady path of growth. This blog has been an essential part of her growth and recovery. Passive aggressive people are driven to sabotage and undermine things that make their partners happy or help them in essential ways; therefore, it would be self-sabotage to share it with him.

For the record, I have a blog and it’s not a secret to my family. It’s anonymous to protect my kids and my husband. My kids deserve that privacy, but they also express encouragement to me for my blog. My teenagers (i.e. dependents) read your response here. The older one quietly commented, “The problem is that he obviously doesn’t understand.” The younger teen said, “He’s the immature one.” Their opinions were expressed before hearing any of my thoughts. I only asked them to read what you had to say.

I discuss the options of stay vs. go with my kids, and what the currently available choices would mean. They support me if I need to leave their father, but prefer that I stay and that stability is maintained while they’re in school etc. I express my feelings openly to my husband, including my goals to recover physical health and financial independence with the goal of making separation reasonably viable. I tell my husband that my hope is that he’d work on his part so that we could heal our marriage, but if he chooses not to, then I’ll keep working at recovery until I can separate from him. It does absolutely nothing to change his behaviors. He wants us to stay together, but doesn’t change or get help. His intentions are good, but his behaviors are undermining to everyone.

My husband does know I blog about recovery from passive aggressive abuse, but doesn’t read my blog (although I’ve never told him that he couldn’t). He’s never asked for the name of it, or the link. He acknowledges that he’s passive aggressive, and we’ve been in and out of professional counseling over the years. In my particular case, it shoots down your theory that direct communication about the relationship (or the blog) would make any difference.

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27 Responses to Is he passive aggressive because I do or don’t X,Y,Z?

  1. I have talked to my husband many times about our problems; I’ve proposed solutions; I’ve changed my behavior in many ways. He hates it when I talk about our issues. HATES IT. He tells me I shouldn’t talk about problems and that when I do, he wants to do the opposite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exodus says:

      Married, it’s the same for me as well. That’s why I’m leaving. I don’t even want friends in my life that live in denial and shut me up and fault me for wanting to problem-solve. Why would I want a husband or business partner who is a weak coward that can’t face the truth about himself or his marriage or his business? I don’t.


  2. newshoes123 says:

    Mine would get so mad if I even mentioned to a friend that we were having issues, my response was: “then to who should I express my feelings, you who won’t listen”… that shut him up but he never ever liked it because it meant that his seemingly perfect little life was less than perfect and therefore he was less than perfect. I’d rather have someone less than perfect but who would at least discuss issues, solve them and move on than have someone play ostrich in the sand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Exodus says:

    Being a deeply spiritual woman who believes in the power of positive thinking and that a single wanton act of kindness can change the world by inspiring someone to pay it forward, I truly exhausted myself trying to exorcise Norman’s evil every day. Being with Norman has given me a real education in learning that some people are just bad and that I must learn to accept that truth and discern and not allow these types of people into my life despite any belief that there is good in everyone. It’s not my responsibility to make anyone reveal their good character. Norman chooses, like the rest of us, who he wants to be in any given moment. When we allow others like Norman to constantly drain us we are not living with spiritual integrity and we have allowed ourselves to become sacrifices and martyrs and we even become selfish in that we make excuses why we stay and are willing to force others in our lives to endure our battle with evil. I have suffered the consequences of my selfish choices in order to survive in this marriage and I live with immense regret. I know that being married to regret is just as wrong as being married to Norman as both are a self defeating waste of time and of course, living a self defeating life is not living a spiritual life. The only way that I can heal my regret is to rectify my mistakes by leaving and living a spiritual life that aligns with my beliefs. This is truly a test of my Faith in G-d. I must trust Him to guide me and trust that He will protect me along the road. If for any reason I fail, at least I failed at doing the right thing.

    Logical thinking allows me to respect Bill’s comment though relative to my writing, I’m not PA at all. I agree with PJ’s that some level of anonymity is necessary for security reasons but then again, using an anonymous handle really doesn’t protect us anymore. Anyone can gain access to our private info including address and phone if they really wanted to. Other than that, I really don’t care if anyone knows who I am or if anyone reads what I write. I have nothing to hide- if I did, I certainly wouldn’t write on the world-wide internet! I don’t have a FB page because I know how dangerous that can be for a multitude of reasons. I’m very careful about what I do on computers. But, writing on here is one of the good things about the internet as it provides an opportunity of self help through give and take dialogue whereas writing in my journal is just one-way. I haven’t provided Norman with the link to this blog simply because it wouldn’t matter if he read my entries. Years ago, i would have given him the link. For years, I gave him books, showed him videos, he listened to religious and spiritual CD’s and a guy he worked with gave him a Bible. We’ve exhausted every avenue of self help and he only sees and hears what he wants to. So be it. My efforts to communicate with my husband are futile and always misinterpreted and I am accused of being an aggressive, nagging and abusive woman anytime I confront Norman with my concerns. A questioning and problem-solving mindset is not allowed in any abusive relationship. Everything that I say is interpreted as an inconvenient truth and an assault on his ego. Norman is a selfish coward living in denial just like the rest of his family. Truth, especially painful truth, is just one big thorn in their side. Anyway, Bill sounds like one of my previous therapists and although she was correct in a most practical and logical way, she didn’t address the urgent need for me to get out of here, didn’t address the elements of PA abuse that could permanently damage my well-being and led me down a very misleading road of hope. What Bill wrote is nothing that I haven’t already told myself thousands of times and deeply examined relative to myself and my marriage and every single time I told myself those things and realized how ineffective my efforts proved in my life, I hated myself just a little bit more and fed the wolf inside me that needed to believe that I was incapable of changing my circumstances. Instead of solving the problem, I spent years constantly putting superficial bandaids on everything in an effort to make everything appear nice on the surface and eventually, I didn’t enjoy doing or contributing anything at all. I couldn’t enjoy planning holiday gatherings, couldn’t enjoy planning special occasions, couldn’t enjoy buying a new car or buying a new outfit, I couldn’t enjoy traveling or attending social functions, hated grocery shopping even though I loved cooking ( grew to hate cooking as well). The joy was sucked right of my life. I remember the first year that I dreaded decorating for the Christmas holidays…it was 2006. I knew something was wrong because the experience felt so daunting and exhausting. I quit baking, quit making gifts, quit making decorations, quit planning parties and menus. I just wanted to do the bare minimum and get it over with. In 2009, in an attempt to conjure up some joy after all my hard work, I left the Christmas decorations up until Easter. Still, the joy never came. Norman never appreciated anything I did but he expected it ( would get upset if I didn’t do the usual) because ultimately those things gave him even more permission to keep on abusing. After all, it was easy for Norman to see me as ‘happy’ since I appeared to have everything I wanted including his money that he works so hard for ( for my benefit of course). Norman’s very own therapist told me once that Norman’s life was working quite well for him and that he had it made thanks to my efforts, so why should I expect him to suddenly wake up and change?

    The hardest thing for me to accept at that this moment is knowing that if I had left 5 or ten years ago, it would have been SO much easier than it is now! To think of all things I’ve purchased for our home that require more packing and moving expenses, all the time and money spent on remodeling our home, all the money spent on unappreciated meals and thoughtful gifts for empty holidays, all the time wasted not working outside the home when my chances of finding a job were much much easier years ago, all the wrinkles and gray hairs and cellulite I’ve accumulated in the last 4 years that remind me that I’m not as attractive to anyone, all the health problems that I must now endure that have ultimately shortened my life. I could have rebuilt my life with whole lot less effort and much higher rate of success even 5 years ago than it will take now. Every year that we stay in these relationships, the damage to our spirit, our finances, our children, our pets, our friendships, our health and well-being becomes exponentially greater.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lonelywife07 says:

      I couldn’t agree more.


    • DotedOn says:

      Think only of the most important, you are leaving now, not in 5 years.
      I can tell you are beautiful inside and I’m sure that reflects also on the outside. And if I could see it, anyone can :).


      • Exodus says:

        ((( Hugs))) Thank you DotedOn. You’re right about focusing on leaving now. I mustn’t look back. It’s so easy for me to feel defeated before I even begin. My grandfather used to tell me, ‘ Often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup and he learned too late when the night came down, how close he was to the golden crown”.
        Success if failure turned inside out so never give up.


        • DotedOn says:

          Your grandfather was right and that’s an amazing poem, I love it!

          Don’t Quit (by Edgar A. Guest)

          “When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
          When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
          When the funds are low and the debts are high,
          And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
          When care is pressing you down a bit-
          Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

          Life is queer with its twists and turns,
          As every one of us sometimes learns,
          And many a fellow turns about
          When he might have won had he stuck it out.
          Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
          You may succeed with another blow.

          Often the goal is nearer than
          It seems to a faint and faltering man;
          Often the struggler has given up
          When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
          And he learned too late when the night came down,
          How close he was to the golden crown.

          Success is failure turned inside out –
          The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
          And you never can tell how close you are,
          It might be near when it seems afar;
          So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
          It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”

          You’ll be fine 🙂 and you are not alone. Hugs to you too!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Exodus says:

            Thank you!! for sharing that poem. I knew there was a poem but couldn’t remember what it was or who wrote it. My grandfather was my no. one cheerleader. He made a beautiful scrapbook for me and wrote those verses on the first page. Oh I miss him so.


            • DotedOn says:

              I hope it had brighten your day! And the reason why your grandfather is in your thoughts right now it is because he wants you to remember that you’ll be fine. He’s with you, he always will be 🙂
              Big hug!


    • Zombiewife says:

      I find your perspective of good vs. evil very interesting. I never looked at my marriage in those terms, not even in my darkest moments. Rather, I see my husband as a man with a personality disorder, not a bad or evil person. I love him dearly, but hate his destructive behaviors.

      At what point in your marriage did you stop loving your husband and start seeing him as evil? What happened to cause that change in thinking?


      • Exodus says:

        Zombie, re: evil, that’s a loaded question. For starters, I began to see Norman as evil probably back in 2005. That’s when it became most clear to me that his PA behavior wasn’t just was the kind of evil that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.. Norman always aligned himself with very bad people in order to oppose me, put my life and my dogs’ lives in harms way, compromise our security and more. I’m not sure how to answer your question with any brevity. I know that Norman has a personality disorder and there’s no doubt about that but, Norman’s character is one that aligns with evil in that he truly has severe opposition to anything that is good, honest and right and he attracts evil to our life. I’ve written about his evil in many of my other posts. He’s a charming man with other people that he is charming. Keep in mind that charming is a verb, not an adjective. He charms people or seduces them into supplying him with admiration, attention, sympathy, empathy, etc.. But, he has no genuine emotions or spiritual integrity. My definition of evil is that ‘ it always takes the path of least resistance” and Norman does just that without any conscience or concern for others. He has absolutely no integrity at all and will use anyone or anything for his own gain. He will align himself with a thug or a thief or a liar or a cheat if it’s easier for him to do that rather than do the right thing. For me, this is like living in hell- literally. I feel surrounded by evil. I had a conversation on this blog with Seeingthelight about some of the warnings I had about Norman’s evil. Everything from appliances burning up at times when he would get angry to my dogs getting sick. But, aside from those mystical bizarre happenings, there is always a very profound opposition to goodness.

        Have you ever read the book called, ‘ People of the Lie’? It’s a good book written by a very spiritual psychologist about healing evil in the world. Peck addresses the relationships between evil and personality disorders and often how therapists fail to acknowledge evil for what it is by giving it a fairly benign label.

        “To come to terms with evil in one’s parentage is perhaps the most difficult and painful psychological task a human being can be called on to face. Most fail and so remain its victims. Those who fully succeed in developing the necessary, searing vision are those who are able to name it. For to “come to terms” means to “arrive at the name (evil).” As therapists, it is our duty to do what is in our power to assist evil’s victims to arrive at the true name of their affliction.”

        Peck goes on to delineate the face of evil, to show what evil looks like. His contention is that evil does not often look like what we expect; those who are most evil will often appear most “together” or wholesome at first glance. The picture he draws of evil people is all too familiar to the child raised in such a home as he delineates the “evil personality disorder”:

        Peck also states that “In addition to the abrogation of responsibility that characterizes all personality disorder, this one would specifically be distinguished by: (a) consistent destructive, scapegoating behavior, which my often be quite subtle. (b) Excessive, albeit usually covert, intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury. (c) Pronounced concern with a pubic image and self-image of respectability, contributing to a stability of life-style but also to pretentiouslness and denial of hateful feelings or vengeful motives. (d) Intellectual deviousness, with an increased likelihood of a mild schizophreniclike disturbance of thinking at times of stress.

        Norman exhibits all of the above.

        As far as loving Norman goes. I can’t honestly tell you that I ever loved him like I wanted to or should have but I could have had he been a loving and respectful husband. There were a lot of circumstances that caused me to marry him when I did even though I didn’t think it was such a great idea at the time. I married Norman with the hope that he and I could grow together as partners in marriage and business and, initially, I did see a very kind, peaceful loving soul. Only three months after we married, the abuse escalated to the point that I was in a doctors office having a nervous breakdown. What I was enduring was mind boggling and I had no idea what I was dealing with. Even so, I had no idea what PA was or that anyone lived with this type of behavior and was told by our doctor that Norman had ADHD and he was medicated for that which only made things worse.


        • Seeing the Light says:

          Exodus, this is a terrific comment. You get to the heart of evil and explain it very well. You also do justice to Peck. I have the book, “People of the Lie.” It has been a while since I read it, and your two paragraphs that start with the word “Peck” and the description of those with “evil personality disorder” managed to surprise me yet again as my PA man (I should name him, like you did Norman 🙂 ) meets every one perfectly. I continue to be amazed. That “mild schizophreniclike disturbance of thinking at times of stress” is one I never noticed when the crazy-making was keeping me looking nuts. Now that I am more self-controlled and confident and push back, I see this description holding true for him in a way I couldn’t before.

          My PA man is continuing to reveal more of who he really is as time goes on. I am finding that he is revealing his true mentality more and more. I have got to find the article I keep thinking of that discusses the role their mentality plays – not just their brokenness and disorderedness. As I learn what he really thinks about me and women and about himself, it goes beyond mental illness. I do believe there is evil in it. As I told my therapist recently, if I had known who this man really was/is, I wouldn’t want to spend a day with him, much less a lifetime.


          • Exodus says:

            Seeing, how about calling PA man Damien or Hannibal 😀

            Seeing, you once wrote that what I am enduring is a spiritual crisis. I indeed believe that is exactly what we are all enduring on many levels….not just personal but global. We have corruption and greed ruling the world and our food supply, we are destroying our necessary resources like bees and butterflies, water and clean air because everyone takes the path of least resistance and seeks the quick fix or the quick wealth. Wars are all about greed and power and it’s easier to kill than to negotiate with compassionate concern for others and everyone is wired to a gadget and seeking material wealth that distracts them from living a spiritual life.

            Yesterday when I read Zombie’s question about how I decided that Norman’s behavior was evil, I have continued to ponder her question and this morning I thought about how evil takes the path of least resistance. Evil seeks and works through weak people that lack spiritual character. It’s true for any of us that if we do not live a virtuous life that mindfully upholds morals, ethics and values then the easier temptations and exhausting adversity in our lives, will weaken us and allow evil to work into our hearts and homes. Evil targets Normans because they lack self confidence, lack a conscience and they don’t live with spiritual integrity. Likewise, people like us are being targeted because we are good and evil needs to remove us or convert us. I am always in a dilemma as to how I should ‘push-back’ as you say or how to ignore evil. I suppose we should push back with love and kindness where it will be appreciated and be effective- NOT with our Normans. I think it’s important for us to distinguish ourselves from them by becoming more and more independent even if we have to live under the same roof. One of the posters on here talked about how she began living a completely independent life from her husband under the same roof until she could move out. It not only helped her to adapt to being single but it also nurtured her self esteem and empowered goodness. I thought that was excellent advice.

            One of the main reasons that I’ve decided to move back ‘home’ to that small town is because for some reason, very few if any of the people appear to be connected to ‘gadgets’ and I believe that technology, while it has it’s advantages, also causes us to stray from living a spiritual life. There is a very spiritual presence in that town and although it was very comforting, there were moments when it felt uncomfortable because I’ve lived with enormous stress and anxiety from living in this city and with Norman for so long. I almost felt afraid to trust all the kindness and became defensive at times but I realized that it was evil at work trying to plant doubt and distrust in my heart. It really disturbed me to know how much of my life is influenced by evil. I knew I was in heaven when I was driving very slowly on a mountain road one morning and a construction worker came up behind me in a big truck. I thought, ‘ Oh no’ and began to feel anxious because there were only two impassable lanes and no shoulder. He slowly approached me and instead of flashing his lights and blowing his horn and riding up on my rear, he simply backed WAY off – about 500ft- and allowed me to travel at my own speed. I in turn wanted to be nice to him so I pulled over at the next road to let him go by and he smiled and waived instead of giving me the finger or throwing his arms up with disgust. This happened to me several times and each time the kindness and good manners of the people seemed so surreal that I wondered if the town didn’t have a law that prohibited bad manners!

            I wanted to share a story about something that happened to me recently that illustrates how Norman aligns with evil and how it affects our business and our well-being.

            We are general contractors that subcontract with other companies. One of the owners of a company that worked for us was a man that I didn’t like. He was another one of those ‘hair-raising’ types that just gave me a bad feeling anytime we did business with him. I didn’t trust him at all. It became very clear that he had no respect for Norman, changed his pricing, had no respect for our business or our schedule and hence, Norman and I had so many knock-down arguments over doing business with this man. For 5 years this nonsense continued and after every bad experience, Norman would fluff his feathers and declare that he would not use him again and say all sorts of bad things about this guy. But, as always, Norman would change his mind and talk about how nice the guy was and hire him once again mainly because Norman didn’t want to find anyone else and chose the path of least resistance even though I would argue that the man would create more drama and unnecessary problems for us. Norman always said, ‘ Well, I would rather use him than the other company” His choice had nothing to do with quality workmanship or respect. Norman chose this man because the man “liked” him, because the man was ‘cool’ even though the man constantly disrespected Norman. It’s all that codependent drama that attracted Norman to him.

            The day after I returned home from my trip, one of my customers called and asked me if I had seen the local paper. Oh my gosh!! This man had been arrested for stealing thousands of dollars worth of supplies from one of his suppliers who is also my friend and one of my suppliers. The thief had absolutely no conscience and he was paying an employee at the supplier’s to cover for him while he stole the goods. When confronted by the supplier and asked if he was stealing the goods, the contractor said, ‘ Yes, it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up’.

            That man’s response sent chills up my spine and I felt so violated and touched by filthy evil. He didn’t even try to fake regret! Can you imagine how humiliated I am that we used this man on my jobs? – especially against my will. I had to contact every single one of our customers and assure them that we were paying full price for our materials and that we had no idea this man was a thief. I also told Norman that from now on, no one gets hired without my approval as long as I’m an officer in this company.

            So,who is Norman going to hire now? He’s going to hire the other legit company of course. I made the point to Norman that he’s in the same position today that he would have been in several years ago had he done the right thing by not hiring this man to begin with. The only difference is that Norman aligned with and allowed evil to create chaos, drama, anger, arguments, loss of income, etc.. instead of doing the right thing.

            In the past when Norman has behaved this same way and I would be upset and talking to Norman’s mother about his behavior, she would say, ‘ Well, he probably just wanted to help the man and make him feel good’. I always reminded her that it’s not noble to enable evil and I was sick and tired of Norman disrespecting our marriage and our security. Another creepy thing that I noticed shortly after Norman and I married was that his mother was always trying to get Norman to rekindle old friendships with ‘bad’ friends from his youth. It was truly bizarre as if she wanted evil to come into my home.


            • Seeing the Light says:

              Exodus, you have done it again! I could not stop laughing at your name ideas. They may be a little harsh for my PA man 🙂 Mine is far more subtle. What would we do if we didn’t have humor to help us cope? A little laughter is what keeps me alive. I was thinking about “Gregory” from the 1944 movie “Gaslight” with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. He is the husband who gaslights his wife and nearly drives her crazy. Have you ever seen the movie? Something about the way he says her name, “Paula” in that condescending way as he drives her further and further to believing she is insane…Grrr. (I’ll have to think about it).

              I know what you mean about our resources. We have come so far from nature and preserving our world. And I am not your typical environmentalist. I just love the world God gave us and it breaks my heart to see children growing up believing so much of what is going on is normal. Scientific practices that destroy the bees – do they know we can’t live without them? I love to see the bees pollinating our little vegetable garden. Sometimes I think the greedy people really don’t think past their own lifespan. I don’t think they even think about their children and grandchildren, much less the rest of the world. Our food supply has been so messed with, people don’t even realize why they are so sick (besides living with abuse, that is).

              And the techno-gadgets. It’s so sad. My children are not caught up in the phone thing, but I hope that lasts when they are grown. Their father sits around on his phone, and I am so grateful they notice it and see it negatively. They are, however, drawn in to the computer games. Guess who got them started on that?

              You are so right that evil takes the path of least resistance. That makes sense because evil is cowardly. There is so much wisdom in the things you have said here. You said:
              “I suppose we should push back with love and kindness where it will be appreciated and be effective- NOT with our Normans. I think it’s important for us to distinguish ourselves from them by becoming more and more independent even if we have to live under the same roof. One of the posters on here talked about how she began living a completely independent life from her husband under the same roof until she could move out. It not only helped her to adapt to being single but it also nurtured her self esteem and empowered goodness. I thought that was excellent advice.” Absolutely. The love and kindness is wasted on the Normans and is dangerous for us. There is a time to shake the dust from your feet and realize the message is not going to be received. I know that I offered my PA man marital love, and now the only appropriate love to give him is a non-marital concern for his well-being. This love is not consistent with our former relationship. I agree with distinguishing ourselves from them and becoming more independent. I have given a lot of thought to this as well as a way to gradually work toward being able to live as a single (my health being an issue). It absolutely does nurture self-esteem and empower goodness. I find that seeing myself as separate from him and allowing myself to be free from defining myself as his wife has been so healthy for me, that I can’t even imagine going back now. I hadn’t realized how damaging the connection itself was and how severing it in my mind and my soul would be part of the beginning of healing.

              I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh or like sour grapes. I don’t mean it to. But after all that has happened, I wish that my children and I didn’t bear his name. I believe that names are a significant part of our identity and his name is not something I want as part of my identity (or theirs). I know it would be easy enough to fix that down the line for me, but I don’t want to dis-associate myself from my children.

              This small town of yours sounds terrific. I love the story of your trucker. He was kind to you. You were kind to him. He was polite back to you. What a world we live in that this is extraordinary to us. I can’t wait until you can move.

              What can I say about Norman aligning with evil? No surprise there. You stand up for what is right in the face of resistance and in the end the truth comes out. That’s the important thing. (His mother sounds really creepy).


              • Exodus says:

                Seeing, I actually responded to your post and it got deleted. Oh well. It’s great that we get second chances, eh?

                We do live in a very artificial world and I do hope that I won’t live to see a drone bee pollinator in my garden. Seriously, that would just do me in. The important thing is that we educate kids about the past and talk about the future and the consequences of our choices. You seem to live with great awareness of the world around you and I’m sure your kids will remember what you tell you them. Take pictures of bees and butterflies. I’ve not seen but maybe two butterflies this season. I saw one honeybee yesterday. Everything is so spiritual to me. Yesterday the construction crews were cutting down trees all day to expand the highway and every time I heard the chain saw, the crack and the thump, a part of me cried and died. It really hurts me to live in such a destructive world. Those trees were there during the civil war, withstood floods and hurricanes, provided habitat for the birds, deer and other wildlife and just like that, with the strike of a chainsaw, they are destroyed so that we can put more polluting cars on the road. Yet another reason why I want to move. When I was on the mountain, the air was incredible and didn’t even smell the same at all. It was like being on another planet.

                Gregory is the perfect name 😀 Yes, I’ve seen that movie. Several years ago a woman recommended that I watch that movie after she read a few of my posts about Norman. She was also the woman who introduced me to PA and it’s implications. She was married to a PA man that was very similar to Norman. That man completely wrecked her life and her health as well.

                I don’t think it’s strange at all to want to change your name or that it bothers you that your children carry Gregory’s surname. I believe it’s perfectly reasonable and healthy to feel that way. While names alone do not define our character they can impact our self image. I don’t think kids mind if their parent has a different name. But you can always ask your kids how they would feel about it should you decide to change your name. If I had kids, my kids would not have my last name because I would not take my husband’s name. ironically, I’m not a feminist. I just never felt comfortable upholding a tradition that was created to establish women as property of another and the other thing was that I was too lazy to stand in the line at the DMV. Here’s a funny story: My N mother decided to change her name to Carrington. Remember the show, ” Dynasty”. hahahaha I’m not joking. She even held a formal family gathering to announce this. Just imagine the look on everyone’s face after traveling many hours , expecting to hear some dreadful and fatal announcement. My brother was furious, my grandmother just sat there calmly trying to remain indifferent and I just started laughing ( mainly at the others’ reactions) which made my mother very angry. My mother was nuts but her antics were hilarious..

                In 2000, I changed my name ever so slightly. I dropped my first name and use my middle name. I did this in an attempt to create an obvious ‘prop’ that would help me distinguish my own identity separate from my mother and constantly reinforce my individuality. The change actually made a world of difference in how I felt about myself. I never used Norman’s surname thank goodness- that’s one less thing to worry about.

                Anything we can do that helps us to establish our own identities separate from what pains us is always a good thing. As you say, just creating that mindset of separateness empowers us. We always have the power to change our attitude even if we can’t change our circumstances.

                “It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions.”
                ― Viktor E. Frankl


          • Exodus says:

            Seeing, I forget to mention that I too noticed the schizophrenic-like behavior and thinking after I started packing. Norman’s behavior was so bizarre that I felt like he had become a non-human thing. LIke you, I also believe that there is repressed anger directed toward women that is entangled in a love/hate relationship with us. What you told your therapist about how you feel about your husband is the very sad reality for many of us. It’s a horrible feeling to know that you’re sharing a home with someone that you don’t even like. I hope you find that article you were reading. I’d like to read it.

            I found another quote from Peck’s book on Goodreads that I think sums up, very accurately, the evil that I was trying to describe to Zombie:

            “When I say that evil has to do with killing, I do not mean to restrict myself to corporeal murder. Evil is that which kills spirit. There are various essential attributes of life — particularly human life — such as sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, will. It is possible to kill or attempt to kill one of these attributes without actually destroying the body. Thus we may “break” a horse or even a child without harming a hair on its head.

            Erich Fromm was acutely sensitive to this fact when he broadened the definition of necrophilia to include the desire of certain people to control others-to make them controllable, to foster their dependency, to discourage their capacity to think for themselves, to diminish their unpredectibility and originalty, to keep them in line. Distinguishing it from a “biophilic” person, one who appreciates and fosters the variety of life forms and the uniqueness of the individual, he demonstrated a “necrophilic character type,” whose aim it is to avoid the inconvenience of life by transforming others into obedient automatons, robbing them of their humanity.

            Evil then, for the moment, is the force, residing either inside or outside of human beings, that seeks to kill life or liveliness. And goodness is its opposite. Goodness is that which promotes life and liveliness.”
            ― M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil


            • Seeing the Light says:

              Exodus, I am going to try to find that article today. Your Peck quote above (which is amazing and I hope the other women out here read it) also is uncannily similar to something I recently read in a book I got recently. This gets deeper into the gravity of abuse. When you really delve into what’s going on and where it is coming from the divide between a health, loving relationship and an abusive relationship gets very wide indeed. I will try to find both the article and the pertinent sections of the book.


              • Exodus says:

                What’s the title of the book?

                You know? You’re right about how it divide between abuse and love becomes much more clear as we begin to fully understand its origins and pathology – what drives it, biological reasons, genetic, behavioral conditioning and such. PA abuse is most difficult to recognize for what it is because any of the things that a PA person does, could be anything that you or I could do occasionally or accidentally. The only difference is that they are chronic repeaters and their behavior consists of very predictable patterns.

                Just in the last two years, my awareness increased tremendously as I began to notice more and more of Norman’s behavior in his parents and I noticed how it would affect me when I was around them. It’s not that I didn’t notice that they were strange to begin with but I didn’t really notice the ugly pathology in their behavior until I began spending more time with them around other family members. We had funerals, surgeries, picnics, etc.. and every time I attended, I noticed that my body would respond the same way to something being said or someone’s behavior and it would suddenly occur to me that it wasn’t Norman causing it. So, I still wonder if Norman’s upbringing caused this or if there is some genetic mutation. Which reminds me. You might find this interesting. I did a little research on Norman’s family history a few years ago and discovered that his paternal great great grandmother died from Pellagra ( a vitamin B3/Niacin) deficiency while she was pregnant ( the child survived). This was not an uncommon reason for death in the cotton belt of the south due to monoculture farming that led to malnutrition. Anyway, A few weeks ago, I read an article in a medical journal about how this deficiency can not only cause psychological disorders but in some cases , as in his grandmother’s, the deficiency can actually cause a mutation that can be inherited that affects the brain and neurological function of the pre-frontal cortex and in some cases, a person’s ability to metabolize B3. I’m oversimplifying this information. Because of this B3 deficiency, they produce too much dopamine which then causes a person to need more pleasure from ‘ something’ whether it’s sex, drugs, alcohol, food, sports. Niacin has also been used to treat schizophrenia with great success.
                As I thought about this in terms of Norman’s family, I realized his great grandmother, the surviving child of the mother who died, could have been born with the mutation and passed that down through the paternal line. Both Norman and his father exhibit identical behaviors. While they are not aggressive, aggression is a symptom of B3 deficiency. There’s also an issue with sugar cravings& eating disorders/over-eating as well and I read that getting their blood sugar stabilized is another challenge because they often have dysglycemia. Norman craves sugar and so do a lot of people in their famiy. Norman’s grandfather was an alcoholic which can also occur with B3 deficiency. Also Norman’s grandfather was very physically abusive which would have contributed to Norman’s father’s PA.

                It sounds to me like there is a behavioral and genetic component to Norman’s PA. Nonetheless, there is definitely something is rotten in Denmark!


        • Zombiewife says:

          I don’t see anything in your descriptions of evil or Peck’s that aren’t a part of the definition of PA or my experience of my husband’s PA behaviors. Not one thing.

          Your viewpoint allows you to be the righteous victim of an evil perpetrator, and justifies any action you take against him. In that paradigm, the only outcome is a battle to the end of the relationship where each of you tries to destroy the other. What do you get out of that?


          • Seeing the Light says:

            Zombiewife, as you read my comment, please know that I do not intend to sound sharp or in any way unkind. I do not have the luxury of letting you hear my “tone of voice” here. Please read gentleness into it. I do not know if you have read any of the past comments that Exodus has posted or if so, how many, but I can say that over time she has supported well the contention that her husband’s actions have been evil and that he in fact is evil. Her comments taken as a whole and in context do not reveal a woman who is trying to justify her actions and set herself up as a “righteous victim.” She is a victim of abuse fighting for her life! That is just objective fact. Perhaps your husband isn’t as abusive as hers.

            As I have read your recent comments, I wondered if you believe in good and evil. I noticed that you tend to talk about your husband’s behavior(s). I am particularly thinking of your comments on this post and the post entitled “Finding Ourselves.” If your view is one that makes a clean separation between psychological disturbance and good and evil, then I could understand your remarks. It really depends quite a bit on your spiritual view of humanity. To focus entirely on behavior can be misleading. To even focus on the personality disorder itself too exclusively misses the mark as well. What is the heart behind the behavior? [Your situation is likely somewhat different as you have mentioned that your husband has sought some help to change. That is not generally the case (or if there is any effort, it is half-hearted, surface and temporary).]

            I have read much (and I do mean much) regarding passive aggressive personality disorder and passive aggressive behavior and have discussed these things at length with my counselor (who I see in order to learn how to deal with the effects of PA abuse in my life as well as how to function in my current situation and how to protect my children). I must say that in a world where good and evil exist, many of the behaviors that are classically passive aggressive are quite frankly evil. To blame and scapegoat another human being in order to protect oneself, regardless of the effect on the scapegoat is evil. To engage in obstructionism that thwarts the enjoyment of life and fulfillment of another human being is evil. To enter a relationship with another person and then subtly and covertly take out repressed hostility on them while they are sincerely trying to establish intimacy with you until their identity is eroded while protecting yourself is evil. The list could go on and on.

            Just because something is in the list of behaviors and disturbed functioning that psychology categorizes together and labels as a disorder doesn’t mean it is not evil.


            • Exodus says:

              You’ve written an excellent post for everyone and anyone who is still trying to understand PA abuse and the spiritual implications and the horrors that it creates ( no pun intended) for the victims and by the way, I really consider us all to be victors given that we’re still functioning and not institutionalized! I truly believe that anyone who can survive this kind of abuse every day must be a very strong and victorious survivor. Have you ever read Viktor Frankl’s book, ‘ Man’s Search for Meaning” I don’t want to compare my marriage to enduring the holocaust in any way but truly, that book helped me to find ways to cope and stay conscious enough to protect my mind and my spirit. Given that the holocaust was perpetrated by an evil man, I found Frankl’s story to be an invaluable source of spriitual inspiration in the face of evil.

              To quote you, ‘Just because something is in the list of behaviors and disturbed functioning that psychology categorizes together and labels as a disorder doesn’t mean it is not evil.”

              yes, I completely agree and that was of course the purpose of Peck’s book.


              • Exodus, no, I have not read Viktor Frankl’s book. I will look it up, though.

                I have no doubt that many of the evil men in history who perpetrated ghastly acts against humanity could easily fall into various categories of personality disorders and psychological diagnoses. They are, however, without a doubt, evil.


            • Zombiewife says:

              I appreciate the time you took, Seeing the Light, to ensure that I understood the tone of your reply. So often such things are lost, and since I tend to aim for brevity on someone else’s blog, tone can be the first casualty.

              Life has been especially brutal to me in the last year or so, and the most important life lesson I’ve learned from that is to realize that everyone is dealing with something…even our PA husbands. Where others may see evil, I see men who were emotionally traumatized in their formative years, resulting in broken and fearful man-children who create devastation in their intimate relationships. My husband’s abuse has caused tremendous pain, loss, and devastation to me…but I know that under the PA veneer is a man terrified of intimacy, loss of control, and his own emotions.

              As you correctly noted, my PA husband is again in therapy working on an issue that is a deal-breaker between us. I’m hoping he’ll be successful for both our sakes. If he were evil, going to therapy wouldn’t redeem him, even if it were sucessful. That’s one big reason I cannot support the good vs. evil paradigm. His therapist is not an exorcist.

              I do believe in good and evil, but just not as a factor in PA. I used to be a religious woman, and that’s where I experienced first-hand what evil really is at the hands of the pastors, elders and deacons of more than one Christan church. So-called Godly men who tell a Christian woman who is a member of their church and is being abused by her husband (a deacon who freely admits the abuse) to stay in the marriage, pray for him, submit to him, and be a better wife…and never, ever hold him accountable…that’s my working definition of evil. But that was my first marriage.


              • Exodus says:

                Zombie, I can your point but in reality, those Church members that exhibited evil behavior could have been abused as well. Obviously someone broke their spirit , dumbed them down and and caused them to say things that you interpreted as evil. Unfortunately, many of the scriptures are misinterpreted , taught and applied out of context and sometimes used to mislead and control people for someone else’s gain. Norman’s parents are a member of a cult-like Baptist Church that operates much the same way that you describe and their only response to me when I would talk to them about our problems was to pray. The church sent me a letter once threatening me that if I didn’t send them money that I would burn in hell. At Norman’s sister’s funeral the minister actually said, ‘ I know there are some people here tonight that are being misled and non-believers’ and he pointed to Norman and I.
                I would say that this minister’s behavior was evil because he was attempting to humiliate, shame and guilt us into becoming a member of his church. There is no doubt that his PA attempts to recruit are rooted in greed and I also consider greed to be an evil.

                I sincerely hope that your husband responds to therapy but I’ve not ever known anyone with PA behaviors that does- especially as older adults. My own therapist ( a Christian Psychotherapist) told me that she did not want to meet with my husband and that she felt that it would be counter productive and obstruct my own healing since more drama and negativity would ensue and she didn’t want me being further abused, stressed, confused, traumatized and immersed in negativity. She told me that PA people lack insight and hence, are unable to even begin to recognize their destructive and harmful behaviors in their proper perspective and frankly, lack any sincere concern for others and how their behavior hurts someone. She also told me that PA abusers manipulate therapists just like they manipulate everyone else and therefore therapy can’t be effective. She was most helpful in providing advice on practical ways to protect myself and prepare to leave and she was very direct in speaking about the specific dangers. She was very concerned about my safety even though I assured her that Norman wouldn’t do anything lethal. I was wrong. Since then, he’s “accidentally” poisoned me, accidentally harmed my dogs, accidentally put me in a car with no brakes, accidentally abandoned me on a biking trail with a flat tire, accidentally dropped a large tree branch on me in our backyard that severely injured me. Each time, the look on his face was nothing short of being evil. Par for PA abusers, he would show up at the very last minute after someone else was assisting me and pretend to be so sorry and concerned. It was frightening to know that I was at the mercy of such a mentally disturbed and evil man and could not once prove that he intentionally committed malice. I’ve called the police a few times to assist me and remove him from the house but I always took him back because he always promised to be better, to get better and that he would stop doing those things. But, he was never specific about what he was going to change and he never apologized for any specific thing that he did.

                My husband was also abused ( physically & emotionally) and he still is by his parents to some degree. One of the reasons I married him was because I felt sorry for him and wanted to give him a better life. I too grew up on a very abusive home with a mother who has narcissistic personality disorder and the effects of her abuse did cause me to develop a very unhealthy perception of myself and love and become an enabler to the point that I sacrificed my own well-being for people that used me and sucked me into their continual drama. Not everyone who is abused becomes abusive. I’ve known many survivors of abuse that were wonderful people, wonderful parents and spouses. The difference though was that those people knew something was very wrong and sought help on their own because they had heart and working conscience that knew the difference between right and wrong and they wanted to heal their wounds and become well-adjusted people that lived a meaningful life. Norman never attempted to seek help unless I asked him to or unless he was about to lose everything. Either way, he was only patronizing me and he never had any sincere resolve in his heart. His therapy sessions today are a joke but, hey, I wish him all the best and I hope things work out for him. Most of all, I hope he never abuses anyone else.

                Please don’t misunderstand me. I still feel sorry for Norman and that he’s so damaged and it angers me terribly that his parents caused this but it’s not my responsibility to make him grow a conscience and it’s not my responsibility to manage his bad character. I’ve been a martyr long enough and I have the battle scars of financial ruin, PTSD, and physical health issues. Norman doesn’t care. He didn’t even care when I battled ovarian cancer in 05. One would think that would have been enough to make me leave and I could have and was planning to but Norman begged me to stay and he swore that he loved me and that he would do better and get better.

                Same lies, different day.


          • Exodus says:

            I’m not sure I understood your post. Are you saying that your husband doesn’t exhibit any of those behaviors? Are you certain that he’s PA? If you are saying that he is then yes, well, that was the point of sharing the information that I did. PA abuse is rooted in evil because all PA behaviors are intended to undermine and oppose anything good and it creates a spiritual crisis for the victims. I can’t speak for others on here but I don’t get anything except depressed, exhausted and a broken spirit when I engage in daily life or conflict with Norman which is why I’m leaving. I think it’s impossible to avoid the consequences of PA behaviors- at least in my case it is. I’m not sure what you mean by suggesting that having knowledge of PA abuse makes someone a righteous victim that can justify action against their abusive spouse. I would hope that anyone who realizes they are being abused will take action to protect themselves and not feel guilty for doing so. Taking action doesn’t always imply that we must react to the PA person’s battle cry. However, in reality that is what will occur unless someone is willing to give up everything, walk out and never look back which may be impractical for most. Even when we choose to leave, there are the complex and convoluted legalities to contend with that can make divorce much more intimidating and challenging for us when negotiating with someone whose goal is to oppose us on every issue and make our lives as miserable as possible. This is what I’m dealing with at the moment I look forward to the day that I am divorced and free at last! Free at last! hahaha If I can survive this, I can survive anything ( except nuclear war but I wouldn’t want to survive that anyway:D)!


  4. GainingStrength says:

    “Every year that we stay in these relationships, the damage to our spirit, our finances, our children, our pets, our friendships, our health and well-being becomes exponentially greater.”



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