I love (in a dark humor kind of way) to read certain professional articles that advise how to live with a passive aggressive man. I roll my eyes when they talk about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to approach him, because of the fear that supposedly drives a passive aggressive man. This supposed fear sure looks and smells an awful lot like entitlement.
How else could he be so resentful? How could he behave badly, behave in uncaring and selfish ways, know that he does, know that it hurts me, and yet still view himself as the victim?
I’m not saying he doesn’t have a heart. I’m not saying he doesn’t have a conscience. I’m saying that over the years, there have been countless times when he’s behaved in ways that have caused me to hurt, he knows that I’m hurting, he knows he caused it, and it doesn’t seem to cause him to feel sad or distressed… or well… hurt. It doesn’t seem to have much impact on him. If I try to hold him accountable, if I try to ask him why, or if I try to discuss it, he’ll usually get angry.
He gets offended that I’m offended by his offending me. I think it bores and annoys him.
I don’t think he behaves in passive aggressive ways because he’s afraid. He doesn’t behave like he’s afraid. He behaves like he’s irritated, resentful, cool and uncaring.
I think when he lies, it’s because he doesn’t want to deal with something. I think he withholds affection and intimacy because he wants to punish me, and in that space of time, he wants me to hurt.
And hey, no matter what drives him, he still has a brain that can override what he might irrationally feel if he just chose to act on what he knows is right instead of his emotions.
He doesn’t always behave in hurtful ways. He can also behave in sweet and helpful ways when he chooses to. Sometimes he behaves so well for such a long time, or just seems so darn normal and easy to love. I always feel this twist of painful wishing and wonder why he can’t just keep behaving in a way that would build a great life together.
Why does he hurt me then? How can he just ignore me when I’m depleted and dragging? Because he’s afraid and in pain? I have no doubt that his childhood was impacted by his abusive father, but I don’t think that’s why he can behave at times as though he just doesn’t care if I’m hurting. I think it’s because he lacks care. I see no struggle with fear in his eyes or demeanor. His covert and emotional abuse has the scent of petty resentment, not the scent of fear.
Kind of like a Grinch whose heart needs to grow, but he’s the one who has to want it.