This blogger wrote about how good her passive aggressive husband can behave: oh, so good
Oh, how I understand. It’s the constant living contradiction and conflicting messages.
I think passive aggressive men are extremely image driven, partially their image to ‘others’, but even more so their self-image. I personally think it’s the self-image that drives them to do most of the acts of service that seems typical.
Last night we watched a movie with kids. We sat next to each other. It looked normal. He had his arm around me. I had my hand on his knee. When we went to bed, I had my emotional radar on to try to understand what mood and frame of mind he was in. It was aloof. I felt the usual unspoken strange thing that seems to be a mix of his self-pity and resentments. As the bedside lamp lights went out, I heard words come quietly from my mouth, “I’m so tired of feeling lonely all these years.”
He said, “What did you say?”
I said, “I didn’t mean to say that aloud. Did you really not hear me?”
He replied, “I heard something about lonely.”
I said, “Yes.”
I was pretty sure he’d heard it all, but even if he just heard the word ‘lonely’, wouldn’t that be a reason to put his arm around me, tell me that he loved me, hug me, or move towards me in any way, shape, or form?
Not in his world. Not in the world of a passive aggressive man.
Instead there was silence. Nothing.
But I know… I KNOW… that with the right audience, he would have made some motion that resembled caring. That would have meant his image needed to be protected because someone on the outside wouldn’t understand his doing NOTHING, and he knows that. Doing nothing would appear as though he was uncaring. But somehow it seems that in his mind, he can do nothing when he’s alone with me. There it seems that his thoughts somehow justify and entitle him to withhold love.
Why do I think this? Because over the years, if I challenged him during any of the times he’s withholding love, affection, intimacy etc., his response is almost ready and armed, and he’ll let me know in quick bursts of how I’ve failed him or wronged him. How I don’t care how tired he is or how hard he worked. He’ll say he’s not feeling well, and accuse me of not caring. Every ‘caring’ act he’s done is likely to be used in a spoken or unspoken way as evidence of how good he is, and how uncaring and unappreciative I am.
It’s as though he was ready and waiting for that moment.
As he reminds me of all the good things he does, and lets me know of all the ways I fall short, I feel confused.
It’s bad enough when my hurting makes him angry at me.
But when I’m crying or sad or hurt or afraid and there is NOTHING, no effort from him, no evidence that my hurting bothers him, when he ignores my pain and it doesn’t seem to be relevant to his reality, then something inside of me says, This is not right. Where is love?