The living contradiction

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?

This entry was posted in covert abuse, ignore, loneliness, passive aggressive, passive aggressive husband, withhold. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The living contradiction

  1. Exodus says:

    I think that what you are describing is narcissism. What’s that old adage about ‘ Would you behave differently if Jesus were watching?” It does seem that Norman is mainly a performer though he has absolutely no inclination to perform for me and since he has no conscience, he doesn’t worry about if Jesus is watching. Like all narcissists, he perceives those who genuinely care about him as a threat. I am capable of hurting him, breaking his heart, shaming him, ruining his reputation so he detaches or keeps a very safe emotional distance. His parents are the same way. They have not once contacted Norman to see how he is doing given that his marriage is falling apart. As long as Norman can make them look good, they ‘care’ otherwise, they dump him since they have no use for him anymore. It’s really hard to believe that a parent could be so selfish and unloving but they are abnormal/sick.

    Narcissists are all about loving in the beginning because they really don’t love you or need you. They haven’t got anything invested in the relationship at that point- emotional or otherwise. Once the relationship turns into an investment it becomes their enemy.

    Even so, every now and then, they can’t control their desperate need for love and they accidentally show up as loving and caring creatures until they realize what they have done and then they get afraid and angry and must correct their vulnerability by resorting to such ugly tactics to establish those boundaries again.

    Such a bizarre and exhausting way to live. No wonder they are always tired ( wink, wink)


  2. wornout says:

    PJs, yes!! So spot on! I read your posts and find myself nodding my head. You nail it! You are so good at explaining the crap we are all dealing with. Thank you soo much for your posts! Yesterday was particularly rough and your posts were so timely and so helpful. THANK YOU!!! And it is near impossible for us to accept the little outward niceties when they do stuff like your guy did last night, dismissing us and completely not caring about us when we are hurting. 😦


  3. lost7658 says:

    The contradiction always used to confuse me. One minute he would be mean , spiteful , and rude . Calling me every name in the book and telling me how he is sick of me and doesn’t need me. The next acts like nothing ever happened and tries to hug you and establish a connection again. It would drive me insane and make me feel really guilty. I found that I am always on the emotional roller coaster of his ever changing emotions to me. I am still saving money to leave and every once in a while I will feel guilty for being so sneaky but god always shows me who I am really dealing with. For example he was nice on Monday his day off and I felt a tiny bit of guilt. It also makes you wonder maybe this could work out, maybe it will be OK. Nope instead I come home and found out once again he is lying about where he has been and who he has been with. He was supposedly at Petsmart buying items for his fish at a location far away from our house but close to Stephanie’s house , the girl I always catch him talking to behind my back. Surprise Surprise her number was all over his phone records because he wasn’t really at Petsmart. I of course didn’t say anything but I felt disgusted the whole night. I am just getting so sick of the deceit, the cheating, and over all the emotional roller coaster I can’t seem to get off of. I know that I have a lot going for me I have a job and I should be graduating with my BA in Spring 2016. But I can’t help but feel depressed because of the marriage I am. He always seems so happy and I am always sad. He has an image that he is a great , helping, kind person to others. He will gladly fix your car or come and pick you up. But if I call him because my battery died he won’t answer the phone or tell me he is too busy to come. I honestly can’t stand him.


    • Exodus says:

      Lost, please don’t ever feel guilty for taking care of yourself and your future. All my therapists told me this and I didn’t heed their advice. Please keep saving the money and do not ever tell him that you have it. The truth is that these men are always going to be nice to us when they are betraying us. That’s how evil works. That’s how they manage to get away with lying and cheating and stealing and worse.
      I know it’s hard for you, I know how awful it feels to be so blatantly lied to but you know what? You are in a position to use this man to help you get what you need to get out. I think that’s fair enough. Stay calm, cool and focused on achieving your degree and preparing to leave. I wouldn’t even allow any other possibilities with this man enter your mind. Just stay focused on YOU!!!! It makes me feel so proud of you to know that you’re accomplishing so much despite the hurt and negativity in your life. Don’t give up Lost.
      Don’t let this man’s behavior drag you down. Stand tall and push through it. Be proud that you’re strong and that you’re not going to tolerate this much longer.

      You’re not lost, you’re just having to take a longer route to your final destination.


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