Truth, fog, and a tea kettle

It can be formidably difficult to find the truth when you’re in the foggy murk of passive aggressive dynamics.  Every now and then, the truth will just belligerently blurt out.

One of my favorite bloggers wrote about her passive aggressive husband inviting her to do something while she was trying to study for an important exam.  It’s typical of a passive aggressive to choose a bad time for something, because then it’s all about their good intentions, and how you turned them down.  In the ensuing conversation, when she expressed not feeling cared about, he was ready to blame.

I’ve experienced such similar past conversations. Now I just stick to the original issues like a skipped record. It makes him angry, but I repeat questions like these:

“I’ve told you that X,Y,Z was hurtful to me. Why do you keep doing it?”
“When we’ve been together for this long, why wouldn’t you know me well enough to know what things you could do to make me feel cared about?”
“What part of your relationship as a father do you feel you’re responsible for?”
“You could see that I was hurting/upset/sad. Why didn’t you make any attempt to communicate in any way that you cared about that?”

Sometimes he answers in ways that are abruptly illuminating. Disturbing, but truthful.

I use a tea kettle to heat water every morning.  First I take some to drink heated water, then one of my sons and I both make pressed coffee with the rest.  On different occasions when my husband decided to make oatmeal, he would use the already heated water from the tea kettle to pour into the pot to speed up the time needed to bring that water to a boil before adding the oatmeal.  I’d walk back into the kitchen to make coffee, and realize there wasn’t enough water left, and have to fill it and heat it again.  Not a big deal, but an irritant.

The first time we had a conversation about it, and I asked him to please not use the water I’d heated in the tea kettle as a quick start for cooking the oatmeal.  Of course, this happened again and again and I’d just be quiet when he did it.  It wasn’t really a battle I chose to really do ‘battle’ over.  Partly because sometimes he’d offer to make extra for whichever kids might want some too.  It seemed kind of petty to not just start his own water in the pot, but on the flip side, it seemed petty for me to make an issue of it.

Yesterday, my son was making the coffee.  He picked up the tea kettle, looked around, and asked who used the water.  For some reason, that was the tipping point for me, and I walked over and asked my husband, “Why… why after I’ve repeatedly asked you not to do that, did you do it?”

He replied, “Why should I stand here an extra two minutes or minute if I can use that instead?

Ah.  Shortly after he said it, he realized the supreme ass-ery of it.  Apparently it is okay for anyone else to use their time to wait for water to boil, but not Himself.  This time he apologized for it, and said he would “never again use the water from the tea kettle for his oatmeal,” but gave a confused glaring look when I asked him if he could tell me what the underlying issue was for it happening in the first place.   I told him that when he makes promises about specific things, it won’t address the real issue, but is just part of the whack-a-mole game that pretends to be change to a passive aggressive.

I’ve been too tired to post everything recently, but I have been having conversations with him that discuss my doubts about continuing to try to make our marriage work.  He knows that something different is in the wind.

He came back with part two of the apology and said that the underlying issue was entitlement and narcissistic thinking.  He said (again) that he wants to change, and doesn’t want to be that man.

I’m at the point where it almost doesn’t matter to me anymore if he does or doesn’t change.  You can get that tired.

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12 Responses to Truth, fog, and a tea kettle

  1. Newshoes says:

    You had me laughing PJ, unbelievable to me the lame ass excuses they use to do something as meaningless as to have hot water for idiotic behaviours that do what exactly… Wow, he has to wait….. Rotfl… Best one I’ve heard in a while.
    They do use inappropriate times in order for us to reject them, part of the self sabotage they own as part of being pa.
    I’m glad you are reassessing your relationship and the potential or possibility of it never working out. It takes a heck of a lot of work to get there, it did for me. A lot of times I was frustrated with myself for being stuck in ambivalence and it took some work to get out of it and that light bulb moment of clarity you had today, I’ve had those and they helped me move forward. I’m proud of you, regardless of what you will decide about your marriage 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. paescapee says:

    I was also amused, especially as mine did a similar thing. They think they’re so original! I needed cooled but boiled water for making up my baby daughter’s feeds so got into the habit of putting extra in the kettle when making a cup of tea. I asked him to do this but he ‘forgot’ hundreds of times. Why should he make that much effort for someone else? I really respect that you are able to identify his behaviours so clearly, as I really struggled with that. I wish you well with whatever you decide but you can work on your happiness now and not wait for him to change.


  3. I spent years with a passive/aggressive husband who put me down constantly. When I said, I needed a few days by myself to think, he said it would mean a divorce if I did, and that he would get it because he would never have it said that any woman walked away from him. He wanted me to stay home, have no friends other than those he chose, never cut my hair and never wear high heels. Everything I did was wrong. I finally realized that he didn’t really want the responsibility of being a husband and a father. We finally did divorce and I felt the greatest relief of my life. He did not want to change and never would have. Think carefully.

    Liked by 2 people

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this, and for your advice. I give you my word that I will think carefully about it.

      I’m so grateful for meeting you online, and the privilege of getting to know you.


  4. “Sometimes he answers in ways that are abruptly illuminating. Disturbing, but truthful.”
    My husband occasionally does this, most notably when he told me a year or so ago that the way his brain works is that, when I say I’d like it if he would do something, his brain immediately tells him to do nothing or do the opposite. This comment was not offered with any expression of shame or regret. Instead, my husband’s attitude seemed to be one of defiance and pride almost, “Look, this is what I learned about my brain! there’s nothing I can do about this! So you’re screwed!” Sigh.


    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Wow, yes, and this is exactly the kind of abrupt truth I’ve experienced at times also.


    • newshoes123 says:

      lolllllll too funny!
      I was arguing with my pah because the kids were being fussy and they require quite a bit of patience and attention at that time, I told him we had to get a better routine going and that going out all the time with the kids would have to wait a little until they were older, he said that people would change for him and not the other way around… I told him to get off his high horse, stop being selfish and that I would put the kids first always. Well you can imagine how long the silent treatment lasted for ROTFL…. as if all the people he knew would change just for him… yeah right King Tut!!


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