Andrea Harrn Counselling Services

5 reasons people stay in passive aggressive relationships

love hate

I hate you then I love you – passive aggressive


Being in a passive aggressive relationship is not easy to live with or talk about. No matter what your partner does, staying with them also says something about you.  So why do you stay?  Why do you swing between love and hate?

You live in hope that they will change

When things are bad between you it feels like the worst thing ever.  You can’t think straight or see straight.   However hard you try to find out what the problem is, you are met with a brick wall.  One way to cope is to tell yourself this will not go on for ever.  A small part of you also hopes that you can get through to your partner and speak to them about this at a later time.  You don’t want to give up on them.

The dance of the relationship

By this I mean the changing steps and rhythm of your relationship.  This can go from an easy and effortless glide to a dramatic side step shuffle within a matter of minutes.  Weeks later you are tangoing in complete intimate harmony.  When you are in synch the dance is beautiful.  When out of synch there is no knowing which step to take or what is expected of you.   Its the actions between you that define what is going on in the relationship.


Even though things might feel unbearable, these times do not last.  You think about all you have together, the history, the family and material wealth. Its hard to think about being apart and how you would cope.  You are a person that likes to be in a relationship, be it good or bad.  Being apart will probably feel worse and you might regret it.  They aren’t all bad!

Low self esteem

This connects to how you feel about yourself.  Whether you like or love yourself.  Are you deserving of better, or is this relationship the proof you are looking for that nobody can truly love you.  When you do not like or respect yourself it is hard to love yourself.  The blame and attack that comes at you from your PA partner must be true.  Or is it?  You are just not sure and don’t have the assertiveness or confidence to back your corner.

Pity for your helpless victim partner

At some point your partner changes from being angry, cold, distant and self-righteous to playing the role of victim.  Its the “poor me” scenario.  Its almost like they know you so well, that you are kind and thoughtful and that you have a natural tendency to fix things, make them better, including them.  At this point reassurance will be sought.  They may start to remind you of all the good things they do, that have gone unnoticed.  NO!!!   You have always noticed the good things and quite probably thanked them or at least acknowledged.  So you start to encourage them again, build them up, make them their favourite dinner to somehow prove your love.  It becomes YOU that has to do the proving.  They still have not taken responsibility for what happened.

It does not have to be this way.  You DO have the right to speak out for yourself and for your relationship.

To survive, thrive and finally break free from passive aggressive behaviour.  CLICK HERE

In the meantime please take a look at The Mood Cards and especially at the confident card and the hopeful card.

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