Andrea Harrn Counselling Services

What its like living with a passive aggressive partner – you will be surprised

Sorry Its my fault

passive aggressive apology NOT

When you are living with a passive aggressive partner you will not often hear the word “Sorry”.  PAs find it very difficult to ever be wrong and if you dare to suggest it YOU will be sorry.

Jean and Bill were having financial difficulties.  Jean had been working day and night to make ends meet for the family. She was a good mum, always there for her 3 children and husband, giving her best.  Bill also worked hard but not putting in the same effort and only doing what he wanted to do when it suited him.  Neither had a holiday in years.  Jean then finds out that Bill has been gambling and lost thousands of pounds.  She tries to talk to him about it and find out what’s going on.

Bill’s response is VERY ANGRY but closed off.   Rather than talk to her he storms out the room.  He doesn’t talk to her about this but starts to make comments about irrelevant things in negative way.  He will not discuss, he avoids and ignores the problem.  His energy has changed dramatically to that of ANGRY man and Jean feels awkward and uncomfortable.  Not only that she is a little fearful of the response which she has witnessed before.

She tries again to communicate but is met with the following responses from Bill, muttered under his breath:

The Denial Stage

“There is nothing going on”

“I have no idea what you are talking about”

“Its in your head”

Jean shows him some bank statements to make the point, give evidence:

The Attack Stage

“You go and spend money on what you want”

“Everyone says you are lazy and good for nothing”

“You’re a bad mother, the kids hate you”

Jean is understandably upset but Bill is not listening.  He tells her she is getting “All emotional again”  His anger is intense for a brief time and he then goes quiet and sullen and barely looks at her for days on end.  

Jean at this point doesn’t know what to do, she is confused and hurt.  She wants to stand up to him but begins to doubt herself.


The Victim Stage

This is when Bill starts to look pitiful, guilty and begins to make comments like:

“Its all my fault

I knew I would get things wrong like I always do

You’ll be better off without me”

He still has not discussed the gambling or the money.  Jean is at this point more or less numb, she feels emotionally battered and unsure how to respond back.

There is NO “Sorry”  There is no taking responsibility in an adult way and there is definitely no “What can I do to make this right”

You have heard the term “walking on eggshells”.

Jean is walking on eggshells and moving from despair to pity.  She hates him yet she loves him.  She has forgotten about the gambled money because the bigger problem now is their communication.

Welcome to the world of a passive aggressive relationship

Over the next few weeks I will be expanding on the topic of Passive Aggressive Behaviour.


In the meantime for more information on communicating moods and emotions take a look at The Mood Cards


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