Does passive aggressive behavior hurt you?

Many relationships begin to suffer due to frequent miscommunication and passive aggressive behavior


You may say or do one thing, which your wife misinterprets or doesn’t understand at all, leading her to act in a rejecting way that is unsatisfactory to your emotional needs.

If you feel your marriage is wracked by fights and anger based on miscommunication, it’s possible that you’ve been accused (more than once) of not being “open” enough with your wife, taking her for granted and/or hiding your opinions from her.

She may have even used the label “passive aggressive.”

Perhaps, after all this, you’re reaching the limits of your frustration (or she is reaching hers) and an irrevocable blow to the marriage is the only thing you see on the horizon: divorce.

If this option is not what you want, if a loving marriage with your wife is what you truly desire to have but aren’t sure how to achieve, we’d like to ask you to think deeply for a moment.

Isn’t it possible that the traits in yourself that you call your “personality” – reserved, brooding, emotionally and physically sparing with loved ones – are not only causing problems in the relationship, but are not really your personality at all? (Remember that this is called: “passive aggressive behavior.”) What if those ways of acting that your wife has continually termed “passive aggressive” and “sabotage” are really behaviors that you’ve learned early on life or taught to your own brain without realizing it?

In working with our male clients in this situation, asking themselves the same thing, the answer is hard to define because this is the only way you know how to interact with others. If this is not your “natural” (born with it) personality, how are you supposed to act instead? It may be a daunting task to look at this situation, but trust us, you cannot afford to put the matter to the side.

At the core of our selves are very basic human needs for love and connection. Often, neither party in a struggling marriage knows how to give voice to those needs and ask for a nurturing or fulfillment of those needs. Thus, marital grief can continue to escalate as long as one or more people (here, the wife) feel taken for granted and ignored. Even when it is a basic skill, partners need to develop a reciprocal atunement to the partner’s emotional needs, in order to take care of providing satisfaction and emotional support and attention. Can this situation be improved? If so, how?

Conflict Coach is using their research findings to help passive aggressive men heal the behaviors that are causing miscommunication and pain in their present marriage. They guide you to identify for yourself the lessons of your childhood, (when and how did you learn to be reserved, isolated and block others out) and appraise how both your needs for love are being suppressed (by your own brain!) as well as how you are suppressing those needs in your wife.

The truth remains that this “defensive”  behavior is destroying any intimacy you were able to build within your marriage.

Your wife feels condemned to loneliness by your withdrawal and silent days, and you are also trapped in a lonely jail of your own making.

Conflict Coach is inviting frustrated husbands like yourself to identify what inner forces are sabotaging their marriages by using new resources specifically designed for men.

It is now possible to take a free, short on-line test on Conflict Coach’s new website, Passive Aggressive Test.
The test is an intelligent strategy for getting to know your personalized communication style. Whether the results are normal, passive aggressive, or mixed, you can know exactly where you are on the spectrum, and this crucial definition can then be explained to your wife.

For men interested in assessing themselves and learning how to heal miscommunication and conflict in their marriage, the next step is taking the Passive Aggressive Test.

In the event that some of your behaviors are passive aggressive, you  will receive immediate options for change from Conflict Coach’s  new revolutionary product: the “4-Steps-Relief-Plan-for-Passive-Aggression, composed by  life-changing behavioral strategies, coaching and community support.

Why Is Secrecy Part of Passive Aggression?

passive aggression

  One reader wrote this suggestion in our site:

“How do you deal with a husband that keeps a secret journal and never tells me he is unhappy about anything?”

This reader is hitting at the heart of the passive aggression problem.

We need to remember first that this kind of behavior

a) is not caused by or originated with the present marriage;
b) has deep roots in his childhood and family of origin
c) is connected with some kind of long forgotten trauma, still active inside him.

This short description is necessary because there can be so many misconceptions obscuring the understanding of his present behavior.

She is not guilty of his present passive aggression, because he has been functioning in this way to protect himself from life’s hazards and tribulations for a very long time.

So, why the need for secrecy?

If the original trauma and all the feelings included has to do with his parents, or a parent substitute as uncles, godfathers, or ministers, it could never be opened up. The victim, in this case your husband, had to keep everything inside as a way of colluding with his parents who decided that the situation was normal enough not to merit a comment or a defensive reaction. If the child was abused, emotionally oppressed or humiliated in some way, this was never talked about, because the loyalty to parental figures was stronger. Then and there, secrecy was the main line of defense: don’t say a word about what hurts you. Tragically, this “defense” ends up exterminating all humanity in relationships, because then the humiliated child has nobody to defend his integrity, and every one of the adults is a accomplice of the hurt.

The last thing a passive aggressive will do is to complain about his own past or present unhappiness. He is still a five years old child inside, convinced that there is no justice in this world, that talking will get him punished and still will get no justice, and that opening up could end up in more ridicule, punishment or humiliation. No, he can’t say a word…which doesn’t mean that he is not hurt, resentful and dreaming of revenge!

This secrecy pact is what makes it so difficult to live with him…produces the impression that he is still more loyal to the people that then and there damaged him, than to his present situation and loving companion. Secrecy will make also impossible to provide him with the satisfaction and nurturing his own needs demand, and will generate resentment on both sides: on her side because she is willing to give love that he finds impossible to accept and from his side because whatever he can receive is not answering his deep needs for love and security coming from his past starvation.

Secrecy also gives him the illusion of conserving his own power; if nobody knows what hurts him, he can deny that some hurt exists in his heart forever. “Me keeping a grudge against my parents? Why would I do such a thing?”

Denial is a wall that blocks connection in marriage. It signals a whole part of his soul is not included in the marriage bargain. Allows withdrawal and isolation, and predicts more isolation, but the illusion of power and control.

So, what can you do?

First, accept that this is his reality; no amount of coaching or preaching will make him leave this cave when he feels the need to be protected there. Perhaps allowing him to keep his secrets, giving him permission to withdraw in his cave and sulk there, is the only way of giving him what he needs. And feeling that he has not to fight for his right to some privacy, so he can feel secure enough of being respected as he is, could invite him to leave his cave more often.

SIGH? nobody said that this kind of marriage was going to be easy, right?

What about your karma could be now putting you in this pickle?

Just in case you were wondering what to do now, we have prepared a new program: The 4 Steps Relief Plan for Passive Aggression. You can invite your husband to give it a try…at least, you now where to go to find some relief to your usual complaints about his behaviors!