Passive Aggression: Is This the Void In Your Relationship?

Is passive aggression the hidden hurt in your relationship?

Some households are not as happy as they could be. There is conflict on various emotional, verbal, perhaps physical levels. What behavior is causing these conflicts? Perhaps you think of yourself as the normal one, but your partner often complains about you, and you often think her as overly dramatic and emotional.

It’s understandable that these fights put you off. You may sit and listen but in your head you are wondering how much longer this fight will take, and you may ask yourself, "Why am I still letting myself stay in this situation, where I'm not wanted?"

passive aggression

What if there's more here than meets the eye? What if it's not that she doesn't want you, but that she's trying to make you understand something important, something that may either save or break the marriage? Is she worth staying and finding out for?

The common law of physics is that every action has an equal and opposition reaction. The same is true of relationships. Your wife’s reaction to you has been caused by an action that you did somewhere along the line, and the other way around.

Do you usually say to yourself “What I am doing here” when things get bad? If your wife becomes loud and defiant or demands apologies from you, do you feel that she has no right to speak to you that way?

Are you often impatient to get the conversation over with so that you can do what you think is best for both of you? Does your wife often say that you don’t understand her, that you don’t care about her feelings?

All of these things contribute to the widening gap between you and your wife. The days when the two of you could have a relaxing, enjoyable time at home together are fading.

How about answering this: what is really causing this gap between the two of you? Why are you drifting further apart? What is at stake?

Listen:

"For a long time, I was avoiding confrontation with my wife. She was so aggressive in telling me everything I did wrong that it made me feel like I’m not good enough for anything. Who wants to listen to that? Every fight we were in made me feel more isolated, more unwanted, more of a disappointment to her.

I found myself wishing she wouldn’t get so angry. I wished she could lovingly tell me that I hurt her, that she would know for sure that I didn’t mean any harm. I wished that she could show me that I hurt her in a way that made me want to change my behavior. Instead, she said it in a way that made me rationalize my behavior & protect myself from her vocal disappointment.

It’s different now.

One night I was by myself, going over our fight in my head, and I did a search on “passive aggressive.” This is what she was always calling me, and it was driving me crazy! I found this site, and instead of explaining to me why I should believe my wife, this little test was there to say: “Find out by yourself.”

I was amazed at how everything changed after that. Suddenly, a personalized solution for us as a couple was in our hands. For years, I’ve been silently struggling to find a way of living that makes us both feel safe and secure in the relationship; not in danger of losing each other, as I used to feel.

I’m learning now how to do these things, and home feels safer and happier because of it."

- Alan G., Ontario

Are you ready to find out the truth about this gap, the one your wife says is caused by passive aggression? Find out for yourself, like Alan did, by visiting our Passive Aggression Test here. Save your marriage today!

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today.

We can begin by you being invited to visit Conflict Coach to receive a complimentary consultation, followed with a plan for action to change your life with new skills included. Just click this link and get started now!

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Is Passive Aggressive Behaviour Wrecking Your Relationship?

Are you being told that your passive aggressive behavior is damaging your relationship?

Welcome to Passive Aggressive Test.

Now that you know where you are, your next question for yourself is probably this: “Why am I here?”

In your opinion, you are an honest husband who always tries to do what is best for your wife and family. You treat them well, provide for them what they need, try to teach them the right ways of doing things.

So, why is your wife still complaining about you? Does she often say things like:

  • Stop being so passive aggressive
  • You’re trying to sabotage my projects
  • You don’t include me in the household finances/decision-making
  • You always put me down in front of our family and friends
  • You kill me with your constant silence!

Perhaps your wife often blames and reproaches you for events in the marriage's past that you feel you had no big part in. Why would she be bringing up these old things, or keep using them against you? Is she just being controlling, or is there a point underneath it all?

Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand our partners – we’re all only human, after all. The most common cause of frustration during conflict is either a) feeling like you didn’t do something you’re being accused of or b) feeling like you’ve fulfilled something you’re accused of not doing enough of.

Why is your wife making this noise about your supposed passive aggression, or about hurting her deeply – when all you are trying to do is make her happy? Is there any reason to stick around if she can’t be pleased? Well, who can understand women, right?

Even now she is pushing you into therapy or coaching because she says you are too sullen, depressed, and angry about small things, but she can’t talk to you about your marriage big problems. Does she think she needs a professional to ask you to open up and say what you think? What are you supposed to do with her move now?

If you’re not willing to go to therapy because you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, or because you feel you can’t trust anybody’s word at this point, we understand. We know that at this point, you feel like your situation is building momentum, heading for disaster as surely as a runaway train is about to derail.

That’s why we offer our free, fast test so that you can decide for yourself where you stand. Find out if it is true that you use passive aggression in your family! You don’t need to pay someone in a therapist's office – you can find answers and solutions right now.

Visit our Passive Aggression Test here, get your profile, and with that tool in your hands stop your marriage from derailing off the tracks.

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today.We can begin by you visiting Conflict Coach and having a complimentary consultation, followed with a plan for action to change your life with new skills included. Just click this link and get started now!

 

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How Passive Aggression Sabotages Love in a Marriage

Is your wife’s most constant complaint that you never open up to her? Does she talk about your passive aggression? 

If so, we encourage you to pause with us for a moment. Let’s assume that whether or not you open up (and support emotionally) your wife the way she needs, if your wife feels isolated from you, it is a problem in the relationship because she will feel hurt by you and then be unable to support you in the way that you need.

So now there are two things to think about: do I or do I not open up to her? and how can I respond to her hurt her feelings, either way?

A quick way to get an idea about your ability to open up now is to think back to whether you could have open conversations, feelings of anger included, when you were a child.

When you were a child, were you restricted from expressing anger toward your parents? If you had a need, and were feeling it keenly, what happened when you expressed it? If you were guilt-tripped for being too “needy,” shamed for being a baby or a whiner, you probably taught yourself to just shut up when you needed something from other people.

In order not to feel pity for yourself, you would have then taught yourself that repressing emotions and sucking things up was an admirable trait; a feat of skill, something only a manly man could achieve.

Still not sure – maybe some seems right, some not quite? Some other ways you can know that you had trouble opening up is that you would have shown your frustration in ambiguous ways. You might have destroyed your own toys, physically hurt yourself, or wet the bed. You may have also fallen behind in school, even if you were very smart.

If you can identify with this type of childhood, the real situation at home now is that these old defensive mechanisms are still at work, although your ways of not opening up may be different. You may be going silent for days or weeks, for example. The truth remains that just now, this behavior is destroying any intimacy you were able to build with your loved one. For now, she feels condemned to loneliness by your withdrawal and silent days, and you are trapped in a lonely jail of your own making.

Want to know how to walk out of this trap? Do you dare to look back to your past and identify the forces that here and now sabotage your marriage?

Here is your next step: take the Passive Aggressive Test. If you are found to have no passive aggressive behaviors, you know that there is something else going on to create a wound between you and your wife. And, in the event that some of your behaviors are passive aggressive, you will receive immediate options for improving your communication style at home.

What kind of transformation do we offer?

Here is a short version of the model for transforming passive aggression into a loving, responsive partnership. First, we need to share with you this basic proposition:

Couple arguing at table

Couple arguing at table

There is a strong connection between personal history and present behavior, more precisely how the old attachment to the first love figure (aka "mother") is shaping our love connections now;

In short: being unable to communicate in a positive way with his wife, happens not due to bad intentions now, but it happens when men use an outdated protective system that developed to protect against excessive parent’s control or interference in their childhood.

STEPS TO PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE MEN’S TRANSFORMATION:

Men need to:
-Identify when and with whom they developed in their childhood this “communication shield” expressed as interpersonal passive aggression.
-Locate the feelings attached to that control childhood situation, and release them;
-Separate the way he regards his wife from the way he regarded his mother/caretaker in the past. Learning how to separate the two is crucial.
-Re-learn to frame interactions with his wife in a new, appreciative, positive way.
-Learn and use a new repertoire of connection phrases (delivered by us) to foster interaction in a positive leader way; 

CASE EXAMPLE: (Managing a very personal "PA SHIELD")

GEORGE'S  PERSONAL MILESTONES: (05/26/15)
1.- Taking personal responsibility for the hurtful impact of doing some reactive behaviors on the relationship;
2.- Searching for and identification of past old anger, and discovering how he created the "passive aggressive shield" as a defense against parent's control;
3.- Learn to separate anger and resistance against parents, (which produced the shield) from emotions generated here and now in the marriage;
4. Understand how his use of the "PA shield" now produces counterproductive results with his wife;
5. Grasp the connection between protecting his own isolation (needed to be able to work) with generating feelings of abandonment in his wife, which then reacts with her own controlling behavior;
6. George experiences demands for company from his wife as suffocating control, and reacts by isolating himself more, (as in the “PA shield”)
7. The solution for control is not more isolation, but the opposite: open up the "PA shield", trust the relationship and learn to share time and projects.
8. Now, his wife's request for company will be framed as a legitimate search for love and connection (not control) and solved doing shared activities/projects.
9. Both need to be able to negotiate better their reciprocal needs: (George's need for space to create, and his wife's need for company) and to confront each other using Fair Fighting techniques;
10. Keep a routine of maintenance of connection: schedule conversations about home issues, schedule dates and have a clear idea of the time they need to have together.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG?

Here is an outline of all the typical roadblocks and barriers that men have to overcome on their way to achieving such transformation process.

FIRST ROADBLOCK: long-term denial of the behavior done to others, because using the “passive aggression shield” feels “normal.” (He can say:  "I'm not passive, it's the way I was brought up)"  (the Passive Aggressive Test helps here)

SECOND ROADBLOCK: resistance to accept his own responsibility for the hurt he does (is not that "she provokes him"; he does PA behavior because it is the only response he knows from his past.)

THIRD ROADBLOCK: refusing to accept hidden, past anger and to deal with the baggage of negative emotions linked to the origin of  “passive aggression shield” back in childhood.

FOURTH ROADBLOCK: resistance to learn and adopt softer interactive behaviors (e.g. Reflective listening as not being “manly behavior”); or not having the skills to do them;

FIFTH ROADBLOCK: Wanting to use good communication skills but sheer ignorance of how to do, what to say, and how to confront with love.  (Our list of phrases helps here)

Do you want our help? The first step is to take the Free Passive Aggression Test, here:

(This connection between attachment and actual behavior is backed by solid psychological research, as in the book: “Attached: New Science of Adult Attachment,” by Amir Levine & Rachel Heller.)

Neil Warner

Neil Warner, author

 

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Do You Have a Passive Aggression Problem?

Does this sound like a familiar train of thought to you: “I’ve always tried not to show any anger, so that love and acceptance are the only things in our relationship”?

If this is familiar, then your wife telling you that there’s a problem with your behavior comes as a huge surprise!

To you, this way of behaving (controlling your emotions at all times) is something you’ve learned since childhood. If your wife can’t accept that, tough luck, right?

Well, when it comes to the status of your marriage, it may be important to make a distinction between your personality (who you’ll always be) and your learned behavior (things that you’ve done since childhood, but may be having negative consequences). Why make this distinction? Simple. It’s making it clear that she has an issue with behavior that’s been learned (and can be unlearned) and not necessarily with you as a person, lover, or husband.

Let’s look at this learned behavior. Why don’t you want to show anger now? Probably because showing anger as a child or teen had negative consequences, right? Consequences you’re trying to avoid now by repressing bad emotions.

However, anger still comes up, and anger still has to go someplace. So, what you learned in childhood and what you may still do as an adult is channel that anger “underground,” so to speak. You found ways to stick it to your enemies in subtle ways.

Does this sound familiar to how your wife describes you – perhaps you’ve heard her say something like “You seem to be two people in the same body, one nice and one bad, like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hide.”

This way of living is very difficult, for both you and your family. First, you need to deny your anger; then, you need to find subtle ways of letting off steam; then, both of these actions need to be denied by your rational self, who is in charge of saying, “I’ve never did such a thing! You blame me for these things, for being passive aggressive and sabotaging you, when all I’m doing here is protecting and providing for you!”

It could be that being honest would reveal too much of your anger, so you need to find ambiguous ways of avoiding certainty. That way, you never tell her outright that she did anything wrong, or that you’re unhappy with her because of this or that.

Logically she should be very happy with you as a husband – technically, you never point out her faults or correct her mistakes upfront, only in a sly way. However, she’s not happy feeling that you don't talk about anything that could improve your relationship, even helping her improve.... Are you committed to this marriage or not?

What is it she still needs from you? Is she still claiming companionship, intimacy and sharing? Those are dangerous words; as soon as you open up, you expect that someone will get hurt, and having fights every day is tiring.

But who says it’s dangerous. Who, really? If you listen hard enough, you may hear your parents’ voices.

Are you ready to see how much effect your childhood is having on your marriage? Ready to find out for yourself whether your wife’s claims of passive aggression are real?

Visit our Passive Aggressive Test here, and learn once and for all whether she’s right.

Neil Warner

Neil Warner

I'm the “relationship guru,” and my main focus is to increase the quality of love-based relationship experiences. I offer useful strategies on healing a difficult angry relationship with love and compassion. You don't have to stay in an unhealthy relationship one more minute. Let us share our tools with you today. We can begin by you visiting Conflict Coach to receive a  complimentary consultation, followed with a plan for action to change your life with new skills included. Just click this link and get started now!

 

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Are you a passive aggressive man?

serious manHave you been told that you are a passive aggressive man?  Are you dealing with your wife's accusations now?

In our coaching practice we have discovered that some men using passive aggressive behaviors are emotionally unavailable because are trapped in a childhood situation They grew up without lots of emotional expressions, never learned to use them, and now, dealing with a wife, are often accused of acting emotionally unavailable by purpose.

Of course, it is not because they don't want to be expressive! It is because they never learned how to be! Or rejected open expressions of love because the environment classified those expressions as "sissified" and "not manly."

Perhaps you are under the constant claims of your wife, who feels lonely, not appreciated and left isolated by your silence? Or are you damaging the relationship by keeping important issues like finances out of the sharing with her?

Well, it's time to grow up...Normal, healthy people are not afraid of sharing and expressing love. If you are ready to take the jump and reach out of your self-created cave, there are ways to do it...

  • Lose your shame; you will love to be married and happy;
  • Forget the childhood labels: feeling your emotions is not "being sissy"
  • You know that you yourself want to stop the emotional starvation!

Needing some one on one conversation? Here is a Coaching Session Offer, so you can discover your own change map to follow. Schedule your free session, get solutions to your questions and receive the info you need to make your decisions! Enjoy!

 

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What are the Results You Would Like to Have NOW

Dear Friend,

I'm working a a new book, and I need your help to figure out how much importance you give to certain issues.

Can I use five minutes of your time?

This is a list of five questions, only....no big sweat, but important for my work.

Thanks a lot!

Here is the survey:

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Couples do Relationship Repair with a Quick Solution That Works

relationship repair

Are you needing a bit of relationship repair in your marriage?

Creative Conflict Resolutions, a conflict resolution group that focuses on troubled marriages, has now released a brand-new 4 week program that helps couples resolve debilitating issues quickly, before the marriage reaches breaking point. The program is completely free, and is called “Relationships Repair Month.”

After registering for free access to the program, members will be able to read and discuss content that is uploaded. The content varies for each week in the program, with helpful books, PDFs, presentations and other media to help illustrate what Creative Conflict Resolutions feel are the “key” relationship concepts every couple should understand. Members can then participate on the online forum with both conflict resolution experts and other members themselves.

Neil Warner, the co-owner of Creative Conflict Resolutions, is excited to see how many positive responses the program has already received. “Conflict in relationships is a big problem,” said Warner, “but not because conflict is a problem. It’s because couples don’t know how to deal with it.” With their new “Relationships Repair Month” program, Creative Conflict Resolutions aims to teach couples new, positive ways of handling conflict, so that the relationship can improve instead of stagnating.

“Relationships Repair Month” is free and available for any person and/or couple wishing to find immediate relationship help. It can be found at Relationships Repair Month.

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