Do you have a “fed up” wife at home, too?
“I left my husband after 25 years of marriage due to him being PA. His behavior had escalated out of all control until eventually the last 12 weeks of living together became almost unbearable for both me and our two teenage children. I did sit him down and explain how his behavior was having a very bad impact on all family members and told him that I would be leaving within a few days. His answer to that was ‘do as you want’!
I just could not stand the constant silent treatment, the stonewalling when I tried to express my worries and concerns, the Jekyll and Hide mood swings, the withholding of love and affection and what appeared to be outright rebelliousness like that of a 16 year old juvenile delinquent. He avoids confrontation with just about every human being he comes across. Work, family, friends, the lot. He avoids phone calls, he avoids any form of communication at all and when friends and family have visited he would sit in front of the tv and turn the volume up to max in order to drown their voices out. They would leave eventually feeling rejected, disappointed and completely disrespected and I would be left feeling really embarrassed for his behavior. Our children were mortified at some of the things he did.
When I did leave, after making him quite aware of my intentions he had a nervous breakdown. He begged for forgiveness and told me how he was considering taking his own life because of me abandoning him. He convinced me that we should go to marriage guidance, which we did but even there he avoided any conversations. I didn’t realize how good he really was at evading things, changing the subject and railroading any conversation so that we ended up discussing anything else but the topic we had started talking about. He is desperate for me and the kids to return home but I can’t and won’t because I don’t see that much of a change in him. I will give him his dues, he brings me flowers every week, he sends me text messages full of romance and protestations of love but is it enough? I don’t think so. When I have tried to speak to him recently about my feelings he is still shutting down and closing himself off using sentences like ‘My heart tells me to let you go and find someone that can treat you the way you deserve to be treated but my heart wont allow me to do that because it would break in two if I ever thought you loved someone else‘! and ‘I don’t know I am doing the things you say I am doing’!
The last drop was this comment: ‘Do we really need to talk about my behavior and how it makes you feel, if you have a problem with me then keep it to yourself and don’t burden me with it’!
My question is how do I get him to actually sit and listen? How do I get him to see that his PA behavior and the way he is unable to manage it is affecting his everyday life, relationships at work and with his immediate family? He has lost one job already because his answer to a demanding bosses request is to ring in sick just when the boss is expecting him to give his all during a busy period then tells the boss he is under so much stress at home it made him ill. He avoids taking any responsibility for his elderly mother and tells his whole family its because I keep him far too busy and don’t approve of him visiting his own family. He actually uses me to cover for his inadequacies.
Since I left he is now in a financial bind. He has not managed his money well at all and has resorted to gambling and excessive TV watching to avoid dealing with the problems he has. He blames me leaving for the situation he is in.
Is there anything I can do at all for this man. I am starting individual therapy this week and hope this is going to help me personally.
Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.”
So sorry to hear about your family’s situation! Even when you are coming out of sheer misery and pain, you still have a long way to go….
My new ebook proposes a new understanding of the deep psychology of passive aggression… what I’ve found is that for some men, having experienced some childhood abuse or molestation is enough to keep them in the “Wounded Inner Child” situation for life.
You don’t say anything about your husband’s past, but it looks to me as if he doesn’t really understand what is required of him to function as a grown up man. As much as you claim, demand, require and chastise him, the less he can deliver…..
He is now a cornered child, failing at marriage and work, making bad financial decisions….because the part of his brain in charge of rational decision making is not working. Like the emotional empathy side also.
Whatever happened to him, he probably either doesn’t remember (it has become a part of his unconscious mind) or he can’t talk about that experience. Is this experience what shaped his mindset into one of mistrust and reactive defense against intimacy and trusting other person like you.
All this explanation is not enough for you finding a magical solution….I’m sorry to say that there is not one.
The point is:
He needs to acknowledge that he doesn’t have the foggiest idea what being a mature husband is; he needs to reconcile with the idea that he is not understanding the depth of your frustration (getting married to a man and finding a rebellious teen?) and your pain because the loneliness he condemned you to.
He was only believing that he could catch up with flowers and gifts, but really his Wounded Inner Child needs healing before anything else. As now, he is resentful, but lost.
And, he needs to start a plan for growing up. Perhaps it will not happen in time to prevent this divorce, but it should happen so he can have a better life. As it is now, frustrating everybody around because he feels a failure inside is no joke!
Please, get your own copy of the movie “BIG” with Tom Hanks, and realize that he was as he is now from way before you met him. He needs serious help to start healing; he could start by taking the Passive Aggression Test and facing the degree of his resistance to a healthier relationship.
Now, while he blames you for the divorce he will not be ready to use outside help to change. And he really needs to get some evaluation and plan for change now, before he continues destroying his own world.
Sending you all my best wishes in your new life,