Is your passive aggressive husband doing the silent treatment at home?
We humans have a need to feel that our relationships are stable/ permanent, and we want to know that the people we are with will be there for us.
Usually, having a secure, trusting attachment fulfills this need for us all. And you know you have that kind of relationship by having constant conversations: your partner is open and eager to share with you, listen and be present at what is going on at that moment!
What happens when your partner does the silent treatment to you? You are thrown into a crash course on how to survive without the same things promised to you by marriage: sharing, talking, connecting. Frustrating as hell…what kind of deal are you in now?
Being smacked in the face by your husband’s silence is proof that he grew up with an avoidant or anxious attachment style, where he learned not to trust anybody! This discovery can be a huge shock for you. Where is the confident and communicative guy you fell in love with? Looking at a future with more silence and stonewalling can be devastating to you. And, of course, this passive aggressive resistance grows…no sharing, no disclosing of necessary information, more slamming you into silence and confusion.
When you confront him, and ask for a steady response in sharing or planning a life together, he probably will offer nice promises. And here is another turn of the screw:
the number one complaint of most wives is that he makes promises to get out of some responsibility or obligation, and then purposely doesn’t fulfill those promises. This is his way to weaken your trust in the relationship, making him feel that he is not “obligated by marriage” to do what he doesn’t want to do…Now, you are in an empty relationship deeply unsatisfying!
That, unfortunately, leads to another cost that you have to pay for your husband: the abandonment that he imposes on you in order to avoid you what he perceives as “intruding” into his privacy. Some wives call it “stonewalling,” referring to a sensation of knocking at a wall without any emotional response. The perception of being let down and ignored in your hour of need is difficult to understand and cope with, especially in a culture where it’s expected that a man be “strong and silent.” Fighting is a way of making the other person pay attention to us; it is a weird form of reconnecting.If he avoids confronting, then his only way out is the silent treatment, that can drive the partner crazy.
If your ability to reconnect with your partner, via fighting or sharing, is being thwarted by passive aggression, this means that the very life of the relationship is being threatened.
That is why, if your relationship is important and something that you want to improve, it is important that you work toward stopping passive aggression in your marriage by seeing what you can do yourself. A marriage that is not connected is not a marriage – it is two people living together and putting on a show for the rest of the world.
In this case, what we observe is a dead end: husband can’t talk abut himself, and blocks any intimate, personal sharing from spouse. If she tries to overcome this deadlock, now you have the second level of the denial circus:
“If I confront him abut his lies, his unfulfilled promises, or god forbid confront him about being passive aggressive, he accuses me of being “out to make him wrong.” I feel trapped because there is no way I can have a real talk.
We see the defenses here, but he is reacting not to her demands -here and now- but to the imprint left by his first family, where he was probably accused of something not his fault. Sadly, his denial is lethal for the relationship, that’s where the conversation dies! There is no worst rejection feeling than the one his wife has now…she feels unable to reach him, and her self-worth plummets.
If couples are unable to move beyond this communication wall, their relationship is going to end, and badly. Before they reach the point of total isolation and rejection feelings, what is needed is to find tools to face and resolve this passive aggression behavior.
If you are the wife of a silent partner, here is your book:
And, if you somehow are the silent husband, you can take this offer of a free phone strategic session to review what are your options to restore the joy and communication in your marriage.
You can schedule your strategic phone session here:
Remember that great improvement is made step by step…taking the first step of educating yourself can be the start of a new way of connecting! Ask for an interesting phone conversation just now!