Does your husband excessively procrastinate, complain, and feel underappreciated? Have you been contemplating that his behavior is nothing like normal? If so, then you might have a passive aggressive husband.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a passive aggressive behavior is the indirect expression of negative feelings instead of addressing concerns. In other words, a person with passive aggressive behavior avoids direct confrontation.
Passive aggressive behavior is also a pattern that displays a disconnection between the actions and statements of the person. This means that a passive aggressive person may agree to something but fail to serve the agreement.
More signs of passive aggressive behavior as published on the Mayo Clinic’s website are:
- Resentment and opposition to the demands of others
- Procrastination and intentional mistakes in response to others’ demands
- Cynical, sullen or hostile attitude
- Frequent complaints about feeling underappreciated or cheated
If you have spotted all these red flags in your husband, then there’s a 50-50 chance he is exhibiting passive aggressive behavior. But there is nothing to fret about as long as you learn how to get a good handle on this type of personality.
In this post, we are going to help you manage a partner with passive aggressive behavior. Here are 5 strategies to deal with a passive-aggressive husband.
5 Strategies to Help You Deal With a Passive Aggressive Husband
1. Identify the root causes of your husband’s passive aggression.
Identifying the root causes of your partner’s passive aggression is part of building an effective approach to managing his behavior. Being on the receiving end of his hostility and resentments is more difficult without an understanding of why he is acting that way. For that reason, getting to know your husband’s passive aggressive history shall be of significant help in addressing his behavioral issues.
But before you get your hands to the task, know that it is not your goal to change your passive aggressive husband. Instead, your purpose for recognizing his passive aggressive history should be centered on your own education and awareness about his past and how it affects his behavior.
Now, how do you do it? How can you get to the roots of your husband’s passive aggression without being a trigger to his aggressive behavior? Here’s our useful tip:
Find a way to engage your husband in a casual friendly conversation. Doing this shall make him comfortable in talking out his thoughts and some things about his past that he may not have shared to you before your marriage.
Second, your questions must be open-ended. A yes or no question cannot steer the conversation to crucial events in his past that you need to learn.
However, you must make it a point not to overdo your questioning. Don’t make it sound like a police investigation or a job interview.
You must know that a passive aggressive individual gets triggered when he feels powerless. Too many questions may put him in a challenging position, which may press his aggressive button. This is not good for you.
Pushing the aggressive button would drive your discussion into an argument. And you wouldn’t want to engage in any kind of fight with a passive aggressive person.
2. Avoid being your passive aggressive husband’s trigger.
After realizing that you married a passive aggressive man, it becomes part of your responsibility as a wife to help him cope with his condition. True love has its perks and baggage, after all. You must take the rough with the smooth.
So if you do love your spouse and you are sincere in your intentions of helping him, avoid being a trigger to his aggression. Observe his behavior and responses to certain situations. If it would help, make a list of his triggers and start memorizing them until you get familiar with them even with your eyes closed.
It is not uncommon for passive aggressive individuals to choose a partner they can control. They have a hunger for power and dominance. This is why it is important for you to keep a positive facade as often as you can, even when he is completely driving you nuts.
Well, the truth is that keeping a positive attitude is not only favorable to your husband. It is also helpful to you. Positivity nourishes your mind and soul with effective and healthy thoughts that allow you to carry on despite tough daily life affairs. Perhaps you need it more than your passive aggressive husband, as you are the one subject to his cynical, pessimistic attitude.
3. Be calm and do not overreact.
A passive aggressive husband can undeniably anger you most of the time. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you went through a lot of misunderstandings and arguments before you even got to the realization that he is passive aggressive.
Does he always fail at his promises? Does he agree to something and forget about it the next morning? Is he always stubborn and does not own to his mistakes? Is he always blaming you when things go wrong even when you know you were not the one at fault?
Situations like these surely fuel anger and hatred. But can you blame yourself? He is just unreasonable, right?
However, you must know that your husband’s passive aggressive behavior is reinforced every single time he sees you lose your temper. It makes him feel that you’re someone he can always control and push around. And if that happens, there’s a higher chance for you to have the same arguments over and over again.
If that is the case, guard yourself with resistance to temper. No matter how annoying he gets, never let him see how it is negatively affecting you. Don’t take the bait. He must have mastered how to stir drama and blame you for all the consequences of your fights.
Don’t let him do this to you. Show him that you have control over your emotions. It earns you respect and power.
It is, however, a pretty tough task to remain cool in front of a stubborn husband. So, always keep number 2 in your mind – positive thinking. Think positively and remember how it will benefit you if you do not overreact or respond in anger. Just grit your teeth and sail through it with positivity.
4. Set your boundaries and address the issue head-on.
Your passive aggressive husband’s defense mechanism is to use his aggression in every conflict to divert the blame on you. You may be able to tolerate petty disagreements but when the situation makes you uncomfortable, go ahead and speak up.
As a wife to a passive aggressive, it is a must that you set your limits. Know what you can take and let go. Then, identify which ones are going beyond your boundaries.
While you don’t want to trigger your husband’s aggressive behavior, you wouldn’t want to live your life as a punching bag to his aggression. Martyrdom isn’t part of your dreams.
On that account, do not allow your husband to abuse your kindness and patience. If he did something that hurts you or is too much for you to bear, approach it by telling him upfront how it made you feel. Here’s our tip:
Instead of using “you,” focus on “I.” Talk about your feelings towards his actions. How were you offended? How were you disrespected? How were you insulted?
Giving him “I” statements directs the conversation to empathy and understanding. It makes your feelings known to your husband and maybe in that way, he can see the wrong in his actions.
Stating “you” conditions, on the other hand, sounds accusatory. Remember, passive aggressive people are often in denial. Your husband may feel attacked and retaliate if you do this.
Additionally, make sure that you follow through on the limits that you set. You must send him a clear message that you will not permit any form of mistreatment and offense.
5. Seek medical, professional counseling or treatment.
To make things clear, a passive aggressive behavior is not a distinct mental health condition. But it can be a result or symptom of underlying medical problems. Which is why, if things go out of your control, it is recommended that you convince your husband to seek medical or professional help.
However, persuading a passive aggressive person to schedule an appointment with a psychologist is an almost impossible mission. Passive aggressive individuals are frequently protesting and disagreeable.
They are good at twisting facts so that you look like a sensitive person who cannot understand their personality. So yes, convincing them to consult with a psychologist seems to be a tough assignment.
But, you still have to do your best because only a trained professional can identify your husband’s condition. If it happens that his passive aggression is a result of a medical problem, he can get treatments that could better his state. Or, if his aggression arises from environmental and biological factors, counseling would be favorable for him.
It is important to note, though, that the definite causes of passive aggressive behavior are unknown. That is why there are no medical laboratory tests that can diagnose it.
But even without an accurate diagnosis, doctors and psychologists have seen a clear pattern of passive aggressive behaviors. These help them determine whether or not a person qualifies in the passive aggressive department.
Marriage is a partnership, and unless you want to drop your end of the bargain, you must work through your husband’s passive aggressive behavior. It is challenging, that’s true. But after figuring out the ways to eliminate his unwanted behaviors, things shall get better for both of you.
Know that being a wife to a passive aggressive husband is a demanding role. And if you want to keep your marriage, you don’t have much choice but to grin and bear it.
Also, do not forget that the only person in charge of your emotions is you. Your husband can be a pain in the neck most of the time, but you have power over the things that can and cannot hurt you. Always take control of your feelings and actions and never give in to his aggression.