When you’re in struggling relationships, especially with emotionally unavailable people (Mr/Ms Unavailables) and assclowns, you are likely to experience passive aggression.

According to Wikipedia:

“Passive-aggressive behavior refers to passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following through with expectations in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as learned helplessness, procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, or deliberate/repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is (often explicitly) responsible. It is a defense mechanism, and (more often than not) only partly conscious. For example, suppose someone does not wish to attend a party. A passive-aggressive response in that situation might involve taking so long to get ready that the party is nearly over by the time they arrive.”

Now, I receive quite a few emails that describe typically a guy as passive-aggressive. But, actually, in struggling relationships that drag on, this is behaviour that both parties can be guilty of. But I am looking at his behaviour for part 1 of this post.

Here is a common situation where he exhibits passive aggressive behaviour:

In these situations, many men’s actions contradict their words. The women who engage in relationships with them have intense discussions about the relationship, telling them what they want/think/and pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. He will say and act like he ‘gets’ what you’re saying so that the discussion can end, promise things he will not deliver on, and insist that he is different from what you claim. He then ends up doing exactly as he pleases, which is usually the opposite of what you want and gets his way.

Here are more common examples:

  • Withdrawing by blowing lukewarm or cold when he thinks you may need, want, or expect things from him that are often based on (false) promises and behaviour during the hot phase.
  • Cheating or dating multiple people to avoid commitment to any one person.
  • Disappearing so that you don’t become dependent on him because he likes attention, ego stroking, and sex but doesn’t want you to depend on him because it feels overwhelming and it’s not what he wants.
  • Marginalising you by treating you poorly whilst enjoying the fringe benefits of being with you but not finishing it with you because he needs you around so he can get those fringe benefits.
  • Being noncommittal by struggling to commit to doing something in a few days, never mind in a few months. This resistance forces you to stop expecting and asking.
  • Running rings around you in discussions so that you end up doubting yourself or even feeling guilty. Note, this is gaslighting.
  • Getting angry with you and then playing nicey-nice to disarm you and bring the situation and you under his control.
  • Because he makes promises he can’t keep when you confront him about his poor behaviour, he traps you in the web of the relationship, which is based on lies, smokescreens and essentially poor foundations. By his blowing hot and retreatingyou get trapped in the hope that this time he will change when, actually, he’ll blow cold all too soon. You’re in a disappointment cycle.
  • Behaving like a complete assclown and knowing deep down that he is in the hope that you will respect yourself, opt out and reject his behaviour.
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How do you end up sticking around a passive-aggressive person?

You’re avoiding responsibility for creating your own happiness and giving away your power to opt out. You blame yourself for a partner’s unwanted behaviour and overcompensate when they’re not showing up in the relationship. You take responsibility for the relationship’s success, which means you blame yourself for it not working out. Conversely, you put it on them to decide the relationship’s fate. Messy!

Remaining in an unhealthy and/or unfulfilling relationship is one of those ‘buying time’ scenarios. These people exhibit such poor relationship behaviour, yet we stick with them anyway, which are signs we are avoiding. We’re avoiding true conflict because we don’t confront things about ourselves or make ourselves responsible for changing the situation and opting out.

These passive-aggressive struggles arise from seeking out and being with partners who are inherently incapable of meeting your needs, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and letting you off the hook. 

Yep, you read that right. You’ve chosen a partner that caters to your fears and negative beliefs about yourself, men, and relationships.

You’re used to not getting your needs met. Being with passive-aggressive men like Mr Unavailables and assclowns means you get to throw your version of love at people that don’t appreciate it. You then feel disappointed, unappreciated, resentful, frustrated, or even downright angry.

These men take the piss by blowing hot and cold and playing havoc with your mind and life, and you end up indulging in self-doubt and blame. His poor behaviour feels like your failure. It’s all incredibly destructive.

But that in itself is part of our own issues with passive-aggression and control. But that’s for part 2.

Passive-aggressive behaviour is about dodging responsibility, avoiding being direct, and poor communication.

You have to ask yourself if you’re looking for things from a partner incapable of giving them to you. If your relationship is just one long trail of disappointment, resistance, conflict, and basically negativity, you’ve done what you can do. You need to opt out and make yourself responsible for your happiness rather than trying to make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear.

‘But doesn’t this just mean he’s f*cked up and needs my help?’ you might ask. There must be a mighty big foundation to commit yourself to fixing someone. And the reality is that if you desire to ‘fix’ someone, there are things about yourself that you are avoiding addressing. You need to be needed and have Renovator/Florence Nightingale inclinations. Be more honest with yourself about your intentions and motivations. My suggestion is always to go away, address the emotional baggage around this, endeavour to be emotionally available, and then see if you still want this person when you’re in a different mindset.

In part 2, we look at how women can be passive-aggressive in relationships. And in part 3, I talk about dealing with and avoiding passive-aggressive dynamics.

Your thoughts?

Step into a new chapter of love and self-awareness with the ‘Break The Cycle’ ecourse.


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