Single Parents - Divorced Adults Group Message Board › any ex spouses who are passive agressive?

any ex spouses who are passive agressive?

A former member
Post #: 20
I finallly got around to posting this. Here's why.

in 2009 when my spouse was leaving I had asked her some questions about some of her behavior and her response was "because you let me get away with it." I was trying to figure it out myself and at the moment all I could chalk it up to was laziness. But later, after thinking though the marriage like many people do after the fact, I came to the conclusion that her behavior was eerily similar to passive agressive behavior. I haven't spoke to her as of yet about it and I figure "why bother, she won't believe me anyway?" Here's some of what she did.

Right after we got married in our first house, we had a garbage container with a lid. Did she open the lid to put the garbage in? No, she set the garbage on top of the lid. I questioned her about it back then and she came up with some lousy excuse for it and I don't remember what it was. But I fixed the problem by getting a garbage container without a lid. I was proud of myself for "fixing" the problem but it irritated me and we never dug into the reason she did that.

We generally split up finances pretty good back then but after a period of time I found the Gas and electric dude showing up at the house telling me that we were about $300 and more behind (she at that time was paying those bills). I wrote out a credit card check to pay it and then I took over that bill. Of course that was one instance of her doing something to run downhill my trust in her and I ended up taking over more of the finances which put me in too much control of them.

years later she did things like make a tv dinner and rather than put the box in the garbage, she'd leave it on the counter for someone else to put away. We split up laundry duties (I would wash them and she would fold them and put them away) but she consistently let the laundry build up to the point there were baskets and baskets sitting around. years later she got way behind on her credit card bills and I had to bail her out. I always enjoyed going by her relatives but when we went by mine she'd constantly queston me about how long we would be there yet even though we had barely arrived and it was early in the afternoon. and so forth...


I'm didn't post this to vent .... really. I'm just wondering if there is anybody else who had a situation similar wtih a spouse who did the little stuff to irritate the other and it ended up ruining the relationship and they had no explanation why they did those behaviors. How long into it did you discover what they were doing and that it was passive agressiveness? how did you cope with it? did they ever realize what they were doing?
A former member
Post #: 87
Yikes! Jeff, I don't think she sounds passive aggressive. I think she just sounds aggressive. It seems as though you were being constantly tested for a backbone. Her words "because you let me get away with it" say she has determined that, in her opinion, you didn't have one. I am a firm believer in the idea that you teach people how to treat you. Had you drawn a line in the sand on any of these issues, you probably would have ended up divorced a lot sooner. Doesn't mean either of you are bad people, just means you have 2 different ideas about the things that matter in life. I know it sounds ridiculous to make a huge issue over putting something in the trash, but I think she wanted you to make it clear that she needed to pick up the lid on the garbage can and place it inside for YOU. She was seeing if you cared enough about her to make draw her a map on what it takes to make you happy. Instead of making an issue of it, you circumvented it by getting rid of the lid. I do see yours as a solution too, just not the one she was looking for - and actually a passive solution. Don't get me wrong, I am not taking a side here and really could care less about the trash issues! Just trying to shed some light on it for you. It is a mistake to continually test someone like that, it is also a mistake to recognize you are being tested and not call the person on it. If it ends up being the fight that ends the marriage, then you were really unevenly matched to begin with.

Hope some of this helps and doesn't make you feel worse!
*hugs*
Don
user 10037615
Black Earth, WI
Post #: 31
Hi Jeff,
I'm not sure the term passive aggressive applies here. Your ex sounds petty and perhaps irresponsible but not passive aggressive in the way you've described. Maybe she has ADD which would explain the laundry and bills.

I don't have time right now to go into it but my ex must be the queen of passive aggression and pettiness and... Suffice it to say since our divorce I no longer have to think about it--and don't. Unfortunately, because of our continued association because of the kids, I still have to deal with her pettiness and ensuing "retribution".

I don't remember if you have kids but if you don't then get your ex out of your head. Why give her any more of your life than you have? Take what you've learned and find someone better suited to you. But don't dwell on the past because it keeps you from moving into the future.

Good luck, Don
A former member
Post #: 21
thanks. I don't dwell on it as much as I used to, but since I enjoy getting in other people's heads it sometimes is old hat. One thing i enjoy is not having to worry about her getting behind on her credit card bills and I have to bail her out. that way I can concentrate on improving my house.
A former member
Post #: 90
you know my mom had problems with her husband handling his finances bad. She decided she no longer wanted to be financially attached to him. so she divorced him like 12 years ago and they have been happily committed ever since (I guess). I thought that was funny, but I guess she doesn't have to worry about him getting behind in his credit card bills!
A former member
Post #: 80
I think that everything is always the ex's fault.

Now, honestly here, let me see some hands. Who here is the passive aggressive ex?

Anyone... anyone...

Now, let me remind you, we're posting about our ex's on an internet message board... wink
Don
user 10037615
Black Earth, WI
Post #: 32
Point taken Todd, thanks for the reminder. BTW, not everything was her fault but she seems to act the same while I've learned, grown and have a terrific relationship with my new lady.
A former member
Post #: 93
yeah, I am not passive at all. I am aggressive though (as I have been told - and I can see it too). But you know what? I tend to get things done. Realize it is not everyone's cup of tea, but I am cool with that!
A former member
Post #: 53
It sure looks like a pattern of passive-aggressive behavior to me. But more to the point, it looks like what's called an Adaptive Child in the language of transactional analysis. Jeff, you played the perfect Nurturing Parent who let the child get away with her power games. Hmm, "get away with" - isn't that just the language she used?
A former member
Post #: 85
Point taken Todd, thanks for the reminder. BTW, not everything was her fault but she seems to act the same while I've learned, grown and have a terrific relationship with my new lady.

Believe me, I still have my issues with my ex. It's not like I think bitching about them is bad. There are certainly things I need to vent about. I just think it's funny, the idea of bitching about people bitching. laughing

yeah, I am not passive at all. I am aggressive though (as I have been told - and I can see it too). But you know what? I tend to get things done. Realize it is not everyone's cup of tea, but I am cool with that!

I don't think most of us are most people's cup of tea. If we were, it would be easy to find lasting love. Hopefully as we get older we know ourselves better to know what we don't want so that we don't just let our hormones lead us into one failure after another. Getting stuff done for you is a value for you. It's not the major value for everyone. Sometimes a getting stuff done person can fit well with a stop and smell the roses person because one person might bring more organization and motivation to the other while the other can help the other slow down to appreciate life a little and also bring some reflection to the other which is just as valuable because all the little details don't end up adding up to much, if there isn't a big picture that lends them meaning. It's kind of like one person with the foot on the gas and the other holding the steering wheel. There are some getting stuff done people who will withhold affection until the stuff gets done and there are some reflection people who can't focus on getting stuff done unless things are right in the relationship and those variations lead to common issues. It all depends on whether they have a sense of reverence and appreciation for each other's qualities.

If you can't have this kind of cooperation you either need someone submissive to the getting stuff done person, so that the getting stuff done person can steer them. Which might be okay as long as their is still respect and affection. Or you need two getting stuff done people. The question I would have about this is how they handle it when they disagree. The stop and smell the roses person might be just as strong in their opinion as the getting stuff done person, but since they are reflective they will often think through the problem solving issues rather than charging head on. Two getting stuff done people could end up like bulls coming at each other. In that case, I would recommend the submissive person as a mate.


It sure looks like a pattern of passive-aggressive behavior to me. But more to the point, it looks like what's called an Adaptive Child in the language of transactional analysis. Jeff, you played the perfect Nurturing Parent who let the child get away with her power games. Hmm, "get away with" - isn't that just the language she used?
Whenever I'm talking with my child's therapist about how challenging my ex is to co-parent with, and I start slipping into some old personality issue or long running argument between us, she makes the point to remind me that's why we aren't together and to remind me that not having to work out all those personality things is the perk of divorce. When my ex and I get into it over something with our kids she often starts accusing me of disagreeing with her because I'm not over her. It's the most egotistical drivel. I used to argue with her but not I just make it clear to her that I'm not willing to discuss our past relationship with her, that that story is done, and that my life, my motivations, and feelings are none of her business. Sometimes even the people who are the ones who left can bate the other into these personality arguments because it's the only thing they have left of the relationship. Arguing with them back is also holding on to the relationship. Their opinion is their problem. If they spend their life trash talking you it's only going to reflect on how people see them. None of us can control the choices are ex's make. Fighting a no-win battle is the way we get trapped. Walking away from a fight is our freedom to live happy and free in our lives. It takes two to fight but it only takes one to walk away. There are some conflicts with my ex that I won't back away from because I think they're big issues. But the personality stuff, geez, once I started shutting her out I discovered that I hadn't taken a breath for ten years and even though I was still hurting at that point it felt so good to just take a big breath and breath in life!
Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy