Passive Aggressive Husband

One of the biggest problems of some women is having a passive aggressive husband. Although both men and women can display passive aggressive behavior, men are more inclined to use it to avoid responsibility and control their spouses. By keeping themselves away from the other party, they are able to suppress their fear of being controlled and avoid confrontation. It also helps them control feelings of anger and hide their inability to deal with people.

What Are the Traits of a Passive Aggressive Husband?

A passive aggressive husbandmay haveunpleasant childhood experiences, a tendency forsubstance abuse, and a borderline or narcissistic personality disorder.

It is difficult to have a direct and honest conversation with him, so nothing is ever resolved. He may say yes, but his behavior says otherwise. He may even try to sabotage your plans, needs and wants by using different tactics.

Here are some characteristics of a passive aggressive husband:

  • He is often in denial

Because he is in denial of the impact of his behavior, he usually blames others and is oblivious of the problems he is causing. He makes excuses and refuses to take responsibility for anything.

  • He is forgetful

Instead of dealing with his emotions or acting on his anger, he forgets your birthday or anniversaries. He forgets to do simple tasks like putting gas in the car or fixing a leaky faucet.

  • He procrastinates

A passive aggressive husband displays aggression by always avoiding schedules or deadlines and makes endless excuses for his delay. He does not follow through on his promises and does not honor agreements.

  • He blocks all your plans or suggestions

Instead of just saying no, he finds fault and blocks your attempts or suggestions to plan for a vacation, choose an apartment, or do anything. However, he does not offer his own suggestions.

  • He is ambiguous

He does not clearly express what he wants and refuses to take a stand. He uses this behavior to maintain control and at the same time accuse you of being controlling. This makes it difficult to negotiate agreements with him. He may pretend to agree to your terms, only to disagreelater.

  • He is never angry

In spite of his cold behavior, he does not express his anger openly. This behavior may have developed because in childhood, he has been disciplined not to show anger, and his only outlet is to display passive-aggressive behavior.

  • He is inefficient

When he finally does what you ask him to do, he makes a bad job out of it. You are likely to do it again yourself, or clean up the mess he made. If he tries to help with housework, his incompetence drives you to do the work yourself. He may also make careless errors at work.

  • He is always late

Instead of saying no, a passive aggressive husbandalways shows up late. He makes all kinds of excuses or is not ready to go even when you are all dressed up. He may also show rebellion by being late for work, which may lead to his dismissal.

  • He has a negative attitude

He displays negativity by being stubborn, argumentative, or by acting sullen. He always feels misunderstood or unappreciated and criticizes authority. He complains frequently and envies or resents those who are more fortunate.

  • He feels like a victim

Because he is always in denial and tends to blame others, he always feels like he is the victim of some injustice.

  • He is dependent

Although he fears domination, he is dependent, indecisive, nonassertive, and unsure of himself. He displays obstructive behavior in an attempt to assert independence. Instead of leaving, he withdraws or withholds intimacy.

  • He withholds emotions   

Instead of expressing anger, he withholds emotions as a form of asserting his power passively. He walks away and refuses to talk, using silent treatment to get back at you. 

How Should I Deal with My Passive Aggressive Husband?

  • Recognize the behavioral pattern

If you feel confused, angry, or powerless when your partner displays the behaviors just described, you are probably dealing with a passive aggressive husband. Try not to react by scolding, nagging or getting angry because this will give him more ammunition to blame you and deny responsibility. Instead, here are some ways to deal with the problem:

  • Set limits and don’t tolerate mistreatment

If he is always late for a meeting with you, make it clear to him that you are leaving without him.

  • Talk clearly and specifically

Instead of making general statements, talk about specific incidents or issues at hand.

  • Be assertive when communicating

Avoid aggressive or passive communication. Assertive communication works best. It means trying to be respectful and nonreactive. Find a 'win-win' solution by listening to him, not blaming him, and validating him, without necessarily agreeing with him.

For more information on how to deal with passive aggressive behavior, please watch a video:

Passive Aggressive Husband: One Woman's Experience

My life with a passive aggressive husband lasted for 10 years. During that time I spent most of my time listening to his complaints about his life, his work and his past. He complained about his miserable childhood because he had an abusive father who used to beat his mother and the kids. He also ranted about how he hated his work and blamed his boss and co-workers about everything.

For years I experienced anger and frustration over his behavior towards me. He would watch TV all night with a loud volume when I was trying to sleep. I would ask him to lower the volume, but he would do so only for a few minutes and put it back on loud again.

He displayed no emotion towards me, no matter how I tried to talk to him. I started to withdraw, but in response he just shut down all the more. I finally made him agree to see a marriage counselor with me, but after the 3rd session, he said that he has done what is expected of him as a husband, but he cannot be more loving and affectionate to me. After that, my husband refused to attend any more sessions and I decided to move out of our apartment.

At first, I felt so heartbroken, but after a while, I realized that my passive aggressive husband was displaying the same behavior towards everyone. He had a personal problem, which affected his relationships with everyone else.

Today I am so much happier being free from this abnormal relationship. I now live independently and have a better understanding of myself.