Posted by: Cranberry | 2008/08/21

Meaning of Passive/Aggressive


How are you today?

Please can you explain what it means if you have a passive/aggressive thing going on in your relationship. How would you identify this exactly?

It sounds so simple, but thinking about it I don' t have a clue! Would one person be both passive and aggressive or does it mean that one party is passive and the other aggressive. Surely the status quo changes from day to day?

Thanks very much,

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Our expert says:
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That would require a very long and complex response, Cran. Lets see if I can try to avoid giving a passive-aggressive response ! Have you tried googling Passive-aggressive and relationship ?
The basic point you seem to be being confused by is that it is about how one ( or maybe both ) people relate to others --- its not that one person is passive and the other aggressive, or that they vary day to day, but that it is a specific style of being aggressive in a pessive way.
For instance, you want him to buy the milk. In more active aggressuion, he would refuse, shout at you, whatever. A passive-aggressive response would be to say "SUre" --- and handily forget to every actually get any milk, and to make feeble excuses when you ask about it.

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Our users say:
Posted by: mental abuse | 2008/08/21

I know exactly what you mean. My husband can go weeks without speaking to me. I often really don' t have the faintest idea what I have done wrong and feel that I can' t apologise, justify myself or alter my behaviour if I don' t know can I?

I try to tell myself that I don' t care. Just carry on as if nothing is the matter and not let him see how much it is upsetting me because obviously he wants to upset me.

He will keep it up until I am ready to walk out or something and then he will suddenly act as if nothing has happened and want to have sex. How does he expect me to want to sleep with him and suddenly be loving? I can' t turn on and off like that.

I think this is psychological abuse - he has never, ever hit me but puts me through hell in many ways that sound so stupid if I try to tell someone who hasn' t been there and doesn' t know what it is like to live with.

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Posted by: Bob' s Girlfriend | 2008/08/21

Mine gives me the silent treatment. For days and days. For as long as it takes me to " get over it" . He will do something wrong like stay out after work with friends and come home refusing to talk about it or discuss it. Whenever I want to discuss it i will get the silent treatment. No phone calls, no sms' s no discussions until I am prepared to carry on as normal as if it did not happen.

I could still understand this if I was at fault but no this is his way I suppose of telling me I WILL DO WHAT I LIKE AND IF YOU DONT LIKE IT I WILL IGNORE YOU.

It' s harder than fighting or harsh words....Sometimes even if I threaten or fight him he' ll say to me " do you want to play the silent game"  and i' ll have to calm down or else....

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