Communication in Marriage: When Your Spouse is Passive Aggressive
Passive aggressive behavior can make communication in marriage really difficult. When you’re having marital problems, you want your spouse to communicate their feelings and clearly. You want your partner to tell you if they are angry instead of giving you the silent treatment and slamming doors.
Signs That Your Spouse is Passive Aggressive
It’s not always obvious when someone is being passive aggressive so here are some tips to help you identify passive aggressive behavior.
Sulking and silent treatment is probably the most obvious sign that someone is expressing their anger and trying to assert their power passively. They might shut down all communication completely or agree with you when they really don’t mean it.
Feigning misunderstanding and forgetfulness instead of saying “no” is another sign of passive-aggression. If your spouse keeps “forgetting” plans, they might be trying to tell you that they don’t want to do it. Also, if every time you ask your spouse to do something they do it so sloppily that you have to redo it, maybe they’re trying to tell you something.
Ambiguity is another sign. They don’t want to say what they mean so they keep postponing conversations and when you try to pin them down, they make it seem like you’re being controlling.
Living With a Passive Aggressive Spouse
The most important thing to do when you’re faced with passive aggression is to remain calm. If you react to it, you’ll get stuck in a cycle of anger. Be aware that your spouse is probably acting that way to get back at you or annoy you so it’s very important that you don’t react that way.
It’s also important to communicate as clearly and calmly as you can. You can’t fight passive aggressiveness with passive aggressiveness. If you’re asking your spouse to do something, set specific expectations and include clear time frames. Do not assume they know what you mean, say it.
Living with a passive aggressive spouse makes communication in marriage harder that it needs to be. However, as long as you don’t react to it and communicate your feelings clearly, you should be able to diffuse it.