Passive aggressive behavior can be really irritating, and if you’ve been dealing with passive aggressive anger from your spouse, you’re probably feeling very frustrated. Anger, even when difficult to detect is a form of punishment. Perhaps you’re not sure if you’re interpreting his or her behavior or words correctly, and you’d like a little help deciphering them. If that’s you, then this series will help you.
SIGN #1: DENIAL – This is a classic sign of passive aggressive anger. Your spouse doesn’t want to admit there’s a problem or that he or she is angry so the best response is to deny it. Perhaps you’ve asked if your spouse was mad about something that happened and despite the obvious physical signals you’re getting, you hear, “I’m not mad.” This is denial.
SIGN #2: SHUTTING DOWN OR REFUSING TO COMMUNICATE – Spouses who don’t want to fight what they perceive to be a losing battle will often give in reluctantly by saying, “Fine” or “Whatever you want.” This is absolutely passive aggressive because it’s communicating a clear message but that person is refusing to express how they really feel.
SIGN #3: TEMPORARILY COMPLYING – You’ve probably seen this one in action if you’ve asked your spouse to do something, gotten verbal acknowledgement and then you came back later to find the task unfinished. It’s easy to say you’ll do something to avoid a confrontation, but if the task isn’t done, that’s a demonstration of passive aggressive anger.
SIGN #4: PROCRASTINATION – Similarly, perhaps you returned to find a task unfinished and when you asked your spouse about it, he or she simply told you that they didn’t realize it needed to be done right away. They may say, “You weren’t clear that you expected this to be done right now.” In their minds, they’ve won a small battle against you by using procrastination as their passive aggressive weapon.
SIGN #5: INEFFICENCY – Have you ever heard your spouse say, “You want everything to be perfect”? If so, he or she is demonstrating the sign of inefficiency. They understand what you like and what you want, but they consistently go out of their way to do things differently. When you question them, they accuse you of being in the wrong because of your preferences.
Do you see your spouse demonstrating any of these classic signs of passive aggressive anger? As Christian Marriage Coaches and Counselors, we’d love to help you do something about it. Sometimes talking with a professional about the behaviors you’re experiencing and having to live with from your spouse can be helpful, and it can also give you the tools you need to start to see a change.
If you’d like to make an appointment to talk with us, please give us a call at 843-379-0288, or you can schedule an appointment with us online using our convenient online scheduler.
Are you interested to hear more signs of passive aggressive anger? Please be sure to check back for the second post in this series!