I'm chronically ill and my husband's passive aggressive behavior is bad.
I've been married for 33 years to a kind, loving and a hard working husband who happens to have been raised by emotionally negligent parents. Therefore he can be very passive aggressive at times. He does not know how to talk about how he is feeling about taking care of me, his 90-year-old mother and running his own business. I can't imagine the stress he is under. I try to thank him all the time and do things that I can to make his life easier. Everything is fine until I get irritated with him and then he blows. I have chronic Lyme Disease and am pretty sick. I haven't been sleeping very well and lack of sleep makes everything worse. This morning he gets up and lets the cat outside and then goes upstairs to exercise. Our cat is 14 and stays outside a maximum of 10 minutes, so she started pounding our sliding glass door in our bedroom. I had just fallen back to sleep and was not happy when I had to get up to let her in. I got about 5 hours of sleep so I felt awful and was in pain. So I sternly told my husband that I had asked him at least 4 times not to let the animals out if he wasn't going to be around to let them in and that I had just fallen back to sleep but had to get up to let the cat in. Rather than saying "I'm so sorry, I just wasn't thinking", he flys off the handle and asks "what am I supposed to stay around until she comes back in?" Yes!! that's exactly what you are supposed to do. He then makes a huge production in which he started really screaming at me; he has never done before. He left to take his mother to breakfast and when he came back I told him he was never to scream at me like that again. He then started to argue that he didn't scream, he just yelled. I told him he doesn't get to decide, that I do. I tried to talk to him about it and he said that he doesn't want to burden me so he tries to remain stoic which I take the wrong way. When I said I wanted to know what he was thinking so I didn't have to keep guessing. He told me that he was doing the best he could and that he had apologized twice, I just didn't like the tone in which he said it. I told him I wasn't buying that, it was just a way of not taking responsibility for his behavior. That is another thing that is a constant. He talks to me in a tone that is unkind. When I tell him that the tone of your voice is more important than what you say he blows me off. I have even sent him articles discussing why the tone of your voice is so important. This type of behavior happens every time I get upset with him, he has a tantrum and makes it ten times worse. Eventually, he comes back in tears and apologizes. I said I thought we should go to counseling and he said he didn't think it would work.
Not only is he passive aggressive when I call him out on things, he also makes promises to get things done around the house, but then never does them. We have lived in our house for 17 years and we still don't have all the trim up or some doors. It took me two years of talking to him to get the flower beds redone since I am too sick to get them done. I understand he is very busy, but it just seems like if he worked a little at a time, it would have been finished by now. I would do it if I could but I can't and he doesn't want to hire anyone else to do it.
I love him and he has a lot of wonderful qualities, I just don't know what to do about his passive aggressive behavior. I never raise my voice to him or buy into his drama, but it's exhausting. I ask him to talk to me about things that are bothering him but he won't. I know he is the only one that can change his behavior but I don't see it happening. It's getting worse the older he gets. His mother is just like that only much worse.
I'm not sure what I am expecting from this. I'm not going to divorce him, but I need to know how to deal with it for my sake. When these outbursts happen it leaves me in an emotional mess for a long time. I know I'm not perfect and ask him to tell me when I do something that bothers him rather that let it bottle up in him.
Any advice is greatly appreciated.