This section is about and for us.. The people who are so often left with so many unanswered questions, i.e.; how did I get involved with this person..., why was I attracted to this person..., and probably the most important question we ask ourselves is: What was it about this behavior that caused me to act so crazy, off-balance, and how did I let it rob me of my self-esteem..... The first section has a list of emotions that we may have felt and some of the possible causes...(as one of the participants once said: "Normal reactions to abnormal behavior.") Also, view the "Keys" "Red Flags" "Fears" "Rebuilding" "Relationships" & "The Trap" pages to your left...
FRUSTRATION & POWERLESSNESS.
would walk away or stare at t.v. when approached with any
problems (relationship or other)
WORTHLESSNESS & INADEQUACY.
feelings, accomplishments, wants, needs dismissed or not acknowledged
emotionally... did not like emotions, especially anger, so "walked around on eggshells"
DIMINISHED; INSIGNIFICANT; UNIMPORTANT;
would not talk to me, but friendly with others, had time to help
others but not me, spent time with others but not with with me,
if others suggested something it was acknowledged, if I suggested
something it was either ignored or frowned upon and treated as
if I were a bother
SELF-DOUBT & EXTREME CONFUSION
would not admit to any wrong doing...would make subtle ambiguous statements then deny altogether or any hurtful intent. Would also DO little subtle hurtful things then deny any harmful intent, accusing me of being overly sensitive....
would subtly flirt with others, then deny.. rarely said or acted as if he loved me... looked unhappy and miserable most of the time.. If I asked him if anything was wrong he would tell me "NO"
would ask why I "always" had to analyze everything, or act as if I were overreacting to situations (even those that had nothing to do with him, hence felt very unsupported as well)
would not do day-to-day things, but then do something out of the ordinary (grandstanding) that would cause me to think I was wrong about the things he had/had not previously done....hence... I then felt guilty.
felt as if everything I said and did was always being evaluated...
RESPONSIBLE (for all problems)
Because of the denial of any contribution to problems and the ability to turn them back on you - either overtly or covertly.... ultimately assume full responsibility for all problems in the relationship
NAIVE, DECEIVED, ABUSED
Dating was like a wonderful miarage in the middle of the desert. Being married was another story... I went from first on his list to last...by saying the words, "I DO."
DENIED, CONTROLLED, DEPRESSED
Ignored me for as long as 9 months. Did not talk to me or spend any free time with me. Left alone with a new baby ; the joy that one should feel with a new family was not there. I felt trapped and suicidal at one point.
TRICKED & VERY ANGRY
IN THE END: ONCE I KNEW WHAT I WAS DEALING WITH !!
This section provides some possible clues as to the type of individual the passive/aggressive person is attracted to and vice versa. Below are Dr. Wetzler's suggestions, and as always, please refer to his book "Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man" for more detail.
**THE VICTIM: The passive-aggressive man has true power over the woman who lets herself be run by him. Operating from a poor sense of self-worth and a fragmented self-image, the Victim is an abuse collector. She may be a sensitive woman but often hesitant about communicating her feelings. Underneath she is frightened, fearing loneliness.
**THE MANAGER: Women who can't take NO for an answer. Since the suggesion of openess to them is as threatening as an approaching fist, the Manager squelches intimacy and turns to control. For the manager, getting her way is much more important than hearing what the man has to say...
**THE RESCUER: Both the manager and the rescuer deal with p/a men from the position of custodian. As directorial as the manager she is far less strident in her style.. She can appear in the guise of earth mother, the "woman behind the man," the fixer, support system... She sees the p/a man on the brink of disaster and her natural impulse is to help someone who is down. AND, AT FIRST the p/a loves the attention, may have even invited it.
The following is a section from the book entitled "IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING" by Dr. George K. Simon, jr. This book addresses "COVERT-AGGRESSION" which he explains as being different from passive-aggression. He says P.A. is playing the game of emotional "get-back" with someone by passively resisting any kind of cooperation with them.. Covert-Aggression, in contrast, is the calculating, underhanded behavior involved in manipulation. When someone is out to win, dominate or control, but is subtle, underhanded, or deceptive enough to hide their true intenions. He states also that p.a. can be used by c/a personalities... Please read his book for further details...
"Any manipulator's real leverage is in knowing the character of his victim well enough to know how they will likely respond to the tactics he uses." Knowing YOURSELF better, he feels, is the key..
**NAIVETE: You may be one of those who finds it too hard to accept there really are people as cunning, devious, and ruthless as your gut tells you the manipulator in your life is... You may be prone to "neurotic" denial.
**OVER-CONSCIENTIOUSNESS: Ask yourself if you're one of those people who is much harder on themselves than anybody else.. You may be too willing to give a would-be manipulator the benefit of the doubt.
**LOW SELF-CONFIDENCE: You may be one of those persons who is overly self-doubting and chronically unsure of your right to pursue your legitimate wants and needs.
**OVER INTELLECTUALIZATION: You may be one of those who tries too hard to understand. You may assume that people only do hurtful things when there is a legitimate, understandable reason. Thinking that if you uncover and understand the reasons it may make a difference.. You may become so wrapped up in trying to understand someone that you forget that someone is merely fighting to gain advantage over you.
**EMOTIONAL DEPENDENCY: You may have submissive personality characteristics and harbor deep fears of independence and autonomy. The more emotionally dependent you are on another, the more vulnerable you are to being exploited and manipulated.
THE SLOT MACHINE SYNDROME
Another question we often ask ourselves is why do we stay in it long after we should have left... Everyone has their personal reasons, good and valid, i.e. family.... but Dr. Simon (IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING) has a theory and is as follows:
"There's a syndrome that can develop in abusive, manipulative relationships that prompts a victim to stay even when they've often thought about leaving. Anyone who has played slot machines knows that it's difficult to stop pulling the lever even when you're losing pretty badly. There are primarily 4 reasons:
1. There's the appeal of the jackpot; receiving something valuable for a small investment.
2. Whether or not you will get anything for your efforts depends only on the degree to which you are willing to "respond." With a slot machine, you have to do a lot of "responding" (investing) to even have a chance of winning.
3. Every now and then, a "cherry" appears and you "win" a little something. This reinforces the idea that your investment is not for naught and that "winning" a larger payoff is really possible if you just keep investing.
4. After you've been worn down by the machine's abuse and are tempted to walk away, you're faced with a most difficult dilemma. If you leave, you leave behind a substantial investement. You not only have to walk away from your abuser, but from a huge chunk of yourself. To disengage with nothing to show for your time and energy but a broken spirit is hard to do.