Dealing with a Passive-Aggressive Partner

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angry smilePassive-aggressive people act passive, but express aggression covertly. They’re basically obstructionist and try to block whatever you want. Their unconscious anger gets transferred onto you, and you become frustrated and furious. Your fury is theirs, while they calmly ask, “Why are you getting so angry?” or blame you for the anger they’re provoking.

Passive-aggressive partners are generally codependent, and like codependents, suffer from shame and low self-esteem.

Their behavior is designed to please to appease and counter to control. You may be experiencing abuse, but not realize it, because their strategy of expressing hostility is covert and manipulative, leading to conflict and intimacy problems.

Personality Disorder

Personality disorders are persistent and enduring. According to the American Psychological Association passive-aggression was considered a personality disorder in the DSM-IV:

This behavior commonly reflects hostility which the individual feels he dare not express openly. Often the behavior is one expression of the patient’s resentment at failing to find gratification in a relationship with an individual or institution upon which he is over-dependent. (APA, 1968, p. 44, code 301.81)

The DSM-IV ascribed the disorder to someone with negative attitudes and passive resistance to requests for adequate performance, indicated by at least 4 of these traits not due to depression:

• Passively resists fulfilling routine tasks

• Complains of being misunderstood and unappreciated

• Is sullen and argumentative

• Scorns and criticizes authority

• Expresses envy and resentment toward those seeming more fortunate

• Frequently makes exaggerated complaints of misfortune

• Shows alternating hostile defiance and contrition

After nearly 40 years it was dropped in 1994. There’s renewed interest in studying passive-aggression. See a 2009 study. Passive-aggression was found to be related to borderline and narcissistic personality disorders, negative childhood experiences, and substance abuse.

Characteristics of Passive-Aggression

Because you can’t have an honest, direct conversation with a passive-aggressive partner, nothing ever gets resolved. They say yes, and then their behavior screams NO. They try to sabotage your wants, needs, and plans using a variety of tactics. We all engage in some of these behaviors some of the time, but when there’s a pervasive pattern of multiple symptoms, it’s likely that you’re dealing with passive-aggression.

Denial

Like all codependents, they’re in denial of the impact of their behavior. This is why they blame others, unaware of the problems they’re causing. They refuse to take responsibility for anything, and distort reality, rationalize, blame, make excuses, minimize, deny, or flat out lie about their behavior or the promises or agreements they’ve made.

Forgetting

Rather than say no or address their anger, they forget your birthday or the plans you’ve discussed, or forget to put gas in the car, pick up your prescription, or fix the leaky toilet. You end up feeling hurt and angry.

Procrastinating

They’re avoidant and don’t like schedules or deadlines. It’s another form of rebellion, so they delay and delay with endless excuses. They don’t follow through on responsibilities, promises, or agreements. If they’re unemployed, they drag their feet looking for work. You may do more job-searching on their behalf than they do.

Obstructing

This is another nonverbal form of saying NO. When you try to decide on where or when to go on vacation, pick out an apartment, or make plans, they find fault with each suggestion and won’t offer any of their own.

Ambiguity

They hate to take a stand. They don’t say what they want or mean. However, their behavior tells the truth, which is usually NO. This way they retain control and blame you for being controlling. As you might expect, negotiating agreements, such as in a divorce or child visitation plan, is exasperating. In addition to procrastinating, they avoid being pinned down. They may insist on “reasonable visitation,” and label your attempts to specify a predictable plan as controlling. Don’t be fooled. This only postpones negotiation when repetitive arguments can occur over every exchange of the children. Alternatively, they might agree to terms, but not abide by them. You can expect to be back in court.

Never angry

They don’t express their anger openly. In childhood, they may have been punished or scolded for showing anger or were never permitted to object. Their only outlet is passive-aggressive, oppositional behavior.

Incompetency

When they finally do what you ask, you likely have to redo it. If they make a repair, it might not last or you’ll have to clean the mess they made. If they’re helping with house cleaning, their inefficiency may drive you to do it yourself. At work, they make careless errors.

Lateness

Chronic lateness is a half-hearted way of saying NO. They agree to a time, but show up late. You’re dressed-up, waiting to go out, and they’re “stuck at the office,” on the Internet, or watching the game and not ready. Lateness at work or delivering assignments is a self-sabotaging form of rebellion that can get them dismissed.

Negativity

Their personality may include pouting or acting sullen, stubborn, or argumentative. They feel misunderstood and unappreciated and scorn and criticize authority. They frequently complain and envy and resent those more fortunate.

Playing the Victim

The problem is always someone else’s fault. Their denial, shame, and lack of responsibility cause them to play the victim and blame others. You or their boss become the controlling, demanding one. They always have an excuse, but it’s their own self-destructive behaviors that cause them problems.

Dependency

While fearing domination, they’re dependent, nonassertive, indecisive, and unsure of themselves. They’re unaware of their dependency and fight it whenever they can. Their obstructionism is a pseudo attempt at independence. They don’t leave, but withdraw or withhold intimacy instead. An autonomous person has healthy self-esteem, is assertive, and can take a stand and keep commitments. Not so for someone passive-aggressive. Their behavior is designed to avoid responsibility for themselves and family, and sometimes they depend unfairly on their partner for support.

Withholding

Withholding communication is another form of expressing anger and asserting power passively. They may walk away, refusing to talk things over, or play the victim and say, “You’re always right,” shutting down the discussion. They’re unable to articulate what they want, feel, or need. Instead, they retain their power using the silent treatment or withholding material/financial support, affection, or sex. This undermines intimacy as a way to fight against their dependency.

There is a myriad of other things they might do, like slamming doors, giving away something of yours, or offering you a dessert that you’re allergic to or when you’re dieting.

What You Can Do

Because a passive-aggressive person is indirect, it may be hard to recognize what’s going on, but it’s essential that you recognize who you’re dealing with. Look for a pervasive pattern of several of the above symptom, and monitor your feelings. You may feel angry, confused, or powerless when trying to get cooperation. If this is a common pattern, you’re likely dealing with passive-aggression.

It’s important not to react. When you nag, scold, or get angry, you escalate conflict and give your partner more excuses and ammunition to deny responsibility. Not only that, you step into the role of parent – the very one your partner is rebelling against. Don’t be vague, drop hints, blame, or allow yourself to pay-back in kind.

Neither be passive, nor aggressive. Instead, be assertive. It’s far better to address noncompliance and problems in the relationship directly. Frame it in terms of “We have a problem,” not “You are the problem,” which is shaming. Don’t blame or judge your partner, but describe the behavior you don’t like, how it affects you and the relationship, and what you want. If you let your partner come up with a solution to a problem, there’s a better chance of resolution.

When you go along with your partner’s tactics or take on his or her responsibilities, you enable and encourage more passive-aggressive behavior. It would be similar to nagging your child, but allowing the youngster not to do his or her chores. This takes practice and requires being assertive. Be prepared to set boundaries with consequences. See my blog, “10 Reasons Why Boundaries Don’t Work.” To join my mailing list and get suggestions on dealing with passive-aggression, email me at [email protected] for “14 Strategies for Handling Manipulators.” Practice the tools in the Webinar How to Be Assertive and/or ebook How to Speak Your Mind- Become Assertive and Set Limits.

© Darlene Lancer, 2015, 2016

 

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L
L
4 years ago

Thank you so much for this article! I’ve been trying to figure out the dynamic in my 9-yr marriage (second marriage for each of us) and this is *it.* My first husband was an addict and I discovered that the counterpoint to that was co-dependence, so I began addressing my codependencey with attending support groups and doing lots of reading. I had no idea that one could have a codependent cycle with passive aggressiveness. Fascinating! Anyhow, I’m off to do some more reading and setting some more boundaries. If he leaves me over them, I’ll be sad. It’s been a… Read more »

Tiffany
Tiffany
1 year ago

I would love to learn more about this, I have said for many years and thought that my daughters father (current relationship) had bipolar disorder but this is more spot on almost to the T. Is it possible for a relationship to work with someone who has personality disorder?

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
Reply to  Tiffany

People who are motivated can change their behavior. It depends on what you mean, “work.” Many people stay in relationships with someone mentally challenged. Your behavior matters too.

Bernadette
Bernadette
1 year ago

I feel that describes my behaviour, afraid of anger and confrontation. Afraid to lose another’s love.. lots of people pleasing behaviour and dependence on another for sense of self

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
Reply to  Bernadette

Working on your codependency and learning to be assertive will help you. Check out How To Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits and webinar How to Be Assertive and my ebook and webinar on raising self-esteem. You need to learn specific skills and support in trying new behaviors. CBT would be beneficial. Do the exercises in my books and attend CoDA.

Kim
Kim
1 year ago

Thank you for the reply. Do you really feel that there is hope for me after being stupid enough to live with someone for 42 years that has pulverized my self esteem and often made me feel like I was crazy? When I read your articles, it was like a lightning bolt struck me. I realized that my childhood set me up for my husband and his family and why I stayed with him after he convinced me that I was the problem. He was laid off 2 years ago and I finally had to find him a job after… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
Reply to  Kim

Any improvement will be significant. But stop doing to yourself what he did to you!

Kim H.
Kim H.
2 years ago

Hi! Wow! I feel like I have been given sight after being blind! My father was an abusive alcoholic and my mom was a manic depressive. I realize after reading this that I am a codependent. I am the third child of 4. I was the jokester, the place for and the one that everyone asked for help, much to my detriment. I have been married for 42 years to a passive aggressive narcissist and due to health issues, am stuck with him. I often think that my life isn’t worth living. Any advice?

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
2 years ago
Reply to  Kim H.

Definitely. Seek counseling and attend Al-Anon, including meetings for Adult Children of Alcoholics, and get evaluated for anti-depressants. Do the exercises in my books.

Meaghan
Meaghan
2 years ago

This is absolutely the story of my life. My soon to be ex-husband is definitely the passive aggressive. However, he does have times where he has very disturbing outbursts and angry meltdowns as a result of being unable to be assertive in a healthy manner. He has destroyed nearly everything I’ve tried to buy. From businesses to home buying (even our daughter’s lemonade stand) turned out disastrous due to his resistance, excuses, procrastination, and other damaging methods of saying no. To make matters worse, he is an alcoholic. We can’t take much more. I feel like I’m on the edge… Read more »

Juli
Juli
2 years ago

I am so happy for you. My husband is the PA in our marriage (28y), but just for the last like 10 years. How did you come to this realization? Besides this article, what make you look into it? I need some guidance or it’s gonna break me

Megan
Megan
2 years ago

Thank you for writing this article. I found it a few years ago and it changed my life. I was the PA in the relationship and at my wit’s end. It wasn’t until I started looking at my own behavior and thinking about my husband’s perspective and how he felt, did I see the need to change. I have worked really hard to change how I handle issues and it has made an immense difference in my life. Now I struggle to deal with other PA people (many women in my family and a friend), as I have little tolerance… Read more »

Anne Blakemore
Anne Blakemore
2 years ago

My husband & I have been going to communication classes. They have helped a lot, with the issues he acknowledges. He is definitely PA. My issue is this. I made a sarcastic comment to the cable guy about how he wasn’t fixing the internet problems just cause he loved listening to me complain everyday, then I touched his shoulder with my hand & laughed. My husbands recollection is that I talked about loving him as I rubbed up on him in front of him and my children. LOL preposterous! He believes that’s true because he thinks it. This is a… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
2 years ago
Reply to  Anne Blakemore

It’s impossible to prove a negative. Refuse to discuss it and unapologeticly stop defending yourself.

Phil
Phil
3 years ago

I’m glad that I found this it explains a lot of what is going on in my life. Obviously my wife was PA when we met and I never really noticed, then after a couple of years she became unbearable, so I left her, but I loved her and came back Things have been fine for 15 years. But last year she got cancer, I looked after her and was worried to the point of making my self ill. She is cancer free now, but now all the treatment etc is over she seems determined to make my life a… Read more »

Chanti
Chanti
3 years ago

Wow! im currently seeing a guy about 11 months for the passed 3 – 4 months things have changed.I couldnt put my finger on it ,i have been left feeling angry / hurt & almost like its my fault ..and like im slowing loosing my mind.Reading this article, i can tick each box including childhood trauma , EXCEPT the lateness , he is painstaking punctual to the minute. I have tried talking to him about how i feel or how his behaviour makes me feel but its never resolved most cases i loose my cool just trying to explain it… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
3 years ago
Reply to  Chanti

There are deep reasons that drive passive-aggression. Your explanations won’t do much. There need to be consequences that motivate change. See my blog, “10 Reasons Why Boundaries Don’t Work,” and get Dealing with a Narcissist – 8 Steps to Raise Self-Esteem and Set Boundaries with Difficult People.

Jennifer Duncan
Jennifer Duncan
3 years ago

I’ve been married twice, both times to men who were mostly PA but let their aggression break through, the second in violent ways. I’ve left him. So I agree this is a serious problem. Unfortunately, many of these traits are seen in trauma victims and people with other mental disorders. I have ADHD and depression, so I’m genuinely forgetful, scattered and disorganized as well as exhausted (leading to incomplete projects and lateness), can feel negative, and am an actual victim. I try my best not to let it affect others and am apologetic when it does, but I worry about… Read more »

L
L
4 years ago

Thank you so much for this article! I’ve been trying to figure out the dynamic in my 9-yr marriage (second marriage for each of us) and this is *it.* My first husband was an addict and I discovered that the counterpoint to that was co-dependence, so I began addressing my codependencey with attending support groups and doing lots of reading. I had no idea that one could have a codependent cycle with passive aggressiveness. Fascinating! Anyhow, I’m off to do some more reading and setting some more boundaries. If he leaves me over them, I’ll be sad. It’s been a… Read more »

Say What
Say What
4 years ago

That was a superb read. I notice that no one guy said his wife was PA. I’ve been married 30 years and realized this a few years back. The signs you describe are like you are talking about her. Very low self-esteem, constantly late, appears super nice and pliable to everyone, stays calm, and the ‘exaggerated misfortune’ was big. Plus more. She was a homemaker and I’ve often thought “She wouldn’t last a week with a boss.” She would always do something else and claim she thought it was more important. The problem is she is SO ‘sweet, kind &… Read more »

CJ
CJ
4 years ago

Is there a way to prove a persons passive agggression to the courts? The mother of my child had relations with another man while pregnant with my child(understandable as we weren’t talking at the time) when we rekindled aour relationship she told me she hadnt been with anyone else. Two years later she confessed to it saying “i guess it couldnt hurt to tell you noww…” she has since twice accused me of being a pedophile, abusive and is trying to push me out of my childs life. She lies to the courts and has had my visitation reduced and… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
4 years ago
Reply to  CJ

Passive-aggression or adultery don’t usually sway courts, but perjury does. Speak to your lawyer and request she get a psych evaluation.

Betty Starman
Betty Starman
4 years ago

I am dealing with a brother who is pa. I have just come into this realization while trying to get him out of my mother’s house so I can make it ready to sell now that she has passed. I am the trustee of her estate and he is holding things up and behaving exactly as you describe. I have given him until the end of the month, but doubt he will move out without legal intervention. I hate to take action, but don’t know what else to do at this point. He is 55 and lived with her for… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
4 years ago
Reply to  Betty Starman

Short of court action, consider establishing some boundaries with consequences such as attending conjoint counseling. It sounds as if he is having trouble letting go of your mother, and might benefit from some grief counseling. If setting boundaries is difficult with him, exercises in my ebook How to Speak Your Mind – Become Assertive and Set Limits and the companion webinar, How to Be Assertive. See my blog, “10 Reasons Why Boundaries Don’t Work.”

Antonio
Antonio
4 years ago

I am so confused. I’m a very outgoing and aggressive male. My wife is passive agressive but such a good person. I really do not believe she has any craving for me ,but thats to be expected after over 3o yrs of marriage and constantly being unable to enjoy a physical relationship unless everything in her world is perfect. has led to infidelity by me and I’ve just learned to live with it. I love her despite it all but I’m so frustrated. She really never wanted to work and could never fight for herself. I was so young when… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
4 years ago
Reply to  Antonio

Learning to be assertive and the language of intimacy can revitalize a marriage. Without it, marriages grow stale and routine. Seek marriage counseling, read “Your Intimacy Index,” and learn How to Be Assertive.

Jill
Jill
4 years ago

I have recently been in an eight month relationship. I knew something was not quite right. Being angry, without knowing why. I’ve come to realize the manipulation and controlling behaviors he displays aren’t loud and explosive, therefore taking me a while to figure out. BUT, I’m finally seeing the conditioning that has been taking place right under my nose. Conditioning me to expect less and less from him, while he has to constantly know where I am, and I have to be available by phone at all times, while he less and less answers my calls.

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill

Good for you. You may want to Raise Your Self-esteem and learn How to Be Assertive about your needs and wants.

Anthony Louis
Anthony Louis
4 years ago

I was in a relationship for almost three years, We were working on the same company but not on the same building. She was on night shift, i’m on morning. I got promoted and it took me almost three months to adjust the new work load, schedule, task, etc. While I was busy, she also attended a fire brigade training. We seldom date. When i have problems, i talk to her but we always argue because of different opinions. One she called me and said she wanted a break up. That night, i wasn’t able to sleep. I realized everything… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
4 years ago
Reply to  Anthony Louis

This sounds painful, but doesn’t describe passive-aggression. I suggest my MP3 “Break-up Recovery.”

Venesha
Venesha
4 years ago

Thank you so much for the article. I have been married to PA man for 11 years and together for 16. I am exhausted. When times are good, they are pretty good, but when they are bad they are horrible. I get the silent treatment, ignored and he does whatever he wants whenever he wants ignoring the fact that he is also a father. Recently he has been “punishing” after he created a fight and then began calling me names after I reacted to him. Now he made a Facebook account and won’t add me, just like he refuses to… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
4 years ago
Reply to  Venesha

A key word you used was “react. Reacting to abuse makes it worse. One must learn to respond effectively instead. For instance, when someone stonewalls us, it’s better not to do the same, but be your normal self. This shows that their “punishment” doesn’t work. You can even act cheerful. Get my ebook and webinar on How to Speak Your Mind and How to Be Assertive.

Joanna
Joanna
4 years ago
Reply to  Venesha

I have no answers, just identification with your issues. I, too, experience the two extremes. I have been married for 32 years. My mother-in-law has been very passive aggressive with me (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). He has denied it, all along. She is dying. He didn’t invite me to go through her things, even though my daughter did. I found out it was because , according to him, I hate her so why should I want anything? When, in fact, she is the one that keeps displaying hateful behavior towards me. I am so done!

Unresponsive husband
Unresponsive husband
5 years ago

I have been married for 23 years to this man and I have consistently felt he was unresponsive to my needs. I have always tirelessly kept trying to make things work. He has now completely shut down for the past 5 years, he’s made me feel like something is wrong with me. From the very beginning he has controlled every aspect of our lives. When I would ask about our finances he would say, “I never stopped you from buying anything.” The company he works for is mine. He took control and made his presents always of the one in… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
5 years ago

It’s time to work on your codependency and learn to speak up and set boundaries. I suggest reading my books and attending http://www.coda.org meetings. Sounds like you’ve tried to make things work by accommodating, which doesn’t change the problem.

victoria
victoria
5 years ago

thank you darlene, i have been dealing with this issue in my life for ten years now, and no one believed (s) me. not only is this ammunition to make this person leave me alone but also open my eyes and others to see why i need their help to get this person out of my life. I have been traumatized and now i see a light at the end of the tunnel. gratitude to you, and keep up the good work of educating others for the better 🙂

Nakale
Nakale
5 years ago

Wow! You described my husband of 9 years accurately. He did not reveal his true nature until I gave birth to my third son. Over the years, I have lost my identity. His passive-aggression worsens every year. I am raising money to leave with my 4 children. Enough is enough!

Felicia Otop
Felicia Otop
5 years ago

This article represents a true picture of my spouse. Though he punishes me by coming close to me only when he wants to have sexual intercourse and after he is done he leaves me till the next time he wants to. When he wants to have sex is only the time he begins talking to me and kissing me on my chick.

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
5 years ago
Reply to  Felicia Otop

Unless he exhibits some of the other traits, it may not be passive-aggression, but that he’s only interested in sex. You can speak to him about it in a constructive way as described in Dealing with a Narcissist: 8 Steps to Raise Self-Esteem and Set Boundaries with Difficult People.

That'sMe
That'sMe
5 years ago

Leaving would be the easiest solution. But how do I deal with my sense of responsibility? My husband (long-term depression sufferer) depends on me, lives in my home country (far away from his) and is estranged from his family…

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
5 years ago
Reply to  That'sMe

The problem is not your husband’s situation, but your codependency. Go to CoDA meetings, read Codependency for DUmmies and Dealing with a Narcissist that will help you know what to do.

self
self
5 years ago

OMG! Wow… Good God! I can so relate to that ALL OF THAT… I am a professional athlete in the past who was left psychologically destroyed…. but I found the strength and courage to leave, to run away… all the way across the country. Its so scary that we tend to not to lose hope and keep working on “understanding” through suffering… and eventually, slowly but very surely slide into deep depression…. not me. that’s for sure. life is way too short!!!!

Jan
Jan
4 years ago
Reply to  self

I understand. I have been destroyed in some ways and sunk into a depression.

Q
Q
5 years ago

Powerful article! My ex was PA. I noticed increasingly that I was slowly losing my identity, bending to their will, muting myself, holding onto to guilt and taking a lot of blame in our relationship. My self esteem started to pummel and I shutdown. When I shutdown, I got blamed and criticized even more. Such psychologically damaging behavior without accountability. Finally leaving him, he took one last blow that really knocked me down. Grateful to understand the complexity of this behavior.

Diane
Diane
5 years ago

Described my husband to a tee.Have been together 28 years and I want to leave.I have lost my self along the way.He hasn’t broken my spirit yet though. Good article.

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
5 years ago
Reply to  Diane

You may like the article on “How to Spot Manipulation.

Ursula T.
Ursula T.
5 years ago
Reply to  Diane

Yes, feel like I’ve let my PA husband ruin the last 18 Yrs of my life, why why why did I let that happen. My self esteem has taken a hit, I’m down but not out! Just my career as a physician was basically demolished. Then getting sick about 3 Yrs ago, has left me financially dependent on him. I’m now just hoping to recoup and start working. If there were no kids I’d move, but where? Lost all my friends too, the only family I get to see are his, I’m just so so so miserable.

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
5 years ago
Reply to  Ursula T.

Work on yourself. Go to http://www.coda.org meetings, get therapy, read my books, and your strength will return. If you can become a physician, you can do anything! Believe in yourself.

self
self
5 years ago
Reply to  Ursula T.

Yeah, right… especially after 18 years.. Like its that easy… I hear you Ursula… Went through this for 1 year and 2nd was struggling to kick him out. Eventually packed up and just left myself. My God.. what a pain in the neck these psychos… damaged bi-pedals…

I hope you’re feeling better girl.

Rozanne
Rozanne
5 years ago

Thank you! I have a lot if work ahead of me. After realizing my BF of 8 years is PA, I’m trying to deal with his behavior and work on getting myself independent enough to leave. We are a blended family. 6 kids in household. 3 his(18,16,13), 2 mine (20,18)and 1 together(5 yrs). IT IS A MESS. He takes no real responsibility raising his kids. I have to separate my kids from his because of their nasty habits. He was so wonderful before the baby. I was totally blindsided. Should I tell him he’s free from me, sleep separate (he… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
5 years ago
Reply to  Rozanne

The important thing is as you say, getting strong enough to leave, if that’s what you want. Meanwhile, you can insist on couple’s counseling and set boundaries when necessary. Get support, such as individual therapy, or you may find CoDA meetings helpful as well as my e-workbooks on setting boundaries and Dealing with a Narcissist (or other difficult people.)

Adele
Adele
5 years ago

awesome article!

Henda Fatnassi
Henda Fatnassi
6 years ago

Very helpful, thank you.

Eyelean
Eyelean
5 years ago

I have been married to a PA man for 40 years. I only became aware of this last Fall when I started seeing a new psychotherapist. In the past we have seen 5 therapists & 1 psychiatrist. No one ever mentioned PA. I have tried many antidepressants for my own child abuse & depression issues. But PA behavior of my spouse has been there all this time. I am so close to leaving him- I am 62- and I now realize my co dependent issues as well. My question is what if my spouse just won’t step out of denial?… Read more »

Darlene Lancer, LMFT
5 years ago
Reply to  Eyelean

Go to CoDA meetings along with your therapy to recover yourself. You’ll need to build a life to go to if you ever decide to leave. Do the exercises in my books to help heal your codependency and shame trauma.

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