Mr Duplicity – beware of Passive Aggression Extract from
Web of Lies - My Life with a Narcissist "
“We’ve been married three years today,” I said “Yes, I know.” “It’s been a hell of a three years, hasn’t it?”
“It sure has.” He wasn’t smiling. He looked almost bored. “Ask me if I’m happy.” “What?” He rolled his eyes to the
ceiling in a ‘oh here we go again’ expression of exasperation. “Ask me if I’m happy Bill. Do you think I’m happy?
Do I look happy to you?” “I’m trying my hardest to make you happy, but it seems at the moment nothing is good
enough” “Nothing’s good enough? How can you say that after I’ve put up with so much in such a short space of time?”
“I know it’s been hard, but none of it is my fault. You wanted to come to France, I didn’t force you!” “I wanted to
come to France because thanks to you we were no longer able to stay in Switzerland full time. I wanted our family
to be together, not thousands of miles apart. I had no choice but to come to France. “But, Bill, it’s your apathy
that I cannot stand. I’ve never seen you pursue anything with such rigour and determination as you pursued me in
the early days. Since we’ve been married, all that drive and determination has dissolved away! You don’t look after
yourself. You’ve gained weight. You don’t want to take part in family activities. You lock yourself in your office.
You say you are chasing ‘big deals’ but what deals? When has any single one of them ever succeeded? You ignore your
youngest daughter! You have two daughters you know.” “I do not ignore Alice!” “Yes you do! You don’t even know
you’re doing it! It’s not just me who has noticed it, my parents have noticed it too, they spoke to me about it
when they were here,and again at Christmas.” “That’s rubbish!” He said. “Listen, all you ever do is criticise me
recently. You say I’m apathetic, but to be honest it’s difficult to remain motivated when all you do is hound me. I
need your support; I need you to believe in me! You say you want our relationship to work, yet how can it when we
sleep in different rooms? We’re not having a normal relationship. If we were having a normal
relationship, I would be happy and motivated. As it is, you clearly don’t like to be around me, so I keep out of
the way. But know this,Sarah: I love you and I adore my girls. You are my world and I will do everything I can to
give you the life you want. You just have to really want it, and you have to get back to believing in
As soon as I heard the phrase ‘passive aggression’ it struck an instant cord with me. I knew I’d been on the
receiving end of it, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. Of course, it’s easy for me to recognise and
acknowledge this with the benefit of hindsight, but for those of you who are still dealing with the person who is
being passively aggressive; it can be difficult to spot the signs. Start here: If you’ve ever had a conversation
like the one described above, if these conversations happen regularly, and you are left feeling guilty and
apologetic in the aftermath, then you are involved with a passive aggressive partner. You can tell yourself as many
times as you like, that you’re ‘not being abused’ but you ARE! Abuse doesn’t have to be physical to be real. This
form of abuse may be subtle, but it’s no less damaging. You feel angry and frustrated. You feel you are the one who
is always ‘losing your cool’, when he appears to remain calm and even a little perplexed by your behaviour. You are
being manipulated! Passive Aggressive abuse is defined as follows:
Passive Aggressive behaviour is a form of covert abuse. When someone hits you or yells at you, you know that
you've been abused. It is obvious and easily identified. Covert abuse is subtle and veiled or disguised by
actions that appear to be normal, at times loving and caring. The passive aggressive person is a master at
A passive aggressive male always needs an object upon which to focus his antagonism. This is more
often that not going to be his partner or spouse, but it can also be his child, co-worker or sub-ordinates. He will
appear to be outwardly loving, caring, and generous, whilst simultaneously exercising an uncanny ability to
undermine your confidence, deliver veiled insults (disguised as jokes), and leave you believing YOU are the one who
can’t contain your anger. It’s an impossible situation to find yourself in, and nothing you can do is going to
change his behaviour. The best thing you can do, as I’ve said many times before, is to try to arm yourself with as
much knowledge about this type of behaviour as possible. Acknowledging it, learning about it, and (most
importantly) accepting it, will ultimately set you free. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need persuading
that what you are experiencing is real (and tangible) abuse. Please be assured though. Just because you have
experienced abuse of this kind, it does not make you a weak person. It can happen to anybody, and indeed it happens
to people from all walks of life, and at all social and educational levels. You are not the one with the problem!
Keep reminding yourself of this, because when you are deeply entwined with a person like this, they will try every
trick in the book to make you believe you are at fault for all that is happening. If, however, you are able to
understand it and accept it, then you are a truly strong person. As soon as you have recognised the abuse, you have
turned a corner, and are no longer a victim. Keep reading, keep sharing, keep learning……
"The man with this type of pattern shows little consideration of the time, feelings, standards or needs of
others. He obstructs and blocks progress to others getting what they want and then ignores or minimalizes their
dissatisfactions and anger. He is silent when confronted as he has never learned to compromise. He may be a
workaholic, a womanizer, hooked on TV, caught in addictions or self-involved hobbies."
"The man with passive aggressive actions is a master in getting his partner to doubt herself and feel guilty
for questioning or confronting him. He encourages her to fall for his apologies, accept his excuses and focus
on his charm rather than deal with the issue directly. He blames her for creating the problem and keeps her
focused on her anger rather than his own ineptitude. When backed into a corner, he may explode and switch to
aggressive aggressive behavior then switch back to passivity. He keeps his partner held hostage by the hope
that he will change. He may appease her and clean up his act after a blow up for several weeks, then it's back
to business as usual."
"The passive aggressive man is the classic underachiever with a fear of competition in the work place. He
cannot take constructive feedback from others. His fear of criticism, not following through and his inability
to see his part in any conflict keeps him from advancing on the job."
From the fantastic Blog Mailman
Delivers....a story of betrayal
"It makes you the bad guy. Passive-aggressive hostility is so subtle, the skilled practitioner is often in a
good position to deny it’s even there – blaming you for the inevitable confrontation that results. You blow up;
he remains calm. Suddenly you seem like the aggressor. Maybe even to yourself. The incredible final straw, is
when you apologize to him. Because your inner voice is telling you that he’s not being open with you, you
experience conflict and stress."
"Recognize that a passive aggressive person is not a victim. Interacting with a passive aggressive person is
like a dance. He plays the victim, and it is your role to bend over backward to “protect” him from being
victimized. This dynamic puts the passive aggressive person in control. He is anything but a “victim.”"
"Rather than have a confrontation, the passive aggressive person acts sneakily.They lie and deceive. They give
their word but do not keep it. They mumble rather than speak clearly."
"Yet, the result is the same. Things are sabotaged by the passive-aggressive and it somehow is never their
fault. A really good passive aggressive is very slippery with excuses, justifications, or alternative reasons
for why things go awry. Passive-Aggression may not be expressed directly in behavior-but in words or humor.
Sarcasm which communicates hostility is often a tool of the passive-aggressive person, as are jokes made at
deal with difficult people