Jump to content
God Save My Marriage

Recommended Posts

An idea came up in someone's thread to start posting some hints for the wives of passive guys who are sincerely trying . . . and sincerely trying their wife's patience. :rolleyes: I'm going to start, but obviously any helpers, or any wife of a passive guy who's found something that works, is welcome to add to this.

 

Most passive guys are melancholy and/or phlegmatic in temperament. If you haven't been to an intensive and taken the personality test, there is a brief synopsis here: http://joelandkathy.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/2165-personality-why-does-he-act-like-that-anyway/ Although temperament isn't an excuse, it does help to understand it.

 

Also, please read the awesome post by Kimberly here: http://joelandkathy.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/833-favorite-posts-by-pure-in-heart/page__view__findpost__p__96688 She has nailed down a lot of the thinking behind a passive person's behavior, and it will help you a lot to understand that.

 

Remember that we are asking your passive guy to pretty much change everything about himself, and try to be patient. Yes, we know . . . you've been patient for upteen years. You are sick of doing everything, sick of watching him sit on the couch, sick of his silence when you try to talk to him. Now it feels like you once again have to do all the work to help him grow up. That's not really true, but it does feel that way sometimes, and we get it.

 

The most important thing to remember when you're just starting down this road is that passive guys are easily overwhelmed. In the beginning, you need to pick 2 or 3 things that you will require him to do, and let the rest slide. When he gets good at those, we will add more. However, you cannot let him get away with not doing those 2 or 3 things - you must hold his feet to the fire on those things.

 

Much of your success or failure is going to lie in changing your responses to his behavior. Face it, he has done what he's done all these years because it works for him. He will change when it no longer works.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 89
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Here's an example of changing your response:

 

I can ask him, and ask him, and tell him, and ask him, and ask him, and then explain because he is VERY clever, and asks me to explain what I mean, and then we talk about the same issues again and again and again and again and again and again................. Each member of the family that talks to Rocky becomes quickly exasperated - so they all talk to me if they want something from Rocky.

 

 

This is called passive-aggressive manipulation. If he "doesn't understand," he can't be held accountable for doing what you ask. The bottom line is simply that he doesn't want to do whatever it is, and he know from long experience that if he keeps this up long enough, you (or whomever - he does this with everyone) will give up and leave him alone. Rocky has learned this from birth and has practiced it his entire life. He is an expert at it. You will not win playing his game.

 

So what do you do? You refuse to play the game. You say something like, "Rocky, you are an intelligent man. I refuse to believe that you don't understand what I just asked you to do. I have explained it simply. If you are unclear in your mind about what I want you to do, you'll just have to try something, and if you get it wrong I'll let you know." Then you walk away. He's going to resist at first. He's going to chase you down and keep arguing. Here's where you need to become a broken record - just keep repeating that same phrase in a calm voice. Remember he's a toddler - he's going to test you. If there's any hope of changing this pattern, you have to stick to your guns.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember that your husband is an emotional toddler, and he is trying to learn a new way of behaving. This really is very much like trying to teach a 3 year old to pick up his toys or feed the dog. You would not expect to tell the child once and have him remember. He will need to be shown over and over how to do the task, and he will need to be reminded to do it even after he has learned how.

 

Likewise, your husband needs to be taught. Yes, we know, you've said all this stuff for as many years as you've been married, but he wasn't listening. Now he's trying to listen, and he's hearing you for the first time. The way you respond will either encourage him or make him want to give up. For instance:

 

Husband: How can I bless you?

 

Wife: (in a cheerful voice) Thanks for offering - maybe you could do a couple of things off the list I gave you.

OR

(in a sarcastic tone) What do you mean, how can you bless me? I gave you a list a week ago, and you haven't done half of it! Why do I always have to drag you through this?

 

I'm sure you can see the difference - which response would you like to hear?

 

It seems that one of the hardest things for the wife of a passive guy to do is to make her response fit the situation. She has been starving for something - anything - from this man for so long that when he throws her a crumb, she responds as if he just gave her the Hope Diamond. The problem is that if you give a passive guy too much praise, he will think whew! I've arrived! and stop trying. Taking out the trash is worth a "thank you." It's not worth jumping into bed naked. :rolleyes: If you have a good day with lots of H/K/S/C, you might want to make his favorite meal or dessert. It really is a fine line. You need to find the amount of praise that will encourage him without shutting him down.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looney, Thanks for this thread! You have hit the nail on the head! In fact, there have been a few issues lately that I didn't know what to do. My husband is a very nice passive man who has perfected the LOVER analogy and knows just what to say if I should be hurt about something to make me believe that issue is going to change. I have been confused lately because he is so good at that, but yet, the change in a particular area is about as fast as a turtle, if that. Our area in need of attention is flirting, initiating LM that is focused on me rather than himself and following up the next day if he hurt me the night before. He usually just gives up for a while and then tries the same thing that didn't work the last time rather than the things I've told him work. I think I've responded in the ways you state, but maybe I'm missing the mark. If you have any ideas for my part in the situation, I'd love to hear them! We've been on the calls several times about it, but it's just not really improving. :blink:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good question, Hope.

 

Passive guys, in general, tend to have a lot of anxiety. They get stuck in their head - Her Density put it pretty well here:

 

"being in your head" - too much time spent dwelling on the negative consequences of any given situation (face it - we aren't spending all of that time thinking through the positive benefits, but rather every reason why this isn't a good idea, or what we would rather do, etc.)

 

The bottom line is that he's focused on his performance in this case, and his anxiety is causing the very thing he's worried about to happen. It's kind of like swinging a hammer and thinking, don't hit your thumb, don't hit your thumb, don't hit . . . OUCH! You hit your thumb because that's what you're focusing on.

 

I think your solution is to teach him in the moment. When he's thinking about initiating LM, he's pretty sure you won't like what he's going to do, and he's too anxious to remember what you've told him. So you will have to be very direct and say, "Do this." You might have to initiate occasionally so he can learn. You will definitely have to talk a lot during sex, which may be uncomfortable for you, but that's the only way he will begin to figure this out. 631 will have to be a big boy, understand that you are trying to teach him, and not take it as criticism - and that will be hard for him. Men tend to be pretty sensitive to anything that smacks of criticism when it comes to sex.

 

You will also need to recognize any attempts to flirt and thank him for it, and then gently say, "___ would probably touch my heart more." He is literally going to need to be taught to do this, just like you'd teach your kids to do a new task. Thank him for the attempt, and then gently point out what he could do differently.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Saving myself some typing:

 

I think your biggest challenge is that you have a tendency to try to guess his motives, and when he messes up you jump to the conclusion that he doesn't really want to do this. To be flat out honest, at this stage of the game he probably doesn't want to do half the stuff we're telling him to do. That's ok. That's not the point. The point is that he's doing it anyway. Try to stay out of his head and just take what he's doing at face value. Life will be much easier for you if you can do that.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Looney. That does make a lot of sense... Although it is so hard to not get frustrated when he doesn't remember the thing I just tried to reinforce that I like. :mellow: He has never been good at flirting or initiating though, so I can see why he would need me as a "trainer". :P

Link to post
Share on other sites

~~~~Copied from an article on Health and Wellness website~~~~

 

What's Up with the Passive Aggressive Man?

Recognizing Emotional Manipulation

 

 

The man with passive aggressive behavior has to have someone to be the object of his covert hostility. He needs a woman whose expectations and demands he can resist as he plays out

the dance he learned from in childhood. He can never be angry or show anger but he will stick it to her in under-handed ways. He chooses a woman who will agree to be on the receiving end of his disowned anger. She, of course, has no idea she has agreed to this until it is too late to turn back. He will resist giving her what she wants and needs which will set up a pattern of frustration in her and she will end up expressing the anger that he is unable to.

 

The biggest frustration in being with a passive aggressive man is that he never follows through on agreements and promises he has made. He will dodge responsibility for anything in the relationship while, at the same time make it look as if he is pulling his own weight and is a very loving partner. The sad thing is, a woman can be made to believe that she is loved and adored by a man who is completely unable to form an emotional connection with anyone. He ignores problems in the relationship, sees things through his own skewed sense of reality and if forced to deal with the problems will completely withdraw from the relationship. He will deny evidence of wrong doing, distort what you know to be real to fit his own agenda, minimize or lie so that his version of what is real seems more logical.

 

He communicates in a vague way in an attempt to sandbag his partner. He is inconsistent and ambiguous. He will say one thing and do another and then deny ever saying the first thing. He doesn't communicate his needs and wishes in a clear way, expecting his partner to read his mind and meet his needs. After all, if she truly loved him she would just naturally know what he needs wouldn't she? He will always withhold information about how he feels or what he has been up to and you can bet he has a hidden agenda for doing so. He has a fragile ego and can't take the slightest criticism and will turn it back around on his partner and attempt to make her look like the person at fault.

 

 

If you confront him about his behavior he will sulk and use silence or walk completely way leaving you to deal with the problem alone. Don't ever expect him to live up to his promises,

obligations and responsibilities as far as the relationship or you are concerned. Watch out though if he thinks you have done something to him though. He will dole out punishment that outweighs the crime and you will feel as if you have been hit in the heart by a 2 x 4. He will become excessive in his need to get back at you and can obsess on it until he feels that the person who has done him wrong has been dealt with properly.

 

He has a genuine desire to connect with you emotionally but his fear of just such a connection causes me to be obstructive and engage in self-defeating habits. He will be very covert in his actions and it will only move him further and further from his desired relationship with his partner. A passive aggressive man will pull the rug out from under your life and as you lay with your head spinning he will deny any accusations of anger you make toward him and turn them all back on you. He is a genius when it comes to appearing innocent and only having good intentions and he does this in an attempt to have you believe that he is only acting with your best interest in mind.

 

He will NEVER admit to any wrongdoing, will make subtle ambiguous statements then deny altogether any hurtful intent. He will also DO little subtle hurtful things like being late for a dinner date or forgetting your birthday, then deny any harmful intent, accusing the other person of being overly sensitive. His game is to "get back" at someone he feels has wronged him by refusing any kind of cooperation with them. He will feign ignorance when confronted and will appear to be very hurt that you could think he would purposefully or intentionally do anything hurtful.

 

The passive aggressive man never looks internally and examines his role in a problem. He has to externalize it and blame others for having shortcomings. He lives in denial of his self-destructive behavior, the consequences of that behavior and the choices he has made that causes all his pain. He will turn his focus toward others and all the wrongs they have done to him. He feels immense anger and aggression because, in his mind, everyone else is crazy. All this aggression and anger is expressed indirectly and covertly and, at the great emotional harm of anyone attached to him.

 

The passive aggressive man shows little consideration of the time, feelings, standards or needs of others unless it fits his agenda to do so. To him you are an object to be used as a means to

an end. Your only value is to feed his own emotional needs. He will stand in the way of you getting what you need and will then ignore or minimize your hurt feelings and anger. He has no idea how to compromise in a relationship and when faced with the demand that he make a compromise you will get the silent treatment.

 

He may be a workaholic, a womanizer, hooked on TV, caught in addictions or self-involved in getting his own needs met and not facing his own fears. He is angry where he shouldn't be and not angry where he should be. He gives away his personal power when he doesn't trust his feelings, he manipulates people with kindness, he makes excuses for those who deserve no excuses, and he displaces his angry feelings onto those who have done nothing to hurt him. He will regard a well-intended person with contempt based on his displaced anger and react in self-defeating ways.

 

He is confused and can't understand why women get so angry with him. He feels others demand too much of him so resists in overt and subtle ways and feels deprived if he must give in to others. The man who copes with conflict by not being there has strong conflict over becoming dependent on someone else. He wants the attention and attachment that comes with loving someone but fears losing his independence to his partner. He absolutely can't be with anyone emotionally. He wants love and attention but avoids it because he fears it will destroy him.

 

The man with passive aggressive actions is a master manipulator when it comes to getting his partner to doubt herself and feel guilty for questioning or confronting him. He very talented at getting 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. He keeps his partner held hostage by the hope that he will change. He may give into her and clean up his act after a blow up for several weeks, but then it's back to business as usual.

 

Is there hope for change when dealing with a passive aggressive man? Only if he is willing to acknowledge his own shortcomings and contributions to the problems that exist in his relationships. Facing old wounds, looking internally instead of externally to find the cause of problems in his life will help him form deeper emotional bonds with a higher sense of emotional safety for himself.

Edited by Pure in Heart
typos
Link to post
Share on other sites
Is there hope for change when dealing with a passive aggressive man? Only if he is willing to acknowledge his own shortcomings and contributions to the problems that exist in his relationships. Facing old wounds, looking internally instead of externally to find the cause of problems in his life will help him form deeper emotional bonds with a higher sense of emotional safety for himself.

 

Note: In J&K language this paragraph would read....to acknowledge his sinful nature, core abusive nature and to admit that he IS this man. That HE IS THE PROBLEM. That this IS his fork in the road and his only opportunity to change and become a Christ-like man. Does he want to be that man or not??

 

That loving like Christ is his only hope of maturing and having a good marriage. The other is having NO marriage at all.

 

To come to terms with his mother/son issues and Arrested Development that led to his passive tendencies and REPENT of them by now loving his wife sacrificially.

 

Here are some practical steps that may help you to help-meet him:

 

Do not allow him to be too introspective. This will cause him to be focused on SELF again. He must listen to his wife's help as she points his abuse out to him. She si the best one to pin=point passivity in him.

 

If he will not believe her and make changes...get him on the calls to talk it out so that Helpers can support her by backing her up and making the husband be a truth-teller from here on out.

 

Since he has trouble believing he IS the problem we as Helpers can be that other voice to agree with the truth

 

She helps him identify his particular issues and what specific behaviors MUST stop or he MUST START doing to initiate in the marriage.

 

Make PLAIN to him what that looks like for you, so he is not confused. Men can not read minds. Remember they are clueless.

 

For the wife of a passive man she must be DIRECT, and clear in what she needs from him. She has to not stand down and consistently hold his feet to the fire.

 

Give your husband clearly defined responsibilities differentiating between NEEDS and tasking. Call him out when his actions do not line up with his words EVERY SINGLE TIME.

 

Make lists and visual aids for him

 

Write down your needs or here called a marriage manual...take times to CONNECT and go over your heart NEEDS with him. Since passive men hate to connect emotionally with you...literally force him to DO that at the kitchen table or over a date.

 

DO not let him get away with disconnecting but demand he talks through conflicts and problems until there is a resolution or L.O.V.E.R.

 

Give measured praise and appreciation as they get an inch and will take a mile.

 

Also make warm responses consistent even for small things so he can make those connections.

 

Passive men do not do well with long lag times and intervals in between being given direction and or your needs being presented..stay on him with reminders in the beginning until he can better initiate on his own

 

Point out wrong behavior and name it for him and explain what he is doing and what he can do differently. Making every moment a teaching moment.

 

Catch him in the act of doing it right. This helps his brain synapses...they are his friends:D

 

With passive men, when they resist or dig in the consequences have to be swift and often severe. He will not learn any other way.

 

I know this is wearying ladies but YOU are there only chance of becoming mature.

 

Pray for God's strength!!

 

 

Kimberly

Edited by Pure in Heart
typos
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, that's really good stuff! I can totally see many of the things mentioned played out very effectively by my husband in our marriage. Luckily he's one that chose to change...although it has been quite the road. :P

Link to post
Share on other sites
feels like someone is describing 90% of my husband... how can this be??

 

Because, unfortunately, there are a whole lot of these men out there . . . men who are "nice guys" whose abuses come out in subtle but unmistakable ways. Getting these men to grow up is one of the biggest challenges of this ministry.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to copy and paste some quotes from Her Density, to let you all into the mind of a passive guy. HD is really doing this . . . he and Eeyore are well on their way to an OHM. Besides, Eeyore happens to be my best friend and I am with them a lot, so I know what's really going on. ;) Their thread is here if you'd like to read it - http://joelandkathy.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/1000-the-donkey-the-delorean-eeyore-herdensity/ - it will seem a bit disjointed, because it was originally separate threads which were merged. It's long, but I recommend that every passive guy and his wife read it - you will learn a lot from their posts and from the advice they have been given.

 

HD said:

 

I definitely agree that my "acts of service" are a controlling influence in our relationship, and not a gift to her. There ARE strings attached, and that's just wrong - as long as I can convince myself that I am serving her, I can also release myself from pursuing an intimate connection with her. Bad Husband Trick #1.

 

when I talk to her, I am not direct and I don't tell her what I am truly thinking. I spend way too much time trying to guess her thoughts, needs, desires, problems, instead of asking and letting her tell me.

 

I recently caught myself "mapping out" a conversation with Melissa - I was thinking of what I would say, then imagining her various responses, and then determining my responses to her responses, ad nauseum...

 

I can see this process REALLY screwing with our communication in at least two ways:

1 - removing any "natural" flow from the conversation and making it a "defined" entity that is contained within a predefined box;

2 - setting the entire conversation up for failure - if something doesn't go quite how I pictured, then I panic and everything goes south.

 

This thought pattern also turns Melissa into a robot - she is programmed a certain way (in my mind), and has false expectations to live up to that she just can't. Also, if I picture her reacting badly to something I say, then I can decide not to bring it up. Being an engineer (no, really, I am - can't you tell - :roll: ), I tend to think of things with a "worst-case scenario" mindset and so most of our communication is "resolved" in this manner - it's never even brought up.

 

So there you have the main problem in communicating with your passive guy. His temperament (he's probably a melancholy, which means he's not an optimist) leads him into the worst-case scenario. Then the fear and anxiety take over, and you simply don't have the conversation. He sits there like a lump on a log, saying nothing.

 

So how do you deal with this? The answer is NOT to get into his head and try to figure out what he's thinking - that simply puts the focus back on him and feeds the monster. The bottom line is that this is something he needs to die to, but you can help him by responding warmly to any attempts he makes, no matter how feeble. You can also help by shutting up yourself - face it, we girls who are married to Silent Knights tend to talk a lot. :blush: Say your piece, and then be quiet, and don't let him off the hook until he has given you some kind of response.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to copy and paste some quotes from Her Density, to let you all into the mind of a passive guy. HD is really doing this . . . he and Eeyore are well on their way to an OHM. Besides, Eeyore happens to be my best friend and I am with them a lot, so I know what's really going on. ;) Their thread is here if you'd like to read it - http://joelandkathy.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/1000-the-donkey-the-delorean-eeyore-herdensity/ - it will seem a bit disjointed, because it was originally separate threads which were merged. It's long, but I recommend that every passive guy and his wife read it - you will learn a lot from their posts and from the advice they have been given.

 

HD said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have the main problem in communicating with your passive guy. His temperament (he's probably a melancholy, which means he's not an optimist) leads him into the worst-case scenario. Then the fear and anxiety take over, and you simply don't have the conversation. He sits there like a lump on a log, saying nothing.

 

So how do you deal with this? The answer is NOT to get into his head and try to figure out what he's thinking - that simply puts the focus back on him and feeds the monster. The bottom line is that this is something he needs to die to, but you can help him by responding warmly to any attempts he makes, no matter how feeble. You can also help by shutting up yourself - face it, we girls who are married to Silent Knights tend to talk a lot. :blush: Say your piece, and then be quiet, and don't let him off the hook until he has given you some kind of response.

 

Hey Looney,

 

I've been reading this thread. I'm on page 68, and so far they seem very familiar. HD writes more than BH and Eyeore uses fewer puke emoticons......maybe that's why they are doing better than we are. I have reminded BH to read this thread because I think it could help. I don't know if he is actually reading it, but it is helping me to feel a little less alone.

 

LRG

Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL we didn't have the puke emoticon when they started posting! Otherwise, trust me, she would have used it a LOT! "I just wanna puke," is one of her favorite phrases.

 

Yes, HD does write a lot for a passive guy, and that's what makes their thread so valuable. He lays out exactly what he's thinking and where he struggles, and that enables the helpers to help him more. It also makes his posts a great learning tool. I can assure you that he has grown a lot - he is not the same guy he was when they started this, and Eeyore is happy and feels loved (well, most of the time - I won't lie and say they don't have their bumps).

 

I'm hoping that once they finish getting moved, they will be back on the forum more. So many people could use their help.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thought from HD - this might be where your guy is at right now:

 

Eeyore and I have been chatting via IM a lot this morning, and I was realizing that I am unsure of how to INITIATE positive communication with her and not seem "phony". She was saying that much of what I am doing seems "phony" and like I am trying too hard. I am not the person that she met when we were dating, when I cared and WANTED TO KNOW what she was thinking/feeling.

 

I definitely admit that I am not the person that she met and fell in love with - I am not myself anymore. And, of course, she can sense the "phoniness" in my attempts to listen, ask question, initiate conversations to learn about her pain, etc.

 

So, my question to others is:

When we were dating, it was EASIER to listen to her because I WASN'T HER PROBLEM yet. I was her "hero", or at least someone that she enjoyed talking to, spending time with, and we didn't have all of the "crap" that surrounds EVERY conversation anymore.

 

Now, I am her problem - everything we need to talk about involves something that I have either done to hurt her, or not done to neglect her. I know that the answer is "die to yourself" and just "listen to her heart", but I also have to admit that it is a big hurdle to get over to actually DESIRE to hear about your failures.

 

And, I guess that until I am OK with listening to my failures, I am not going to get past the "phoniness" and I am not truly in this to heal Eeyore.

 

Wow, I am shallow. When did this happen? How did I get so far away from who I really am?

 

And part of the answer he received:

 

The truth is that when there is no pressure you can be whoever you want to be, you can pretend to have it all together and be the most thoughtful and considerate man who ever walked the face of the Earth, which is why she married you, why GPP married me. When the pressure came - finances, character flaws revealed - (pornography and self-gratification in my case), disagreements - some major some minor, issues of faith it is the "real you" the "real me" that comes out. The truth is that even though I seemed like a great catch I had never been . . .

 

I know we have all wondered what happened to that guy we dated - there's the explanation. And the hard truth is that, since we have responded to the "real him," we are not the same people we were either. Now we have to trust the guy who inflicted the wounds to heal us, and that's why this is so hard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Looney,

 

I am mostly a reader here, but had a few questions since you started this thread and I am dealing with a passive aggressive H.

 

Here goes!

 

1. Since you are a helper, do you have any guesstimate about how many passive guys here ever 'get it'? I am not trying to nail anybody down on an exact number, but just wondered if most of the wives who come to this ministry with p-a husbands have to end up filing after going dark and struggling for a long time (examples of this seem to be prevalent from my reading). :(

 

2. If there are some passive husbands who've made it through and would post some answers, I have a couple of questions for them:

 

My experience is that my passive H doesn't want to feel--

-threatened by demands or requests

-any pain

-any possible rejection (imagined or real)

-any change that would require some emotional energy and risk

 

So here's the BIG question--

 

How did YOU decide to face the pain to become willing to change your thinking and your heart attitude?

What motivated you to choose to feel the pain of DOING something?

 

Was it...

 

-personal loss to you (your wife going dark or divorcing you and not wanting to be without her)

-public shame or embarrassment (divorce papers, having to move out of your home/church/community. BTW, this would be narcissism)

-concern about your children's loss and pain

-financial loss (the potential to have to absorb the costs of two households, child support, alimony,etc. BTW, this is really sad statement if this is what 'reaches' a p-a husband, eh?)

-other descriptives I can't imagine (LOL!)

 

3.Trying to phrase this in a 'friendly' way : how did you justify (in your own mind/heart) the way you refused to acknowledge--

 

-your wife's needs

-her pain

-your denial of what she was asking (or demanding if it went to separation/divorce)

 

I will post one or two more questions separately.

 

Thanks to any of you guys who did the work of laying down your life for your wives and are willing to answer my tough questions!

 

ep

Link to post
Share on other sites

A follow-up to my previous post--

 

Since I have experience as a parent and an educator, I get the 'arrested development' idea from this forum. With that in mind, I have another question based on the very rare conversations I have managed with my p-a husband.

 

When I bring up arrested development and the idea that he seems emotionally fragile I have used the analogy of the crying infant ("I'm hungry, so I need food now; I'm poopy so I need a diaper change now", etc) as I have tried to explain the concept of 'emotional muscle' (specifically how infants don't have this emotional strength/muscle developed in them).

 

He was able to reframe this into language about the military: "...you mean like the guys who have been in the military, where they train you to ignore your feelings and gut it up...".

 

This was his only apparent connection to the idea that perhaps the world around him was not intended to be consumed with his moods, his needs, his preferences only.

 

Honestly, this is like talking to an alien from another planet! (No criticism intended here, I promise).

 

So here's my question (I think! :rolleyes: )

 

 

 

If you told your wife that you "didn't understand" what she or the helpers or the teaching of the books said, was that really an honest statement of ignorance, or just a safe place to hide?

 

And, if you can look back now and state that it was more about hiding and keeping the status quo for your own safety rather than not truly 'getting it', then did you know you were doing that at the time?

 

How can wives 'reach' through the wall of defenses that seem to be impenetrable?

 

From my side, it looks like the man who will not die to his own safety and security, is intentionally committed to this state.

 

Again, I get the arrested model and have read plenty about "holding husbands' feet to the fire", etc. It's just the resistance is so intense in many p-a guys and it looks like a fixed personality issue to me.

 

Just wanted to get a look inside this one, to understand it better. Thanks!

 

ep

Edited by estherspurpose
Link to post
Share on other sites
1. Since you are a helper, do you have any guesstimate about how many passive guys here ever 'get it'? I am not trying to nail anybody down on an exact number, but just wondered if most of the wives who come to this ministry with p-a husbands have to end up filing after going dark and struggling for a long time (examples of this seem to be prevalent from my reading). :(

 

I really don't have any idea. The problem with trying to guess numbers is that not everyone who learns from J&K ends up on the forum or at an intensive. Many couples read the books, change their marriage, and go on their merry way, and we never hear from them. I would assume that at least some of those husbands would be described as passive, although they are probably not quite so passive as the men we see here. This forum tends to attract the worst of the worst. :rolleyes:

 

I would agree, though, that of the men who end up here, it is the passive guys that seem to struggle most. I think Kimberly nailed it in her posts above. Passive guys don't really believe that there is anything wrong with them, and they are afraid of emotional connection. If they can't get past that, they will do the things we ask for a little while and then fizzle out.

 

As for your other questions, I will give a couple of guys I know a heads up and ask them to come here and post.

Link to post
Share on other sites

EP,

 

You asked the following:

How did YOU decide to face the pain to become willing to change your thinking and your heart attitude?

What motivated you to choose to feel the pain of DOING something?

 

I will try to give you my opinion of what worked for ME in MY situation - no guarantee on applicability to your situation, your mileage may vary, offer void in Rhode Island, territories of the US, and the coast of Greenland...

 

Two things MAJORLY impacted my ability to DECIDE to change:

- Feeling my wife's pain (VALIDATION) instead of MY pain

- Recognizing that I was NOT just a "good guy" that needed to change some behaviors, but that I was a SINFUL man bent on hurting others (TRUTH of my sinful nature)

 

For me, the impact of my abuse of my wife did not hit home until I started to TRULY validate the pain that my actions caused - that's why I have always and will always emphasize VALIDATION as the CRITICAL element of the LOVER apology. I had to learn how to put my wife's pain into my own words so that I could bridge the gap between what I thought I did and how she should feel about it, into what I REALLY did and how she REALLY felt, as a result. Part of "arrested development" is EMOTIONAL STUNTEDNESS - not having any idea how to properly process basic emotions - second nature to women, completely alien to men. Ken Nair's book, "Angry Men..." does an excellent job at describing this psychodrama and also talking about men can work past it - the process requires some introspection by the man, in addition to the validation and understanding of the impact of their actions, which is dangerous ground with us Passive-ites.

 

Additionally, I had to confront my own sinful nature, REALISTICALLY. I had a very convenient method for dealing with my own sinful behaviors - when it was convenient for me, I could look past it and pat myself on the back for being a "good guy" overall, just needing a little nudging here and there; other times, I could totally beat myself up over my sinful behaviors, wallow in my shame, and completely "check out" of the situation in a "poor guy" mode. Both methods are temper tantrums and control grabs by a man, and meant to keep the wife off-balance, long enough to completely obscure the reality of the situation - this is PRIDE, plain and simple. I had to come the point of a TRUTHFUL view of myself as a SINFUL creature, forgiven and loved by the CREATOR of the universe. My sin doesn't define me anymore, God's love for me defines me, and I can't DO anything to make Him love me more, or love me less. There is NO performance in grace, only love. I didn't understand UNCONDITIONAL love, due to my arrestedness - without and understanding of UNCONDITIONAL love, there is no concept of a wife being ON MY TEAM. Once I knew that I knew that I knew that God loved me for WHO I am, regardless of my performance, I could let myself "off the hook" and REALLY listen to what my wife was trying to get me to understand.

 

I hope that this helps, a little - I haven't re-read it for accurate representation of what I am trying to say, I just "pooped" it out of my brain. I something doesn't make sense, let me know, and I will try to clarify...

 

I will also work on answers to your other questions...

 

HerDensity

Link to post
Share on other sites

EP,

 

Another question that you asked was:

How can wives 'reach' through the wall of defenses that seem to be impenetrable?

 

When a wife "pursues" a husband through his defenses, she is stepping out of God's will for the marriage relationship - granted, for most wives, that's the only way for the marriage to survive and for them to get any level of connection with their husbands. But, that was all BEFORE J&K insights and teachings, right?

 

Once the husband has been taught how the marriage relationship is supposed to work (by Joel and Kathy), the wife's role, as helpmeet appointed by God, is to point out to the husband that he is off-track, and suggest the resources that he has at his disposal to find a cure. Then, it's his responsibility within the marriage relationship to seek out help (from God and others) to change and grow into the Christ-like man he is called to be. It's the job of helpers and/or Joel and Kathy to direct his path, and the job of the helpmeet to encourage steps in the right direction and point out steps in the wrong direction. If the husband doesn't want to accept help from his wife, Joel and Kathy, or helpers, then he's made a decision about how he wants it to be, hasn't he?

 

Wives have to show husbands that they are "on the same team" and on the same path towards an OHM - working together is the only way this all works. A husband can't throw up walls, and the wife can't push through them to force things to work.

 

Not sure that helps too much...

 

HerDensity

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey EP (congrats we've already shorten' your name around here LOL)

 

Jeff and I host the PA calls on Wednesday nights so feel free to listen in anytime you both can! Would love you have you on them!

 

You ask some really good questions, and some of them I am sending over to my husband to get the answers on...

 

2. If there are some passive husbands who've made it through and would post some answers, I have a couple of questions for them:

 

My experience is that my passive H doesn't want to feel--

-threatened by demands or requests

-any pain

-any possible rejection (imagined or real)

-any change that would require some emotional energy and risk

 

YES YES YES!!! There are PA men who have "made it through" Its all about making the DECISION to want to make the changes that he needs to make in his life! Everything boils down to this one simple answer...MAKE A DECISION! (PA men love sitting on fences and keeping us guessing all the time!) So the first order of business is to make the DECISION to live a Christlike life or not...Once the decision is made..then it's just living it out in real life and actions!

 

-threatened by demands or request...Sounds like he's confortable in his own little world...so we have to wake him up and shake his world up. YOU are NOT his mother, sister, aunt etc..YOU are his wife and HE made vows/a convent between you, him and GOD to love you as Christ loves the church and gave himself to them. (the bride). This is where you make the request..he meets that request within a reasonable deadline/timeframe that YOU set, he either follows through with the request or there is a conquence in place for not doing so...conquences are twofolded...One God puts conquences of us if we break his "rules" so to speak, and this teaches him that you are NOT going to allow him to stay stuck in his toddler self anymore...One thing about conquences...you have to enforce them and not back down...so it will have to be something that you know that you can do and are willing to follow through with....(this is the only time we "mommy" them in this miniswtry..just like we would with a two year old)

 

-rejection: That's HIS interselfishness! Who cares if he feels this way? He is going to have to learn that a little reject isn't going to Kill him...only make him into a better person! See because he's lived in such a away more than likely everyone that comes in contact with him thinks he's such a great guy, will give and do any thing for anyone else...but not for his wife..who is made to look crazy of course! That's the person he WANTS to be inside...but because of his AD (arrested development) he doens't quite know how to achive that jhust yet..which is to learn to take these "recieved fears" and lay them in God's lap, because what other's think of him really doesn't matter to who he is in Chirst.

 

 

-Any change that would require some emotional energy and risk: OF course not...becuase once again...that's a precieved fear of rejections...I don't like who I am on the inside...so I can't allow anyone to get close to me or even risk opening my heart to someone because I already know what they are going to think of me..Sounds like crazy making to me...but PA men can convience themselves that what they precieve is actually real...even with simple spoken words....

 

Anyway the same advice applies for both situation!

 

I will write more when I have a little more time...just wanted to get this one answered!!

 

Blessings

Heather

 

Ps.. sorry for any typos...I need to get my nails cut down again..

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another glimpse into the brain of a passive guy:

 

I had told her that I was holding back my anger because I knew it was about me and wasn't important - so, I was stuffing it and trying to feel/understand her emotions. The problem with that way of thinking is that a person can't start and stop emotions on demand and still be a healthy person. And, that's what I think I can do - "Oh, I shouldn't feel that, let's shut it off and feel something I should feel/want to feel". That is NOT going to work, and I understand that now - that should have been something I learned in Real Life 101, but I must have skipped that month...

 

Passive men have spent their lives shutting down their emotions. One of the biggest challenges is to get them to recognize what they're feeling. It's a fine line, because we tell them not to focus on their feelings. However, for a passive guy, he needs to focus on them long enough to figure them out. He just can't get stuck there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...