How to Recognize Signs of A Passive Aggressive Husband

Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Lori Pace

Anger is a natural emotion. It is easy to recognize when someone is angry or upset. Anger can manifest as shouting or hitting the ground with one’s fists. Passive aggression, on the other hand, can be harder to identify because it is often expressed in indirect or covert ways. In this article, we will give you some warning signs of a passive aggressive husband.

What is Passive-Aggressive Behavior?

Refers to a person who expresses aggression or negative feelings in an unassertive manner through things such as procrastination and stubbornness.

Signs of Passive-Aggressive Husband

It can be difficult to identify passive aggression because the aggressor may use subtle language or other behaviors that aren’t immediately obvious by the receiver. These are some common signs of passive aggression:

Withholding or Withdrawing

Withholding or Withdrawing communication

Passive-aggressive partners might exhibit negative behaviors such as withholding communication, intimacy, or withdrawing emotionally. This can also include silent treatment. Darlene Lancer (licensed marriage and family therapist), writes for Psychology Today that withholding communication is another way to express anger and assert power passively.

Sarcasm or Back-Handed Compliments

Manifests as a sarcastic response to a partner’s request. When asked to empty the trash can, your partner might respond with “Yes, of course, sweetheart,” but they are really saying, “Nope. All you do is order me around.” An insult or compliment disguised as a compliment might sound something like “I’m amazed you took out the trash,” or “You look so well put together when your effort is put in.”

Convenient Forgetting or Procrastinating

Procrastination is a sign of passive-aggressive behavior. “Convenient forgetting”. This could look like you are ignoring your partner on a date, and then sending an excuse as to why you didn’t show up. It’s easy to believe, but it’s the ticket for passive-aggressive people to control that environment.

Pretending a Situation is ‘Fine’ When It Really Isn’t

Passive-aggressive behavior is also evident when your partner insists that everything is perfect when in fact it is not. This behavior can be attached to the belief that your partner sees what we think, or that they intuit our emotions.

Our partners are not mind readers. When we get upset about their inability to read our minds and start fighting, it essentially starts a spiral where we fight about fighting, not the issue that ultimately caused us hurt, sadness, or upset,

Inefficiently or Incompletely Doing Things

Passive aggression is when you leave tasks unfinished or fail to complete commitments. Passive aggression is a form or retaliation, and an expression of contempt. It is not productive and will not help one get their needs met.

Why People Act Passive Aggressively

Why People Act Passive Aggressively

A variety of environmental and biological factors, and also by stress or depression causes passive-aggressive behavior. This behavior may have been an option for someone who grew in a controlled environment, where they didn’t feel empowered.

Passive-aggressive behavior can lead to resentment and eventually a breakdown of a relationship. There are constructive ways to deal with passive-aggressive behavior if you recognize it in your partner.

What You Should Do With A Passive Aggressive Husband

Clear, assertive communication is the best way to deal with passive-aggressive behavior. It is important to acknowledge the role you might be playing in keeping this behavior going. Then, once you feel secure, confront your partner. Describe the problem behavior and set boundaries to allow for further communication. Avoid being defensive or angry because it will only lead to more passive-aggressive behavior coming your way.

You should not ignore a passive-aggressive behavior. Ignoring it will only show the aggressor you are willing to allow the behavior to continue. 

A counselor might be necessary to help couples find a new way of communicating with one another. Most of the time, couples counseling helps both partners understand the communication cycles they are in and how to openly communicate their feelings instead of going straight to ‘punishing’ the other person with passive-aggressiveness. Avoiding confrontation might prevent hard feelings in the short term, but it could lead to more in the long-term. If you are open to seeking counseling, individual and couple counseling may be beneficial.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!