The Boomerang Relationship Part 2

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The Boomerang Relationship Part 2

Post  oldersister on Fri Feb 15, 2008 8:50 pm


Due to the wounding from childhood, he is unable to trust that he is
safe within the relationship. He fears revealing himself and can't
share feelings. His refusal to express feelings keeps him from
experiencing his sense of insecurity and vulnerability. He often
denies feelings like love that might trap him into true connection
with another human being. He feels rejected and hurt when things don't
go his way but can't distinguish between feeling rejected and being
rejected. He pushes people away first so he won't be rejected. He is
often irritable and uses low-level hostility to create distance at
home. The relationship becomes based on keeping the partner at bay. He
often sets up experiences to get others to reject or deprive him. He
is noncommittal and retreats, feeling put upon and burdened by
partner's requests for more closeness. He becomes a cave dweller to
feel safe.

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

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. He may take three roles on the job or switch back and forth
between them.

l. The yes man who is afraid to express his opinion then is secretly

2. The boss or co-worker tyrant who thinks he's perfect and tries to
discredit or eliminates anyone who threatens his power,

3. The victim who is failure prone due to his lack of initiative,
follow through and self sabotage.

How the Woman's Needs Contributes to the Unhealthy Dynamics of the

Passive aggressive behavior does not happen in a vacuum; it requires a
partner to bounce things off of. This problems exists between people--
one who resists and one who get frustrated. The need for a woman to
choose and remain with a passive aggressive partner is a dynamic that
is set up in her childhood. The little girl learns this pattern in
childhood observing her parents. One parent withdraws and frustrates
the spouse who becomes angry. The little girl learns to take care of
others and get depressed when they don't appreciate it. Desperately
she wants the parents to change but cannot express her deep

When she grows up, the woman unconsciously chooses men who will play
out the familiar patterns of her childhood of retreat and attack. She
falls for the man's charm, his neediness or sense of poise and
togetherness and ignores his real lack of connection with others. If
the man's hostility and withdrawal is left unchallenged, the woman's
doubt in herself grows. His failures become her failures. The harder
she works on the relationship, the cleverer he is in eluding her. Her
life is in continual uproar as she mulls over the inconsistencies in
daily events. He feels threatened and insecure and withdraws, she gets
angry. She gets angry, he withdraws and the unresolved conflict
boomerangs between then. Relationships, which do not allow straight
talk, frankness and appropriate expression of anger become

The woman living with a passive aggressive man goes back and forth
between three roles--the Rescuer, the Victim or the Manager. Living
with the passive aggressive man pushes the woman into frustration and
anger as a major dynamic in day-to-day conflict. When she cannot get
her needs met, she becomes the Blamer, the Bitch, and the Rager, which
then makes the man feel very insecure in the relationship. She is
caught in her role as a martyr-victim, codependent rescuer or
controlling manager as she does not know how to do anything different.
She rides the emotional roller coaster as she always wants more from
her man--more commitment, more cooperation and more doing what he says
he will do. Her self-esteem erodes as her frustration and anger turn
to rage as she feels guilty about the intensity and destructiveness of
her aggression. She may repeat choosing passive aggressive men in
several relationships until she learns how her own neediness sets her
up for relationship failure.

Refusing to Bounce the Boomerang Back: Your Role in Limit Setting and
Talking Straight

While it is difficult to be a partner of a man who continually
frustrates you with his passive aggressive behavior, there are some
things than a woman can do to break into his noninvolvement pattern.
When the partner understands the problem and attacks it with
determination using straight talk, some of the man's irritating
behavior can change. Depending upon the severity of the passive
aggressive stance, small inroads can be made. However, there is no
easy cure for this life long habit.

Here are some ideas for fair fighting which work with all types of
personalities but are especially helpful for dealing with passive
aggressive behavior. This approach works for both the withdrawing
partner or the defiant teenager. Note--this is no easy task--it takes
hard work to be direct and straight to the point at all times.

Watch how you hook in. Observe your unrealistic expectations for him
to change. Don't demand more than he can willingly give. Hire out
projects you think he won't carry through on. Get realistic--try to
figure out where he can realistically change and what is set in stone
for him.

Set firm limits for yourself. Stick to them like glue. State them
repeatedly. Use 'I messages' to share feelings of disappointment.
Don't protect him from your unhappy feelings. Accept no excuses when
he says he couldn't help it. Tell him that it is a choice he made.
Tell him how his behavior injures or affects others. Ask him if he
would like to be treated this way. When he says he forgot, point out
that he remembers things that are important to him. Ask him how he
would feel if you forgot to do things important to him.

Pick your fights wisely. Choose your stand wisely focusing the most
important things. Overlook his neurotic traits but intervene on those
behaviors that are most irritating to you.

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