What kind of future is possible for this relationship?
I know you are frustrated by the amount of work needed by recognizing and managing the PA person’s passivity and hidden anger. If all this is not enough work, now you need to be aware of your second task, as important as the first and it is to take care of yourself.
Women need to confront a romantic assumption that is so common: we believe in solidarity, and in taking care of each other. If you try to be non judgmental with him, accepting him for who he is, angry or not, then it should be obvious that you can and should expect reciprocity from your partner. It is difficult to say if, and when you will receive his acceptance and recognition. Whatever is the reason for his anger, and whatever is your generous attitude without limits, nobody knows how long will take for him to be able to see you as a person with genuine needs.
As he continues acting out on his needs, his rage can appear directed towards you, even when it has no reason to be so. We are dealing with feelings rooted in his childhood, not in actual situations which could be better managed with respect and restraint.
A good lesson for him is to identify who is he angry with (his mother, his boss, etc) and do something to solve the anger-provoking situation, instead of taking it out on you.
Your solution is to find a compromise between setting limits to his anger to protect yourself without censoring the anger. Setting limits to his hostile behavior will protect you and the relationship.
How do you do it? With a “feelings report:”
“When you do… (mention here the behavior) I feel ……(offended, hurt, humiliated, etc), because……(mention the effect on you).
“When you decide to be angry with me in the party we went together, and stop talking to me the entire night, I feel very sad and lonely because it was like, being invisible.”
If done with the right attitude, emotionally secure, not upset, but calmly, it will serve to bridge the distance between the PA person and you.
First: it serves you, because by describing his behavior you are more able to understand what is happening, beyond your own confused emotions. You can stop feeling induced guilt and see exactly what is going on, so letting him know of this impact, thus he can react towards the real consequences of his actions on you.
Keep your right to confront him, because this is a necessary part of being in a relationship with him. Remember, this is a person who uses snide reflections, blaming, and withdrawn attitudes as normal communication tools.
If you allow his treatment to continue and do not confront him about it, you can end up being blamed for everything, even about things that his mother did to him thirty five years ago! Remember that part of his attempted deal is to make you end up described as the “bad person” and him representing himself as someone’s victim, in this case yours.
How do you protect yourself from a person who always describes himself as victimized by others (including you)? Let’s not talk here about your emotional pain at watching your loving attitudes thwarted by this “misery interpretation,” which attributes always nasty reasons to whatever you do to him. Keep focusing instead on the fact that you are not his mother, or any other person, but his partner, and both are in a mutual, reciprocal relationship.
You need to manage your anger, or guilt or whatever he prompts you to feel. If you were not a violent person before knowing him but now find yourself frequently exasperated, this is a warning signal that he is getting you off center. Do whatever is necessary (meditation, support groups, having a counselor or a coach, talk to friends) to get back to your emotional balance before him.
It takes a lot of effort being clear about your emotions, understanding the impact of his PA behavior on you, all the while bringing him back to the subject that concerns you in a way slightly casual or relaxed, so he can hear you.
Remember all the time: you are dealing with three jobs here:
a) balancing his personal, individual emotional demands
b) preserving the relationship by talking and discussing issues that need clarification and improvement
c) taking care of and nurturing yourself.
Do you want to regain the power to be happy in a good relationship?
How could you get more support?
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