Nora Femenia, Ph.D.

The Silent Marriage: How Passive Aggression Steals Your Happiness

Are you getting the cold shoulder from your partner or the silent treatment, but you don’t know or understand why?

Is he suddenly keeping your conversations at a minimum, giving you a little word here and there only to isolate himself? When this comes from your partner, from whom you expect a loving connection, this can be hurtful, frustrating, and confusing.

This facet of passive-aggressive behavior is difficult to deal with. When you’re sad, it can be tempting to say whatever you can think of until he talks to you again. When you’re hurt, you may just slam out of the room, leaving him to sulk in his own silence, and this taking distance doesn’t get any change in his communication with you…

What is the best course of action, in either case? What will effectively show him the consequences of the silent treatment, without making you stoop to his level or act out of anger?

Our recommended tactic is this: assert yourself. Remember that his silent treatment is a choice, that he could have behaved differently and didn’t. You are not under any obligation to give him what he wants or give in to his “punishment.” His treatment does not prove or confirm anything about your value; it simply shows that he can’t handle conflict.

Because you are not responsible for his behavior in any way, you can make your own decisions about how to react. If he decides to be distant, show him that you can do the same. Detach yourself (gracefully) by having your own projects and friends, beyond his influence. Not only will this allow you to have an environment away from him, but it will also allow you to think clearly, have a new perspective, and feel stronger the next time he tries to manipulate you with silence.

Few people know the true impact of passive aggression in a marriage, because it has only recently been acknowledged as a real behavior style. Now, we understand that passive aggression is more than “being difficult.” It is surrounding the partner with a wall of silence and isolation. The cold shoulder is more than silence, is experienced as emotional rejection and denial of connection…truly devastating!

In this book, we explore the price you will pay for letting the silent treatment continue unchallenged in your home. This book is suitable for wives who are new to the topic of passive aggression, who aren’t sure whether it’s worth it to fight back, or who don’t know why their current defense strategies aren’t working. 

Because the real issue is the constant frustration of your human needs for love and connection, what are the short and long-term consequences in your self-esteem? Who are you going to be after some time, let’s say 20 years of this life? What happens if you don’t say no to passive aggression?

The saddest part of this story is when women write after spending more than 20 years spent waiting for a spontaneous change that never materialized and realizes that this emptiness is permanent; that opportunities for love are lost and the future looks bleak. In this book, we help you take stock of the situation as it is, now, so you can determine the real impact of a passive-aggressive marriage on your life goals.

This is the reason for me to write this book. I wanted to reach out with some basic ideas, tools and encouragement for women to stop feeling trapped in this kind of punitive relationship…Perhaps you can get help too, from this book?

The Complete Guide to Passive Aggression Book 5:

The Silent Marriage: How Passive Aggression Steals Your Happiness

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