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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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hi Kate... Good day to you and I hope all is well . Do you

Resolved Question:

hi Kate... Good day to you and I hope all is well .
Do you have a little time for a question?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Hi Dee! Yes, I have time. What has been going on?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
my husband was emptying the contents of the house from some furniture by putting items in the garage to be picked up and discarded by the township. He also was angry and raged today, when I pointed out that he wasn't taking two items out of the laundry that was mine, just taking his own our of the washer. . This is just one example of daily passive aggressive behavior. Another example is he will only vacuum an area of the house that doesn't need to be vacuumed, but leave the dirtiest area dirty. Or will do something in the kitchen but leave it half dirty. In many ways, he is deliberately trying to set me up by making himself look like he's helpful around the house but its really manipulating because it makes more work for me and its deliberate. Also, he will wash two dishes and claim to have he cleaned the kitchen when the counters are dirty and so is the floor, so it's a game.

Well yesterday, he put my son's computer chair out on the front lawn. He didn't have any logical reason that I know of to do that. So when my husband left the house I saw it and ask my son while I was there but he didn't know why. If he was throwing it out then it should be in the garage with the other furniture. I asked my son to bring it back into the house, so I have a chair to sit on in front of the computer. I also said to my son that this was passive aggressive behavior and it didn't make any sense. I told him it reminded me of a movie called The Gaslight effect and he told me "Mom ,that's enough." I didn't elaborate however I don't know why he is shutting me down. I know he doesn't want to take sides and he doesn't want to be involved. however not saying anything about such weird behavior wouldn't be normal either. why is he not accepting this or is it because he wants to stay in denial of his fathers ways, or just doesn't want to hear about it? He didn't even make any comments about his raging. if Dad is acting and behaving inappropriately and I think my 18 year old son shouldn't have to wear blinders. Is he just tired of the whole thing? I can't help but feel he should at least acknowledge Dads bad actions or behaviors. Don't get me wrong, my son and I get along very well and at least he treats me good. However it feels like he's shutting down and protecting dad. Is it denial?
I did recognize however he did not say goodbye to dad when he left the house to go on a business trip.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

SInce I've been getting healthier and recognizing manipulative behavior, I'm pointing them out as they come up to my boys ages 20 and 18. I try not to dwell on the negative or try to bad mouth t

heir father however I want to keep it real. a part of me wants them to defend me but I realize that may not always be the best idea as they cannot put themselves in the middle of a no win situation. I think they are aware but I need them to stay that way and not let the denial get in the way


Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
It does sound like your husband is trying to provoke you and it makes sense that you are upset about it. It is not easy to deal with someone who tries to intentionally upset you.

However, your son is probably trying to avoid dealing with it because for a child, even an adult child, it is very difficult to be caught between your parents. Children, even ones that are abused, resist going against one parent or another. Their true hope is that their parents will get along and there will be no more conflict. By telling your son your thoughts about your husband's behavior, this puts him in the middle of the situation. Whether or not he accepts that your husband is manipulative or not, he still is a child in the situation. He does not need to be involved, otherwise, the situation hurts him as well and he has no control over it like you and your husband do. Next time, just ask your son to get his chair (or whatever the situation) and try to avoid talking to him about what his father did, unless he himself expresses being upset by it. Then only talk about his feelings.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Okay I will try, thank you Kate. Even without my comments, the situation is hurtful for him I am sure. Yet comments could make him feel more helpless and responsible if I understand you correctly.
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
You're welcome!

Yes, that is what I was saying. Leaving your son out of the situation as much as possible is the best way to deal with it.

TherapistMaryAnn and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  TherapistMaryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Dee! I appreciate the positives and the bonus. You are doing the right thing by being concerned for your son. And he probably does see what is going on. It may just take some time away from the situation in order for him to understand.

Take care,