368. Passive-Aggressive vs Aggressive-Aggressive: Chelsea Update

Figured I’d close the loop with you all on what happened/is happening with Chelsea. As shared in several posts, she stayed with us for while as her husband worked on out-of-town job. (Post 357, Post 358, and Post 359).

I am sharing this in part because I find it fascinating and I think others might relate to bits and pieces of this. Even if you don’t, it may satisfy the voyeur in you that likes to peer into the lives of others.

Her time with us was full of personal revelations for her as I detailed in 359. There was one revelations that was not on the list as she didn’t come to it until later in her visit. That is, she realized she had a lot of controlling behaviors when it came to how she treated her husband, Jaime.

She is controlling, but not in a “tell him what to do” sort of way. She tries to control how he feels about her and how he reacts to her. She is submissive in that she likes to be under his guidance and be told what to do and have to meet his expectations. But even with that, she still wants control over his reactions to her. She wants to be recognized as nice, loving, and caring. Of course, who doesn’t? But for her, it creates two sets of consequences.

One, when she doesn’t get the reaction she wants, she sulks, she misbehaves, and her body language is disapproving. She is likely to start a debate about something he asks of her. Simply, she undermines the dominance she wants from him.

The second consequence of her actions is that it causes Jaime to become uncertain, hesitant, and insecure about whether he is “doing it right” as far as being the Dom she desires. Jaime is a bit shy and reserved by nature. When Chelsea does something he perceives as a rejection or challenge to his role, he backs off from the responsibilities of that role. And in turn, that cascades into several other consequences.

His backing off means Chelsea doesn’t get the consistency she wants from him. In frustration, Jaime has turned to Mike to provide that consistency. I’ve shared before that Mike has become the surrogate Dom to Chelsea and often administers her discipline. And as Mike observed, it was causing both of them to become more passive-aggressive towards each other. Effective communication was breaking down in the process.

One of the things I’ve observed in Mike is that when it comes to communication with me or with Kayla, it is aggressive-agressive, not passive-aggressive. And I don’t mean it as “aggression.” There is no hostility or anger. I mean it in the way aggressive means decisive, clear, assertive, unambiguous, with clearly stated, and more importantly, clearly understood, intentions.

For example:

Passive Aggressive: “Isn’t that a lot of makeup?”
Aggressive-aggressive: “I don’t want you wearing so much make up.”

Sure, aggressive-aggressive is controlling. That’s what D/s is full of. But it is not passive-aggressive. Aggressive-Aggressive is about taking the wheel and driving right to your destination. Passive-Aggressive is hinting and mumbling about your desired destination, and then whining and resenting it when you don’t arrive there.

Chelsea realized that while she still thrives at being submissive, she needs explicit words of encouragement and appreciation from Jaime. All it took was sharing that with Jaime and Jaime was like, “Yeah, I can do that, because I am amazed by you and all you are willing to do for me. ”

Funny, she had fewer reservations about asking Jaime to be spank her and bring Domestic Discipline into their marriage than she did about simply admitting to him she needed more words of encouragement from him. Humans!

It might be easy to blame Jaime for not being more outwardly supportive. But he tends to be a person of few words, and it is just not his demeanor to verbally praise. It reminds me of something I posted several years ago – Post 158. Jen’s Simple Tips & my Golden Rule of Domestic Discipline. As well as what is in the two posts right after that one, 159. Follow the Leader. and 160. I’ll take you to my Leader. as well as the post right after that one.

That “Golden Rule” is: Make sure you both recognize the efforts and performance of the other. For the Dom, it means giving praise.  For the Sub, it means giving thanks. 

Since Chelsea has returned to Jaime, Mike continues to check in with them almost daily. They have both made an effort to work on this issue and apparently it is paying dividends. They both report a new energy and connection in their marriage.

HOWEVER, this post just talked of this newer epiphany regarding Chelsea realizing the impact of her controlling behavior mixed with Jaime’s reserved personality. What of the other realizations Chelsea had as I previously shared?

Her sexuality? She said she really wants Jaime in her life and as her husband, but she would love an open marriage with a third like what I have. And she feels very in love with Kayla. Kayla enjoys Chelsea company and considers her her best friend, but the “love connection” is not 100% mutual. And Kayla told her she is not interested in being their “third” as she is committed to our relationship. But, as ours is an open relationship, that doesn’t mean Kayla can’t be a “friend with benefits.” And for now, that is how that stands. Chelsea shared her feelings with Jaime and reassured him she has no intentions of leaving him – ever. And her desire for a relationship with a woman would always be within the context of their marriage and whatever Jaime would allow.

Chelsea feels relieved to have shared this with Jaime and for Jaime to have accepted it. She said she thinks some of her passive-aggressive tendencies was her trying to suppress or keep her strong feelings about this issue to herself.

I won’t go point-by-point through the remaining realizations shared in those other posts about Chelsea. But, to sum them all up —

While not completely gone, she is definitely on the road to reconciling every one of those issues and doing so with Jaime’s love and support. It’s amazing what 100% transparent communication and allowing yourself to be fully VULNERABLE to your mate can do for a relationship, especially when that vulnerability is reciprocated.

And if by chance it isn’t reciprocated or that the “full you” is not appreciated. . . well, isn’t that an invaluable thing to learn about your mate? It may hurt, but it hurts a lot less than a lifetime of negative behaviors and being unfulfilled.

Next: 369. Make Feeling Good Great Again

12 thoughts on “368. Passive-Aggressive vs Aggressive-Aggressive: Chelsea Update”

  1. What a superb post – it describes passive-aggressive behavior in a way I’ve been searching for! It’s a trait I’ve never dealt with particularly well, and I’ve struggled to articulate the emotions and feelings it triggers. Thanks for providing me the fresh perspective!


  2. Whew… that trying to control how Jaime feels about her is a serious issue! Women (and men, too) have this… idea of how they want feelings directed toward them; either they believe the fairy tale about how men are supposed to feel about them or they’ve had so many guys just fail to be expressive about their feelings – other than lust and anger – and they can get it into their head that this is the way they want someone to feel about them (create that really long and improbable list of things at this point) and when they don’t, holy crap. The moment you tell a guy – and in whatever way that happens – how he is supposed to feel, that’s an epic fail since he’s going to feel whatever way he does and, usually, based upon that and how she reacts to how he feels about her. If the two things don’t meet, well, a lot of women tend to get moody and quite pissy and ask, “Why can’t you love me the way I want you to love me?”

    Um, because for one, it doesn’t really work like that and, for something else, you keep giving me mixed signals and to the point where I don’t know what you want and that makes me very leery about expressing my feelings and/or actions because I have no idea how you’re going to react and more so when you tend to react negatively. This is similar to that rock and very hard place men find themselves in when they tell their woman that they love her… and she says, “Prove it!” – and then pleads the 5th when asked how to prove it – and, of course, the proof cannot include taking her to bed and wearing her ass out.

    When you leave people to their own devices in this situation, it never goes well and will trash most relationships and, really, even I will look at you like you’ve lost your mind if I catch on to you trying to control how I feel. You want more affection shown? I can do that; less affection, well, I can do that, too, but I’d rather not because it doesn’t work for me. You want me to express my feelings in a way that I may not be familiar with – but you’re not really going to tell me how that should go, work, or look like? You’re asking for trouble because if I try to be expressive like that, chances are good I’m not going to get anywhere close to what you think you want from me… and that’s gonna make you moody and pissy all over again.

    I’ve seen and experienced this before and more often than not, I’ve failed to resolve this because a lot of women will tell you that they have a right to be loved the exact and precise way they want to be and they don’t have to accept anything less than that. Time to walk away…

    “I want what y’all have!” Oh, boy… I get it; I’ve had people say that to me and I tell them that they can have the same situation but the dynamic will be different from what I have and you have to create your own unique poly dynamic and in a way that it works the way you want it to. Now, if you really mean that you want to be a part of what we have, that’s different and, well, let’s talk about that. When we added our fourth, crap, you can’t imagine the shit I had to listen to of why we should and shouldn’t and our dynamic was… upset until they “forced” me to make an executive decision and one based upon what would be best for all of us.

    Our fourth could have started her own poly family but that’s not what she wanted and after a lot of thought on her part, she didn’t as much want what we had – she wanted the three of us and that’s what she got and, yep, there was… dissention in the ranks for a few until it eventually went away and everything settled down. For me, that was way easier than having to deal with that “You need to feel about me the way I want you to” stuff and even in our quartet, I’d sometimes had to make it known that I feel the way I do about all of you and it’s not the same way… because y’all ain’t the same person and I know that how I express myself with one ain’t gonna work with anyone else and I can’t do what I’m incapable of doing. I can do a lot of things… I kinda suck at doing the impossible.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you for sharing this! I know what it’s like to be in that situation and it isn’t a good thing and I don’t know of any guy who likes having to (1) be uncertain of what to do with her and (2) interact with her like walking around in a minefield with hair-triggers and (3) wind up being stuck in neutral because you just don’t know what or how to do what she wants you do to and more so when she can’t – or won’t – tell you. I’d rather mediate her and Kayla being an item than to have to deal with this one and, yeah, I’d rather sit everyone down and talk about including her and Jaime into the family than to try to get her to understand that Jaime can only feel the way he’s able to because it’s not that simple to tell her to be happy with the way he expresses himself when she has some mysterious and specific way she wants that to happen.

        Then again, I’m a sucker for a good challenge so maybe I would take that one on… and I think I know how I’d do it…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Their relationship with Kayla is unique and ever evolving. It’s one thing for us to be open, and Kayla has had a boyfriend before. But basically “dating” or “being a regular” (I suck at the poly-vocabulary, so excuse that term, but I don’t know what to call it) with another couple, well, that’s new. Not that it has fully gone there, but there’s at least an element of that. I guess that’s what a Poly-cule is all about. A Venn-diagram of separate and overlapping relationships! Thus far, it isn’t an issue at all. It just is what it is, allowed to take whatever direction it organically will take, without interference from me or from Mike. I am a bit of the odd one out since Mike has sex with Chelsea, and Jaime and Chelsea have sex with Kayla. I don’t have any issues with that. It’s just that it is unique in our collective relationships.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, ma’am – the dynamic can get pretty convoluted, can’t it? Even I found how our dynamic in this… changed when we added our fourth and the interactions would both include and exclude me. Not a problem, of course, but very damned interesting to see it happening just the same. One of the things about being poly is that it really is about everyone involved but there’s still the individual stuff that has to be taken into account as well as things having to… settle in, as it were and then not really knowing how that’s going to happen. It’s one “big” relationship… but there are relationships within the relationship, too, and that makes sense given that we’re free to interact with each other and in whatever way just happens to work. Some folks think that the sex part is a no-brainer… and that’s not always the truth; it’s not always a free-for-all (but sometimes it can be) but an… exploration of feelings and feelings that can be experienced in many combinations. And, no – I don’t even bother with the poly vocabulary because it makes my head hurt too much; I tend to focus more on watching the dynamic unfold and how things start to sort themselves out. There is a great adjustment period for those who are new to this and the easiest thing to do it to just let it sort itself out… while keeping an eye on things so that feelings of jealousy, envy or being left out don’t show up – then squashing them if they do happen to show up… and then not letting your idea of how things should go get in the way of how things are actually unfolding – AND THEN understanding that it’s not a problem until someone makes it a problem.

            Liked by 2 people

  3. As you stated it
    Passive aggressive is judgmental.
    Aggressive aggressive is simply stating your preference.
    I had not looked at it this way before. Uh. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

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