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Judy Croome: Author on the Prowl

Judy Croome lives, writes and reads in Johannesburg, South Africa.  A novelist & poet, Judy loves cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, rainy days and cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.) Visit Judy on www.judycroome.com or join her on Twitter @judy_croome

The Silent Marriage: How Passive Aggression Steals Your Happiness

The Silent Marriage: How Passive Aggression Steals Your Happiness - Nora Femenia Well-written in a strongly emotive style, this short book (64 pages) has much to offer women who feel they have suffered from passive-aggressive husbands. The language and easily accessible style cuts right into the heart of the frustrations and anger of women whose husbands express emotions and aggression in a passive, indirect way.

However, there was some imbalance in the presentation of the subject. While the plight of these women was handled with deep understanding and solid support was offered, there was little attempt to understand the wounds of these men who have endured a double whammy: as young, sensitive boys the symbolic castration of their masculine essence by their emotionally domineering mothers and sisters, and a waning patriarchal society which has emotionally disempowered men as much as it has financially and otherwise disempowered women.

While the book does state that it's not an attempt to "fight fire with fire", there was an undertow of feminine passive-aggression in the pages. Take the example of the forum administrator's response to a male poster (Kindle location 456) - it was a masterpiece of passive-aggression, full of put downs, blame and attack. Here, and at other places in the text, I couldn't help but think of the words of "Do you hear the people sing" from Les Miserables. (Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry [wo]men? It is the music of a people Who will not be slaves again! ...Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? ...)

Instead of a rallying cry that whips up emotions, I suggest that a healthier resolution to the painful experience of a "silent marriage" could be found if more emphasis had been placed on exploring both sides of a passive-aggressive marriage to achieve a win-win result, rather than jostling for the superior position in a win-lose situation. It takes real inner strength to take responsibility for one’s own happiness by acknowledging one’s own wounds rather than becoming a "re-born victim" and placing all the blame for one’s unhappiness on the perceived “oppressor.”

While reading, I got the sense that, for a self-help book, there was a lack of professional distance and objectivity in the presentation. Thus, despite the validity of many of the issues raised throughout this book and some good advice offered, one should read this book with a conscious awareness that it appeals mainly to the emotions in a one-sided and (dare I say it?) passive-aggressive way.

Wounded women, seething with genuine resentment and pain, “[won’t want to] wait a minute longer for things to just get better” [Kindle location 800-936]. Having been called to join the crusade of angry women, they will no doubt rush to take advantage of the resources offered to help them escape their passive aggressive husbands – by buying one of the books on offer, such as “Recovering from Passive Aggression” (at the discounted price of only $47) or by taking advantage of the (first) free coaching session.

Ultimately, I finished the book feeling less lonely in my thoughts about the differences in communication styles between men and women, but also sad that there is so much unresolved anger and pain in relationships which are, after all, the arena in life where we learn our greatest soul lessons.