Bullying, rudeness, and selfishness. These ugly power plays tell your partner that he or she doesn’t count at all in your eyes. And they will quickly destroy your marriage which is probably “on the skids” if this kind of behavior is going on. So let’s take an inventory:
Dr. Anne-Renée Testa, says you are bullying is going on if there are comments like these…
“Those pants are getting a little tight on you…but I guess you’re just too busy to worry about a little thing like how you look.”
“If you were willing to stay at home the way John’s wife does, maybe our kids would be in the accelerated classes, too.”
“It looks like I just can’t expect everyone to give a hundred percent to relationships the way I do.”
“Well, maybe if you paid attention to the news, you’d understand what I was talking about.”
“You don’t care about what I want! If you understood me, you’d understand why this is so important to me!”
“If you don’t give me what I want, you can hardly blame me if I go looking for somebody who will.”
“How can you be so stupid?”
If these comments and others are being said, your marriage is emotionally abusive and on life support. So what should you do. Here are a few suggestions to get back on track:
- Understand that abusive behavior is psychological as well as physical. Emotional bullies are abusive, verbally and mentally. Remember, no one just gets up one day and just hits another person. Abuse is gradual and builds over time. All physical abuse started out as emotional abuse.
Immediately set boundaries. You are being bullied because you allow it. Sometime when the abuse has been going on for awhile, you are very isolated, without friends and family. This is what the abuser is counting on. Reach out and ASK for help – from anyone who will listen!!
- Going for the jugular is a sign of emotional abuse. It destroys people and relationships and nothing good can come of it. When your most sacred secrets are used as a weapon to hurt you, you are being abused. There is nothing uglier than this. It is a betrayal of all that is loving and good.
Use discipline and do not participate in the interchange. Leave the room; go for a drive, if necessary. There is only one way to survive and that is not to engage on any level. I know it is difficult to walk away, but the only way to stop the abuse is to not participate on any level.
Seek professional help if you cannot change the situation on your own. Once you do this – the rest will follow. This is the first step in the long process of healing.
I won’t sugar-coat this. It will be very difficult to break this habit. But, a marriage that has fallen to this kind of behavior needs a severe course correction and the rewards will be beyond measuring with regard to trust, security, and rekindled love, if you are able to change. — wf