Your husband would probably defend you with his life in the face of a physical threat. Why then will he sit by and ignore people beating you up verbally? I bring this up because the holidays mean being with family, and sometimes family use words as a weapons.
I think the biggest problem is men do not understand the damage words can do. We heard “sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” as kids, and we bought into that lie. We work hard to not let words hurt us, or not to show it when they did. The other part of this is that men fight back when they feel truly threatened, be it physical or verbal assaults. This leads to a paradoxical situation – if we see our wife fighting back, we assume she is fine, and if we do not see her fighting back, we assume she is not hurt. You just can’t win, can you?
You need to tap into his desire to defend you by getting him to understand that words can do deep damage to you. (Additionally, it does not hurt to mention that his coming to your defence makes him your hero.) Have a talk with him a few days before you are likely to be verbally attacked, and ask him to be on the lookout. Give him an idea of who is most likely to attack you, and what to look for. Ask him to be aware of you at gatherings, and to help you avoid being alone with an individual who is not safe.
It may take a couple of times to get him to see the danger, but once he does, he should be more than willing to help. Be sure to thank him for any help he offers, even if it falls short of what you would like. If he misses things, mention them before the next gathering.
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