There are a few men out there who seem unable to speak to their wife without saying something ugly and hurtful. Far more common are the men who do it occasionally. While occasionally is better, it’s still painful and destructive. So why do men put their wives down?
- He’s treating you like one of the guys: Joking insults are common between men. Some are clearly intended as funny, while others seem harsh. Most guys do it to some degree, and virtually all of us “get it” when other men do it to us. If you grew up with several brothers you probably figured out this is just how guys treat each other. If you did not have brothers, you may not get it. If you think this is why your husband puts you down, let him know it’s not the way to your heart – or other body parts.
- He feels bad about himself: He’s trying to make his light brighter by dimming your light. This can be for any number of reasons, but feeling threatened by you is a major one. If you earn more than him, or he thinks you’re smarter than he is, he may attack you. The same can happen if he thinks you’re better liked, more successful, or are otherwise “better” than he is. If you think this is going on, look for ways to help him feel better about himself. When he puts you down ask him immediately to not say such things.
- Passive-aggressive garbage: He’s upset with you about something but is unwilling to deal with is directly. Putting you down is his way of getting back at you. Dealing with passive/aggressive behaviour can be very difficult. He may not know he’s doing it, and if he does he may deny it anyway. Addressing the insults may get him to stop, but he will likely find another way to vent. He needs to learn to speak up and deal with things. Maybe you can do something to help him with that, and maybe it will take third-party help. (I just wrote on this issue).
- Kicking the dog: It’s not about you, it’s about some situation, usually at work, where he feels powerless. Saying rude things about you makes him feel powerful, and thus better about where he feels powerless. If you think this is the reason he says ugly things about you, address it head on. “When you have a bad day at work you take it out on me. Please stop.”
- He’s just rude: If he’s always been this way, it’s what you signed up for. If he has become this way the question is why.
Regardless of why he does it, it’s not acceptable. Please know it’s wrong, and let him know you know it’s wrong. You can’t force him to stop, but you can let him know it’s wrong every time he does it. Be nice, and be brief, but let him know it’s wrong. Keep it up and he might catch on. Or, he might get tired of being told it’s wrong and just stop.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and I’ve always felt it was a really bad plan to put down my wife!