Why Does My Husband Put Me Down?

Man putting down his wife © pathdoc | dollarphotoclub.com

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!

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14 Comments on “Why Does My Husband Put Me Down?

  1. Or he may continue and that’s called abuse.
    No one should ever, ever, ever put up with anything like this!

    I did for 20 years and no amount of me saying, “Do not speak to me like that” or “That was hurtful” changed anything. And honestly, I’m not here to change anybody. I can only change my wrongful behavior or possibly hurtful tone or anything else that may not be appropriate, and yes, if doing so helps the other change their destructive actions and behaviors then that’s great. But placing the burden for change on the one being hurt is irresponsible.
    Amy recently posted…Paradoxical thinkingMy Profile

    • He’s not talking about making the wife responsible for change. He’s encouraging her to understand and speak up. Sometimes people act badly and they aren’t totally aware or they think it’s OK on some level. The point is to make them aware of what they are doing. For most guys, that’s enough of a wake up call. If it’s not, then you get help because, as you say, that is called abuse.
      Lori Byerly recently posted…Listen UpMy Profile

    • There certainly is a point at which this is abusive, even if the man does not know or agree it is.
      If the husband only does it in private, it’s a good sign he knows he’s out of line. If he does it in public, odds are he is just clueless. This is where a few well chosen words from another man can make a big difference.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Dealing With Her Fear of StrengthMy Profile

  2. There’s an additional reason you didn’t mention. Sometimes I’ve done something really mean or thoughtless or incompetent and I need to be corrected. My husband occasionally criticizes me for one or another reasons you mentioned above but one thing I’ve had to learn in dealing with that is not to overlook the possibility that I am the one in the wrong.
    Alia D. recently posted…RaceFail ’09 and Sad PuppiesMy Profile

  3. I can’t understand how I can tell my husband repeatedly, not to do that, and he continues, How can Someone that professes to Love you keep doing that?

    • I have been married for 14 years i’m 30 years old my husband is 40 and he has always done this to me but it does not make it OK he even makes me cry in public… He does it in front of our two . I don’t know what to do .its so bad I’ve considered divorce…… Am I wrong …. But is love like this????

      • @Geannie-Marie Chaney – First make sure he understands how much this hurts you. I know it seems he must, but he may not. If he does not listen to you, get help; get someone else to tell him what he’s doing is wrong and will lead to the end of his marriage if it continues.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…There’s A Coupon for That!My Profile

    • Wow, I feel exactly the same! How can this man, who makes tender love to me, who tells me he’s my prince and I can go to him ANYTIME and talk about my feelings, call me a bitch and tell me “f*** you!”
      I just don’t get it :(
      I thought we were soul mates :(

      • @MsKoru – I would ask him what those things mean to him. I bet it’s a lot different than what they mean to you. Then I’d explain what they mean to you and tell him that’s what you hear when he says those things.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…More Powerful Than A Blog or BookMy Profile

  4. Wow, I thought I was the only one going through this.
    He says he loves me and really shows it in a lot if different ways ways but thrn out if no where he telks me hurtful things and sometimes makes me cry.
    I have told him several times not to joke with me that way , im not one of the guys. But he just says hes sorry and he won’t do it again, but a few days later he starts with his hurtful remarks again. I get up at 3 am every morning to make him lunch and wish him well and wash and iron his clothes i attend to him and serve him dinner almost every night unless im at work so I dont understand why he goes off on me sometimes evan raises voice and just the other day actually said f___ you to me for no reason. We need help if we are going to continue. We gave known each other fir 16 months and are engaged to marry this year. I love him with all my heart. My husband for 32 years passed away from cancer 3 years ago abd I met my fiance a little over a year ago, ferling cinfysed.

  5. I’m constantly put down and told that I don’t care and love him! And when things don’t go his way I’m disrespected and sometimes violent! What can I do to stop this!

  6. I felt so destroyed from the constant character assassination.
    I finally left him.
    Guys, quit destroying your wives, quit destroying your marriages.

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