How to handle an intimidating spouse
Pat looked down as Jeff stared at her, his eyes bulging from his intensity. I’m asking reasonable questions and making reasonable comments.” “But,” I objected, “you talk to her in a parental voice. She appears frozen in fear.” SEE ALSO: Narcissistic Men and The Women Who Love Them Jeff’s behavior is not unusual and certainly is not limited to marriage relationships.
He continued his incessant criticism, seemingly unaware that he had lost any connection to his wife he may have previously had. Bullies thrive anywhere there are people who will be bullied, whether in marriage, dating, the workplace, in friendships and families. I had watched her turn from a vibrant, apparently happy mate to an intimidated, silent and threatened spouse.
I watched in disbelief as Pat, the forty-year old wife of Jeff, her forty-five year old husband, froze amidst the hail of verbal challenges by her pontificating husband.
To make matters worse, he seemed oblivious to his behavior, even under our watchful eye during their Marriage Intensive. You don’t seem to notice that she has stopped listening to you.
Not unusual: Often the person who is the most controlling is the one who feels the most controlled.
When he finally understood that the bulk of their problem was his behavior as a controlling husband, he reacted first with anger, then regret, and finally genuine change.
Having the courage to look at your relationship in the sophisticated way you are, and seeking to understand it, takes a high level of what some people call "EQ": emotional intelligence quotient.
There are numerous psychological tricks for dealing with intimidating people and I’m going to outline the most important ones below.
Some people tend to have natural abilities when it comes to dealing with others, they tend to be able to read other people quite well and can read between the lines.
SEE ALSO: Creating Stability in Your Marriage Fourth, You may be in a longstanding relationship with a bully, or may be forced to stay in relationship due to your circumstances. Simply voicing a contrary opinion may be a wonderful starting place. Bullies thrive on being large and in charge, but they shrink as you grow in self-confidence—perhaps not at first, but in time.
This also doesn’t mean that you must overpower them, but that you simply cease allowing them to have the power they have previously enjoyed.
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Frozen in fear, she no longer talked back, slumping further in his chair. Bullies have stolen power since grade school playgrounds, junior high hallways and high school parking lots. I have seen it before in many other marriages, and have experienced it myself in various relationships during my lifetime.