Marital Conflicts

How to Handle a Spouse who is a Bully



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Dealing with a spouse that has tendencies to be a bully can be very hard. Many times finding out that partner has controlling tendencies can be a very scary experience. It is extremely important that the individual who is on the receiving end of the bullying tactics does not allow the emotional abuse to continue. This means that the person must have standards that they did not allow their spouse to break. Defending oneself gently but firmly is imperative in situations where bullying behavior is present. Failure to bring the behavior under control will result in the behavior only becoming worse over a long period of time.

Whenever possible, the spouse that is on the receiving end of the abusive behavior should hold the other person accountable. Admitting that the conduct is bothersome is the first step to recovery. Asking the abusive individual to make positive changes is very important. The changes however should not be made for the benefit of the spouse alone, but because the bully understands that their conduct is wrong. If the changes are only made for the benefit of the partner, the changes will not last and resentment will develop in the relationship.

Sometimes counseling is necessary to find out the root cause of the bullying behavior. Most of the time, a bully is afraid that they will lose the relationship and therefore they become brutally aggressive when they are afraid. Finding out the reasons behind someone’s fear is imperative so that the individual is capable of finding ways to behave differently toward the partner. Many times, victims enable their partners to continue the bullying behavior because they are afraid of the consequences of standing up for themselves. Eventually the victim will lose their complete self-identity, because they are only trying to serve the needs of their abusive partner.

Sometimes physical separation is beneficial so that the abusive partner sees what life would be like without their spouse. If the spouse breaks the cycle of abrasive behavior, many times the separation can lead to better communication within the couple regarding the behavioral changes that need to take place. If partners are not willing to work together to solve problems, the foundation of the relationship will eventually crumble. Most people that are guilty of bullying behavior have been part of that behavioral pattern for several years. Without anyone holding them accountable for their actions, they start to believe that the way they behave is appropriate.

More about this author: Grace Angel

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