Emotional Abuse in your Marriage?

In old days, perhaps it was the natural marriage relationship style, the one we saw in our parents’ relationship: the dominating husband, and the sweet subservient wife. It was the norm, and people took that as the logic, expected way to be in a marriage.

It had a dirty secret….if the wife would have different takes on a situation she would have to sneak her views into a conversation, because her husband was the one supposed to do decision-making.

She could suggest, but the final decision (and credit) was not hers. Even if she had, God permit, some really good ideas…she needed to take care of her husband’s face by attributing such ideas to his creation.

And when she felt entitled to some decisions of her own? Several heavy weight traditions would discourage her. Church would preach submission to husbands; society would control her by ridicule. There was little a husband needed to do to “keep her in her place.’’

Even if we accept the benefits of sustaining this state of affairs, times have changed, and this hyerarchical marriage order has disappeared. Has it?

Sometimes I doubt it, because we can see that this male superiority marriage model persists. How? It has taken a different form now given that it’s the husband’s job to enforce her obedience, because society and church have abandoned preaching about wife’s submission to husbands.

It’s left in the hands of a husband to make his wife comply and obey, and to support his authority in the home. How does he do it? Lacking divine authority, there is the tool of emotional abuse to help him make his wife to feel inferior.

How? How come I’m linking persistent male authority with emotional abuse in marriage? Very simple: now, the way to have her humbled and in her place is to make her feel diminished and wrong, being always corrected because being criticized by a higher authority. I know a couple, now in their seventies…she has been all her life a stay-at-home wife and mother. He stills walks into the kitchen and announces to everyone: "she is always burning the food, what is she burning today?"

Is it true? Even if it is, what is the need to shame her in front of her relatives or friends? To prove male superiority, of course! After all those years of marriage, his instincts as the last word, judge and executioner are prevalent. Could he had learned to see her skills with more love and compassion? Could he appreciate more her positive aspects? Of course he could!

What he is doing is using snide comments to inflict public humiliation on her…leting her know who is still the boss. The harsh critiques, negative comments and complaints about her only role are the ways in which she is told to keep her place; if she protests, more abuse will be coming.

Why men do this? They don’t have any obvious need to continuously prove superiority…right? Or is it perhaps their insecurity that forces them to nag, criticize and demean the people who love them the most? So they can show who is the boss?

This attitude is really pathetic and has no place in a healthy marriage… How many divorces do you know, caused by her fatigue at being treated as a lesser, never equal partner?

If you married expecting that your partner would be the person accepting you warts and all; love you and admire you even beyond what you yourself know about your skills…then this is fraud. It means that you can’t trust the person you promised to love above others, because this person is reducing you to a lesser place below him.

Emotional abuse in marriage intent is to support male superiority, but ends up destroying the relationship. Are you in a marriage damaged by emotional abuse applied to support his dominant role? If so, how do you manage to keep your self-esteem alive?

NoraNora Femenia is a well known coach, conflict solver and trainer, and CEO of Creative Conflict Resolutions, Inc. Visit her blog and signup free to be connected to her innovative conflict solutions, positive suggestions and life-changing coaching sessions, along with blog updates, news, and more! Go now to http://www.creativeconflicts.com.

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