Nothing in your wedding vows gives your husband permission to put you down, constantly criticize you, and treat you like dirt.
A reader says her husband constantly tells her he’s more educated, smarter, and has a better family. He screams at her in public, criticizes her in front of her children, and uses bad language.
“Every day he finds something he’s not happy about with me. When I go to the gym and try to look my best it makes him very unhappy. I think my kids do not respect me. They talk back, do whatever they want especially in public places. I’m AFRAID it will get worse. He screams at them and calls them stupid, idiot or a loser. It’s impossible to make him a loving and caring father. I have to force him to do things like read a night time story once in a while. I’ve been a stay at home mom for 7 years. I used to work, I used to go to school and I miss my independence. My only hope things will change when I go back to work and I start to bring home a paycheck. Is it possible that a paycheck can return his respect for me? Or should I get smart, find a job and start a new life?”
I think she already knows the answer to her question, but she’s scared. And that’s understandable! Leaving your husband – even if he constantly puts you down – is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Especially if you have kids, and you haven’t been in the workforce for years.
When Your Husband Constantly Puts You Down…
Don’t expect him to change
Getting a job that nets you a paycheck probably won’t change your husband…but it will change you. If you find a job that allows you to tap into your strengths and skills, you may find a glimmer of who you were before he started attacking you.
And, a job will help you get money to leave your husband. Often, finances are the biggest obstacle to leaving a marriage. That…and fear. Maybe fear’s bigger because it’s possible to leave a man when you have nothing. You stay with family, friends, or even in a shelter. There are ways to walk away, if you’re willing to start from scratch. It’s painful and hard, but in the long run it’s better than staying where you are.
Back to the question: I sincerely doubt your husband won’t suddenly start to respect you once you go to work. In fact, the reverse may happen: he may be just as threatened by you working as he is by you going to the gym and looking your best! He is insecure, afraid, and angry.
I don’t what made your husband who he is, but you getting a job won’t undo his insecurities, fears, and anger.
Connect with who you are
If your husband constantly puts you down, you’ve lost who you are as a woman. You’ve forgotten how strong, resilient, healthy, and smart you are! You have lost touch with your inner self.
And it’s not all your husband’s fault. You’ve allowed him to chip away at your self-esteem, and you’re continuing to give him power.
The beauty of accepting some of the responsibility for your marriage is that it gives you the power to get back on track. I think a good place to start is to find your self-identity and reconnect with yourself.
Once you reconnect with who you are – the most beautiful, strong, healthy parts of YOU – you will find the courage to figure out what you need to do when your husband constantly puts you down.
What will your first step be?
For more thoughts on difficult relationships, read Is Your Marriage Normal? 5 Signs You’re Expecting Too Much.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.