Your partner – particularly one you have committed to for the rest of your lives – is supposed to be your cheerleader.
They are supposed to be respectful and courteous.
They are supposed to treat you like an equal.
But your husband doesn’t nothing of the sort.
Instead, he talks down to you. He is condescending toward you. He makes you feel like you’re not good enough.
And that’s not what you signed up for when you spoke your marriage vows.
But if you’re reading this, you don’t want to leave him. What’s more, he may not have always been like this. And even if he has, he is your husband, and you love him. Surely he has good qualities too, otherwise you wouldn’t have married him.
But you also know that you can’t live like this anymore. Your self-esteem can’t take another hit, especially from the most important person in your life.
So what can you do when your husband talks down to you, whether it’s in private, in public, or both? How can you make him realize how much his behavior is hurting you?
And, heck, maybe it doesn’t happen very often. Perhaps your husband is generally caring and makes you happy. But, occasionally, he jokes at your expense, and you don’t find it funny.
Whatever the case, you feel like he doesn’t respect you and doesn’t think highly of you. Simply put, he makes you feel small and unworthy.
What can you do about it? Is there a way to make the condensing behavior stop?
The first thing that you need to know is that your problem might not be easy to fix. There are some strategies listed below, but in the end, it all depends on your husband.
Things might get better, but the situation might be out of your control. Therefore, it’s important to consider talking to a professional. They could help you even if your partner refuses to talk to them too.
A good place to get help is the website Relationship Hero – here, you’ll be able to connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.
While you can try to work through this situation yourself or as a couple, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people – both couples and individuals – try to muddle through and do their best to solve problems that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.
If you want to try to fix this problem yourself, here are some things that you could try:
1. Don’t overlook and dismiss mean comments.
Words can hurt you, especially when they’re in the form of rude remarks from someone you love. However, women often overlook these things. You may justify his behavior by telling yourself that he is in a bad mood and that he actually means well. Don’t say things like that to yourself. Mean jokes and rude comments aren’t acceptable.
Maybe your husband loves you, but he also needs to respect you. He needs to value your opinions and include you in the decision-making process. Most importantly, he shouldn’t make fun of you and make you feel small and insignificant.
When he makes these remarks, don’t let them affect you more than they must, but don’t ignore them either. He needs to realize that what he is doing isn’t okay. It’s damaging your self-esteem and your marriage. You’ll need to do something about it and react to his comments.
2. Don’t tolerate it.
It’s not like you want your husband to talk down to you, but you might not be stopping him either. You need to make it clear that his behavior is unacceptable. When he makes a mean comment, respond to it by telling him that he can’t talk to you that way. Say it every time he talks down to you. Make it clear that you’re not going to tolerate such treatment.
You might have been letting it slide so far. The way he treats you might have affected your confidence so much that you can’t stand up for yourself. You might be afraid to speak up because you don’t value your opinion since he doesn’t value it.
In the end, you might have said something already, but it turns into a fight, or you see no results. Even so, you can’t keep tolerating it. Make a conscious decision not to let him talk to you that way anymore, and don’t be afraid of confronting him when he does.
3. Determine when it first started.
Do you have a condescending husband as of late, or has he always acted this way? Think back to when your relationship first started. Did he have a patronizing attitude, or did he change during your marriage? Is it possible that he was always like this, but you didn’t notice it so much because he only showed his true colors once you were married?
If he hasn’t always behaved badly, is something unrelated to you going on in his life that might be causing him to act that way? Maybe he is under a lot of stress at work lately, and it has changed the way he acts at home.
When you talk to your husband about this, you should focus on the present. However, think back to your entire past before you confront him. This will help you determine the seriousness of the problem and the way to deal with it.
If he started belittling you only recently, the problem might even go away on its own if it’s stress related. However, if being condescending has always been a part of your husband’s personality, the problem will not be solved so easily.
4. Identify when it happens.
Is there something that triggers him to talk to you that way? Consider the circumstances and the times when he talks to you like that. Are the comments related only to work or parenting?
Think about the specific context in which the rude behavior occurs to determine his motivation. Know that he probably isn’t aware of the reasons he’s doing this, but you can be.
Does he tend to “put you in your place” around his coworkers or friends and family? Maybe there is no specific pattern for his condescending behavior. But, if there is, recognizing it could come in handy.
Even if he doesn’t have specific triggers, thinking about these things will help you remember exact examples of his rude behavior. You will need that to confront him about it, but more on that later.
5. Consider whether your husband is aware of what he’s doing.
Your husband might not be aware of how offensive and inappropriate his behavior is. Whether it’s a part of his personality or a result of insecurities, it might not be entirely couscous and intentional.
If he acts like nothing happened after making a rude comment, he might not think that it is rude to begin with. Consider the way he talks to other people. Does he talk down to them too, or just to you?
As crazy as it sounds, he might be thinking that he’s just funny and charming when he’s actually mean. This is especially true if being sarcastic is part of his personality.
Whether your husband knows that his behavior is inappropriate or not, you need to put a stop to it. If he isn’t aware, finding a solution might be easier than it seems.
Have you ever told him how his comments make you feel? Does he know that he’s hurting you when he talks down to you? Have you tried bringing it to his attention when he does it? If not, you’re about to, but you need to think about something very important first.
6. Look for signs of abuse.
Psychological abuse comes in many forms, and people aren’t always aware that they’re being abused. While physical abuse is easy to spot, psychological and emotional abuse can be tricky to identify.
If your husband intentionally humiliates you, makes fun of you, and is overly critical of you, he is abusing you. Yes, it’s that serious. Of course, things like that can happen in a marriage, but how often do they happen in yours?
Perhaps your husband really was in a bad mood a couple of times. But why does it happen so frequently? Even if he was just in a bad mood and feeling stressed from work, he shouldn’t take it out on you.
You wouldn’t be reading this article if you hadn’t already realized the seriousness of the situation and the consequences it has for you. It’s hurting your self-esteem and damaging your relationship – it needs to stop.
7. Think of specific examples.
How can you make it stop? Well, you will need to confront your husband. But, before you do that, think of specific examples of his bad behavior. This time, don’t think back. Instead, think of the most recent examples and try to be as specific as possible regarding what he said and did. Try to think of several examples that truly reflect the way he has been treating you this entire time.
It can be helpful to write these things down to really prepare yourself for the conversation that you’ll have with him. Of course, you are not going to show him the paper, but writing things down can help you remember the details better.
Contemplate the way you felt when these moments happened. You will also need to communicate these examples to your husband, so think ahead about what you’re going to say.
8. Confront your husband.
Don’t put off talking to your husband until you snap at him in the heat of the moment. At the same time, it might be better to wait a bit for the condescending behavior to occur and then initiate the topic the day afterward.
Talk about this when you’re alone, and when you’re both calm, so you can avoid a fight. Don’t talk about how he makes you feel, talk about the actions he takes and how they make you feel.
For instance, you could say that you feel hurt when he uses that tone of voice with you or when he undermines you in front of other people. Focus on addressing the specific actions, not attacking his personality. Use the examples that you thought about before to make your point clearer.
You shouldn’t take the blame for the way he has been acting, but you shouldn’t make him feel threatened either. Try to have a calm, honest, heart-to-heart conversation with your husband. Make him aware of how his actions have been making you feel. If you haven’t had this talk with him before, it might lead to significant progress; it could even solve your problem entirely.
9. Find out the reason behind it.
Why is your husband talking down to you? He might give you the answer himself if you ask him. Maybe he is upset about something unrelated to you. Perhaps he’s been feeling insecure or under a lot of stress at work. If the problem started only recently, there might be a simple explanation for it.
Let him know that you’re sensing he’s upset about something else, unrelated to you and your marriage. Ask him to tell you what has been going on in his life lately and encourage him to open up to you. Let him know that you want to give him your full support, you just don’t want him to take it out on you.
Keep in mind that the problem might be a part of your husband’s personality instead. If that is so, try to help him understand that it is harming your marriage. If he becomes aware of the possible consequences that this could have on your relationship, he might finally do something about it. Maybe he’ll even be willing to work on himself, and if that is so, encourage him to talk to a therapist.
10. Make him aware of the consequences.
As already mentioned, you should first try talking to your husband without a threatening tone. However, if that doesn’t work, your response may need to be more forceful.
Make him realize that his actions will have consequences. You could tell him that you’ll end the conversation if he speaks to you that way again. Let him know that you’ll simply leave the room and stop talking until he speaks to you with respect again.
If necessary, you could even threaten to leave the relationship if he continues to put you down. However, be careful when making threats like these. You should only threaten him with something that you’re truly prepared to do.
Ultimatums and threats are rarely a good idea in relationships. But, sometimes, they’re your only choice. Still, don’t jump right to the threatening for divorce.
Start with simply introducing consequences when the bad behavior occurs. This could be the aforementioned ending of the conversation and leaving the room. Do this after letting him know that his behavior is unacceptable.
11. Work on improving your self-esteem.
Don’t rely on your husband for your sense of self-worth. Since he talks down to you, he is already hurting your self-esteem. In addition, the very reason why he manages to get away with saying things like that to you could be that you already have self-esteem issues.
A part of resolving this problem is working on your self-esteem, and this is something that you’ll need to do on your own. Work to eliminate negative self-talk, practice self-care, empower yourself by making choices for yourself.
The point is to find the things that make you feel good about yourself and do them as often as possible. Learn about the ways you can improve your self-esteem, and don’t listen to your husband if he mocks your goals. He clearly isn’t the person you should rely on for a realistic perspective of your capacities.
Become a confident woman despite your husband’s attempts to put you down. If you manage to do that, you’ll be happier, and you’ll also find it easier to deal with your marital issues.
12. Don’t let him affect you in a negative way.
This is easier said than done, but you must try. Detach yourself from his opinion if you can’t get him to understand how negatively it affects you.
People belittle others when they want to make themselves feel more worthy. This is often because they’re overcompensating for their own insecurities and inadequacies. They need to make others feel small so that they can feel big – when in reality, they’re the ones who are feeling small.
Don’t engage with your husband when he does this. Try to understand that he’s the one with the problem, not you. He’s just making you suffer the consequences of his own insecurities.
Maybe you can’t make him understand, but you can make yourself understand. Decide not to be a part of it anymore, and don’t let it affect you. It’s about him, not about you, don’t forget that.
13. Respond calmly by asking questions or using humor.
You should know how to react when your husband makes these condescending comments. One way is to ask him questions that put the spotlight on him instead of you.
Challenge his remarks by asking him for proof of his opinions. If he criticizes something you do, ask him how he would do it better. Ask him for facts that prove that his opinion is right.
Don’t do these things with an argumentative tone. Stay calm and keep asking questions related to the context. He’ll probably come to the point where he can’t justify his opinion anymore.
Another way to react is to use humor. You know that it’s not funny, but pretend that it is. Approach it like he must be kidding for thinking something like that. Don’t joke about yourself as he does. Instead, show him that you don’t see another possible explanation for something as crazy as that. Show that it must be a joke.
This can be hard to pull off if it doesn’t come naturally to you, so stick with the first option if that is the case.
14. Focus on yourself.
Living with a condescending husband isn’t easy, but you can think less about him and more about yourself. Focus on your own life, separate from the life that you have with him. Set your goals, chase after your dreams, improve things that you don’t like about yourself… Find ways not just to improve your self-esteem, but to make yourself happy.
Your husband clearly isn’t doing a great job at it, so forget about him for a while. This is not going to fix the problem you have with him, but it will make things easier for you. Spend time with your friends, pamper yourself, dedicate some time to your hobbies… Do more of the things that you love doing.
This will help you detach from the negative world that your husband is dragging you into with his rude remarks. Make it hard for him to put you down by making yourself happy in every way you can. Use the other ways mentioned above to deal with the problem too, but put more focus on you than on your husband if he’s not showing progress.
15. Seek the support of your friends and family.
Whatever you do, don’t bottle up your feelings and pretend like the situation isn’t hurting you. Don’t try to pretend like everything is okay if it’s clearly not. Accept that you’re dealing with a problem and know that you don’t have to handle it alone.
Talk to your other loved ones that you trust and confide in them. They might help you, even if it’s just by giving you support and reassuring you that your husband’s comments aren’t factual.
When someone you love is making you feel bad about yourself, you need other people that you love to make you feel good instead. However, keep in mind that your friends and family probably don’t have the insights to help you resolve the problem. This is especially true if they never encountered it themselves.
For that type of support, you will need to turn to a therapist. They can be of great help to you whether you choose to talk to them along with your partner, or without them.
16. Seek professional help.
If your husband is willing to work on himself and, more importantly, on your marriage, try couples counseling. It is the most effective way to deal with problems like this one.
In addition, if your husband acknowledges the problem and shows the will to work on it, it’s already a great sign and a big step forward. Counseling isn’t the last resort, it’s the surest way to see where you are and work on moving forward.
Counseling has helped many couples learn ways to improve and even save their marriage. An objective point of view is of great value to couples, especially when dealing with emotional issues.
As we recommended earlier, the website Relationship Hero is a good place to get the expert advice your marriage needs. Don’t allow things to get any worse. Address the problem now with the help of an impartial third party.
Click here if you would like to learn more about Relationship Hero and the service they offer.
Of course, if the way your husband talks to you has ground down your self-esteem over time, you would undoubtedly benefit from some individual therapy of the mental health variety. They will be able to help you reverse the negative effects your husband’s behavior has had on you.
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