Our expert says:
People often ask here about their worries over the age differences in a relationship, and yet they're often being spooked by a different of 5 years or less - in this case, that IS a significant difference, not merely in biological age, but in psychology, mind-set, and expectations of the world.
Is it possible to remain a supportive friend of her, without so often meeting him and allowing him to display his bad manners and cruelty ?
She should, as Maira suggests, be encouraged to see a counsellor / psychologist to work on her self-esteem adn assertiveness, to be better able to stand up to this pathetic old bully, and tell him to stop this bad behaviour.
If he is not prepared to change, she should seriously consider gathering evidence of his psychological abusiveness (and you folks are witnesses) and consider leaving him, for the sake of the child, who should not grow up witnessing such behaviour.
Age may deserve some respect, but not automatically. An old bully is just a bully, and with less excuses than a young one. A physical beating up is no called for, but it could be more effective for people to make it clear they find his bad behaviour neither tolerable nor amusing nor impressive.
His behaviour would be difficult to change, due to his age and likely fixedness in living this way, but his expression of these bad attitudes could be reduced if the feedback he received from everyone was clearly disapproving.
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