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Question
Posted by: Vaal Donkie | 2011-10-25

Friend is emotionally abusing his wife

I want to be totally serious for once: I am friends with a married couple, he is 58, she is 25. The wife is permanently on anti-depressants and she has confided in my girlfriend that it is because her husband keeps putting her down. And when I say " keeps putting her down"  I mean he keeps reminding her that she is a bad mother and that it is her fault that she had a miscarriage the first time she got pregnant. Luckily (I think) they have a very healthy and apparently well-adjusted son who just turned Four this week.

He also has this irritating habit of reminding her to take her pills when we are eating dinner. Sometimes we are also required to act as judge and jury while her faults are laid out and dissected.

I really don''t want to be friends with these people anymore, but I understand that my girlfriend and his wife are very good friends and she needs all the support she can get, so I''ll put my own needs aside for the time being.

I guess I really want you to sy that I am alowed to beat up on an old(ish) man. Just this once. But I digress...

Is there a way to make this man understand that he is being a grade-A jerk? I am also concerned that if his father-in-law ever hears of this, his life might literally be in danger as the man is about his age, but still in extremely good shape and isn''t afraid to do anything he needs to for his children. he has been against the marriage from day one, and I can honestly say i don''t blame him.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

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.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: Vaal Donkie | 2011-10-25

Just to make it clear: I wasn''t serious about laying down a beating although one feels sorely tempted ;)

I will do as the Professor suggests and hopefully we will see a positive result.

Reply to Vaal Donkie
Posted by: Maria | 2011-10-25

I''m wondering why she married the guy in the first place? My feeling is that nothing you say to him will change his behaviour. Encourage the wife to work on her own self esteem and assertiveness with a good counsellor, and then she must give her husband the message loud and clear that she is not a child or an emotional punch bag, and will no longer allow him to treat her as such.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-10-25

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.

Reply to cybershrink

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