Although most people associate bullying with children on the playground or in the classroom, bullying can be a part of adult relationships as well. Bullying can occur in marriage, when one spouse seeks to belittle, control or intimidate the other. A bullying husband can make it very difficult to maintain a loving relationship, and can cause severe emotional distress. Over time, physical and emotional symptoms such as insomnia, stomach aches and nervousness can result in a victim of bullying.
Write down your husband's bullying episodes. Keep a written record of your husband's bullying for a month. Note dates, times and situations in which bullying occurred. A detailed written record can be a useful tool when you talk to your husband, who may deny his actions.
Ask close friends and family members to share what they have observed. Obtaining information from people close to you about your husband's bullying behavior may validate your feelings, and it will help you to remember that you are not simply imagining your husband's actions.
Review your husband's history. If you do not know much about his childhood, ask him. This may uncover reasons for your husband's bullying actions, such as childhood abuse, neglect or witnessing bullying in his parents' lives. Although this does not justify bullying behavior, it can help you both to understand why it occurs, which may provide the information necessary for your husband to change his behavior.
Talk with your husband about his behavior. In addition to talking with him, advocate for yourself and insist that he stop bullying you. Tell him the consequences he will face if his behavior does not change, such as you leaving the relationship or involving law enforcement if you fear for your life.
Give your husband a concrete deadline to show improvements in his behavior. Tell your spouse that the deadlines are not negotiable, and that you are giving him an opportunity to treat you more respectfully.
Move out. If your husband won't stop bullying you then you may be forced to move out of your shared home. If you've stated that you would move out if he didn't change then it's best that you keep your word. Failing to carry out your stated actions can give your husband the impression that you are not serious about your demands for change.
- "The Bully in Your Relationship"; Anne-Renee Testa; 2007
- Marital Healing: The Controlling and Mistrustful Spouse/Relative