What To Do When Your Husband Belittles You

what to do when your husband belittles you

He loves you. He takes care of you and the family. He pays the bills. He gives you no reason to complain. Sounds like the inch-perfect man, doesn’t he? But occasionally, he also makes fun of you. In jest of course! Even though it appears harmless on the outside, you can’t help but overthink that perhaps your husband doesn’t respect you enough. And that brings one to ask, what to do when your husband belittles you?

So he doesn’t involve you in any major decision-making. Your world revolves around his, but he barely needs your opinion or advice in his. If these things sound all too familiar, it means that you might be in a comfortable but deeply disrespected marriage.

You may not realize it all the time but what we mentioned above, are some of the classic examples of belittling in a relationship. These are little ways in which even seemingly “good” husbands make their wives feel small.

Now that you might have confirmed that you are indeed subject to being belittled in the relationship, the next step is understanding what to do when your husband belittles you? Knowing the answer to this is very important if you are seeking an equal marriage, one in which you have a say, are respected and valued for the person you are. So without any further pause, let’s dive right into it.

What Is Belittling Behaviour In Relationships?

Belittling is the act of making someone feel unworthy or making them feel like they are not good enough. Here, it is essential to differentiate between being belittled by your husband and being emotionally abused by him. In literal terms, the word can be divided into two – be and little. Essentially it means, you are subtly shown your place and it is always secondary to him.

Often when a husband belittles his wife, it is not taken seriously at least initially as they are not seen to be overtly abusive. The signs of belittling actually aren’t all that major but if not pointed out, they can creep into relationships and create major rifts within a couple.

Things such as gaslighting, making someone feel unimportant and inferior, poking fun at them in public, and taking away their power are all signs of belittling behavior that can eventually lead to emotional or verbal abuse.

Most importantly, it can slowly and steadily erode your self confidence. The unfortunate part is that it is very difficult to identify such behaviors because they rarely happen in public (though sometimes it does!).

Instead of big fights or yelling and screaming, husbands can resort to sarcastic or belittling comments, patronizing statements, and being unsupportive of what you do or say. These are all examples of belittling in a relationship.

The question therefore that arises is, what to do when your husband belittles you? First and foremost, understand that it’s not acceptable or something that you should just overlook. And then take measures to put a halt to it. Here are some ways to do just that.

Related Reading: What To Do If You Think Your Husband Hates You?

What To Do When Your Husband Belittles You

Sometimes belittling comments are passed off as casual jokes and initially, you might also treat it as a joke and laugh it off with him. Many wives often even admit things such as, “My husband belittles me in front of others and makes fun of me” but don’t do much about it. It is important to keep your relationship private but even more important to take a stand for yourself when such things happen.

When the frequency of such comments increases and if you try to make a point, it is brushed aside, or if you are heavily criticized for not understanding the situation and coming up with a “dumb” solution, you might just have a husband who talks down to you. In that case, sitting back is not the solution. You need to take some steps to re-affirm your place in the relationship. Here’s what you should do if your husband belittles you.

1. Do not dismiss the comments he makes

examples of belittling in a relationship
Don’t let him get away with the cruel things he says to you

Recognize the signs that you are being slighted. Women are often trained to overlook mean comments and rude remarks that come their way, but it is time to change that.

“My wife doesn’t know a thing, I trained her in cooking,” “You fail each time anyway, why are you trying something new?” “This dress would look great on you, only if you were slimmer,” These are all prime belittling comments examples. Words have a way to hurt us way more than actions so pay attention to what your partner says and how he reacts to what you say to him.

Often, your spouse may think that he is being kind to you when he doesn’t allow you to make decisions or acts over-protective. In reality, he is clipping your wings because he thinks you need him and you can’t do this alone. You may think his intention is correct but the way he does it or conveys it is still not acceptable. It gets reflected in his comments in private or public so watch out for them and then call him out. Tell him how these remarks are bothersome and that he needs to stop.

2. Don’t put up with it

If there is a pattern in your husband’s words, it is time to act. Nick Keomahayong, the founder of True Nature Counselling Centre, C.A, and host of the YouTube channel Real Talk with Nick, asks a simple question in one of his videos: “Why are you putting up with it?”

If you ever wondered why does someone belittle you, despite you doing everything to please him, know this: It’s because you allow him to. Sometimes instead of lamenting, “My husband brings me down, tell yourself, “I won’t allow my husband or anyone else to minimize my achievements”.”

If he uses mean words, you can always get back with a calm “I don’t like to be spoken to like this” or a “Don’t talk to me this way.” Simple powerful things said at the right time can put an end to condescending behavior (one of the main signs of belittling a person).

Related Reading: 20 Gaslighting Phrases In Relationships That Kill Love

4. Work on your self-esteem when you have a husband who talks down to you

Instead of spending all your time wondering, “Why does my husband belittle me?”, go out, distract yourself, work on some skills and start working on your self-esteem instead. As you would have probably understood by now, low self-esteem is a prime reason why a person – be it your husband or a colleague – can get away with saying nasty things to you. At times, they might even bring up past failures to taunt you and make you feel much worse.

For instance, if you are nervous about a project you have been working on for a long time, instead of giving you motivation, your husband might say, “You don’t have what it takes to make this a success. Are you sure you want to go ahead with this?” It’s clearly one of the examples of belittling in a relationship.

He might feel that he is warning you of potential failure but he doesn’t understand what it does to your self-esteem. Slowly, you might not even realize it, but such words will start eroding your self-confidence.

So don’t count on him for your self-worth. Putting an end to derisive or mildly abusive behavior comes down to your own self-esteem and having a backbone, so you must do what it takes to work on it. Whether it’s a Zumba class, a new job, or just a girls’ trip with friends, “What to do when your husband belittles you?” is about bringing back your mojo as well!

5. What to do when your husband belittles you? Draw a personal boundary

“Why does my husband put me down, every chance he gets?” It’s probably because you haven’t set solid boundaries in the relationship and let him get away with doing or saying anything to you. Boundaries are important, even in a loving marriage, and are important for developing respect in a relationship. Keomahayong advises shifting the focus from your husband to yourself. “Instead of worrying about their behavior, focus on yourself. You can stay in the relationship and confront the person or you can say no and simply leave,” he says.

Basically, there are different options that you can try but it’s all about you and how okay are you with this behavior. You don’t have to be too sensitive about everything he says to you but if there is a point when your ego is hurt and you feel disrespected, it means things are not quite right.

Drawing a boundary early on in the relationship is good so that you set the notions clear about what acceptable behavior is and what is not. When your husband constantly passes belittling comments, be aware of how it impacts you and your emotions and take necessary action to stop him as well.

6. Detach or learn to ignore the signs of belittling

What to do when your husband belittles you? One way to deal with it is by learning to ignore the manipulative, condescending behavior he displays and detach yourself from the opinion of your husband. It’s difficult, we agree but once you understand the reason behind their manipulative behavior, it might make sense and you may even be inclined to do so.

Why does my husband belittle me? When do people belittle others?

They do it when they want to elevate themselves and feel more worthy than everyone else around them. And the reason they do that is that they feel small on the inside. To cover up their own inadequacies, they need to put you down and make you feel insecure.

By remaining disengaged, you are taking away their power to do so. When your husband resorts to belittling in a relationship, do not respond in kind; it will only add fuel to the fire. Instead, try humorous comebacks and really give it back to him. But use them only if you can pull them off!

7. Stay in control

When your husband belittles you, remember to not let him pull you into his negative world. Be in control of the narrative and think of a calm response. They might be just trying to provoke you so focus on your own emotion at the time.

But what do you do in the case of, “My husband belittles me in front of others?” That’s one of the worst ways in which a husband can treat his wife. A husband demeaning wife truly takes a bad turn when it is done publicly or in the company of friends.

In that case, be careful not to show your anger or disappointment there and then. You can always voice it out in the privacy of your home.

And when you do it privately, put them firmly in their place. This doesn’t mean that you have to be aggressive or angry. Be calm, stay focused but put them in their place. A belittler tries to rile you but if you show you are affected, they are tempted to behave even more badly. Sometimes the silent treatment also has its benefits, reap that.

8. Better yourself

A husband who talks down to you can be harrowing, but it is not your fault. Stop thinking about him and start thinking about you. Set your own goals, have your own vision. You really don’t need your husband to tell you whether you are worthy or not. You don’t need to be compared to anyone you know or don’t know. You are enough as a whole so stop asking, “Why does my husband put me down?” because it has nothing to do with you as a person.

On the contrary, when your husband belittles you, it is he who is acting as if he needs the attention. When you get busy trying to be the best version of yourself, you really won’t have time to get affected by your partner’s efforts.

Ultimately the choice is yours whether you want to remain in a relationship or not. When belittling comments and behavior becomes a constant and are impossible to ignore, think long and hard if it is worth staying in a relationship.

why does my husband belittle me
Don’t let his words get to you and focus on yourself

9. Accept the pain and talk it out

Sometimes, pretending that a shallow or belittling partner does not affect you, can be futile. Don’t lie to yourself to avoid the pain of it all. It is actually better to accept the pain they cause you.

If their words were very hurtful, talk to someone you trust. Belittling comments can impact your psyche so seeking professional help is a good idea.

At other times, it would also be good to reflect on their words. Even if they are critical, maybe there is a point or two that might help you improve yourself. Once you only pay attention to the positive, you won’t have time to be sour about the negative.

Related Reading: 15 Signs Of Emotional Neglect In A Marriage

Of course, this does not mean that you accept belittling behavior in any way. On the contrary, it means you need to call it out even more strongly. Equip yourself with strength and even your partner won’t be able to palm off his shortcomings onto you.

Belittling behavior is very common in the workplace between colleagues or superiors. But in relationships, it is very tricky to negotiate. Sometimes, this is so matter-of-fact that you even fail to notice that your husband or partner is trying to bring you down. More than a lack of love, it might be a sign of entitlement and hidden feelings of inadequacy that propels such behavior. There are two keys to handling this – self-development and self-implosion. After that, the choice is now yours.

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