Q: My husband in general is loving. But whenever he gets angry (doesn’t happen too often), it’s an angry outburst in which he says hurtful things to me. He condemned me and tried to discuss our sexual life with my jijaji but he shut him down. But recently he condemned me in front of his friend and shared our private matters with him, mostly about how I am not satisfying him, and other small day-to-day matters. I came to know this from the wife of that friend. When I confronted him he denied it. It has deeply hurt my feelings. What shall I do? Whenever he has issues with me, rather than talking to me he talks to outsiders who might be sympathetic. He has a victim complex, because in general I am more righteous and do not accept any wrongdoing. He has problems with my honesty too. Please advise.
A: Hi there, you’re in quite a tough situation. You’re quite right in inferring that he might be playing the victim in front of his friends to gain sympathy. Another added factor in such behaviour is something called “gaslighting” where the partner surreptitiously tries to put his wife down in front of others by indirect comments and by discussing such things which are extremely sensitive, especially with people who he knows might report back to the wife. These are mind games aimed at goading you into doing what he wants. It’s highly possible that he’s probably not able to figure out how to broach the subject of what’s really bothering him about your relationship. What I would suggest is that you sit down with him once and discuss this whole thing openly. Since sexual dissatisfaction seems to be the crux of his complaints, ask him directly what he feels is wrong. If you feel awkward or clueless about having this kind of a conversation, seek the help of a marital therapist who can bridge the communication barrier between you two. All the best!