When most people think of bullying, they think of the behavior that occurs between children, either at school, in the neighborhood or through the computer. While this is the most common type of bullying, there are other types of bullying that do exist. For instance, spouse bullying is a real problem in many marriages. Learning to recognize the signs of this type of bullying can help you either repair your marriage or make the decision to move on.
Examples of Spouse Bullying: Putting You Down
As you make the decision who you will marry, you do so with the idea that you love this person and he or she loves you right back. While this is the way marriage is supposed to work, it isn’t always the case when one spouse is a bully. No marriage is going to be positive and happy 100 percent of the time. However, it is important to keep an eye out for red flags that your spouse may be a bully, rather than simply having a bad day. One of the most common ways in which one spouse may bully the other is by putting him or her down. Emotionally attacking another person makes them more vulnerable and is often done to make the bully feel better.
Examples of Spouse Bullying: Manipulative Behavior
In many marriage situations where one spouse is a bully, manipulative behavior is all part of the game. The individual who is doing the bullying often exhibits one of several types of manipulation to get the spouse to do things his or her way instead of their own. While a marriage is supposed to be a partnership, the bullying spouse often wants the ultimate control. Some examples of these manipulation tactics include:
- The Silent Treatment
- Name Calling
- Guilt Trips
- Passive-Aggressive Behavior
These are just some of the many tactics that can be used. Some individuals even use a combination to create the desired effect.
Examples of Spouse Bullying: Financial Bullying
One of the lesser recognized types of spouse bullying is financial bullying. This behavior occurs when one individual in the marriage wants full control over the money. However, there is a difference between maintaining control because the other person overspends or there is a strict budget in place and someone who controls as a form of bullying. According to a survey by Harris Interactive, as many as 1 in 10 individuals feel as if they are financially bullied by their spouse. Financial bullying often consists of making the other person feel bad about the purchases they make and keeping close track of what the other person is spending.
How Do You Know if you are a victim of spouse bullying?
There are so many different forms of bullying, even within a marriage, that it can be difficult for individuals to determine if they are the victim of bullying or there is something else going on in the marriage. If you suspect your spouse may be bullying you, there are several questions you can ask yourself to make the determination.
- Is there unpredictability in what will set your spouse off? Bullying spouses don’t often have the same trigger each time there is an episode.
- Do his or her accusations come with falsified information? Bullies often have to make up facts to fit in with their story.
- Does he or she ridicule or tease you? While some spouses tease in a loving manner, there is often a clear difference between good-natured teasing and bullying ridicule.
- Are you feeling isolated from family or rejected by your spouse? Bullying spouses often try to isolate their victims and make them feel unworthy of affection.
- Does he or she threaten you? Bullies often use threats as a method of controlling their victims.
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is time to look deeper at whether your spouse may be bullying you. This will allow you to take the right choices for your life.
What Can You Do about an abusive relationship?
If you are the victim of spouse bullying, there are steps you can take to put an end to it. The first thing you need to do is stand up for yourself. This will show your spouse that you aren’t going to take the abusive behavior any longer. You should then consider asking your spouse to go to counseling with you to save the marriage. Even if your spouse won’t go, you should go on your own. Finally, if nothing works to resolve the behavior, you may want to consider getting divorced.
Bullying isn’t something that only happens among children on the playground. Some adults never stop their bullying behavior and carries it over into their marriage. Once you know how to recognize the signs, you can take the right steps to put a stop to the behavior in your life, even if that means moving on from your marriage. You deserve to be treated better.
How to get out of an Abusive Relationship
Getting out of an abusive relationship is not easy. It is emotionally taxing, scary and sometimes physically dangerous. But you deserve to live a life free from fear. You deserve to be with someone who will build you up instead of tear you down. If you have children, they deserve to see that abuse is not normal.
When you decide to get out, you need to make a plan. Write down important numbers like the police, friends, the domestic violence hotline (1−800−799−72331−800−799−72331−800−799−72331−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224) and your local battered women’s shelter. Find a safe place to keep them or you can write them on the bottom of your shoe. You should have these numbers even if you haven’t yet decided to leave. They are good to have.
Talk to someone you trust and tell them about the abuse. It is important that you create a strong support system so that you will have help in place when you leave. Talk to a neighbor you trust and ask them to call the police if they ever hear a disturbance or any noises that are suspicious coming from your home.
Ask someone you trust to check on you if they have not heard from you or seen you in a few days. Do this even if you think your partner would never escalate the abuse to such a level. In these situations you don’t know what he or she is capable of.
Identify four or five safe places you can escape to. This may be a family member’s home, a neighbor’s, the women’s shelter or a friend’s home. If you are a woman, stay with another female unless the person is a brother or father. If you move in with a man you are not related to your ex could use it against you in your custody case. It could also escalate your abuser’s behavior to a very dangerous level.
Put together a go bag with some vital things in it. Keep the bag in a safe place or at a friend’s house. Include these things in your bag or keep them on your person:
- Identification for you and your children
- Birth certificates for you and your children
- Social security cards for you and your children
- Spare set of keys to the house and car
- Money, credit cards
- Banking account information
- Address book
- Change of clothing
- Important papers (divorce, custody, restraining order, etc.)
- Driver’s license
- Car registration
- Rental agreement or lease
- Passports, work permits, green card
- Welfare ID
- School records
- Medical records
It is important that you get away from an abusive situation, but you need to do it in a safe way. Plan your escape well and let friends help you. Once you are out, allow someone to be with you all the time. Many people return to their abusive partners because they are lonely or feel that if they leave their partner they will always be alone.
That is just want the abusive partner wants you to believe. But it is a lie. There is a wonderful life waiting for you, one where you can live without fear, live without pain and learn to love yourself. You deserve to be free.