Kind in public, abusvie in private

by Rod Smith

“My spouse is verbally abusive, short tempered, and critical of me but only in private, and then as sweet as can be to me in public and to strangers. I have put up with it for years. Surely those we are closest with should get the best treatment? What should I say? I am called sensitive, over-reactive, and thin-skinned if I say anything about it at all.” (Edited)

Your spouse has appeared to objectify you and is unhappy with the performance of that object. He or she appears to regard you as a possession, perhaps as a car or an appliance that does not quite meet expectations.

Every time you put up with the abuse you are not “being sensitive, over-reactive, and thin-skinned,” you are agreeing to be a victim. You are agreeing with your spouse’s perception of you as something to be treated as desired.

Until you stand up for yourself, until you do something most unusual, until you rock and roll when your spouse has become accustomed to leading you in a waltz, the dance will remain the same and you will be a victim for the rest of your life.

Be sure I am not blaming you for the abuse, but I am holding you accountable for accommodating it.

One Comment to “Kind in public, abusvie in private”

  1. I have a friend who went through the same thing. Her husband belittled her in private, but outwardly in the presence of others, they seemed a happy, Christian family. Ironically, it was the husband who was the more fervent believer, but he had baggage from his childhood in a dysfunctional home (his father was also emotionally abusive), and couldn’t see that he might have issues, but instead blamed all the marital problems on his wife. She said she reached the stage where she was dead inside. Eventually they parted (she asked him to leave) and despite attempts at counselling, they divorced. She is no longer walking with the Lord. All very sad, especially for their children.

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