We as a society have not addressed the abusive female. Much of the pop culture
tells women that they cannot be abusers. Clearly this wife is a very serious
abuser. These kinds of the abusers get very angry at anyone who dares to stand
up to them and their abuse. If the goal of this confrontation is to bring this
issue up to her without getting her mad, then don't even try, as no matter
what you do it is not going to work. Since the author of the question is a
sister to the abuser, I think it is fine if she confronts her sister with this.
She just needs to understand that her sister will probably not react well to it.
She could talk to her sisters husband, but he may be well into denial. You will
see that he will be afraid that confronting her for fear that he will lose their
relationship. In the end it's going to be his responsibility. If he chooses
not to confront her, there's not much that anybody can do.
We were friends with a couple, and the wife had no problem slapping the husband
and then taunting him because he was not "man" enough to hit her back.A
better man than me, is all I can say. I refused to go out with them, although I
still talk to him. They later divorced, which was best.
We don't know enough from this letter to "point fingers". When
Angela says maybe this works for them, I think she means that they are using
what coping skills they have for the time being. That said, criticism and
fault-finding can be the result of many things. Sometimes people find fault to
justify being mad at someone because they still haven't forgiven or let go
of some resentment such as feeling overwhelmed or misunderstood. Maybe the wife
is afraid that she can't rely on him in an emergency and it's causing
her anxiety and insecurity so she is trying to get him to do things
'right' to ease her fears. Maybe he has a passive aggressive coping
skill in that he messes up on purpose to make her mad, especially publicly, so
that he looks like the innocent suffering victim. We just don't know, but
one thing we know, the sister needs her sister to be supportive and a good
listener. Maybe she'll figure out a solution on her own if someone listens
I once had a neighbor whose wife was a tyrant. He was always dejected,
didn't speak much, never smiled, gained a lot of weight. Neglect his house,
yard. Well, the old girl fell over dead, early 50's. A few months later, he
had a spring in his step, kind word for everyone, yelled 'hello' every
morning going towards his car, did weekend work on his house and yard. Started
jogging. There's a lesson there, but the Proverbs teach us a
wise man keeps knowledge to himself. :)
My cousin had such a nasty and disastrous tongue used against her husband, we
all felt sorry for him. She constantly belittled him, had him "serve"
her. She quoted scriptures about how we should all be her servants, as Christ
called servants good. It was intolerable to everyone in the family except her
husband, who "bore it with grace" and continued serving her. Later, she had an aneurism burst in her brain. Doctors determined it had been
doing damage for many, many years which probably caused her to be so incredibly
awful to everyone. So, perhaps this girl really does need her head examined? My cousin is much nicer now, but it took years of therapy for her to
learn to walk and talk again.
@ Moontan RE: (sic):Only IF you had quoted me, and IF I had made 4
errors or non-conventions. Neither is the case.sic /sik/AdverbUsed in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or
erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the
original.It is used to point out a grammatical error, misspelling,
misstatement of fact, or the unconventional spelling of a name.
@J-TX - Mugabe's response is one of the more intelligent ones here, so far.
He/she is right. She should stay away from the mere appearance of impropriety.
Many a sister is estranged from sister because of tempting fate. Btw... go easy on (sic)'s in comment sections. Could have done 4 on your
I think a woman who'd treat her man like that is probably a bit too
clueless to benefit from intervention, loving or otherwise. Both ways. I've
seen too many men trying to explain abusive behavior to think they can reform.
Was always easier to just cuff them and cart them off without wasting time
talking. What bothers me more is that almost all victims of verbal
or physical abuse tend to make excuses for the abuser. Pick up your
bro in law and drop him at a lawyer's office.
My wife is mean to me on a regular basis. It is not at all uncommon for me to
fantasize about leaving her and finding someone who appreciates a loving,
caring, affectionate good provider. But then she goes back on her meds and all
is good for a week or so....
Mugabe: Your post made me laugh. Judge much?"And, why are you
picking him up from the airport, doesn't he have friendss (sic) or family
members that could give him a ride?"Uh, last time I checked, a
Sister-in-law IS a family member....
I think you should go directly to your sister. Tell her how much you love her.
Tell her the many good things that you admire about her. Tell her that you
always want to be there for her and support her. And then as gently as possible
share your concerns about how it appears to others that she treats her husband.
Reassure her that you are certain she is a loving and wonderful wife in a myriad
of ways (many invisible to those outside her marriage) but that in this one area
she seems to be falling short. And then perhaps you can explore together whether
she is suffering from depression or other stresses that have led to her
struggles. And then reassure her again that you love her and admire many many
things about her and that you will do anything you can to help her.
You should absolutely talk to your sister about this. It is not OK to treat
anyone that way and she needs it to be brought to her attention. Be loving and
supportive about it and listen to her side but still talk to her. I have been on
the receiving side of such a talk and while it was embarrassing, I am glad
someone had the courage to call me out on my bad behavior.If this
was a game for them AKA "works for them" then they need to keep it to
themselves. otherwise outsider have the right and obligation to stop the
perceived abuse. In all likelihood he has had his views demeaned so many times
he has come to believe it is acceptable for her to treat him this way. I would
be furious if that were my brother and no one said anything. (do not go to him
though, that is a recipe for disaster.
Also, be prepared for your sister to think you don't know what you are
talking about. BUT, you really don't know what their marriage is like.
Maybe there is a lot of stress that you are unaware of and your sister
doesn't know any other way of dealing with it. Angela is right. Talk to
your sister, don't go behind her back and talk to her husband. Show your
sister that you love her and remember that we can't pull the mote out of
our brother's (sister's) eye until we have pulled the beam out of our
Mind your own business. If your brother-in-law is willing to put up with his
wife, then it should be no concern of yours. It seems as though you have more
interest in the welfare of your brother-in-law than you should. And, why are you
picking him up from the airport, doesn't he have friendss or family members
that could give him a ride? Or better yet, can't he take a cab? You are too much involved in the life of your sister's marriage and you
should take a step back and perhaps develop a relationship with your own future
husband, if you don't already have one.
I agree with Angela that talking to the brother-in-law is a bad idea. I agree
that doing anything needs to be approached very carefully. I don't agree
that there are not certain ways of treating a spouse that are just fundamentally
wrong. It doesn't matter if it "works for them" or not. There are
eternal repercussions for mistreating another human being. I'm not going
to touch the word abuse because it is such a loaded term that has ceased to have
any clear meaning. Suffice to say that there are many wicked ways of treating
another person that don't involve physically striking them. Not all do, or
should, rise to the level of being illegal. That doesn't make them any
less wrong.I think that our society has drifted to far in the not
saying anything direction. We need to move back to having more societal norms
that people are expected (by society, not the legal system) to conform with. It
is fine if someone chooses to be a non-conformist, but there should be social
I would probably say something when I observed the behavior happening. i.e.
"Wow, sis, that is SUCH a nice way to act toward someone you love." and
leave it at that.
Of course, if it were a man browbeating his wife, screaming at her, and going on
regular tirades, we would be up in arms. Yes, most people who are abusive
bullies don't like being called on it. DH and I used to be friends
with a couple and the wife would regularly rag on her husband in front of
whoever was around. He never did it quite right though it wasn't for lack
of trying. It got to where I just couldn't stand to hang with them
anymore. Invite sis over for a Jon & Kate marathon. The later
episodes. Then ask her if she's considered what her life as a single
mother might be like. Because there are plenty of women who are looking for a
decent guy and who wouldn't mind snatching one away from a meanie wife.
And after years of being mistreated, right or wrong, it doesn't take
much.If it were a man abusing his wife, nobody would suggest that
maybe this arrangement "works" for them. Please.
Angela is right on this one.I have a very similar personality to this
husband. My ex wife just like the mentioned sister. After 21 years, kids out
of school, I left and never looked back. Best thing I ever did for
myself. You may ask, why didn't you stand up for your self. I did once,
and got punched in the face. There you go.
I agree with Angela.I just think it is refreshing to remind us that
men are not the only ones who do not treat their spouses good.
That would not be good. I have 6 siblings and would not dream of talking to
there spouses about it. Years ago, there was a peyton place type situation
between 2 siblings and there marriage. I would maybe ask your sister if she is
under stress and maybe she is suffering from depression anxiety etc that might
be causing it.
I would sit down together with them, tell them both how much I love them and
then tell them lovingly what my concerns are, which they have every right to
tell me to "mind my own business", but at least I have been open and
honest with two people who I love and know that I love them too. I would never
go behind my sister's back and talk to her husband about what is my
perception of what is going on. We never know the full story, well intentioned
observation or not. :-)
Agree with Angela. Giving any advice to the husband will backfire. If this
person were to do *anything,* it should be to point out to her own sister how
lucky she is to have the husband she has. Even there, the writer needs to keep
in mind that she has no idea what else goes on in their private lives.
Your sister's behavior is your sister's responsibility, not your
brother-in-law's. It is her job to control her behavior, not his. Express
appreciation to him for who he is and what he does, but don't give him
advice or tell him things would be fine if only he were different. Speak to
your sister instead and gently share your concerns with her. She may have
serious issues she needs to address with the help of a professional. Also, keep
in mind that both spouses have said and done things in private that are worse
than the things you have witnessed. This is true of all couples. Outsiders,
even family, can only see the tip of the iceberg.
If the sister-in-law speaks privately to the husband, it's going to come
back to the sister, who will then be pretty sure that her sister is hitting on
her husband, and that will not end well. For anyone. If the sister needs to
speak with anyone, it needs to be the sister, framing it as "I've been
a little concerned about how and Brett. Is something going on that is stressing
you out? I feel that we are all together, I want to leave to let you two argue
it out, but it's at a family dinner and I want to see everyone." Sometimes it does take a neutral third party to remind people they aren't
in their own world; others are watching.
She should tell her sister off publicly if she speaks disrespectfully of her
husband publicly, but should not express sympathy privately to the husband.
Don't forget prayer. Humbly seeking wisdom and help through the Holy Spirit
can often have better and farther reaching results than anything we can do
I know better than get in the middle of a dog fight. because both dogs will go
after you. It's not only a bad idea but dangerous one.
Letting him know you appreciate him is by far the best thing you can do.
My guess is that the husband is feeling pretty beaten down and could use some
boosting up. I would see if you could find a way to let him know that you think
he's a good guy and deserves to be treated well. It is also possible that
your sister has depression or something and this harsh treatment is a symptom.
Seek HER out and ask what's going on, see if you can give support.There's a good discussion on the blog Single Dad Laughing that begins
with a post called Worthless men and the women who make them. I can't seem
to post the link in a comment but you can google it.
I totally agree with Angela. As much as we love our families and want things to
be good for them, it isn't our place to get in the middle of our siblings
lives. Especially when it comes to their marriages or children. One of my
sisters still holds a grudge after being given "unsolicited advice" over
20 years ago. It just isn't worth the chance of a family rift with members
siding with one or the other sibling.
As one that comes from a broken home it would do good for the sister-in-law to
speak with the sister rather than the husband. But if she does speak with the
husband perhaps her mother could join or even the father. In saying that, the
best advice would be to suggest they sit down with their bishop and talk about
what marital problems they are having if they are members of the LDS faith. If
not, then their spiritual leader or a trained professional to handle situations
like this. No husband or wife likes to be verbally abused. Marriage
takes a lot of work and sometimes there is a dominate spouse. But if it
continues as portrayed in this article it will drive the individual who is being
abused to do certain things that would be deemed not appropriate. This type of
situation is a double edged sword that will either benefit the marriage or
destroy it in the end. No one likes to hear the word divorce, but on occasion it
maybe necessary. The church does its best to keep couples together.
The rest is up to us as individuals. Agency is very important to both.
Agree. It sounds like your brother-in-law has a personality that is not very
assertive. Trying to encourage him to be assertive at worst could backfire, and
make him either unpleasant to be around, or self-conscious and withdrawn.