Husband's insults in public humiliate embarrassed wife

DEAR ABBY: I love my husband, but how do you make a man stop embarrassing you in public? My husband flirts openly with cashiers right in front of me, and asks complete strangers walking by if they would "like ... Full Story
First Prev
of 2
Next Last
Daria

Novi, MI

#1 Dec 26, 2008
LW1--Don't go out with him in public. It he treats you like this in private too, it's time for an attorney.

LW2--So sad. Kyle's needs go beyond that of a Big Brother. The kid sounds as if he needs counseling, and maybe you could speak with his mother about it, since Mom seems more accessible.

I'd be afraid that Kyle's destructive behavior would continue and escalate and possibly be directed at LW2 in the future, and for that reason, I'd advise keeping your distance. And that, again, is sad.
Anne

Portland, OR

#2 Dec 26, 2008
I think Abby's answer to LW1 is totally wrong. Revenge is not the answer. This man is abusive. He has driven away some of the LW's friends and humiliates her to strangers. She says that he ignores her complaints about how he treats her because he is being funny. Funny like tickling is funny.

We don't know how old these people are or how long they have been together. I suspect that is has been a while. It took me 20 years to get up the courage to finally get out of a somewhat similr situation and it wasn't easy but I will never regret walking out the door. However, I will say this, it was a lot harder to go than it would be for someone who wasn't hearing a constant refrain designated to destroy my self-confidence. The LW's husband sounds so much like my ex that my heart really goes out to her.

LW2 Better hope Kyle doesn't know where you live but it does sound like it is time for plain speaking with him, which means that if you are ejoying conversations after church you are sending mixed signals with the message you say you want to convey.

Tell him mother that you are not interested in being "Kyle's friend" and that you certainly are not willing to assume their parental obligations.

Secondly, try arriving at church just before the service starts and find a seat that doesn't have room for Kyle to insert himself.

As the LW does not want to change churches, and certainly should not have to do so, may I suggest that he get involved in some adult activities at the church with an eye to making some friends with whom he can got to church with, sit with, or at least talk with after the services?

yellowdoggie

Oklahoma City, OK

#3 Dec 26, 2008
LW1- Pack your bags. Clean out the bank account. Leave your miserable husband and start a life in a new place. Never look back.

LW2- Pack your bags. Clean out the bank account. Leave that crazy Kyle and start a life in a new place. Keep looking back over your shoulder to see if Kyle has tracked you down.
NNS

Chicago, IL

#4 Dec 26, 2008
LW #1: What your husband is doing is abusive, pure & simple, no questions, no gray areas. If you continue to tolerate this behavior and stay with him, it will only get worse for you. He is being mean and disrespetful & even if you're not aware of it happening, over time your self esteem will be non-existent, because you will, at some level, start believing what he's saying about you and your worth in your own eyes will diminish. Trust me on this -- I've been there. My ex (note that I say "ex" because after more than a decade, I got up the nerve to say "no more" and to leave the relationship) did much the same thing to me. It's taken many years to regain my sense of self esteem and believe in myself -- but, trust me, it's worth it. My friends and family (and yes, they are back in my life now that he's gone) are so happy for me that I've become the confident, warm, charming woman I was meant to be, not the butt of someone's "jokes" or temper.

Would you allow someone you loved or cared about to be spoken to the way your husband speaks to and treats you? I know you wouldn't -- so take yourself by the hand, and walk out the door.
Dienne

United States

#5 Dec 26, 2008
Wow, I know Abby is Jewish, but I think she could do with a wee bit more Christmas spirit.

For LW1, I agree with Anne - revenge is not the right answer - it only lowers her to his level. She should find her own activities/hobbies and go out by herself. Develop her own circle of friends and build her self-confidence. Do not go out with him in public. Once she has built her self-confidence back and has her own life, she will be in a better position to decide if there's any room for him in it. He will have to realize that if he wants to be with her, he will have to shape up. If he fails, well, divorce can be very liberating.

LW2: No one has suggested that this guy could afford to suck it up and be a little bit nice to this kid. Yeah, I agree that he shouldn't have to serve as the kid's father, but when a kid comes from a rotten family, having an outside, older "friend" can help enormously. Would it kill the guy to eat dinner with the family every few weeks? Abby's suggestion that he would be "trapped" is ridiculous - why is it all or nothing? I should think that an older male should be capable of setting boundaries. Maybe one meal and one activity with the kid a month? It would mean so much to the kid, and the older guy might even find benefits for himself if he opens himself up to the experience. If his selfish self can't even manage a minimal amount of time, then it's definitely best he didn't breed - like the Grinch, his heart is obviously two sizes too small.
Stephanie

Székesfehérvár, Hungary

#6 Dec 26, 2008
Dienne wrote:
Wow, I know Abby is Jewish, but I think she could do with a wee bit more Christmas spirit.
L.O.L. Now THAT was funny!
Dienne wrote:
If his selfish self can't even manage a minimal amount of time, then it's definitely best he didn't breed - like the Grinch, his heart is obviously two sizes too small.
Good grief! Not everyone wants to be around children. If he KNOWS he wouldn't be a good Big Brother or mentor or whatever, he is absolutely right to beg off. I feel sorry for the lad, whose whole family appears to need some serious therapy. I also believe the boy is ripe for a sexual predator. Maybe the LW has "those" kinds of feelings and avoidance is a VERY good idea.

Re: LW1 - the husband does these things because he can. He has received no negative feedback that he is not willing to live with (i.e., he's okay with the loss of friend and social invitations). If she dumped a drink on his head or hit him in the face with a pie or plate of spaghetti every time he said something idiotic, abusive and cruel, he'd stop. Immediate negative consequences.

One other thought: Maybe he's trying to drive his wife away with meanness and she's too dense/masochistic to recognize it?

“I'm subtle in spades!!!!!”

Since: Sep 08

Phoenix, AZ

#7 Dec 26, 2008
yellowdoggie wrote:
LW1- Pack your bags. Clean out the bank account. Leave your miserable husband and start a life in a new place. Never look back.

LW2- Pack your bags. Clean out the bank account. Leave that crazy Kyle and start a life in a new place. Keep looking back over your shoulder to see if Kyle has tracked you down.
Love It!!
Judy

United States

#8 Dec 26, 2008
LW1 - NNS is right. Leave. Now
LW2 - Dienne has a good point. How hard could it be to be nice to the kid at church?
What happened to the WWJD? LW2 doesn't have to do any more, just be polite and interested for a couple of hours a week.
If Mother keeps inviting, suggest that she enroll the kid in Big Brothers. Better yet, make friends with his father.
too old

Lombard, IL

#9 Dec 26, 2008
Dienne wrote:
LW2: No one has suggested that this guy could afford to suck it up and be a little bit nice to this kid. Yeah, I agree that he shouldn't have to serve as the kid's father, but when a kid comes from a rotten family, having an outside, older "friend" can help enormously. Would it kill the guy to eat dinner with the family every few weeks? Abby's suggestion that he would be "trapped" is ridiculous - why is it all or nothing? I should think that an older male should be capable of setting boundaries. Maybe one meal and one activity with the kid a month? It would mean so much to the kid, and the older guy might even find benefits for himself if he opens himself up to the experience. If his selfish self can't even manage a minimal amount of time, then it's definitely best he didn't breed - like the Grinch, his heart is obviously two sizes too small.
Thank you. I was just coming here to suggest this. The man is obviously in a position to help, and refusing to do so is selfish. He should talk to Kyle and explain that he's pretty busy, but would like to meet up once a month after a service. All of you who are condemning this kid to be a criminal or predator... maybe all he needs to straighten out is an adult who will respect him. Think about it.
BumbleBee

AOL

#10 Dec 26, 2008
My best friends husband is like LW1's... he thinks he is being funny and clever. She says if he likes you he picks on you..I would rather he not like me than be annoying and not able to carry on a real conversation. Basically, he is covering up his lack a real intelligence by giving one liners.
I turned the tables a few times, by throwing a one liner back at him in answer to his, it made him very uncomfortable and embarrassed, so he doesn't do it to me any more. Nor does he do it to my friend when I am around.
I do want to say, when he doesn't have an audience he can be a great guy. I guess he is just insecure in public.
Yellowdoggie

Oklahoma City, OK

#11 Dec 26, 2008
The worst bullies are the ones who try to disguise their cruelty by being "funny." Give me a sincere ash-hole any day over a "funny guy" who makes people cry. And I love it when they say something totally predictable like, "Well, I guess you just can't take a joke."

I once broke up with a boyfriend who was wonderful in every way except for his habit of ridiculing me when we were with other people. That trumps the intelligence, the good looks, the great sex, and whatever else he had going for him. Make fun of me, will you, honey? Buh-bye!
Richard

Las Vegas, NV

#12 Dec 26, 2008
LW2-The single guy should go to his doctor and get a prescription for Valium and Prozac. The young lad can be convinced that they would be very good for him, and while in church, the pills could be passed discreetly to him. A new beginning through modern medicine.
Colorado Cowgirl

Denver, CO

#13 Dec 26, 2008
LW1-This is emotional abuse from your huusband. His rude and critical comments will eat away at any self esteem you have. If this situation has just started, put a stop to it now. If this situation has always been happening in your marriage then you need a marriage counselor or a divorce. Trust me, this situation does not get better on its own. Your husband holds you in contempt and it is very possible that this is how he feels about women in general.
Whatthe

Evanston, IL

#14 Dec 26, 2008
Another letter from a stupid woman who married thinking that the wedding was going to change everything for better, change the man for better. You married this jerk knowing what you were getting yourself into. So stop trying to change him now. Stop whining and either deal with it by asking him to put an end to it or pack your bags and move on.
Tammy

United States

#15 Dec 26, 2008
Does anyone else have the suspicion that Kyle has already been abused? Maybe it's just the LW's cluelessness about children that makes him describe the situation the way he does, but it makes Kyle sound like he's already been molested and is now acting out towards another grown man (who seems like he'd be a nicer abuser than the one he already has). There's something too forward about how Kyle is acting. And the mom being so willing to bring an acquaintance into the family setting to "help" the situation as opposed to getting professional help? There are a lot of boundary issues here.

Ick, ick, ick.
Yellowdoggie

Oklahoma City, OK

#16 Dec 26, 2008
Tammy wrote:
Does anyone else have the suspicion that Kyle has already been abused? Maybe it's just the LW's cluelessness about children that makes him describe the situation the way he does, but it makes Kyle sound like he's already been molested and is now acting out towards another grown man (who seems like he'd be a nicer abuser than the one he already has). There's something too forward about how Kyle is acting. And the mom being so willing to bring an acquaintance into the family setting to "help" the situation as opposed to getting professional help? There are a lot of boundary issues here.
Ick, ick, ick.
I have to admit that I didn't pick up of those vibes. Now that you mention it, it makes a lot of sense.

I'm really torn on this one. On the one hand, it seems that Kyle could benefit from some time and attention, and what would it hurt for the LW to give him some. On the other hand, why should this older guy, who admits that he doesn't particulary like children, have to put up with this kid who obviously has problems? On the third hand, this seems to be a job for a therapist. Maybe LW could talk to the church's youth minister about Kyle? And if you are correct and there is abuse going on, LW should avoid Kyle completely.
ex-ferrerman

Elgin, IL

#17 Dec 26, 2008
I have a totally dis-similar experience as LW1. Whenever I go to a store the young female clerks constantly flirt with me! Even in front of the mrs. I will make my purchases and, while writing a check, these floozies ask for my phone number! I do nothing to encourage them (if by nothing I mean that I am a hansome, in shape, distinguished older gentleman who is not without his physical charm- if you know what I mean). This angers the mrs to no end and she never fails to throw it in my face when she's drinking (which is everyday, sadly) and has caused us some consternation. Perhaps these young ladies might see me as a potential sugar-daddy as I have a checking account and would appear to be a man of means. How should I stop this? Should I pay cash or would that just further their aggressiveness?
Bee

Indialantic, FL

#18 Dec 26, 2008
"I love my husband, but how do you make a man stop embarrassing you in public?"

Easy. It's called divorce.

Seriously though, I think it's the wife's fault. Sometime in this marriage the husband learned it was ok to say rude things about her. The wife needs to stop writing to Abby and start cussing out her husband. And if he doesn't learn, then leave.
Are you seriously

United States

#19 Dec 26, 2008
Blame the wife? Cuss him out? Let's get it to the level of a brawl? Yeah, that will work.
Bee wrote:
"I love my husband, but how do you make a man stop embarrassing you in public?"
Easy. It's called divorce.
Seriously though, I think it's the wife's fault. Sometime in this marriage the husband learned it was ok to say rude things about her. The wife needs to stop writing to Abby and start cussing out her husband. And if he doesn't learn, then leave.
Chelle7822

Chicago, IL

#20 Dec 26, 2008
I have witnessed such and am always confused at women that allow their significant others to treat them in this manner. What is the attraction? Don't you grow to dispise this person? and then what type of advice is this? if you can't stop him, join him? no way! fully explain to him verbally an in writing of his blatant disrespect, seek a marriage counselor and if he still cannot contain himself, a separation to evaluate some things may be needed.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker
First Prev
of 2
Next Last

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Chicago Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Barack Obama, our next President (Nov '08) 3 min Emeem 1,153,351
BARACK OBAMA BIRTH CERTIFICATE: Suit contesting... (Jan '09) 10 min Rogue Scholar 05 181,735
Abby 12-18 26 min pde 4
Messianic Jews say they are persecuted in Israel (Jun '08) 31 min JOEL 70,989
Deat Abby 12-16 34 min Mister Tonka 70
Woman walks into a welfare office... 51 min GotsMe2ManyKids 7
Food for Thought 56 min NationRunByIdiots 1
Chicago Dating
Find my Match
More from around the web

Chicago People Search

Addresses and phone numbers for FREE

Chicago News, Events & Info

Click for news, events and info in Chicago

Personal Finance

Mortgages [ See current mortgage rates ]

NFL Latest News

Updated 10:10 am PST

ESPN10:10AM
Vegas reacts to Bears' benching of Cutler
NBC Sports10:10 AM
Is Chicago protecting Cutler's trade value by benching him?
NBC Sports10:35 AM
Why did Chicago wait until now to bench Jay Cutler?
ESPN11:08 AM
Cowboys remain hopeful as Murray practices
ESPN12:14 PM
Bears seek 'spark', bench Cutler for Clausen