Bullying is defined as mean, hurtful behavior that occurs repeatedly in a relationship with an imbalance of power or strength. Many bullies cover up their own feelings of inadequacies and low self-esteem by putting down others. Over-controlling and not allowing a spouse to have any freedom or autonomy is a sign of bullying.
A common bullying behavior is name-calling, Belittling a spouse or significant others to others publicly is another bullying behavior.
Here are six clues that your man may be acting more bully than just alpha male and might be signs of emotional abuse
1. He blames you for things that aren’t your fault.
For example, when the dishwasher breaks, he immediately attacks and assumes you’re to blame, saying, “What did you do to the dishwasher?!”
2. He talks to you like you are a child.
He makes condescending and/or punitive comments to you such as, “I want you to think more about…” or “You need to use better judgment about…” instead of addressing you as an equal.
3. He uses an intimidating tone to others when asking for help.
Let’s say you’re at a restaurant with your husband where his food is served too cold. In an attacking tone, he demands that the waiter take back his food as if the waiter instructed the chef to ruin his meal.
He responds to others as if everyone is out to get him.
4. He tends to make fun of children or tease them under the guise of “playing.”
Your husband may think he’s just playing with the neighborhood kids, but he makes unsolicited comments like, “Hey, Billy, do you throw your ball like a boy or a girl?” You can be sure that Billy won’t be feeling too good about himself on his walk home.
5. He criticizes your character and possibly even your children.
When expressing his frustrations, he doesn’t say, “I’m so frustrated!” Instead, he exclaims, “What the hell is wrong with you?! Can’t you do anything right?!”
6. He suffers from “lawyer syndrome.”
What is Lawyer Syndrome anyway? It’s when someone gains an overly inflated sense of their own ego or believes that they can do no wrong. This is commonly known as narcissistic personality disorder, and many bullies have a tendency to fall into the narcissist category and believe they’re smarter, more knowledgeable, or just plain better than everyone else at making decisions.
They will often suggest that you don’t know what you’re talking about or shoot down your ideas as dumb or invalid, or even make you feel like you are incapable of making a decision on your own at all.
7. Verbal and Physical Aggression.
Besides name-calling a bully can go off on verbal tirades, and may get physically (or sexually) aggressive. Obviously, aggressive attacks are serious and are often the triggers to seek help or get out of the relationship. One friend left her bullying husband when threatened with a knife (“Often verbally abusive, he had only rarely resorted to physical violence, but when he used a weapon, that crossed the line, and I was out of there.”).
A common bullying behavior is name-calling. Often these are simply negative names (e.g., profane, such as “asshole” “bitch/bastard” or worse), but may often take the form of belittling labels (i.e., “weakling,,” “idiot,” etc.).