Jason’s a good guy. He’s a successful account executive. He loves his wife.
And yet his wife says a lot of mean things to him. She’s often irritated with him. She’s shut the door on him emotionally and sexually. In a nutshell, she bullies him.
Does your partner bully you?
More and more, I’m hearing from men who feel beaten up, humiliated, and just plain mistreated by their wives.
What’s going on out there that women are so hard on us men?
How’s a guy to show up with a partner who bullies him?
Are you a good guy who wants a kind loving marriage?
And yet, maybe you feel miles away from all that. Maybe you’re wondering how to get back to a good place with your partner.
My client Jason was that guy. He prided himself on being a “good guy.” And sometimes that meant taking a lot of flak from his wife.
But I taught him that to have a great marriage, you have to let go of being a good guy.
Jason learned “good guy” behavior as a kid. You see, his dad was a bully with his mom – yelling and screaming all the time and tyrannizing her.
What did you learn about relationship from your dad?
For some guys growing up, mom was the bully. For others, it was dad.
But whether dad or mom was a bully, we take a message with us into adulthood that says, “I’ll never treat my wife like that.”
And while our intentions are good, we create something just as damaging.
Instead of being the bully, we become the bullied.
Are you bullied in your relationship?
If so, you might be wondering, how’s that happen?
I’ll tell you how it happens. As a kid, we develop sympathy and attachment to the bullied parent. We root for the underdog. It’s a natural human instinct.
Way back then, we saw the bullied parent as the “good one.” The one who didn’t deserve it. The one who wanted peace.
And in our sympathy for the bullied parent, we take on a “good guy” stance, saying to ourselves. “I’ll never be the bully.”
We take the “less bad” option. Better bullied than being the bully. Right?
Is being bullied by your partner your way of proving you’re a “good guy?”
If you said yes, chances are you’re doing all you can to avoid becoming your dad or mom, whoever the bully was.
But that creates a whole new set of problems. Like walking on eggshells and struggling to speak up for what you want.
That was the deal with Jason until we started working together.
The memo I delivered to him was simple. Stop being a “good guy” and instead be a “strong, powerful, kind man.”
In the video below, I talk about how he did this with a few simple strategies. And in the text below, I talk more about those strategies.
Jason’s first strategy was what I call the “energetic shield.” The ability to not take it on the bullying. To witness it but not make it his fault that his wife was upset.
When Jason had an experience of this, he said to me, “I can fuckin’ do that?”
“Yes, you can,” I said. He felt a newfound freedom.
What if you had a shield to protect yourself from your partner’s bullying?
The second strategy was the Great Pause. The timeout. The “hey, this isn’t working for me. I’m going to step out for a moment. But I’m glad to continue this when you’re calm and collected.”
This second step is often tough for a lot of guys because it jams the circuits of his normal behavior of trying to make her ok. But it’s key to changing the old patterns.
What if you could change old patterns with your partner by simply taking a pause?
The third step was to say what he needed. In his case, that was a calm productive exchange.
The challenge here is a lot of guys have no idea what they need. But with a little bit of reflection and guidance, you can know what you need.
Are you speaking up for what you need in your relationship?
And to be clear, all the good strategies in the world are great. But you have to have be fully committed to creating the change you seek.
Are you at a place where you’re done with the old dynamic with your partner?
Are you wanting to end bullying in your relationship once and for all?
Previously Published on stuartmotola.com