Wives are mean to their husbands, husbands mean to wives, siblings mean to each other…here are a few reasons why we hurt the ones we love so much.
Plus a tip or two on how to stop being mean.
You may recognize yourself in this comment from a reader:
“I’m 22 and have been with my husband for a year and a half. We separated once and I cheated on him once. He is a great guy but he has self-esteem issues. I have no respect for him and I treat him like crap. I hate the person I am in this marriage because it’s not me. I feel as though he has the right to be treated better in a marriage and I have the right to be with someone I truly love and respect. He loves me so much more than I love him and I hate that. I’ve been trying so hard to be a good wife but I keep falling back into the same mindset of negativity, frustration, discontent and overall lack of respect for him. What do I do?” – from Should You Leave Your Husband?
And here’s a quote I don’t really agree with, but it’s about love and marriage so why not:
“If you want to read about love and marriage, you’ve got to buy two separate books.” – Alan King.
I disagree because I think marriage requires love of the most noble order. It’s sacrificial love, unselfish love, a service-type of love that out ranks all other types of love. Especially romantic love, which often fades within a year or two.
Okay, enough of that. Let’s focus on why you/we treat the ones you/we love like crap.
Need marriage help? Get FREE relationship advice from Marriage Coach Mort Fertel.
Why Are You Mean to the One You Love?
There are many psychological tricks that can help you stop being mean to the one you love (eg, focus on how good it feels to be nice, and how awful it feels to be mean. That will help you be nice more often).
But I don’t think it’ll work to try to be nice to your husband. You’ve found that out, haven’t you? So let’s put the psychological self-manipulations aside and focus on two questions:
1. Why are we mean to the ones we love?
2. How do we stop?
We’re mean because we can be truly ourselves with them
Your husband will love you no matter what, no matter how mean you are to him. He lets you walk all over him…so you walk all over him. He may have self-esteem issues, as you said. Or maybe he just loves you so much he’s willing to put up with all your crap.
The problem is that you don’t respect your husband for letting you get away with being mean to him.
We’re more likely to be mean to the ones we love – as opposed to strangers or acquaintances – because we’re comfortable with them. We can say what we really think to them. I’ve been more cruel to my grandmother, mom, and sister than anyone else on earth because they’re the ones I’m closest to.
But that doesn’t make it right, does it? In fact, it makes it even more wrong.
You’re mean because you’re unhappy
Think about this for a second. Is it possible that you’re mean to your husband because you’re unhappy with your life, your future, your goals, your job? Happy people aren’t mean people.
Your unhappiness with your life, your self, and your husband isn’t his fault. It’s not your fault, either. It just is. It’s reality.
If you think you’re mean to your spouse because you married the wrong person, read How to Cope With Relationship Doubt.
Figure out how to be a peaceful person, and you’ll stop being mean
I can be really condescending to my husband, which is mean. I patronize him sometimes, and talk to him like he’s five years old. It’s awful, and I hate myself for doing it. I’ve been doing it a lot less lately, because I’ve been spending more time with God.
It sounds crazy, but the more time I spend in connection with my God and Creator, the nicer I am to my husband. Actually – that doesn’t sound crazy at all! I feel love, peace, joy, happiness, and even bliss when I connect with God. Those feelings stay with me all day, and I’m automatically nicer to everyone I encounter.
Get to the root of your unhappiness
Have you talked to a counselor about why you’re so mean to the one you love? Maybe you don’t love him – that doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that this is an issue in YOU, not him. If you divorce your husband, you’ll just wind up being mean to the next guy. You’ll choose someone exactly like him. After all, you chose your husband, didn’t you?
I don’t know if you need marriage counseling, but I think you should talk to someone about your unhappiness. There’s a reason you’re acting the way you are, and it’s not about your husband.
It’s about you.
If you’re not the mean one – if you’re on the receiving end of a cruel spouse – read 5 Reasons Women Stay in Loveless Marriages.
What do you think – does this help you figure out why you’re mean to the one you love?