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How to Deal With a Spouse Who Constantly Criticizes You

Heather writes to help readers maintain a healthy lifestyle by addressing both external and internal stressors.

Being criticized can be a tough situation to handle, but how you receive it can be very instrumental to your own growth.

Being criticized can be a tough situation to handle, but how you receive it can be very instrumental to your own growth.

The ideal marriage contains healthy communication between two partners; however, the capacity for these channels isn't always clear and open. The reality is every marriage experiences its challenges at times, and many of us have had to endure our mate's sarcastic remarks and/or complaining at least now and again. Unfortunately, some people are in situations where negative comments are consistently directed at them all the time.

Living with a spouse who seems to always find fault can be difficult and painful. It's important for your emotional and mental well-being to find ways of handling the situation. Regaining harmony is possible when both parties equip themselves with the tools to communicate clearly and respectfully.

Why Is My Spouse so Critical

It can be both helpful and hopeful to realize that most (if not all) of your spouse's critical comments has little to actually do with you. That may be hard to believe when the comments are always aimed in your direction. It is important to keep in mind that some people think their way is better while others genuinely believe that they are being helpful

The truth is that anyone who finds fault with others is usually unhappy with themselves and their own lives. They cope with these undesirable feelings by projecting them onto their partner. Perhaps your mate grew up with a critical parent and learned to communicate that way. Or maybe they are carrying unspoken resentments or regrets around from years ago.

If your spouse is mature enough to look in the mirror and admit the true reasons for the anger, your marriage will change for the better. If not, you still need to understand the dissatisfaction is most likely not about what you do or don't do, and if you weren't there, chances are someone else would be hearing comments.

Set Boundaries for Yourself

When all is said and done, there's no excuse for bad behavior. Your spouse has a responsibility to treat you be respectful of your feelings and to treat you with care. When that doesn't happen, it's time for you to take action on your own behalf.

It's been said that setting healthy personal boundaries is like building a strong fence around your house—it keeps your property safe. Part of taking care of yourself is not letting anyone take away your sense of self-esteem. That's where boundaries come in.

Setting boundaries doesn't mean shutting other people out of your life, it simply means that you will be thoughtful about who and what behaviors you allow in to save yourself from unnecessary hurt. If you are faithful to sustain your "fence", it will teach both you and your mate a more healthy way to live.

Learn how to deal with a spouse that is always criticizing you.

Learn how to deal with a spouse that is always criticizing you.

How to Communicate Your Boundaries

Clearly setting boundaries can be hard, but with practice you can learn. Practice with the following strategies:

  • Use "I" statements. This keeps the focus on you, and will sound less like an accusation leveled at the other person.
  • Don't engage with your partner while they're irate. Don't try to talk them out of their mood, just inform them that you recognize that they are upset and will speak with them when they're more level-headed.
  • Use a softer tone. if you yell or cry, your spouse may only hear the emotion and miss the point you want to make.
  • Stay positive. Setting a boundary might not feel good right away, but it is a healthy thing to do for both of you.
  • Don't try to force the outcome. Your words might be received well, or your mate could react with anger. That is not your responsibility. Be sensitive but stay firm.

Take a Step Back From Your Immediate Feelings

It's hard to separate from strong emotions, especially negative ones, but speaking or acting out from a place of hurt will most likely only keep you and your partner engaged in a painful conflict instead of helping each other move on.

Instead practice thinking objectively about each criticism your spouse gives. Determine if the critic is supposed to be constructive or destructive. Again, this is challenging to do just as the comment strikes, but at some point you must consider if the critique is justified at all. Honestly evaluate the situation and your part in it. Ask yourself whether you're doing anything, intentionally or not, that might irritate your mate or make him or her feel disrespected.

Depending on the context, sometimes it is best to let the remark pass rather then make a scene. Take a deep breath or a nice refreshing walk to give yourself a moment of clarity before confronting your partner.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

— Dale Carnegie

The Pareve Response: Be Aware of How You React

One our most common reactions to attacks is the automatic fight or flight response. To fight is to literally provoke an argument by hurling a barb back at your spouse. Flight involves disengaging, whether by physically leaving the room, or pulling away emotionally. Both responses only serve to prolong the tension between you and your partner.

A better choice to try is what author Yehudis Karbal calls the Pareve Response—a method of acknowledging the comment your spouse makes while remaining neutral yourself. It shows you are listening to the other person while taking the time to calm down before addressing the criticism directly. These responses are kinder and more productive for both parties. They avoid engaging in power struggles and offer a refreshing approach to solutions instead. I have included example critical comments below as well as the appropriate Pareve Response.

Avoid the verbal duel by using pareve responses.

Critical CriticismPareve Response

"You don't keep this house clean enough."

"You may be right."

"We have to get a newer car."

"That's something to think about."

"I wish you were more like my mom/dad."

"I don't like doing comparisons."

"Where did you get that idiotic idea from?"

"Im not sure."

"You're messy. You need to get your act together."

"I've noticed that too."

Arm Yourself With Knowledge

One of the best ways to take care of yourself in a difficult situation is to understand it better. There are lots of books available that can help you start to make sense of what is happening in your marriage and what you can do. Here are a couple of titles you could read:

The Critical Partner by Michelle Skeen, PsyD

When you are in a relationship with a critical partner—someone who constantly blames you and holds you to unrealistic standards—you may feel picked apart, unworthy, and unhappy. You may start to wonder if you’ll ever be good enough for your partner. This guide can help you repair your relationship by getting to the root of why your partner criticizes you so that you both can build a more loving and supportive partnership.

Excerpt from Amazon.

Critical Condition by James A. McMenis

Everyone, at some point, has dealt with negativity and criticism. Criticism is wreaking havoc in marriages, relationships and society. It is vital to understand the spirit of criticism, how it operates and the fruit it produces. In this book, Pastor James A. McMenis thoughtfully emphasizes just how dangerous a critical spirit can be when it spirals into anger and resentment.

Excerpt from Amazon.

I Hear Youby Michael S. Sorensen

Whether you’re looking to improve your relationship with your spouse, navigate difficult conversations at work, or connect on a deeper level with friends and family, this book delivers simple, practical, proven techniques for improving any relationship in your life.

Excerpt from Amazon.

Consider Getting Professional Help, Ideally as a Couple

Counseling can be a terrific source of support for anyone going through a hard time. Another set of eyes and ears could bring you and your mate new understanding about his or her critical nature.

Even if your spouse won't attend, you can benefit greatly from talking things out with someone who understands the dynamics of a marriage. You can also learn more about your own patterns and responses. Just knowing someone else recognizes and empathizes with your struggle can give you encouragement.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a model that is effective in reducing the disconnect and the amount of distance in relationships. The approach examines the root cause of the issue that needs to be addressed in order to defuse negative cycles of criticism. The goal is to bring vulnerable feelings to the forefront. This involves creating a safe space for exploration of those tender parts of the brain and its corresponding feelings.

Marriage courses can also have positive effects on how you and your partner communicate.

What Not to Do When Dealing With Your Partner's Criticism

  • Avoiding the Urge to Fight Back - Countering from a reactionary stance sends the message that there is something to prove to your spouse.
  • Never Take the Blame for Your Partner's Unhappiness - Reclaim your identity by becoming less dependent on their approval.
  • Don't Set Yourself Up to Be Criticized - Not delivering on promises and putting others down is a sure fire way to invite criticism (warranted or not.)
  • Don't Focus Entirely on the Negatives - Obsessing over the negative will only compound the issues between you and your partner. Practice counter-balancing the negative with positive thoughts and tendencies.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


mimi mills on August 06, 2020:

My husband doesn't necessarily criticize my day to day duties, like how i clean or cook or anything. He just explodes on me out of the blue when i'm talking to him and it seems to turn into: he's stressed and i'm not affectionate enough or want him enough even though i am and he pushes me away constantly. It's very frustrating to try and do everything I can to reduce his stress, only to be constantly blamed for it. His excuse for his bad behavior is always that he's stressed with work and I should be more understanding. I've explained to him that taking it out on me doesn't help anything. If I ever have enough and explode back, which happens rarely, then he's done and leaving. I asked him how he would feel if I reacted like this everytime he explodes. He quit taking his meds that seemed to help this about a year ago and says he doesn't need it. It's been a nightmare for the last year. Basically he has no patience and can't seem to control his outbursts and doesn't see the problem, except for the fact that he feels like I don't respond to them appropriately.

Jean0987 on August 02, 2020:

As I read over all the comments here, I notice how the parts about setting boundaries has been ignored. I have read many books about this topic, many articles too. Setting boundaries is the most important step, and in my own experience it is also the hardest. Maybe this is why it is ignored. I am on my second marriage, and very discouraged because I see myself repeating the same behaviors that led to my first divorce. I know that boundaries are the key, And I give out advice to people all the time on how to use them to stand up for themselves. At the same time I can’t get over my fears of how my partner will respond if I try to set them for myself. I also can’t get past my initial reactions of hurt and defensiveness when he gets critical. Taking responsibility for getting my own emotions under control, and seeing everything as a process and not a disaster - this is what I need. Is there any way to attain this other than forking over $120 an hour to a therapist? I can’t afford it, and once a week isn’t enough to reinforce the changes effectively bc I forget it all.

arienzo1 on July 07, 2020:

Awful advice. How many times, how many years, do you look the other way, or overlook the behavior? You are telling people who are being verbally or emotionally abused to just take it. Completely irresponsible advice.

Ieuanfawr on May 22, 2020:

My wife just seems to criticize me all the time. I don't sit in the correct place, I go to bed at the wrong time, I watch TV at the wrong tine or watch the wrong programme. If I am doing a task - vacuuming carpet, washing the windows, weeding the garden, repairing something - I am doing it wrongly. She just wears me down. She sees my lack of response as weakness and any response to her as some sort of insult. It's a form of bullying. She tells me she's being helpful but she just wants to be in absolute charge.

Any attempt at closeness is shut down.

I'm not sure that any solution lies with me. She needs help, to learn to listen, to share, to allow me to do something without persistent close scrutiny.

I'll stop there as it makes me feel helpless and worthless.

joe harmar on May 21, 2020:

Best answer, "don't respond to it" it works

Mandy Bob 200 on May 15, 2020:

My wife’s was so fast and smooth In hiding her infidelities I was so curious and I needed to clear my doubts immediately I hired the services of HACKWATCH107 at g mail dot com.after seeing several recommendations about his good services To my surprise he got my job done and delivered within 5 hours I’m so pleased and satisfied with his services full of sincerity and swiftness...you

Madhuri on April 23, 2020:

I live with my spouse who is constantly criticing me and telling me what to do and how to do it. I feel very demotivated. I have very low self esteem. How can I get him to change

Edward Panich on April 14, 2020:

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

— Dale Carnegie

I will look their courses up again.

ashlee on March 29, 2020:

I hoping the stimulus check happens and I can leave.My soon to be ex is Constantly complaining about how I park the car. Tried tomake ask permission to use the bathroom and harasses me the entire time I am there because he has to clean it every 45 minutes.Goes ballistic if anything is the wrong space.Or a towel isn't folded right. He destroyed cd's from the library because they were not put away.He is blaming me for the cops getting called and the neighbor lady trying to get us evicted because we yell too much.Fyi I have been very quiet lately. I am barely making a sound.I don't even want to talk him anymore and he gets mad I am not talking to him anymore. I quit going out anywhere because Whenever we go anywhere together on the way home he complains and tic off everything wrong I ate and everything I said wrong.

Amiabused on February 23, 2020:

As I was reading this article I kept thinking that this is my situation but I am not really sure. I am at my wits end, I am constantly being blamed for things that are not my fault. My spouse constantly complains about everything and is just so negative. I have been told that instead of getting by professional degree I should have opened a business, that it’s okay if I lose my professional license because I can get a job as a manager somewhere. My professional license had been compared to a CDL driver’s license. I am the main breadwinner in the home and I am okay with that but I don’t think my spouse is. I have been told that my spouse says things because of what I say or do. My self esteem is shot and I feel so worthless, but I am not sure if these are just my issues or if it is just the result of abuse by my spouse.

Horacio637328 on February 07, 2020:

The advice given in the article is not necessarily good advice. Being "lame" is allowing the spouse to get away with disrespecting you. I had a father-in-law that had a overly critical spouse, and his reactions to her were almost exactly as this article suggest. The criticism never stopped. It would have been better to leave that relationship then to have stayed.

Every situation is different, and leaving may not always be the best option but I would never allow a spouse to disrespect me in such a way.

Harlan Wind on February 07, 2020:

The advice of this article puts a burden on an already heavy head. Truthfully, if the criticizing partner has not changed by now, then it's a slim chance that they will ever change. An overly critical person has deeply ingrained emotionally and social problems that they need to deal with. It is not your responsibility to change an adult.

Now before the dissenters descend upon me, I realize that simply leaving a marriage over something as tenuous as criticism is not easy. I am also aware that it is not fiscally advantageous. It can be even more impossible if there are children involved. So how do you deal with it? Well there are three realistic options.

You can simply follow the advice of this article and passively allow then critical partner to continue. However, you risk your sanity and your emotional well-being. Further your children will most likely adapt the critical behavior and pass it on to their relationships. Sure the status quo is maintained, but at what cost?

You can persuade your partner to go to counseling so that these issues can be addressed by a professional. If they are willing, there is no guarantee that this will work or maybe it will. Finding a good counselor can allow for great moments of clarity about yourself and your relationship.

The final option is to simply leave...however way is most efficient. It's and efficient way to end the criticism, but it can be the most destructive. The effect on the children (if there are any involved) could be devastating, and each age brings their own problems. It could also be the most expensive route (at least for the men) as you and your vindictive partner go back and forth over property, money, child custody and the like. Divorce is like a tornado that destroy everything, but if you a glass full kind of person, destruction give you the opportunity to rebuild and build with purpose.

Despite my initial comments, none of these actions are easy, but something will have to be done or the criticism will chip away at your soul until you have nothing. Don't let that partner kill your joy! You deserve it! What you don't deserve is bear the burden of their inadequacies!

Now here is some random advice for each sex:

Women: You have the ultimate freedom to leave and better yourself (aside from a physically abusive situation). The courts will award you alimony and/or child support. LEAVE!!

Men: Most of the time, you find out what type of woman you are dealing in the beginning of the relationship. If she is critical in the beginning, then the chances of some Taming of the Shrew type conclusion will be slim to nill. LEAVE BEFORE YOU INVEST YOURSELF!! Once you are married and have kids, then separation becomes more painful, difficult and costly. Also, when it comes to kids attitude toward fathers, it's out of sight out of mind.

Kids tend to have a warped memory when it comes to fathers. You can be divorced from their mother, but do everything you can to support and raise your kids while not living in the same house. There is still a high chance that they (kids) will grow into adult and victimize themselves with lamented wailing of how their father wasn't there for them.

Laurran on February 04, 2020:

Meme122, I am in the boat with you. It is hard. It sucks being insulted and belittled for EVERYTHING. I have 2 boys, one is 6 and the other is 2. They hear and see how he treats me and i always remind them that you don't treat women or anyone for that matter the way he treats ME. I am to blame.

Duncan on January 11, 2020:

Jaclyn, I'm in a psychological abuseful relationship and, believe me, no guy should treat you like that.

Can we run away together and be happy? I'll always be nice to you

Jaclyn on January 08, 2020:

Here my story. Bf encourages me as I get back to the gym to get fit again after a bad injury. Lit. a year later, same bf tells me he hates girls (me) that go to the gym, and girls that go to the gym are masculine (wtf?!), and blah blah. At this time, I'm looking good, and I know he's insecure. So, I encourage him to workout together, I'm his cheerleader, I love him, I'm loyal af to him. I use to go in baggy clothes to the gym b/c I'm not there to show off, I'm there to work hard. Any advances from guys, shut down immediately. I wanted to look good for myself, and for him. Ashame he had to put me down, insult me, nit pick, disrespect, etc. We are no longer together. No sort of dating on my end after the break up, and wont be for a while. If I decide to date again (if ever), I will ask the next guy to come correct, or not at all. Still sad about how it went down, but I'm not a doormat.

Ed on January 06, 2020:

"How to deal with a spouse who constantly criticizes you"

Easy, divorce her.

Meme122 on November 29, 2019:

Wow, theses stories sound like mine. I’m alone with no friends and I feel like I’m being gaslighted. I’m to blame 100% for his stepdaughter that ran away, his overweight stomach, his rage, he says I deserve to be called these names, he blames me for everything. I suffer from severe self esteem issues and it has gotten much worse since we’ve been married. I’m forgetful (which I get yelled at for) have constant headaches, anxiety.....I only feel relieved when he is not with me. He is so nice to his coworkers at work, even helping them thru marriage problems. He is a saint there. He always looks like the greatest guy from the outside, except to his own family. He calls our younger daughter a bitch and of course that’s my fault too because I fail to be a mom. When I forget something he says I’m a failure like always.....when am I going to change. I never argue, I just cry when he screams and threatens me because I feel so helpless and full of anxiety. I could never leave him when he was there too, I would be afraid of what may happen. Nothing would surprise me of what he is capable of doing. He has never hit me which make it more confusing because if he did it would be much easier to leave.

kisha123 on November 27, 2019:

I am just tired and sick that my husband makes fun of me and then complains a lot. Yes I don't do a lot of the things but there is a reason for it. Also, I am not liable to do everything in the house it is his house as well. I finish work late and then get up early in the morning to send my son to school but he does not understand that.

Chisa Brown on November 25, 2019:

I am critisized and called horrible names every day by my husband over and over. It is taking a toll on me from being in this abusive relationship and the children are starting to understand and see the pain i am going through daily. I want out of the marriage and to have a better life for our children with no emotional and verbal abuse.

Canyousaynifty on November 17, 2019:

mary896, I’m so sorry about the struggles you are having! Your husband sounds SO similar to mine! Is yours also severely depressed? We’ve been married 15 yrs with 4 kids and it’s a struggle. I used to live on eggshells, cry and get upset with myself for disappointing him all the time. After 15 years, I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I will never live up to his standards because nobody can attain the level of perfection he expects...not even himself. I’ve kind of given up on the idea of perfection, I’ve never been a perfectionist anyway! To me, the realization that I don’t have to be perfect, has been SO freeing!!! I just do my best to do things the way he wants and try to let that be enough for me, even when he gets upset that I didn’t do something to his standard. I’m not perfect by any means, so if I’ve messed up, I own it and try not to make excuses for why I didn’t do such and so. I am finding satisfaction in knowing I’ve done my best even if it’s not good enough for him. I can’t control how he reacts, but I can control my response. I’ve not perfected this by any means, but it helps me have more happy-ish days (for me) and no more living on eggshells!!

mary896 on November 15, 2019:

I read many of the comments below and had to stop. I just saw myself and my hopeless and helpless predicament. 25+ years of marriage and pretty much the entire time has been constant complaining, criticism, attacks, bullying, rage-filled temper tantrums and the like. The hardest part of reading this is.....tons or pleas for help and....crickets. I finally had a decent day yesterday, felt pretty darn good and was actually *happy-ish*. Then I got verbally backhanded for being too sensitive to everything when I was simply...working. Not saying anything, not upset, not doing ANYTHING but cleaning, helping, cooking, etc. Out of nowhere....ATTACK!!! I'm just so so so tired. Tired of always worrying about the next attack, worried about hiding things I know will cause him to freak out like a problem with the mailbox being broken (I try to fix everything myself whenever possible so he never knows and has a tantrum), worried about my imperfections, worried about the rest of my life. Being married to a tyrant is horribly painful and depressing. Helpless and hopeless. He's always right and I must 'fix' myself. OH, and no one else living or dead lives up to his standards either. Everyone is 'lazy, a moron, an idiot, stupid, a flake, etc'. Parents, relatives, pets, neighbors, countries....

Timersk on November 12, 2019:

Another thing I have found helpful in understanding my wife is her mood has a lot to do with her critical thinking. She suffers from stomach pain and insomnia so times when she experiences either can be more difficult. There was a time when she had no health issues before our second son was born. Our relationship seemed to be a lot better and critical issues were sort of normal and manageable then. Thought this might help others because if you can ease any stressors like this with your spouse it can help in your relationship. It took me about 20 years to figure this one out with my wife because she doesn’t communicate what is bugging her unless it is in the form of a complaint at least the majority of the time when she’s not feeling so hot.

Timersk on November 11, 2019:

Very good thread and right on. Interesting thing to see this can happen to husbands too. My wife according to her Mom has always been difficult. Her Mother I think was behind the problem growing up through the Second World War in Finland when they lost Karelia to Russia with no parents just an aunt looking after her and the eloping at age 16. She was a survivor and through some hard times marrying a alcoholic being a single Mom and my wife at age 14 going away with her two older sisters with their Mom. The short story is after 25 years we have been together and two kids later it’s nice we are a family. Christ said there is no greater love than laying down ones life for another and not sweat the small stuff.

Mussi on October 24, 2019:

When I met my partner 3 years ago things werent ideal, but at least I felt he loved me or at the very least liked me a lot. I had doubts, but I had that in every relationship and as I was turning 35 and very much wanted a child I figured why not him, hes stable and serious and at the time I thought he loved me.

During my pregnancy he grew increasingly distant. He started going out more, his priorities changed and although he was never a big communicator or as affectionate as Id have liked him to be, he seemed to distance himself more and more from me and showed almost no interest in me. I felt like we were just roommates most of the time. I left at some point to stay with my parents after a big fight and really wanted to leave him, as he was so unsupportive throughout the pregnancy. I was having preeclampsia, but the only thing I could count on him doing to help me was carrying groceries up 4 flights of stairs to our appartment. Other than that there was less support than there had been before I got pregnant. But as he was living in our country based on our legal partnership, my leaving him would mean he would have been thrown out of the country and I couldnt do that to him or my daughter. I want her to know her dad no matter how I feel about him.

During and after my delivery he was also incredibly unsupportive and even interferred with me breastfeeding our daughter by taking her off my breast to give her a bottle if she struggled for even a few seconds, which messed with my supply and her ability to learn to drink from the breast properly.

When one day he held her from me and refused to hand her to me for a feed at 3 weeks post partum I was fed up and again went to stay with my baby at my parents in peace for a week. Being away from the stress he gave me finally meant I could feed her in peace and she learnt to drink well and I could build my supply.

But now with our baby being almost 4 months I realize his new favourite game: blaming me for anything our baby does that inconveniences him even if its just normal infant development. He has always been very critical, not just of me, thats just his attitude in general. He is also very negative and generalizing towards white people (I am white, he is African) and thinks all white people are racist almost without exception. He cannot stand it if I voice an opinion different from his own. He never compliments ir shows appreciation for anything I do or for who I am, he only tells me wjat I do wrong and tells me I have all kinds of negative inrentions that I donf have. I really want to leave him, but I cant bear the thought if having to co parent our daughter and not having her with me every day. He does work from ca 7 am to 8 pm most days whereas my job is 7.30am to 3.30 pm which neans that realistically he cant pick her up from daycare on time most days so maybe it wouldn't be 50/50. I wish I had used a donor to have my baby so I could leave a man that doesnt treat me well without having to miss my child, but I thought children were better off with two parents. He does love ger, but we have very different views on parenting. He wanted to ket her cry herself to sleep from when she was just 4 weeks old and is always telling me nit to hug ger or to hold her so she will learn to become independent. He thinks I spoil her because I respond to her needs and dont just leave her crying and now that she is recognizing people and prefers her mom and dad to others he blames me for spoiling her whilst its just a normal development for a baby to grow attached and feel secure with their primary care givers. I dont want to be criticised all the time for the next 18 years and not have a partner who can compliment me too or show kindness, but I cant stand the thought of not having my baby with me. What should I do? He refuses therapy and he cannot accept any responsibility or the notion that he may have areas he could work on as well. He has only ever apologized to me if he has physically hurt me (accidentally, he's not physically abusive) but I feel his behaviour is borderline emotionally abusive (silent treatment for 3-5 days, witholding affection, communication, or any signs of appreciation combined with constant criticism and blame).

Mat on October 22, 2019:

I am the sole breadwinner in our house

I both my wife and i share all chores.

The problem is she seems to take pleasure in finding fault in everything i do even though the result is the same

I feel terrible and it seems theres no end in sight of it

Nils on September 15, 2019:

Why is it always on you - the abused partner, for an extreme example - to be perfectly rational and non-reactionary, while the other partner can be as emotional and irrational and, well, abusive as they like, and apparently that's fine but if you react AT ALL then it's YOUR fault somehow??

NH on September 03, 2019:

My husband constantly complains about the tidiness of the inside of drawers and cupboards. Mind you, our house is quite immaculate! I feel like this nit picking is constantly chipping away at my happiness with him. I work full time, have three little kids and no family help whatsoever. To me, the important things in life are good health and happiness. If one drawer is messed up because five people access it, then so what! I can't get it through to him what damage this behaviour is causing.

Jo on August 10, 2019:

Reading these and it looks like a lot of guys deal with a lot of BS. My wife has informed me that I'm a lousy husband, she doesn't want the kids to be like me, she married me because she was pregnant, and all kinds of crap. Yet she's the moodiest, laziest, most materialistic person who ever lived.

RJ on July 19, 2019:

My wife likes to bring up past issues that in her words are my fault. Like watching reruns. I just listen and try to change the subject. She moved out and continues to say all the anger is my fault. I wish I had a wife who was supportive and would quit rehashing the past. I am reactionary and she just sees my reactions to things. I wonder what her past marriages, that she left were really like.

jaci jensen on July 13, 2019:

I really feel like the criticism happens more often and much stronger when I'm down. Kick them while their down, right. I know, he's insecure & I see this in his 40+ year old children as well, I refuse to have them in my space. So, judgemental. If I act like you will that send a message?

So happy to find this!

oddcat on July 11, 2019:

Why can't people just love each other for who we are? Why enter a relationship expecting to be in control of the other person?

Life is way too short not to live it being happy. A line in a Steve Winwood song says " I'm near the end and I just don't have the time" ... these are becoming words to live by for me.

Forty-one years of marriage ... I've always worked hard to provide for us ... never been unemployed ... maintained our home in the best way that I could ... never forgot an anniversary or birthday ... never left the house without saying " I love you" ... bought flowers unexpectedly ... A cruise?? or five! ... well ... I'm sure we can make it happen ... buy this or that new furniture ... I'm sure we can figure a way ... I am just an Idiot ... at least that's what she tells me ,,, oh ... and useless ... that's the hard one ... useless.

Before we married, her father had a little talk with me. He said " All married men have it tough, but you're going to have it tougher than most". We were young and I thought he was trying to scare me off ... turns out he was trying to protect me ... thanks for trying Mike ... but I'm an idiot ... you're daughter told me so.

Tonight, after a stupid argument over an old cell phone, she said " I'm right, I'm always right, why can't you just accept that!

I'm near the end, and I just don't have the time.

James on June 08, 2019:

I read alot of your guy's stories and must say alot of you women put up with garbage you don't have to.

Quit being a victim and quit staying with abusive dudes that mistreat you. If he gets physical with you try taking a heavy ass object from the kitchen like a pan and knocking his ass out and call the police. Abuse only stops when you show the abuser you aren't putting up with it.

I used to be abused. I used to be abused by my boss at work until I stood up to him. Everytime he can at me verbally I'd tell his ass off and he'd back off.

My ex girlfriend used to yell at me like her daughter and her ass would get loud. I told her one day I put up with someone screaming at me my whole life I sure ain't gonna put up with it from you. I told her if she ever yelled at me again I was gone. (I never ever yelled at her not once and was messed up when she did it to me) I let it go the first time and told her I don't tolerate that kind of stuff. I said I hate the fact you yell at your daughter like she's a POS but that won't happen with me. I left her.

Bottom line there are alot of abusers out there people who want or demand power over others. Once you give them that power you become their victim.

I've been a victim but it never lasted long. It's more like once I get fed up with you treating me like trash you will know about it. If you continue to do it you will never see me again. I warn them and they are like "OK I'm sorry" about 5 days later they start it up again. And then I get a call a few days I'm gone as to what happened. "I warned you" I get the apology and a "Please come back" but nope that's why I warned you that first time.

Want to let everyone here know one thing important. Bullies always need a target it's like an addiction and they need a fix. If you are being bullied then do yourself a favor and get away. That stuff will never stop ever. The abuser is too addicted. If you refuse to get away and yet keep crying about events that happen how do you expect anyone to feel for you.

Mark on April 28, 2019:

My wife always complain about everything about me what ever I say do and talk work play she’s been there and it’s her way I bought a shop a car and stuff for the house I do all the house work and still not good enough I work around the clock almost and when I’m home I asked a question and she lose it I’m so done 8 yrs of bullying and I’m over it she continued to comper me to a few customers who come in the shop when I say something to her sister to do something they both look at me and say who the fuck am I something get stuff up and I get blamed for it and I’m sorry to say I’m over getting judged point at and blame for everything all I say by bye loser I can do way better than getting bully from a shit wife who I used to love now ur problem and ur family see you later loser

ScubaSaunders on April 11, 2019:

This is usually a sign of complacency in marriage. I think you either have to put your foot down or nothing will change. Marriage isn't about living in constant negativity... sad reading some of these comments.

Wants out on March 09, 2019:

Tired of going to work then coming home to then be told that we have to be on the same page and that page is hers. Then complains and belittles me on if I say something but then complains on how I said it and that I should of said it another way. My wife talks to me a lot like she does to her lazy sister who dosent know how to prioritize her income and owes money to a lot of people but would rather go buy useless stuff. There are a lot of days that I wish I owned a caravan that I could just crawl into and shut her out.

So tired of it on February 19, 2019:

My husband has always been hyper critical of me, disrespectful and cruel at times over our 30 year marriage. However what I am currently dealing with has me confused. About ten years ago a girl friend and I went out for drinks (a very rare occurrence). A guy bought us a drink, sat with us for a while and chatted and we each danced with him. I had too much to drink and was sick after I got home. After this happened I told my husband and we had a huge week long fight about it, but eventually made up and mostly forgot about it. Now, TEN YEARS LATER, my husband happened to bring it up and has been CONSTANTLY berating me for this over the past 3 days. It only stops when I go to work. He is calling me slut, whore, and saying that what I did was cheating. He’s been screaming at me and crying, “I can’t believe you did this”. He keeps saying no other woman would have done this. He wakes me up at night to yell at me. He says he wants a divorce, but I don’t think he really does, as he is financially and emotionally dependent on me. I apologize over and over and tell him it was a mistake and that I wasn’t thinking and I did not feel at the time that it was anything sexual. I had no physical contact with him and I have never been unfaithful. I realize I used bad judgment but I don’t feel like I deserve this constant barrage of insults.

Hoagieman on February 17, 2019:

And I thought I was alone it this. My wife of 35 years still goes back the whole 35 to find fault over the smallest of things. She criticizes me for having affairs I never had and other things I haven't done. I'm 78 and would leave but am financially unable. Something is going wrong in her mind. She is like a Jeckle and Hyde and is great with other people. But on one occasion when she turned on me if front of our best friends and they defended, me she turned on them!! I am in great health but life is not good.

Wife on the verge of leaving on February 02, 2019:

After 15 years of marriage I have never felt so unappreciated and insulted in all of my life . Nothing I ever do is good enough I work 8.30 till 3.00pm everyday then dash to school to collect my youngest child then come home cook dinner then I'm out the door again I run around four days a week doing stuff for our kids while he goes to work 9-5 doesn't share any of these responsibilities and has the nerve to say to me that I'm a fat lazy slob who sits on her phone all day and does nothing I never have time for myself he doesn't even think to help me with housework he just goes were ever he wants and I'm stuck at home doing everything juggling it all I might aswell be a single parent which doesn't seems such a bad idea anything is better than constant put me downs and insults I'm seeking advice don't want to get involved with anyone ever again I'd rather be on my own

hopelessly stuck on January 17, 2019:

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

— Dale Carnegie

Love this quote! So true, yet hard to remember at times during the heat of criticism from someone you love. I joke that my husband would find criticism with me if I won the lottery. While I joke about it it does seem that he has more negative things to say about me verse positive. I often ask myself, "does he feel good saying such things?".

What's interesting is if I were to dare say some of the same things to him he would trip out. Seriously. So why on earth does he think it's okay to say such awful things to me?

Justplaintiredofnegative on January 09, 2019:

Every interaction I have with my wife these days - every single interaction ends up in a fight. She has such negativity - the fights usually end up with how much of a jerk I am, that i am not doing whatever activity correct, that I have jerks for brothers and my children are spoiled. Believe it or not, all of these things are brought to bear during every fight regardless of what may have initaited it. I know that of late i have a responsibilty in the escalation because I am sick and tired of being treated this way and am finally telling her so - which further escalates things. I had a adopted the approach described in the article - providing non-commital answers that indicated I was listening but may not be agreeing. After a while that became a critical comment my wife would make — why dont you have any opinions. We’ve dated/married for 10 years. This is her third marriage and my second. I know I am a sensative person - however no one knows it by “my steely features” (my wife’s words). She is critical of everything and everyone. We no longer have friends - they all cannot stand her negativity. And these are people whom I have known for 40+ years (she didnt have any friends coming into this relationship - plenty of aquantancies long distance). She was diagnosed as being bi-polar but had found a doctor - after going through a nmber of them becasue she didnt agree with the diagnosis - that say she isn’t. Consequently she has come off all of her drugs and denies anything is wrong with her. I am retired after 40 years of work. She came into the relationship with very little and decided that she would retire too - which at the time I thought would be great. Able to spend more time together, etc. Boy what a mistake. She has no identity. She doesnt do anything - not even regular things like help with the household chores, cooking, etc. - except to take the dogs for a long walk. When I ask her to help out she just says she is not my maid and that I can do those things myself - which I do. As an example, after a 10 year relationship she has never done my laundry (except when we are vacation and we give it to the hotel to clean). Sounds petty i know - but think about it. She sleeps til 11 and doesnt go to bed until 3 or 4 doing what I have no idea. I should have said I am semi retired becasue I volunteer for habitat two days a week, I build furniture and the proceeds I get from this I put back into furniture that i donate to the folks who’s home we are building becasue they often are coming from a homeless situation and dont have any furniture. I say this, not to get any sympathy - just to let you know that I do spend my days doing things. They are full - which my wife resents. The cycle begins - she is unfulfilled - sees me trying to do things and she has lost any motivation to do anything. She volunteers as well - red cross. Diaster relief. So when catasrophe strikes she will be soon be on a plane to help. Which is great and i fully support and respect. So much so that while I didnt want to invade on her space with the red cross, decided to increase my habitat involvement to disaster areas as well. An example is that I spent the thanksgiviing holidays in Marathon FL that was heavily damaged by hurricane IRMA (she wouldnt come down) and spent two weeks rebuilding homes. Just the other day, as we were having another fight - she yelled at me that she never has any time to herself or has adventures - I reminded that she was doing something that she loved for 37 days during sept/oct helping with hurricanes florence and micheal. (We also took a month long vacation in July in Italy and she spends a lot of time in new york city visiting with her daughter). She quickly said it was hard wok - not like the vacation I had in marathon where I only worked till 4 and then went off and had dinner, enjoyed the beach, etc.

I see this post is way too long. Sorry. But i am at wits end. She wont go to therapy — says its my problem and I should go fix it. The only choice I see is divorce. Thankfully we have no kids together.

Thanks for letting me vent.

nancydrew on January 01, 2019:

Husband began criticizing me on wedding day, complaining a dozen times about how I'd made him look foolish as we turned in a corner of the church. No one noticed, but it was all he could talk about. Finally, in private, I asked him whether he was happy at all that we had married, and he said, "Of course."

His criticisms--"You don't deserve a paperback book for an 8-hour flight," "You could be the poster child for why women should never attend college" (I'm an honors grad in top 15% of class)--were daily. At our first meeting of his friends, where I was the only stranger, he would not introduce me until I repeatedly asked him to do so. Then he began, "This is my wife...she's not worth listening to," "This is my wife...she has nothing interesting to say," and dragged me from person to person...all 18 of them. He ignored anything I said.

I began my new job in our new city and learned the 2nd day after the honeymoon ended that he had unilaterally decided not to work but to study and finish his graduate studies.. I told him we needed to talk, our marriage was in trouble, I was deeply unhappy and hurt, and he kept studying, never turning around, simply saying I should get to work since my job was more necessary than ever. When I asked if he thought it was fair that I work and he catch up on work he should have done earlier, he replied that some people are made to be great, others are made to be drones, and that I was the latter. Again, he would not talk to me...and this pattern has continued for over 30 years..He does what he wants, and when I want to discuss anything, he has to make a phone call, pray, work, go to sleep. He'll promise we'll talk as we get ready for bed but then he busies himself with phones, texts, prayers, notes, then falls asleep.

He has never apologized for anything.

He does not like to be with me, to talk with me. He'll watch TV or a movie with me, but he likes to talk with other men. He deeply wants public admiration and has little use for a private life.

He promised to help with home schooling our children and then promptly founded an institute that keeps him too busy to help.

With no warning, he told me we would be moving because he wants to start a private school, with no money, no building, no teachers, no students, and no known city. I told him, "No" because our children are not going to be uprooted and because we need to discuss major decisions that affect the family. He replied that this has no bearing on the family and that he will never let me make business decisions for him. "What next? Telling me how many paper clips I can buy?" I told him this was "wrongly decided" and I would not move with him. He commuted to another city for 3 out of 4 weeks of every month.

He has always been faithful, and in his eyes, he is a wonderful husband. He has only said a few kind things to me in the first 30 years of marriage (pretty hair, good meal), but in the last 15 years has been trying to do small acts of service and to say he loves me and that i'm his best friend.

Years ago when I was very sick with our 3rd child--severe case of pneumonia and early delivery--all he could say was that I couldn't have picked a worse time to go into labor. I realized then, after hundreds of insults and no time for me, that my welfare would never matter to him. Years later just before delivering our 6th child, he was complaining that this delivery prevented him from going on a trip to Europe for a "once in a lifetime" trip (solo). When I said each baby was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, he replied, "When you've seen one baby, you've seen them all." I realized this man, who would remark that he often forgets he has children, would never put our children's welfare above his own.

Now he's nicer, but I stopped having any emotional affection for him. I choose his welfare because that's what I vowed to God I would do....It's my mission, my vocation--and even though it has not turned out the way I wanted, I don't think it's right to abandon this mission.

I list all his good traits---many public ones, but he does not know how to be a good friend. He does not know how to be intimate in sharing thoughts & ideals & goals; how to make others feel safe (he criticizes or ridicules); and to show respect.

I have enjoyed moments with him as parents when we're proud of our children or reviewing a funny moment, but I've never had a happy moment with him as a husband. As we grow closer to retirement, I wonder what i can do? In one way, his almost-total emotional detachment from family means I have much more freedom to structure my life with little interference, unlike our early years. In another way, I dearly long for friends with whom I can engage. (We moved away from a city where I had many friends....still trying to adjust here.)

If it weren't for my faith, my children, and my reading, I think I'd be very depressed.

Lisa on December 19, 2018:

My husband does this to me all the time and I am at my wits end with it. He had a hyper critical Mother and has very low self esteem. As a result he views the world as having two ways to do things, his way and the wrong way. He also feels this way about opinions. Any implication that someone else who does thinks or feels differently may be accepted means to him that he is wrong. He criticizes everything I do. He says he's trying to show me how to do it better, but I try to explain that I just do it differently. He is insistent that his way is better and he will go back behind me and do the task the way he wants anyways. Then he complains that no one does anything for him. I make him something to eat, he stands over me and tries to tell me how it's better. He WILL NEVER apologize for anything he does unless he thinks what he did was wrong. Except of course he never thinks what he did was wrong. If I am hurt and he does not think I should be he won't apologize. He throws temper tantrums when dealing with things that don't "work." He blames the object when it's clearly his fault. He threw an hour long tantrum when we returned from the grocery store because he double scanned an item in the automatic check out, he was blaming the store. I am a pretty easy going person. I do not have problems when I make mistakes and I admit to them willingly, but he will remind me of that mistake sometimes ten times a day, even if it does no involve him sometimes taunting me for being so dumb, just so I don't forget it. On the flip side he takes everything as criticsm. Even if I speak in a different tone to him or one he perceives differently he freaks out. I have pointed out that he is like his Mother and pointed out his behavior but he seems unwilling to see it or change. Can I fix this or should I just walk away?

Anne93 on December 16, 2018:

Kay I feel like your telling the story of my life! My husband has given me “his opinion” in the middle of me helping a friend WHO ASKED ME TO DO EXACTLY WHAT I WAS DOING..(potty train her son) In front of her, her 4 yrs old son and my daughter proceeded to tell me I was going to ruin this child’s life and other poor choice words. Started a fight after I explained to him how his criticism made me feel whether he means to hurt me or not it does. He told me how stupid I was because I could not see how wrong I was!

Kay on December 15, 2018:

My husband (13 years now) thinks he is the only one who does things the correct way. If I’m driving he has an issue with how I’m steering, braking, placing foot on gas pedal...or criticizes me for waiting too long to pull out into traffic OR pulling out into traffic too soon. At grocery store he has to push the cart, make ALL decisions about what foods go in the cart (often highly processed or junk food) and where/how they are placed in the cart and how where they are placed on the belt at the register. If I set anything in cart or on belt, even in organized way with frozen together, canned together, etc he will pick up what I placed and set it down somewhere else. If I pull car into garage he will roll his eyes and tell me I should have parked in on driveway because he planned to do something in garage - if I park it on driveway he will roll his eyes and ask why I didn’t park it in garage. If I set a plate in dishwasher near another same size/same food remains he literally will pick up both plates and exchange their positions. If I fold towels one way, it’s wrong. If I later fold them the way he previously wanted them folded, it’s wrong. If I fold and stack clothes, how I do it is wrong. If I put a shirt on a hanger, i’ve Put it on facing the wrong way. If I feed a pet I give either too much or too little food or didn’t do it at exactly the right time or set the bowls down in the right spot. If I stop doing anything at all so he can do everything himself, he tells people I do nothing at home. He tells people the same thing even when I take care of a lot at home...and also says I go shopping every day...I seldom shop beyond getting groceries and gas. I work more hours than he does and I’m the primary parent. He criticizes pretty much anything I do, big or little (even how I put cleaned utensils in their spots in the drawer). Pretty much sick of it and now pointing it out to him every single time he does it now.

Fred on November 28, 2018:

In the Quick Poll you forgot Option #4: Tell Her to Shut Up

Sanket on October 21, 2018:

We married before 6 months. before wedding she made me lot of promises and love words but after wedding she never spoken single love word for me. she always criticized me in everything. in my walking, talking, writing and each n everything she started criticism, he parents her mom, brother, mom, uncle always tried to insult me, now they trying for divorce but still i love her too much, what to do?

Epza on October 16, 2018:

I bought tickets to take my husband for vacation and been sacrificing myself tryintg to make everything romantic and pay for everything with out asking him for a penny. But he doesnt wanna go and told me to cancel everything, at this point the airlines wont refund my money and i cant cancel the hotel at last minute.. i feel so sad and stupid... i feel like im not being appreciated for what im doing i wanted to make it seem like a honeymoon just for us two with no kids, but at this point im just so sad i dont even feel like going anymore or even thinking about spending time with him alone in another country after being so stupid to work so hard for this for nothing. Im just so down right now. Wish i had someone to speak to and not judge me for the mistakes i make.

Dad/husband88 on September 28, 2018:

Janie, no one should have to endure being screamed at to the point of physical violence. Wait a few days and then tell him you are planning a trip to see family. Then go and spend some time. Reach out to them. Maybe they could come to you. Either way this does not seem like a relationship you want to be in.

Janie on September 27, 2018:

My husband criticizes everything I do and then when I finally get fed up and tell him to stop, he gets very angry and shouts at me and gets in my face. I was backing away and he shouted at me and was getting in my face and waved the dust pan in front of him because he was scaring me and I was trying to get physical distance from him and he threatened me at that point. He told me that if he ever hit me, it would be the end of me. He then told me "F... You" several times, threw items around the kitchen and told me to leave the house. I would have left the house, but we have a three year old who heard everything and I don't know what to do. I have no family within 8 hours driving distance from me. I am about done. I love him, but he just loses it and says and acts so scary when he gets mad.

Tired husband on September 15, 2018:

Hi I am getting tired of my wife criticizing everything I do it is getting to the point I am thinking

Lou on September 06, 2018:

Rod, get out. Get counselling, and get them to help you get an exit strategy and then leave her. She’s not there for the right reasons.

You will find someone better, and even if you never did, think about it, you’d still be happier alone.

Dad/husband88 on September 03, 2018:

I wanted to add one more comment to Rod down below. Yes, people care. I care. Please do not do anything to hurt yourself. You have people in this world that love you. Especially your daughter. Show her strength and that her dad is a man who will always be there for her. You sound like a great man. Hopefully, all of us on this site can find happiness. Please take care Rod.

Dad/husband88 on September 03, 2018:

Thank you Paula. My girls are older now. 2 in college and 1 in high school. My wife grew up with all women in the house after her father passed when she was in high school. I assume the way she acts sometimes that this was common practice in her home. I watched my own father go through similar things with my mother. They are now divorced and he is remarried and happy. Sometimes I feel I am living that life over again. I do not think my wife was always like this, maybe she was and I did not realize it. All I know is I am very tired. My job is very stressful, she doesn’t really seem to care. I thought a marriage was supposed to be a partnership. You’re right, I know what I should do. I just did not want to be another statistic. I also got married for better or worse. I always thought if you stuck it out long enough and worked hard enough it would even out in the end. All I want is to help my girls, get them situated and live a life with a woman who really loves me. One that I can grow old with and hold hands with and be everything to one another. There are times when I am so angry I am ready to leave but there are others where the pain in my heart is so big I am not sure if I can overcome it. Thank you again for your post.

rod on August 28, 2018:

my wife and i have been married for 7 years in that time we have produced a beautiful little girl , this is all i have ever really wanted ( to be a dad ) my wife is thai and she has never been very nice to me , although she is very very nice to everyone else , we have made love once since the conseption of our daughter so about 20 months without , i protested this very much as i know lack of intimacy will destroy a marriage and i don't want my marriage to end, didnt matter to her , and of course nothing changed , i feel like i accepted the terms and promised god that through good or bad i will stand with her , and that i will not go back on , she beats the crap outta me everyday verbally , with temper tantrums , she is never ever wrong , cant think of a compliment she has ever given me although i do compliment her as much as i feel i can , she wakes up in the morning and starts in right away beating me down , never anything nice , my sisters and i were neglected as children so i have always had this low self esteem , i have worked on it over the years and thought i really conquered it ,or at least made good headway , but her abusive behaviour over the last years has made me question myself more than ever , self esteem is now zero again , i hang my head all the time , i even find myself stuttering sometimes when trying to talk to someone ,just a nervous feeling that i can do no right , all that work i did has been reversed in 7 years , she hardly talks to me , rarely makes dinner for me or any other meal , i went out fishing for 4 days and came back with a boatload of fish , didnt help clean or process anything when she knows i did all this to make her happy , then she says i dont want any of your fish , which isnt rare she says stuff to hurt me all the time like i said , i work in a remote place so the day before i had to go to work , i asked her if she could try and keep our little girl quiet so i could get another couple hours sleep as i would be leaving for work for 8 days at 5 a.m , she storms outta the house with our daughter loads up the car and is leaving just from me saying that and i must include i said it very nicely as i do with her most of the time ,

well this being my last day at home for a while all i could think of was spending the day with my daughter so i run out there and stop her from leaving and took my daughter and put her in my truck and off we went for the morning cuz mom was having a mental breakdown over nothing so normally i will get at least a couple e mails with pics of our daughter but this trip at work she has not contacted me at all , first time for this and let me tell ya when someone is holding your daughter from you it makes a grown man cry his eyes out , i am at my wits end i dont know what to do , i pay the bills , i fix the house , i fix her car , i make meals for her ,i fill the freezer with food ,i look after our daughter , i clean the house , i do my laundry , and i know she takes care of our daughter most of the time but i do as she asks but i never get treated nicely anymore ,

i have figured out that she is extremely selfish , almost seems incapable of thinking about anybody but herself , takes joy in seeing me hurting

i really feel like shit all the time ,

thought about counselling

thought about driving off a cliff ( cant do that to daughter)

my mental capasities have been seriously compromised by this destructive woman

i really truly dont know what the fuck to do , i find myself hoping i will die in an accident at work or something (true)

i know whats going through my mind is not healthy , does anyone care out there , i am as alone as i have evr felt in my life

Suzie from Carson City on August 26, 2018:

Dear Dad/husband88......Sounds like you have quite an unpleasant situation. If I have understood correctly, the girls are "your children." This tells me that if you brought those girls into this marriage & you've been married for 20 years, these daughters are grown adults at this point. Do they still live with you & your wife?

As adult women, if they are aware of your dilemma with your wife, I cannot imagine them not understanding how unbearable it has become for you. Why would you be so concerned with your daughters assuming you have had enough and want to leave? I find it difficult to believe they would not want you to be happy, loved & supported by your wife. It would not be realistic of them to see you as a "deserter during tough times," if they are truly aware of the situation. Further, as adults, you are hardly setting a negative example that they wouldn't fully see as self-preservation.

As for your wife, her attitude & behavior......she "berates your kids (whom, as I have noted are hardly "kids at this point) and she tires you with "talking about people." She sounds like an incredibly selfish, unhappy woman, who wants what she wants without consideration of anyone else.

You must know you deserve much better than this. You're slamming your head against a brick wall & carrying 100% of the responsibility for your marriage & home life. You must also be aware, this is not how a healthy marriage is.

To suggest anything to you or advise you, I'd have to know much more about you, your wife and your daughters. This entire scenario is difficult to understand, in terms of your refusal to take action toward a better, happier, more fulfilling life.

I can assure you, after 20 years of struggle and continuing to try to cope......you are bound to ultimately break down. If something is this bad in your life, it IS up to you to find a solution. I certainly know what you SHOULD do, but you must make that decision and take positive action. Good Luck, Paula

Dad/husband88 on August 25, 2018:

Married for over 20 years. There is no sex, dinner or help with a job. I have worked a minimum of 2 jobs for the entire marriage. I fix things in the house, make dinner, do laundry, clean, pay all the bills, help the kids and her mother. I get criticized, yelled out and put down. I am mentally and physically exhausted. The problem is Instill love her. Sometimes I wonder why. Mostly I am just sad. I have sought therapy but that does not seem to help. She refuses to go since nothing is wrong with her. She berates my kids and always talks about people. It is tiring. No idea what to do or how to handle it. I do not want to leave because I do not want my girls to think this is how husbands react when things get tough. I try to put her comments behind me but it does not seem to work. I know I am not perfect but I try to be a good dad and husband. If anyone has any advice I would appreciate it.

EugeneSoCal on August 04, 2018:

After 26 years of living with a never ceasing critical wife I have developed thick skin and a realistic point of view. First of all, I now accept it for what it is. She will never change and all of you thinking by being nicer, kinder, more Christian, more fill in the blank... Is gonna change your spouse you are wrong. It's not about that so quit blaming yourself and being someone's make me happy puppet. Never gonna happen. My wife is an unrelenting hyper perfectionist OCD. Always will be.

So what do I do? Lower my expectations. Not gonna ever get a compliment from her so I stopped expecting it. I do things now to satisfy myself not her. If I do something and I think it's a good job guess what. It is!!!!! I listen with a different ear, take a lot of deep breaths and I get through alot of moments that would have previously sent me spiralling. I actually listen to the complaint and I act on what is reasonable immediately and let the other stuff go in one ear and out of the other.

When she she now tries to bludgeon me with the ..We are never as close as so and so ...guilt trip language, I calmly say... No we're not.

When she bashes me for not talking to her more or telling her everything I'm feeling I say.... Yep. Hard on both of us I suppose.

When she reminds me over and over that I'm not the man she thought I'd be.....I tell her I agree.

When she uses lack of sex as a weapon I quietly remind myself that I am a loving responsive more than adequate loving man and say something like ....yeah, there's a lot we are both missing.

I now play by my own rules.

I still give her compliments

I don't put her down in front of our children.

I don't wallow in self pity.

I don't wish for things that will never come true.

I remind myself that although I am not perfect I am well liked and admired by my friends and those I interact with at work.

I still reach for her hand even though she stopped doing that to me years ago.

I still attempt kissing her even though it's rarely on the mouth anymore

I still remind her she is good looking even though she has stopped telling me that a long time ago

I still thank her for doing things even though she rarely if ever thanks me

Yes I have a lot of unmet needs

But I don't wallow in self contempt any more.

Because I know now it's not my fault

She is a non stop workaholic perfectionist and she has to deal with thavery day

Our home is perfectly kept

Our children lack for nothing and get straight As

She is an amazing cook and does it joyfully

She is the first one to volunteer at church and spends countless hours there helping

She is well respected at church and in the community

She is faithful

She still looks nice when she gets dressed up and even occasionally does it for me

In another four or five years all the kids will have been launched.

The year after that I will begin assessing what I need to do to spend the rest of my days being in a happier more loving relationship.

I don't know it it will be with her.

matty on July 17, 2018:

I have similar issue with my husband, he also has trust issue with other people. For instance his cousin runs his business overseas after he left his business to come join me in the states, and he continually critisizes him for taking money or not being honest about the business, until he finds out he has been wrong and he won't admit in front of me that he feels bad for misjudging the person. He behaves like a maniac when he is driving.

For 5 years I have always washed all of the laundry the same way, finally he told me we have to wash the T-shirts under delicate like handwash. I forgot to do it just after he had asked me, and he made such a big deal for two Tshirts. I felt disrespected and hurt. He has always said many times over and over again, you don't do things right. You are always rushing through things, bla bla.. I know , I admit to my mistakes and I do apologize to him and each time he smiles and comes back around and forgives me and he is very kind. but when he gets mad and angry about an issue, he really makes sure I feel punished and i hate this feeling. I feel alone when he does that . We used to argue all the time, but now it's once every two or three months . I still feel like I want him to know that this hurts and he should not do this again, but people won't change. Oh Well. I have my flaws too so I cannot only blame him.

Bp on July 03, 2018:

My wife criticizes everything I do: the laundry, the way I dress the kids, the way I dress, the way I drive, everyone in my family, my job, my sexual performance or lack thereof, my goals, etc, etc, the list goes on and on. She yells, she gives the silent treatment, locks me out of bedroom and the house, gets upset even on vacations and ruins part of them. I don't know what to do. I've tried taking it, I've tried arguing back roughly, I've tried saying nothing, I've tried ignoring it. I've tried talking about it. She used to hit me in the head, until I put a stop to that. I brought her flowers at work, presents at work for her birthday and special holidays, I tried to take her out on dates but she refuses, I've read special books about couples and love, I've prayed, I'm just about out of things to do. But it is nice to know that I'm not alone. Misery loves company. LOL

Zzol105 on June 24, 2018:

Although I am reading this from a current "hurt" state, I am glad (and also sad to hear) that other people are experiencing the same as me. I am also wishing to share my story as maybe I too can help someone feel not alone and gain perspective. My husband and I have been together for almost 10 years and something is very slowly consuming me. To make a long post just a little shorter, I am a bit of a clutz at times and have really been working on ways to be more organized and aware of where I sit things down. I have a job that is incredibly detail oriented to a very high degree and I succeed there, but just can't ever seem to do things right at home. My husband is from Europe and we have very different cultures. However, there has been a trend for a while that literally everything I do is wrong. I think of myself as a self aware person and I take accountability for my mistakes and do everything in my power to fix them. Today for example, I locked myself out of the house due to a door that swings shut behind you and I wasn't aware that the locking mechanism was engaged. I tried to open it with some force but he is now livid with me for not trying to call a locksmith first. My husband is out of town and I am already receiving messages degrading me as if I need to feel any more stupid than I do already. Keep in mind you are only hearing my side of the story to keep things fair. But, what I don't like is the extra criticism I am going to get over this and over the top scolding. I have told him I would appreciate him not acting like my parent and instead be my partner, in the past. But due to the frequency of these events, big and small, I am feeling like I just can't ever seem to do anything right in his eyes.

I get bashed for the tiniest (mind you the previously mentioned door incident I don't see as a small thing) things and many mistakes are turned into a huge deal and blow up session. I am a very confident person, but I am starting to feel like I can't ever seem to do anything right. I feel like I am under a microscope at all times. I feel like I am kicked while I am down. But of all else, I feel like no matter how hard I try, I will always be wrong and he will always be right. We have talked before about this and he explains that I am not always wrong, but his actions/temper says otherwise. What burns me a lot is that the times that I am right, I get blown up on still and once he settles down, then I hear how I was right. It's almost like I can't ever be right either. Another thing that burns me is that he acts like he never makes mistakes and that is always rubbed in my face constantly. To the point that I don't want to do things or suggest things lest I be accountable for things that are also out of my control.

It pains me to feel that all the mistakes I make are always remembered and I get badgered and haunted by them. I do my best to not make comments mean anything more than they already do, but my own self confidence and image is really being tested. I feel stupid, unappreciated, useless, oblivious and many times alone. My husband is a good man, but I just wish I could get him to see that it's not always me and that my feelings matter and actually need to feel like they do. I don't want to be looked at as the useless spouse and also one that needs to be yelled at and humiliated every times something happens.

HUSBAND11 on June 20, 2018:

We are married for 11 years and Im the husband as you can see. I read all the comments and most of the people are the ones that are criticized or discouraged by their husbands or wives. But I'm the one on the other side, I criticized, discouraged, made joke in public, didn't appreciate, said few compliments and downgraded her.

We had a big argument 1 month ago and she left for 2 days with a girlfriend to another city and said that she was calmed down and said she knows what to do. I wasn't really clear in my mind and I though she was over reacting.

We are here on a trip just the 2 of us and left the children with grandparents. Guess what, we argued again she is not in the hotel room and I'm reading articles and posts to see what is wrong in me.

We have a family business and I was one of the founders. Over 15 people working together. I as a husband now I see what I did wrong.

- I thought everything I did was right and I cared less of other people including my wife. She works in the company and said that I'm the criticizer and look for faults in other people. I should be thanking people and appreciating them. My view is that i shouldn't be too soft on employees and she got hurt in that group. So I'm thinking she shouldn't be working there or I should be 3 times appreciation and 1 critics.

- I make fun of her in public and with friends. I say it for fun and didn't make a big deal out of it. She said several times that she didn't like it. Now I understand that i should stop it and on the opposite praise her when we are together with family and friends. She is my supporter, she cheers for me, she respects and praises me most of the time but I'm the one that is the opposite. My parents are similar style as me and criticizes and complains about each other. Its where I came from but I have to start changing.

-I unintentionally compared her with some of the other workers who were more experienced, that really blew it up. Her self confidence went down the drain. She wanted to me make a decision different from what i was thinking and I made a simple comparison that hurt her a lot. Even if she was inferior to those people I shouldn't have said that. I am stupid.

I was probably vacuumed by the positive comments, praises, appreciations that come to me from family, work and friends. These things blind you from being fair and nice to people and even your wife. You need a time of alone and think back about yourself. I see as myself growing towards a successful person but with a wrong attitude.

My weakness is that I'm not so sharp in understanding people's feelings saying the right words delicately. I love my wife and my family. She didn't say anything like leaving me or whatsoever, I just want to make it right.

For men and women, pls be extra careful if you are working together with your wife or husband. i would say its better not to because i know I'm not perfect. Hurting the feelings can start from a very small thing an unintentional act that can stay in the feeling of your partner for a very long time.

She is just breaking down from so much negativity from me and so less positive words, feelings and actions.

So I'm still reading, I don't know yet on what to tell her to comfort her and calm her down. if anyone with same problem who can give an advice would be very helpful. i really need to change

Suzie from Carson City on June 18, 2018:

I could easily repeat Vladamir's (Val's) comment, ver batim. So, DITTO, Val...thanks for speaking for me!

If I wanted my every word & deed criticized, I'd find myself an angry, bitter, self-absorbed S.O.B, whom I had no intention of loving, certainly not marrying...& then I'd tell him to hit the friggan road!

.Spouses/partners, in simple English, need to be loving, supportive & understanding. This is not negotiable.

Some of the comments here are nearly impossible to believe! Are there this many weak, needy, dependent, zero-self-esteem individuals who are being abused & steam-rolled on a regular basis? This is absolutely pathetic! Pull yourselves from the gutter. Know your value and your right to be happy, respected and loved.

Anything less than this, is inconceivable!

Some of you have admitted to lives with your partners as worse than being in a Nazi Concentration camp...Do I feel sorry for you? NO! Put your big girl panties on and get the hell out of that horrifying situation! Do not be an idiot!


Jeni on May 09, 2018:

My marriage has been a fairytale

I have been married to a very loving , smart, responsible and kind man

He loves me and I love him to death. He showers gifts and surprises at me every occasion. We have to beautiful children together. Life is good, both of us have been super successful at our jobs and we truly are living the dream our kids go to the best schools and we are 200% committed to better future of our kids. He adores me and I personally have never met a person like him in my entire life. People envy us. We are perfect together. It’s been a dream until now (9 years) but something happened recently I and his sister had an argument where she wrongfully accused me of things that I did not do, exaggerate/ misconstrued my statement s... this seemed to have impacted us. Also after 9 years of marriage I found out( his sister told me) that he lied about his age and also got my call records before marriage to see if I was cheating on him ( I was in a relationship before hi) I this felt like a blow but I love him sooooo much that I decided to move on. I am still deeply hurt though. But i truly and honestly love him to the core.

Things took a turn for bad from here. I tried to tell him my side of story and he pushed me away. I cried , I begged ... he still is my world and forever will be ( don’t know why) but from then on he started picking on me. Every time he compares me. I started working on things, became a morning person, planned every thing in advance.tried to fix everything that was “wrong” with me. And eventually he did realize that he was hard on me and was taking his frustrations out.

But things go on and off ever since. He says I should talk to his sister only if I feel like but then gets upset if I don’t. My self esteem is out the door. His sister gives me attitude and tries to tell me she can get things her way. I feel scared to tell my husband and suck it up. But then it creeps up on me and he goes back to his critical self.

I have never felt so loved w in my life. I am independent, have a very high paying job people respect me but at home I am this stupid, immature, senseless person. I can’t fight it, I am hurt tooo much but I love him very much.

I know I can’t live without him but am living an unfulfilled life. I think of dying but then I think about my kids. In my objective mind he was know I hav everything one needs loving husband, good kids good life. But in my heat I am hurt and empty. I love him and I know he loves me but his intentional criticism is damaging my self esteem. He is good and then he goes back to complain again.

I am just a lonely person with a broken heart which is filled with love for him. My God be with us!

Do you think it’s a phase you

G on April 26, 2018:

so happy, I am not alone. my partner is a nitpicker whereas I am more easy going and he is still uhappy with something. mainly with me, what I do, what I dont do, how I do things... unfotunately, my boss at work is similar person, so I dont like going to work and going to home. instead I love hanging out at sport classes where people smile, laugh and I feel that positive energy that I miss.

If I bake a cake, my partner instead of beeing pleased says it is too big or it is not complete as he would put a chocolate on the top...

it is like this since beginning and this was my first relationshio I wasnt sure about since beginning /I started dating him because he is nice person/. we are very opposite people. I love healthy lifestyle I am veetarian, he eats es and bacon every morning, he goes by car everywhere (even 100 metres), I am more easy going, he takes everything too seriously.

I never felt loved in this relationship as he never praise anything, never invites me for dinner or to the cinema, everything is half -half. finances (if we go e.g. for a holiday, he writes all expenses and than we have to pay exactly the same part). he never suprised me just with no reason. sometimes I want to hu him and he goes away from me. We are together for more than 3 years... there is nothing major that would not work.. but these little things make me feel wether is this elationship right or not.. sometimes I feel like housemates. I have no wish to have a kids in a future. I am not sure wether it is because of all this or just because I am wierd (I am 34). I always felt loved in a relationship and sometimes I remember my previous relationship and how I felt and how great time it was (although there was a major problem which made us separated).

mzzzzz on April 26, 2018:

omg it's such a relief to read this! This is me too! I can't do anything right. Everything i do is wrong. My partner is always criticising me and saying negative things about me. He never praises me or compliments me or supports me. I've told him this many times, it doesn't seem to make a difference. I've said to him that he doesn't seem to appreciate anything about me....not my personality, nor what I do or how I do it. He constantly calls me a goldfish, because he says i don't remember things - i've actually got a very good memory and remember tons of things but i don't remember the same types of things as him. He says talking to me is like talking to a post or a toilet seat. I told him this morning I thought he was being unreasonable and rude. But he always blames me.....he genuinely seems to think i do lots of things wrong and genuinely seems to think things are all my fault. I wouldn't mind if that was true but it's not! His criticisms seem so unfair and so unwarranted!!! I get positive feedback from everyone else but negative feedback from him. I suppose I wish I could make him see things differently and see me more positively. I don't; understand why he's so negative about me, it just doesn't make any sense to me. I suppose I'll have to accept that's just the way he sees things and I can't do anything to change that. Oh yes, and of course he's Mr Positive, Mr Charming, Mr Supportive and Mr Empathetic with everyone else!!!!, who all tell me how lucky I am to be with him!!!! I think i'll have to leave. It's very sad because in some ways we get on extremely well and in some ways are very well suited and the relationship makes me really happy. But in other ways I hate it and it makes me really unhappy. And it's been like this for over 4 years. I've changed a lot, but he's got worse!!! Very sad but I can't see how we can stay together because yes there are very good times but there are also too many times I feel like his emotional punchbag for no good reason at all!! And when I set boundaries and challenge him he just blames me, that its all my fault!!! He thinks he's perfect.

barbara jean on April 24, 2018:

Used to be in a marriage like this , everytime me and the kid was too happy , he get in a snit. I kind of drank too much for a while to deal with the cheating and nagging criticism. One day I got smart, threw my drink on him and left. Lost my pool and my avocado green couch but got my piece of mind back.

batgirl on April 24, 2018:

I hate coming home from work ( at least they appreciate me there) because of the constant barrage of criticism at home from my husband . I quit cleaning because he redoes it anyway and kvetches about it.

I literally have been hanging out at cafe's , the bookstores and the park so I don't have to hear that I made icecubes the wrong size, put the dog leash on the wrong hook, or parked the car wrong or that I drink to much wine or eat the wrong things. I feel like all I say is leave me the f alone when I am home with him?The only reason I don't leave is I would lose my car which I need for work.

Tryfan on April 18, 2018:

Am stunned that I have stumbled on these comments as I honestly though I was totally alone in this. So many things resonate ...i am shouting "that's me!!" Every few sentences. It's terrible and also such a releif to know am not Alone!!

Qusimodo...i hope you are ok...yours in particular resonated...it was a long time back now.

In my case it's my wife...no one believes me as in company she is utterly charming. At home she is a constant flow of nadt criticism and stinging sarcasm. I work long hours bringing in the lions share and pay all the bills. I do the shopping..i do the cooking ...i help the kids with homework...i tidy. Not out of any control but to avoid criticism if I dont..yet all I get is more criticism. 15 yrs of marriage...no intimate relations for last 3 as she has decided for both of us that this not for her. Sleeps with the teenage children...i sleep alone.

Mentally I am broken. I have tried neutral responses...my work involves conflict management...but she takes it all very very critically and although gives it..can not take even the slightest back. She is in complete denial regards her behaviour so counselling out of the question. Her conversational end game is always divorce....where I lose everything..and I don't want that. Caught between a spiky rock and a red hot hard place. Thanks for listening ...we are not alone. That means so much to me.

sarahkindler on April 07, 2018:

My husband criticizes me constantly. Nothing I do pleases him. Everything is wrong - the way I cook, clean, care for the children, etc. It’s like living in a war zone. After so many years, I’m a nervous wreck. I’ve lost myself. I’m anxiety ridden and depressed, full of shame and sorrow. I used to have such a zest for life, but now I just pray for death - either him or me. It’s a living death anyway. I’m always walking on eggshells, terrified of his angry outbursts: `How come that game is on the floor? Why is the milk is out? Why isn’t dinner ready? It’s your fault that the kid is sick.’ The few times I begged him to stop, he threw anything he could get his hands on at me. What hurts me the most is the way he treats the children, especially the name calling - stupid, crazy, lazy, selfish.... It’s impossible to have a normal conversation. Everything is a fight. I have to beg for every penny. Then he wonders why I’m not more affectionate! He’s a Jekyll-Hyde character - Mr. Charming around outsiders. People always tell me how lucky I am to be married to such a wonderful man. After they leave, the monster returns.


eve on February 19, 2018:

my husband always talks or laugh about me with his friends when we have a family get together to make other people laugh. For example I look like an elephant and come from a elephants family, if i dont wear a bra my boobs are hanging, i always take photographs for no reason etc etc so it's really hurts me. Also he always talks to his female friends online or over the phone and if i text him he gets really annoye with me.

Frances Joan Blanch on February 10, 2018:

Can't even go to the Doctor's by myself so I don't get any help with my problems, my husband also tells the Doctor what is wrong with me, I don't have a say in my own life. Can't go for a drive in the car together he is always pointing out faults in a lawn, garden, fence, house, whatever, as we drive along, no rest from criticism.

April JAP on February 05, 2018:


That isn't good to think and feel that way. First of all, try to look past her unsupportive and critical actions regarding everything you do. And start looking at you. Be grateful for you and all you've accomplished. After all, you really need no one else to let you know that you did good, and how hard you worked to get this far! You already know this because you were there. So the first stamp of approval should always come from you. And being this way does not make you conceited where moderation comes in.

You're looking for approval and support from the one person who should already be giving it to you from the start. You won an award which displays appreciation for years of hard work and achievement with honor. I understand you'd want to hear some reassuring, compassionate, loving words, and feel supported by your wife. For her to show that about this award you were honored with would mean the world to you. But she doesn't see you. Has anyone else showed you the same in front of her regarding this (and maybe other things)? If so, how did you respond to the other person? Maybe she's jealous for some reason. Maybe no one has given her the same appreciation in her life. Maybe she feels bad for not achieving things she's done or wanted to do in her life. And maybe she feels she's living vicariously through you because of it. So out of her hurt, maybe that's a defense mechanism to hide that particular hurt and pain, albeit not in a constructive way (which still does not justify how she makes you feel). Then again, maybe she knows nothing more than to down another for their many achievements. Perhaps she's been taught to be the way she is by someone who also was raised in the same deconstructive manner. And what I mean by TAUGHT is, maybe she too was made to feel the way she's making you feel. And in that way, that's all she knows. If she does, than the aforementioned could be the case.

However, I am only here, as you are. And I cannot say for certain why she is doing all she is toward you. I can only speculate based on what you've provided. How you included that she's this way with everything else you do. I'm just pointing out some things that could be an underlying condition as to why your wife feels the need to behave in such a destructive manner.

You shouldn't feel like literally dying. You will be surprised how many people would miss you. I've heard this so many times from people I care about. And wouldn't you know, their funeral outcome was beyond what they would have imagined. And we don't know where they came from. But was good these people actually showed they cared enough to be there.

I know it hurts. But like I said, feel proud of your accomplishments. Look at you. Don't give up. And just to test out one of the "maybes" I had mentioned, compliment her for any achievements she accomplishes. See her response. If she reacts in a negative way, let it be. Based on her reaction will tell you whether or not she really has been conditioned to be that way. And if you find she has, maybe find a way you two can work together and find a way to reverse that cycle. If it's learned, it can be unlearned. She just has to be made aware of how she's making you feel, and with a calm and constructive approach. Good luck.

fdafda on January 30, 2018:

I just won a major international award after a long, hard career. People from all over the world congratulated me... all except for my wife, who found something wrong with it, like everything else I do.

I'm ready to die. It's a good time. Nobody will miss me.

Mary chiappella on January 23, 2018:

Been married for 39 yrs. My husband ALWAYS critizes my daughter and sometime me too. He thinks he's perfect . Puts my daughter down makes me very upset. She won't talk to him

I go down her apartment take care of her cats do stuff there keeps me away from him. Don't know what else to do anymore

MARIANNE on January 12, 2018:

I have been married almost 8 years we have never been a team. He controls all the money and pays bills online i have no passwords to anything. He has a credit card in his name only. He knows every dime i spend but i dont on him. I walk on eggshells he is on me constantly and barks at me like a dog. Few years ago he took a vacation for about 3 days told me at the last minute because he didnt want me going. Very verbally and mentally abusive

Shalu on January 09, 2018:

I don't know who is wrong or right... But I know I can't b wrong all the time.. My husband just find faults in me n insults me.... Whatever I do he just have to criticize me.. I feel alone.. I was a love marriage but it's worst today

Karen McCabe on October 21, 2017:

So, I have to say, my husband criticizes me all the time. I feel really insulted when he does this. I do not criticize him as I feel it should be live and let live. I obviously don't live up to his standards, but when I say so, he tells me I am an embarrassment to him. I think to myself, why is it that when he's being different than what I want him to be, I just don't say any thing because I feel that each person on earth must be who they are. Why am I criticized then? This is bullshit.

James O on October 01, 2017:

I am a Pastor,

my wife complain about my sentences any time I preach. She will not even allow me return home before she will send a text on all my sentences error. This make me unhappy, as she will not listen to my message but busy looking for error. Sometimes she send this to me right at the service. She is the only one complaining on this. Am not perfect in speaking good English but am above average.

Vintage Tinkerbell on September 20, 2017:


as you can gues by my name I am no spring chicken. What I will say to each and everyone of you is what a good friend said to me 10 years ago. You can only be someone`s doormat if you allow it. Take pride in yourself and others will follow, act as if and you will become". How right she was. I divorced 10 years ago. I had no option. Constantant criticism, no life what-so-ever and lack of confidence as he had removed all of that. I could not speak without stuttering, always walking on eggshells. We finally got divorced after being together for 29 years. My children have a closer relationship with me now they are not teenagers. They value my opinion. My health problems were not perceived but genuine. It took me time to rebuild my life even though I am now disabled due to a faulty immune system. I now have a life. I can make a decission, give an opinion. I have a part time job and I have met someone who listens and values me and helps me if and when I need it. I am not a bad wife, mother or person. I have an identity and I now realise I was not the problem. He was, it is only when you realise you are not the real reason why you are criticised it is about control. Men who feel inadequeate for whatever reason, putting someone down and getting attention from others through laughter or agreement is very difficult when you are the one at the brunt of their jokes or criticism. Remember one thing. You cannot change their mindset, accept what you cannot change and make the best of the here and now. People will only put you down if you let them. Eventually when you are ready and strong enough you will say enough. Things had to get very bad before I decided to walk away. For me it was the best thing I ever did. I moved away to a different part of the Country and started again. I knew I would be in a box if I didn`t. I now have a life and respect from people who know me and from family. I always made excusses for him but one day you run out of excuses. As my son put it "you would do anything Dad asked to keep him happy. If he asked you to paint your face bright green you would do it, but even then it would be the wrong shade". When your 13 year old son can see this, it makes you see things differently.

It broke my heart at the time but I had no future and knew I could not change him I could only change myself and my situation. Now for the first time in my entire life I actually do not need to seek approval or justify myself. I wish I had had the inner strength and courage to make the break earlier. I had to feel I had explored all avenues before I closed the door on this relationship. I have grown enormously since that time. All I can say is nothing ever stays the same and when you feel it is time you will put yourself first. Only you can do this, It took me a long time and I am now a much stronger person because of it. Believe in yourself and your closest friends who will be there to help you. The friends you keep after a break up my not be the ones you expected but you will learn to trust your gut instincts who is genuine or not. You don`t need fair weather friends just genuine people who will encourage and support you. Most of all you will learn to survive and develope the courage to try new things without fear of failure. I am no longer the shadow of a person I was but a successful and respected person in a job I never thought I had the ability or capacity to do. It took me a lot of heartache and little steps to become the person I am now today. x

Tenn on August 27, 2017:

My husband is beyond normal. He has a bad temper and is controlling. Several weeks back I asked him to leave after he arrived home angry and smashed my computer and cell phone. He was sorry after minutes of terrorizing my things and me. He asked I forgive him, which I told him I would, but that we would not be together. He pleaded and I remained firm. Not happy with the outcome he stayed angry and an object at me on his way out. Several days after leaving he bombarded me with all kinds of insulting emails and threatened to divorce. I don't think he is really going through the divorce but.... we remain without communication and I remain very firm on leaving him. As I will not tolerate this crazy behavior on the insults and verbal abuse that follows. Please understand that I treat him with respect, love and kindness each and everyday. He drinks to much and I am fed with that too! He comes to bed on the weekends drunk, after sitting on our coach for hours parked in front of the TV for hours on end. There is lots wrong I feel. He had a bad childhood, and destructive life as a young adult. Fraught with drugs, women and complete chaos. This his first marriage at 49, I realize he is trying to be a good husband, but, there is a lot of eruptions going on inside him. His mother doesn't help. She gets involved in our life and is very opinionated as to what he needs to do, and needs to do in the marriage, and with me.

I am not sure what is going to happen, but abuse and his mother can not be a part of my life with him. He is difficult to start with, let alone add her into the mix.

Jimbo1962 on July 30, 2017:

I want to talk, but I have been cut down so many times, Im afraid too. Its not weakness that disables me, its fear. Yes fear.

Am I a coward?

Yes probably.

But Im still here. That aint easy!

So why am I still trying. Because I think its worth it.

Yet deep down inside, I know in my heart, that its pointless. It takes two to make a marriage work, and in my pathetic fashion, I bow down to your expertise.

Quasimodo on July 29, 2017:

We arrived @ our holiday destination yesterday. things have been bad for quite some time now. My wife has no interest in me what so ever. No love, no words of affection, no praise for anything and I mean anything and no sex for over 3 years.

We have young children and live a hectic life style.

My wife chooses to make things more complicated in our lives and non existent relationship, by adding to our already over prescribed life style, and taking on challenges that puts even more pressure on our children and I. It could be that she needs to prove to herself that she can still do the things that she does or it could be that she wants to prove it to others. Either way! She has my support and understanding, and on no occasion have I ever challenged or denied her anything. Mistake! Why? Because all I get it criticism and spoken to as if I were a child and not a man!

I only have to give an opinion or light suggestion and its as if Im inviting her to pick fault or calling her out to combat. What ever the reason or topick, regardless of experience , knowledge or just about anything, IM ALWAYS WRONG :(

If only she realised what she was doing to me. Correction , done to me.

There isn't a day when I don't think of ending it all, especially when driving down country lanes. It would look like an accident :)

My wife and family would get the insurance, the mortgage would be paid off and hopefully the children wouldn't grow up thinking I resenting me for leaving them.

If only it was so simple, what a get out of jail free card that would be.

Oh yes of course, how about the wife? I honestly don't think she would give a s--t. If she had any compassion or feelings towards me, she wouldn't be so critical or resentful of me. YES, Resentful!

Why don't I. Because I don't won't to leave my children with her, thats why!!! I love them to much, and I look at my suffering as a penance for what ever I may have done in a past or present life.

Do I love my wife........... YES

Do I want it to work........YES

Do I make an effort.........YES

Does she love me............She can't , you don't treat the people you love with contempt.

Is she damaged...............YES she has to be, because if she wasn't that would make her a bully and not a very nice person.

Does she give or show any

signs of feelings towards me..... YES contempt

Remarks about my weight caused me to practically starve myself and as a result I have gone from a 44 waist to a 35. Rather than praise me and give me some of my self esteem back, she said

" See aren't your happy now that I went on at you, don't you feel better".

No well done or motivation speeches, or Im so proud of you or lets have sex. Nothing! She took all the credit. Well you know what, I still want to kill myself. Why? because theres only so much a man can take.

I thought coming away might help, but she's relentless.

Read so many articles on this matter to help me better understand whats going on with her or me or the kids or, just about everything. Nothing seems to work, which can only mean she doesn't want it to. Some people just like to have someone they can off load on. I just happen to be that person along with so many other people, men and woman alike.

Who is it that said you hurt those closest to you? Idiot! Now look what you've done. Put more ideas into her head, given her an excuse.

Wish I had one of those, but Im not sure what i have done to need one. Maybe I should ask the wife, she seems to know everything.

Not afraid of going to Hell anymore, that would be a walk in the park compared to whatever this is. Its only a matter of time now before she decides Im totally useless to her and tells me its over.

I could write and keep on writing but I won't do that to you. Instead i will leave you with this thought.

You are not alone, this is happening to people all over the world , regardless of culture or belief. We are many, yet we stand alone.

Heather Adams (author) from Connecticut, USA on July 21, 2017:

Breaking Free2017 - thanks so much for your comments here and your note. I've found an article that you might find interesting and helpful: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-...

I hope it brings you some comfort and insight!

BreakingFree2017 on June 19, 2017:

Hi Heather! My fiancé keeps criticizing me about my weight, my choices and the way I do things.

He constantly reminds me that I am gaining weight and that I have to exercise. He bugs me and makes derogatory comments when I don’t exercise. I am extremely busy being a working mom working 7 days a week that’s why the only time left for me is for chores and to take care of the family.

Whenever I do something my way and not his way, he will criticize me for it and make me feel that I am wrong. Same thing goes when I choose or like something that he does not like.

He complains that we argue a lot, that is because I don’t let him treat me that way and I always tell him to back off when he is treating me like that. Then he will say I am just making excuses and he is just helping me. I told him that I am a grown woman and that there is nothing wrong with who I am, what I like and how I do things. Then he gets irritated saying that I am always blaming him and making him look like he’s always wrong. I explained to him several times that it’s not my intention, I just need to let him know how I feel with the way he treats me and as a couple, we have to be open and honest about that. But he never understood it. He still gets mad whenever I stand up for myself and I told him that ain’t gonna stop me because being criticized all the time is already degrading as it is and I am not letting myself drown in insecurity just to save a relationship. I am a mother and I need to keep my strength and confidence because my daughter needs me and she depends on me physically and emotionally.

I do my responsibilities, I take care of him and my daughter, always making sure that they eat right and got everything they need. I work 7 days a week to make sure all bills are taken care of (he pays the rent and I pay all the bills). So I don’t see any reason why he should treat me that way. I don’t want to be the one wearing the pants in the relationship, I prefer treating and seeing each other as equal and with respect for each other’s individuality.

I would greatly appreciate your advice. Thank you.

Evoeh65 on May 24, 2017:

Serenity. Courage and Wisdom are what I practice every day. I am criticized daily by my wife.

I am an ex felon and recovering addict (18 yrs). My wife was in a terrible relationship before I met her. Verbal and emotional abuse were things that she experienced on a daily basis.

I do my best not to personalize her remarks towards me. She is 12 years younger than me and we grew up in different times.

My parents were loving but strict. Hers were argumentative and alcoholic. We have a beautiful daughter together as well as a 17 yr old son and my 28 yr old son I found out about 6 years ago.

Marriage is difficult but doable if both parties are giving 100 percent. It will not work if it is only 50/50.

Thank you for sharing your experience with me. It helps

Confy on May 13, 2017:

I never had imagined that one day i would go through this situation na dwould like to express my emotions here.

I am a very simple girl who rarely critisises anybody. Even the worst act by anybody , i just do one thing, encourage and tell the true in very soft manner.

But I got a husband who is just opposite , he knows only to ccritise me all the times. I have and am still trying to make my life stble. But the most important person in my life is only creating the stress in my life. He does not look into what he does day and night. But has a deep eye on what i do. Just does not leave any occasion to comment on my work, my ideas, my thoughts, my daily activity.

It all starts and ends in the tpoic "Why my wife wkes up late" .

Actually i get up 7 to 7:30. and keep working until night 12 or 12 :30 .

But once i get up i am on my way doing all my duties. What my husband does is "Just commenting things like ....oh you are so slow , thing are not getting done on time.. You are this You are that" .

This is something I lsiten everyday from him.

I know this is a challenge for me , but I am taking this positively. I would make my life stable and peaceful.

Beaten but still ticking on May 03, 2017:

I was brought up in a household with an emotionally abusive mother and then married another emotionally abusive person. They passed away and now I'm remarried to an overly critical individual. When we argue, it's like arguing with a 2 year old and it's like a vicious circle. They become hyper critical, sarcastic, and condescending. They were't like this for the first 3 years of the relationship but over the last 2 years, they've started becoming more critical. Especially, after my 2 children have become highly successful and worthy of brag rights. The other two, not so much. One of them is doing well for themselves but not on the same level as my two. I never compare any of the kids, but I'm not allowed to comment on the two step children but my spouse is hyper critical of my kids. Again, I'm not allowed to have a comment about the other two.

As far as the part of our lives without children, it seems I'm under a microscope much of the time and even if I accidentally hit a curb with the car, there's a negative comment. Whereas before, they were loving, attentive, and supportive. They are still supportive in most ways, but overly critical in others. It's become so pervasive, I've started seeking therapy.

I was seeing a psychiatrist for ADD and she met with both of us. She commented several times about her jealousy of me and my successful children. Any advice?

Frank on April 11, 2017:

So basically, if you're getting nagged, suck it up, you really are to blame. And don't try to fix the criticizer or make them take responsibility.

Heather Adams (author) from Connecticut, USA on January 23, 2017:

Sticking this out,

I'm so glad to hear you say you have the self-esteem to set healthy boundaries. And it sounds like you are trying to be clear and firm in the way you communicate them. Now, make sure to build a good support system for yourself to get the encouragement you need as you go forward. I wish you all the best!

sticking this out on January 23, 2017:

I have been married for 30 years and finally have the self-esteem and where-with-all to not be passive any more. Yesterday I had 3 put-downs in an hour and called him on each one. He really does it so much he has no idea he's doing it. I realized after reading numerous journal entries that my anger and resentment was palpable and I needed to be healthy for me! Therefore, no more pass card. I am sick and tired of being criticized about anything and everything he happens to feel like criticizing. Amen!

Heather Adams (author) from Connecticut, USA on September 18, 2016:

Hello, Ace Tracker, thanks for sharing what I'm sure is a difficult situation.

The good news is that you are aware that this is a habit of hers, maybe even as you say "handed down" from her own family. It's good in the sense that you don't feel responsible for her words or observations - she is choosing to have this kind of attitude.

I think one of the most important things for you is not to join in with her, even just to keep the peace. And that can be hard to resist, I'm sure.

I've heard of people in your place making the decision to respond to negative comments with a positive ones. It can be hard at times, especially if the other person doesn't seem to notice. But if you can stay positive, you'll give your kids a great example of love in action. And who knows - your wife may start to wonder what you're up to. That might lead to a conversation between you where you can honestly share your concerns.

Take care of yourself and stay focused on the good things as much as possible. I wish you all the best!

Ace Tracker on September 18, 2016:

I have lived with a major criticizer for 22 years! (Help)

I'm sure I'm not the only one that lives with a criticizer that can't control herself.

I love my wife and I've overlooked it far to long, now I really need help in dealing with this issue.

From TV shows, movies, the news, people at the park, at the ball field etc etc, I'm sure you get my point.

Theirs not a day or pretty much a hour that passes that my wife doesn't have some criticizing remark about something. I can't watch the news with her because the way the reporters are reporting causes a drama from hell.

Today we were watching a kids show on Netflix, The Good Dinosaurs and the dinosaurs had built a silo out of rock to put the corn in, then they go to pick the corn and here it comes, I don't understand why they can build all these things but they can't build something to haul the corn in.

Wait a minute, this is a kid show and you have to criticize that. I didn't say a word???

Listen, she has a criticizing comment with most everything that is said, show, written, sung, typed, drawn, produced etc. This women is perfect in her own mine and truly believes that 99% of the time she is totally correct.

She did grow up in a rather pronounced critical family, her grandfather was always right, her mom would criticize most everything, however she held her tongue around me after a year or 2. Here sister running on the same track so it runs in the family.

She will dog me out to our children just to make herself look better or feel better or something. However she is in total denial of such a thing and would never do that. My older children can clearly see this issue and we have discussed, but its very uncomfortable for them and myself. Help!

Heather63 on July 16, 2016:

Hello, ValKaras. I appreciate you sharing your viewpoint on this issue.

Val Karas from Canada on July 15, 2016:

I don't have a personal experience with being criticized by my wife (in 51 years of marriage), but if I had, I am always for a VERY direct approach, no beating around the bush. I would make it VERY clear that I am no one's pushover, and I won't tolerate that kind of treatment. If she ever blackmailed me with a divorce, I would pack up right on the spot and disappear. To me marriage is not a place for disrespect. If I am not respected by the person that is sharing my life, I am not interested in her or him. LOVE IS A TWO-WAY STREET - period.

By my book, there is absolutely nothing to "discuss", because love is not open for discussion - it either exists or it doesn't. To me it would be a pleasure to teach such a spouse a lesson. No arguments, no begging, no tears, no tactics - just a simple cold announcement that I won't tolerate such treatment. It's a simple matter of self-respect, and I don't owe anybody an explanation "why I prefer to be respected by others as well".

If they don't get it - tough luck. I simply couldn't keep loving a person who keeps lowering me down all the time, while he/she is supposed to love me. I never heard of this version of "love".

Well, that's me. I don't play games with people, I like them to know where I stand. And I mean "stand" on my both feet and look them in the eye.

Heather Adams (author) from Connecticut, USA on January 11, 2016:

Hi sghost - thanks for writing. Do you have anyone you can confide in? It sounds like you're really needing support at this point, and it's totally understandable. As I wrote, getting counseling, ideally for both of you together, is a great step toward healing and change for the bettr. Would you be willing to give that a try? Would your wife?

sghost on January 10, 2016:

My wife (she is 9 years older to me) sees nothing good in me. She is like always finding fault, never giving me the space i need to breath easy. i dont know what to do...i never seem to make her happy at all. When we do have sex its good and she says that she has enjoyed it but its so complex that she never makes the first move. She is also paranoid, always feeling insecure. I feel like hanging myself. Any help please?

Heather Adams (author) from Connecticut, USA on March 06, 2015:

Hi, PSW - thanks so much for sharing. My first response to you is yes, your wife is being critical. It would be easier in some ways if you could just ignore her. But that won't help either of you or your marriage in the long run.

I guess the question I would ask is "why is she like that?". She may mistakenly think she's helping you by giving you pointers. If you haven't yet, you could certainly tell her that isn't helpful at all and why. That might open up a helpful conversation about how you both could communicate in a healthier way. If she can't or won't have that talk, at least you've tried.

From what you've said, it also sounds like she's a little on the negative side in regular conversation - do you think that's just part of her personality? Or could there be something going on (not about you, at least directly) that's keeping her frustrated?

I used to be quite negative myself, and wrongly aimed it at my husband. It took some honest self-reflection on my part to realize why I was like that. And I had to admit that I was responsible for the thoughts and beliefs that were upsetting me so much. That was the start of better things.

I understand your frustration with the way things are. It's tiring and discouraging to live that way. But it's possible that with some gentle prodding and good listening on your part, the care you show will invite her to let down and open up to you. And that can lead to a deeper, stronger bond. I encourage you not to give up yet!

PSW on March 05, 2015:

This is what I hear from my wife. A LOT. Sometimes every day!

"You're a good provider....but"

"You don't know how to paint cut lines"

"You don't know how to mud(spackle)"

"Your driving skills......"

"You take too long"

"Your cooking....."

"The way you clean....."

Those are things off the top I can quickly think of.

My question is, is this criticism, nagging or do I just need to block it all out? Because this is all the time! And it's a lot of "no" and "ehhh" with shoulder shrugs. I also cannot think of a conversation that I have with my wife where I DON'T hear "yea, but" or "well"

I cannot even explain my job in plain simple logic that she can understand and she STILL talks like she has all the answers! I just want to blow my brains out! Seriously. Because I used to be a real laid back guy.

Anyone here have any advice, comments, criticisms?(I hear enough of those)

Heather63 on December 11, 2014:

Hi Sam. It sounds like you are facing a big challenge - how to live with someone you've vowed to love who doesn't show that to you or, it sounds like, to anyone. I'm really sorry to hear about your struggle. Remember how important it is to take care of yourself - especially having family and friends around you who can offer support and encouragement. And know that you, as well as your opinions and views, are worthy of respect. I am wishing all the best for you.

Sam on December 11, 2014:

My wife is born to find fault in others, especially in me, bring back old events which she has consented to do, like loaning money to our friend.

When the friend can't pay back as promised, she will torment me every day 'why did you give him the loan"? She will never say sorry in life, but torment others. I taught her to drive and whenever she is driving, I never tell her, how to drive. But, whenever I am driving with her, she will question me constantly 'why you follow that car, why you are slow, did you check the side etc etc. It is nothing but hell to travel or stay with anybody who is finding nothing good, but only fault.

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