“A bullying spouse puts down their partner in order to feel better about themselves.”
~Janvrin & Selleck.
This quote is self-explanatory and is personally relevant to every person in a spousal-type relationship, for bullying is not a label so much as a behaviour we get into when we’re ruled by fear.
So many resist the term “bully” as it’s stigmatised.
Yet a bully is characterised not by the personality trait of bullying but by the behaviour of bullying.
For the person who’s partaking in the bullying behaviour and making life hell for their partner, there must be a way to identify the source of fear and strive past it, feeling hopeful and “safe” again—perhaps even for the first time. (This is one reason why God is great.) Fear and aggression are intrinsically linked; as is often with them (though not always), symptoms of depression.
This spouse, if they’re not normally characterised by this behaviour, may just need to be gently but firmly reminded that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
For the person who’s on the receiving end of the bullying, perhaps it’s time to do some thinking. Is your partner characterised by bullying behaviour? Do they bully others too or just you? Is it only certain times or periods that they bully? One thing for certain, they must be engaged in an adult “boundary” conversation when they’ve cooled off. Try not to delay this.
Staying “adult,” strong and emotion-free is critical. Obviously relationship counselling is advised. The problem needs to be addressed.
Finally, to the person who’s doing the bullying—and we’ve all bullied people, without exception—find the source of your unhappiness and lack of self-worth. It will be entirely worth the search, personally and interpersonally. Safety and peace will be yours (and theirs).
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
 Recalling adult behaviour is rational, responsible, reasonable, reliable, realistic and logical. In other words, it’s emotion-free.