I was talking to a young wife recently and she shared a tearful story.
She was sobbing as she told me about her husband and his lack of attention to her emotional needs.
The young woman explained to me that she was married to a guy who constantly made her sob.
She explained that things have deteriorated to a point where her tears would practically flow at the sight of him. That is how bad it had gotten.
The marriage had been reduced to a relationship that brought her more sadness than joy.
She explained what hurt her the most was the nonchalant attitude he exhibited after her crying spells.
She described a husband who just didn’t give a damn about how much she was hurting. She described him a aloof, uncaring, and cold.
But it wasn’t always that way, she offered. But the marriage routines had shifted and she was finding herself far to often being victimized by her husband.
What do you do if you have a husband that makes you feel like sobbing and acts like he doesn’t care about the pain you are feeling?
Are you married and miserable?
Let’s listen to my client’s story for a minute and then I will get into some ways you can learn to not just better cope with being married to someone who is mean and inconsiderate, but also learn how to teach him to change his behavior.
“Chris, I am desperate for your help. My husband doesn’t care at all about my feelings. He gets angry about things and then takes it out on me. This time it was some stupid work problem my husband was experiencing. I want him to be happy and so I reach out and try to support him, but he he throws a fit and then takes it out on me. I find myself sobbing. I feel so inadequate as I am unable to help him or myself. It happens over and over again. Why does my husband act so mean to me? He gets so ugly and starts telling me about his problems and when I don’t understand or ask questions to get clarification he turns his wrath on me. Then I start crying, feeling that now I have made things worse. But I know it’s not me, its him. He shouldn’t treat me this way. He shouldn’t blame me for things I am not responsible for. When it’s all over and I am in tears, he acts like he doesn’t care about my feelings or what he just did to me. He just walks off in a huff and puff and cares little about how he drew me into all his ugliness. I try to be a good wife and all I get in the end is blame when I am trying to help. I am tired of hiding away so I can cry it all out. I am tired of living with such a cold hearted husband. What can I do?”
Certainly, if you are married to a guy that intentionally does and says things to make you cry and feel bad, that is a huge problem.
On one hand, Karen was trying to do the right thing by offering support to her husband when she saw he was upset about a work problem.
I am all in favor of supporting your spouse.
It is crucial in a marriage that the husband and wife take up for each other and help each other during tough and trying times.
But when you seek to give emotional support to your husband and he turns on you and directs his anger at you, making you the target of his wrath….that is a huge problem.
It is painful when you reach out to your husband who is wounded and he turns on you.
The sense of betrayal you may feel and the actual lack of consideration you receive for your efforts to console and support him only leads to a chasm in the marriage.
And when this cycle occurs over and over again, a certain sense of dread can form.
Clearly, something is terribly wrong if the sight of your husband makes you fearful he is going to unleash on you and cause you to cry.
So why would your husband behave in such away?
Why would you man bring you to the point of sobbing.
Is there something about some men that makes them particularly insensitive to those who reach out to them to help?
And what about the other occasions in which a husband can cause their wife to cry and then act like they don’t care?
Here is client whose husband not only made her cry, but then turned on her when she began to weep, blaming her for making him feel worse.
My husband is always inconsiderate about my feelings. He puts his own needs before me all of the time and I am sick of living this way. It hurt so much when he turns on me and starts blaming me for his troubles. He doesn’t really care about me and when I cry he gets irate and tells me I am the cause of all that is wrong in our marriage. How can my husband been so cruel and hateful? He makes my cry more when he acts this way. I am afraid he hates me and deep inside doesn’t care about making things better. He seems to take some perverse joy in beating me down. Doesn’t he realize I am hurting inside and my tears are real? I despair being around him now. I feel trapped and fear I will always be stuck with a heartless husband. I am afraid I have married a monster. What a terrible mistake I made in marrying this man. What do you do Chris when your husband makes fun of you for crying and acts like he is disgusted? The man is heartless and I have had enough. He has shown me his true colors. Any guy who teases you when you feel you must cry is wicked.”
Is Your Man Husband Material?
As I tell all my clients, a guy who picks on you because you were honest with your own feelings and showed some vulnerability is not husband material.
That sounds all fine, right?
But what if you are one of those saying, “Chris I am already married. Give my some helpful advice on how to deal with my husband”?
My clients tell me…
“My husband does offer comfort to me when I am upset”
“My marriage is full of tears. All mine. I regret I married such an uncaring man. If I cry in his presence, I better get ready to cry all day long.”
“I am married to a man who makes me cry everyday and I don’t know where to turn”.
And it’s not just a husband problem is it?
If you are not married but have a relationship with a guy, your boyfriend may not get it either. When you shed tears because you are sad, he may fail to comfort you as he should.
You boyfriend (or husband) may have a huge problem with dealing with real emotions. He may not show you the empathy you so much deserve to receive.
I hear often, “my boyfriend doesn’t care if I’m upset“. Or “my boyfriend (or husband) yells at me when I cry”.
Is it possible you are with a guy who is incapable of showing that he cares?
God forbid, did you possible marry the wrong man?
Could you have fallen into a marriage with a man who is wired to think of himself first.
It can be disillusioning if you come to believe that your husband is persistently selfish.
“I married a narcissist and I hate spending my life with him” is another way a woman put it to me.
What Do You Do If Your Husband Acts This Way?
First of all, not all husbands who react poorly to your tears is a narcissist or selfish.
My first piece of advice is not to feel like you can’t cry if the emotions inside you swell up.
I do understand that your husband may feel uncomfortable when he sees you cry.
Some husbands and boyfriends often do not know how to process your show of tears and emotion. They might think your tears is an expression of weakness.
As a result, they may actively discourage it by saying some really stupid things like, “buck up honey” or “don’t be such a cry baby” or “your tears won’t make any difference”.
Your husband may think if he acts cool and detached and ignore your tears, they will just go away and you will learn not to cry.
Some men (and that may include your husband) are rather stupid when it comes to understanding the value of tears and the meaning of why a woman may choose to cry.
They may have little appreciation of how empowering and therapeutic crying can be for you.
So if tears come, find a way to express them fully, even if it means you must go somewhere in private where you can shed your sorrow or pain. As you know, you will always feel better.
That doesn’t mean all your problems will be solved and nor does it mean that your husband will behave in a better fashion.
But if you feel the need to cry, then please let it out and remind yourself that your emotional instincts to cry is far more healthy and advanced than whatever crude and ugly behavior your husband may be exhibiting.
Your Husband Has Little Understanding of Why Women Cry
Men don’t understand tears can have an assortment of meanings.
There are tears of sadness, pain, joy, relief, and gratitude.
When these tears flow and you are accused of a crying fit or being a cry baby, remember that in actuality you are expressing yourself in a very advanced, healthy way.
Your husband probably also doesn’t understand the damage he can do by trying to stop you from crying.
He might as well stop you from breathing because that is how normal and natural weeping truly is.
It is a cruel act for any husband to act like he doesn’t care about you if you are crying.
He doesn’t understand that your tears are an opportunity for him to walk into your soul and offer comfort.
Your husbands may not understand the tremendous investment he can make to the marriage when he takes you into his arms and attempts to sooth and assure you that everything will be OK.
I have had some women tell me that when their husband held them close when they were crying and make them feel safe and understood, it later made them feel much more connected on both an emotional and physical level.
Some of these women reported having some of the best sex they have had when they felt loved and appreciated after crying.
Teach Your Husband About The Value of Tears
A wise husband understands the importance of tears and has learned to set aside whatever hang-ups he might have on the subject.
Unfortunately, many men are far from wise when it comes to understanding the therapeutic value of tears.
They have to be taught.
Assume that your husband’s notions about crying is retarded.
I don’t mean to say that as an insult. Rather, I am underscoring that the guy you are married to probably has operated under some very basic (erroneous) rules about crying.
These rules may have come about through years of socialization. They may have been partly formed through things he has read or watched or observed in his own family’s upbringing.
However your husband formed his belief system around the role crying has in our human experience, it would be fair to say that as guy he is conditioned to think a certain way.
A husband’s ignorance could arise from archaic notions like:
- Real men don’t cry. Only women do. That is why men are strong and women are weak.
- As a husband I can’t give in to crying and if my wife starts crying, I will tell her to stop and tough it out.
- My wife cries to get her way and manipulate me. So I am going to put my wife in her place and let her know that I don’t appreciate her acting like a child.
- My wife’s crying makes me uncomfortable and sometimes reminds me that my own tears are right under the surface, so I have to get her to stop.
- I am tired of listening to my wife sob so I am going to remind her of that every chance I get.
Now I am sure there are some men out there who are a lot more sophisticated when it comes to their level of understanding of how to handle their wife when she gives in to tears.
By the way, did you notice that?
Even our language has certain inherent biases around the notion of crying.
Sometimes the phrases we use assume a woman crying is a “bad” thing or has negative connotations.
“My wife gives in to her tears far to often”
“My wife is a “cry baby“.
“My girlfriend has these crocodile tears all the time”
“Big Girls Don’t Cry”
“My husband made my cry my eyes out”
“My boyfriend always accuses me of “Crying Foul”
“My marriage is falling apart and we are a far cry from ever making it better”
So in a large way, society conspires against the act of crying. It works against the notion that by and large, shedding tears is a good and healthy way of purging the negative.
While I am not naive, I do believe that it well worth your effort to sit down with your husband (at the right time) and explain what crying means to you and how it is important for you to be able to express your emotions freely without fear of retribution.
You should explain this to your husband in a calm, sober way so that he understands you are deadly serious.
He should also understand that going forward you do not want to have to feel ashamed of being honest about displaying your emotions.
That Sounds Fine, But What If My Husband’s Actions Make Me Cry
So if you find yourself weeping because your husband is acting like an ogre and treats you poorly, then it’s a different problem all together.
It won’t do you much good to have a nice talk with your husband about being more sensitive to your tears. You could certainly give it a try, but if your husband’s actions and behavior is the cause of most of your tears, another approach is needed.
If you married an inconsiderate, mean guy who is full of hate and he brings you to cry over and over again, then just perhaps the solutions are in your tears.
“What?”, you may ask.
“What the hell does that mean?” you probably think.
Actually, it is not too hard to understand.
There is often a simplicity in solving huge personal problems.
Think of each individual tear your husband triggers with hateful words or actions as a message.
Let every tear represent a reminder of a husband gone bad.
And think of each time your husband makes you cry as an event.
Let every crying event represent a withdrawal from your emotional trust bank.
If you take into account all of the negative messages and crying episodes your husband or boyfriend has helped bring about, a certain map of the relationship should form.
A certain pattern of abuse should emerge. It is either a clear and widespread problem, meaning the marriage is way off its track. Or it could be the beginning of a relationship going sour.
Often we are so close to a problem, we cannot see the entirety of it.
It’s sorta like the old saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees”.
This too could be a problem you are experiencing in your marriage.
If you have many, many episodes in which you find yourself weeping, your tears are probably telling you something.
As you shed your sorrows, your tears may be telling you that the marriage is not working and it is time for an intervention.
It may be time for you to ask your husband to leave.
Him leaving could be the first step in a trial separation.
Don’t get hung up on the word (trial separation).
Essentially, you would be telling him that you cannot continue living this way and you want him to leave for an indefinite period of time.
Sometimes when a husband understands their wife is taking such a meaningful step, it serves as a wake up call.
It gives you a chance to begin some healing and can also serve as a catalyst to make your husband realize you are no pushover and you will no longer tolerate harsh treatment in the form of emotional abuse.
Taking such an action also shifts the balance of power.
A husband who is mean to his wife and tries to bully her around to the point of causing tears thinks he has control.
He believes he has all the personal power.
You see, every marriage has power.
The idea is that the husband and wife should have an equal say in things and respect each other and share in the personal power.
Once the power balance of a marriage gets of kilter, things can go wrong and abuses can occur.
So telling your husband you can no longer tolerate his abusive behavior and want him out so he can start thinking about his role as husband, can help start bringing the relationship power back in balance.
Or it may be time for you to leave if that approach works better for your situation.
Or it could be time for you to insist that the two of you seek counseling if the marriage is to continue forward.
So there are multiple options.
But the point is that if you find yourself immersed in sadness and tears and have lost count of the number of times your husband has made you cried, something significant needs to happen to change this dynamic.
I encourage you to read many of my other posts that deal with this topic for more answers and always remember that you do not need to be trapped in sadness.
Take steps to put yourself first and sometimes that means you need to put distance between you and your husband.