How can I help my husband and make him understand his behaviors are unacceptable and wrong because he is very defensive and protective..

q-100Dear Dr. Rhoberta,
Thank you very much for reply, cant tell you how much that made me happy!
I checked “high conflict check list” and found out all twelve items are him! That’s sad but I need to deal with reality!

Yes! you are very right our cultural background have very poor impact in current situation. we both are Iranian, he is very traditional style man who feels superior and boss over woman that gives him the mentality to act like that! In his mind he does not need to change his behavior as he is always right, so what I need to do is just to be perfect for him and have no complaints otherwise things get worse and he behaves even worse so I need to live happily, peacefully and quietly. Of course he does not verbally communicate those but his non verbal communication completely shows that!

I feel fear now in my relationship that in any moment he comes home and say “I have enough of you and do not want to live with you any more, then get our kids away from me! As I am a full time mother and do not work so have always this fear that if one day that happens, first how can I survive as I don’t work ,second if I cant get my children with me, that is end of me!

The new things he started now is saying what you telling to kids behind my back? As you said I need to educate my 6 years old how to behave correctly I always tell her that you need to be honest, admit your mistake, then to say sorry, then ask for forgiveness, then ask how to make it up and so on. or I tell her it is wrong to have sense of entitlement, to talk back rudely or show attitude when someone educating you, or you need to learn right or wrong then you can differentiate which way you need to be and follow. therefore when Emily our eldest girl is with him, she says that what mummy teaches me, then he thinks I am turning her against him! I really stuck here! Feel so bad about our children and their normal growth of their behavior! Don’t know how to teach them the right behavior as their father is bad example in front of their eyes! so they feel how come, our Mum teaching us what ever our Dad doing is wrong, then they are going to be confused! I appreciate if you give me more advise over this because right now my only concern is this! I don’t want them to grow up confused with feeling of resentment of why their Dad behaving like this and I cant give them the right answer because even if they ask that and I say anything, there is a time they confront that to him and he will get back to me that I was the one turn kids against him! Please help me how can I teach our children to learn normal behavior and not copy their dad’s acts!

How can I help my husband and make him understand his behaviors are unacceptable and wrong because he is very defensive and protective, he is very expert of turning questions toward me if he feels he is going to end up guilty!

I really wish could talk to you somehow but at the moment in this situation is impossible!

I cant tell you how much I appreciate your help and support.

You are giving a big service to humanity, god bless you!

Looking so forward to hearing from you,

Kind Regards,



a-100Dear Nas,

I understand the difficulty of your situation.

Before I answer your questions, could you tell me if you have any allies in your family, people who see your husband’s behaviors and know what you are experiencing? And, do they recognize that you need help? Do they recognize his tyrannical, aggressive behavior? I am somewhat familiar with your culture and I am aware that what you are experiencing is common in traditional families. It would help me to know more about your family constellation, and their attitudes within the family.

Now, to your questions:

  • You are saying the right things to your children about collaborative,respectful and healthy ways to behave in life. When you couple your words about this with your actions, you have a powerful way of teaching the children. What is most important in teaching them, is what you actually do. Children often fail to do what we say but they seldom fail to do what we do.
  • When your children talk to their father about the ways you have taught them, they are helping to open his eyes to other ways of being. Even though it comes back to you as turning the children against him, he would not feel that way if he did not recognize that what the children are saying is actually right.
  • I recognize the tenuous situation of possibly being rejected by your husband and having the children taken and you having to fend for yourself. You walk a very fine line, and you want what is best for your children. You are entitled to your values, though. So, when you talk with the children and teach them healthy ways of being, you can also let them know that there are other people who choose different ideas and ways of being. They need to learn that there are variances and the only thing that they are responsible for is choosing how they behave, regardless of what other’s think or do. That’s your gift to them.
  • For your own sanity and healthy sense of self, I think you are wise in knowing what your husband’s triggers are, and avoiding them. There is a concern with this, Nas, as when he continues to find fault with you and you do not defend yourself, it is likely that he will find more and more ways to make you wrong. Do you agree that there is a danger in that?

I’ll watch for your response in a new question area.

I wish you well.

Dr. Shaler

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January 31, 2015   84    Spouse/Partner  
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