How to deal with a partner that is a bully


Bullying is repeatedly hurting or harming someone intentionally. Almost always, bullying is addressed in relation to teenagers, children, and the school environment. But the truth is that bullying can occur in any age group and any setting, in school, places of work, and in the home. It even happens in intimate relationships and so we will be looking at how to deal with a partner that is a bully.

You can read more about the 5 common types of bullying here. Note that for a habit to pass as bullying, it must be two things; intentional and repetitive. You might also want to know the signs that your partner is a bully, so be sure to check out 11 signs that your partner is a bully here.

The truth about bullies

We imagine a bully to be big, tall, masculine, or fearful. But bullies can also be small, fragile, short, and powerless. The bottom line is, the individual is abusive regardless of his/her size, shape, sex, or status. Below are some facts about bullies;

  • Most bullies have a history of being bullied, a traumatic background of abuse, or a toxic home environment, or in which a parent was a victim of bullying.
  • Some bullies have low-self esteem, inferiority complex, and the loser syndrome. Hurting or manipulating you is the only way that they feel some form of importance and self-worth.
  • They usually want to have some form of control over you and your emotions.
  • He/she may play innocent and will blame you for all their problems.
  • Bullies may never consider themselves at fault or in the wrong.
  • Always turn the tables such that the situation favours them even when your complaint is valid.
  • They are difficult and almost impossible to negotiate with.
  • The bully is nothing without you. He/she is like a parasite and you are the host cardinal to its survival.

How to deal with a partner that is a bully

You don’t want to wake up one-day several years from now and realize that you had been living under the shadow of your spouse. It will hurt you to realize that you had been living your life on his/her terms. And there is so much that you missed out on while trying to please your partner or to preserve the relationship. To deal with the bully, try the following;

  • Talk to your partner about how you feel
  • Go for counselling: If you are sure that your partner loves you and he/she is willing to change, have a professional counsellor help you point out the factors that make your partner a bully. This will be less stressful as compared to you talking at home.
  • Set boundaries: Clearly state to your partner what you will and will not tolerate. And this includes no tolerance for disrespectful words or behaviour.
  • Groom your confidence: Bullies do well when they succeed in putting you down. So by grooming your self-esteem and confidence, you stripe him/her of their power. They will realize they no longer have control over you or how you feel.
  • Practice saying no; You may be afraid or unsure at the beginning but try saying no to anything that your partner forces you to do that you don’t want to do.
  • Stand your ground; Don’t accept being controlled by a partner that thinks he/she is always right. It’s ok if you occasionally make mistakes, don’t we all?
  • If the situation becomes a threat to your mental health, children, or your life, it’s safer to walk away.
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