The dark side to being macho 

Juanita Sanchez - "Problem"


My spouse is a real macho kind of guy. I found it attractive when we first met, because he stood up for himself. I did not realize that the very thing that I was attracted to has a dark side. He has an opinion about everything and declares his is the best opinion. I think I could tolerate it if it was just me, but it extends to our children. What can I say but the fact is, that he is a big bully who throws a fit if he does not get his way. Our children are growing up and the truth is that they have opinions, and he belittles them if their opinion does not match his.  

I find my oldest son is following along in his footsteps, and I am afraid that he will run into a lot of trouble with his sometimes radical ideas. He will bluster through and, much like his dad, he tries to take over. He is the oldest and we have two girls who are afraid of their father and their brother. Maybe intimidated is more like it. 

I have tried talking to him, but true to form he rarely listens or takes it to heart. I’m a pretty easy-going person so I think I have tolerated his behavior. The problem is that I’m done tolerating because of our family. What do I do now? I love him, but I don’t much like his behavior. In fact, sometimes I don’t like him. 


You can read a lot online about good communication, but if there is no one willing to carry out the plan of changing communication nothing will change. It sounds like you are not happy, but I’m not sure how unhappy. Your husband’s bullying behavior would make me wonder if you are thinking of divorce or separation. I don’t see an answer to your dilemma except for you to have the serious talk about where you go from here.  

Where do you see yourself and your family a few years down the road? Your husband sounds pretty egocentric and kind of like a bully. I would suggest that you let him know how unhappy you are with his behavior and that you will be seeking counseling for yourself and hopefully him.  

This is one of those times you must take a stand for you and your family. People usually adopt the style of one of their parents. You did not mention any family history, but I can guess he learned the behavior from somewhere. One of the problems within your family is that your son seems to want to carry on the tradition. Talk to someone for your sake, and hopefully he goes along. But you are looking at communication issues that impact family and marital relationships as well. If he refuses to go—go for yourself.  

To submit problems, contact Juanita Sanchez, psychotherapist, by email at [email protected] or through High Plains Journal