Ask Abbie 7/28/13

Published 3:16 pm Monday, July 29, 2013


I am tired of my husband talking down to me. He blames me for everything and doesn’t seem to care how I feel. I stay at home with the kids while he works. We hardly talk to each other unless it involves him telling me I’m not doing something right. It’s been like this for about three years and we haven’t had intimate relations for about a year. He wants to but the way he degrades me makes me feel disgusted to even think about it. Do you think my husband really wants me to feel bad? Do you think I am wrong for not being intimate with him?


What do you get when you combine the stereotypical characteristics of Hitler with those of Fred Flintstone? A narcissistic caveman. Based upon your account, and without having heard the other side, your husband’s attitude and actions reflect such an image.

The caveman element of your husband’s character expects you to clean the cave, take care of the children, cook and provide him with intimacy. The caveman controls “his woman” and gets her to do things by knocking her down and dragging her where he wants her.

The narcissist, like the caveman, has a need to control and will fulfill it by knocking down and dragging “his woman” where he wants and needs her. He, however, pulls her there by her emotions, not by her hair. He convinces her she deserves this treatment and because everything bad that happens is her fault, she is too wretched to receive anything good. She feels it is her duty and honor to obey his orders as a way to thank him for staying with someone as awful as she. The narcissist has a total lack of empathy for others, a need to be in control to feel confident and secure, an excessive sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with himself. His convoluted thinking is the result of an underlying personality disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

As long as your husband can make you feel insecure, beaten down and undeserving of anything good, you will continue to do all the things you do. If he were to compliment you, he fears you may start to realize the immense amount of self-value you actually have, apart from the duties of wife and mother, and become unwilling to do all you do. If you stop doing what he wants, he will feel out of control. This is not acceptable to him especially in the atmosphere of his own cave. He feels unable to control the rest of the world. His cave can and will be under his control as long as he keeps his mate where he wants her.

Do you feel like you are destroying yourself because you always put more importance on the relationship with your husband than on yourself? How much are you giving up to stay in your relationship? If you feel like you are becoming destroyed from the inside out and are sacrificing all you have to stay in your relationship, you have likely lost your sense of self-identity and must take action before your well-being suffers any further.

The loss of self-identity, otherwise known as co-dependency on another, is a condition to be managed, not one to be resolved. Seek counseling to help you turn your attention away from your husband and to what is best for you and your children. Attend a support group to be around others who will listen to and identify with you.

Manage the relationship with your husband by accepting the fact that only the most desperate of circumstances, such as an ultimatum to either change his ways or lose his job or family, stand the best chance to elicit a change within him. You cannot change but you certainly can control your thinking about and reactions toward him. Don’t expect your husband to change. It is impossible to convince a person who thinks he is always right that he is wrong. Remember your husband is not the problem; his problem is the problem. Listen to your heart. Be willing to leave when you hear it say, “Go now. It’s best for you and your kids.” Expect nothing and you will receive everything.

Wilma Flintstone refused to let her caveman husband Fred drag her. She rebelled by tying up her hair in a tight bun. Eva Hitler refused to let her narcissistic husband Adolph drag her. She rebelled by smoking and sunbathing in the nude. You must also refuse to let your husband drag you. Rebel by implementing a healthy strategy to move you in the direction of your full potential and ultimate purpose.

Abbie Long is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to