This is so sad, and I bet you know people who do it. I certainly do know people who do that are, I don’t do it – I think it’s a terrible thing. They put their partner down in front of other people, belittle them, and make them feel small. You wonder what they’re doing with that person if they think so little of them, although I’m not sure that what they say is really what they’re thinking. They just derive some kind of pleasure from humiliating their partner. I've known some people do it in a big way and other in a small way. I've known people do it just occasionally because they’re angry with their partner over some petty argument.
This is not the way to behave. Not towards anyone and especially, especially not towards your partner. Even if you’re angry with them, you never air your dirty linen in public. If you can’t restrain yourself in front of other people, stay home and sort the problem out. But actually, you should be able to restrain yourself. What kind of perverted mind derives pleasure or satisfaction from making the person they love feel bad and look bad?
It’s very simple. Under absolutely no circumstances is it acceptable to:
- Make your partner look a fool
- Put your partner down or belittle them
- Be rude to them
- Tell jokes at their expense
- Discuss their shortcomings
You shouldn't be doing these things in private, and you certainly shouldn't be doing them in front of other people. I expect professional psychologists will tell you that people who do this feel small, perhaps on account of their partner in some way, and need to build themselves up by putting someone else down. And do you know I don’t care what the reason is. There’s no excuse. Maybe there is a deeper problem that needs addressing, so address it. But meantime we don’t belittle people for any reason at all.
I’m not talking here about affectionate teasing, by the way. I know couples who often affectionately joke about each other and it’s an entirely different thing. Both partners are in on the joke and both find it funny, and it’s a shared thing that brings them closer. You know perfectly well which camp you’re falling into. Don’t pretend your partner is enjoying the joke if you know deep down that the comment was barbed and they’re only laughing to save face.
The odd thing about putting people down is that the perpetrator always seems to think it makes the victim look bad. But if you've ever witnessed it, you’ll know several couples like this and in every case friends think worse of the one who likes to belittle their partner and more of the other partner for suffering in silence.