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I made the mistake of watching a male do a standup special and he launched into a typical spiel about how much better his wife is than him and how much he hates and resents her. You know, typical stuff. Part of it involved him talking about how afraid of his wife’s wrath he is.

I noticed this is a common trope and plays out pretty consistently in real life as well. I see men rearrange their entire lives and make themselves miserable because they have some idea in their head that doing some innocuous thing will upset their wife and they might have to have a conversation about it.

It’s not like we’re going to hit or murder them. Is this some kind of leftover mechanism from when wives poisoned their husbands? Or are they genuinely that terrified to get divorced/dumped and have to live without access to a woman?

I made the mistake of watching a male do a standup special and he launched into a typical spiel about how much better his wife is than him and how much he hates and resents her. You know, typical stuff. Part of it involved him talking about how afraid of his wife’s wrath he is. I noticed this is a common trope and plays out pretty consistently in real life as well. I see men rearrange their entire lives and make themselves miserable because they have some idea in their head that doing some innocuous thing will upset their wife and they might have to have a conversation about it. It’s not like we’re going to hit or murder them. Is this some kind of leftover mechanism from when wives poisoned their husbands? Or are they genuinely that terrified to get divorced/dumped and have to live without access to a woman?

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Have you really seen men do this in real life? I have never seen a man rearrange his whole life to avoid upsetting his wife. But I have seen men pretend that they have to walk on eggshells lest they upset their wives over some innocuous thing. And the innocuous thing always turns out to be something totally reasonable to be upset about. So no, I don't think they're genuinely afraid. It's just another version of the myth of the male bumbler. This one is called "irrational unpredictable wife" or something like that.

Yeah I've never seen it either. Usually "don't upset daddy" is the order of the day. No one gives a shit if mom's crying again.

Interesting. I mean I have definitely seen men appear genuinely afraid of their wives and tbh I definitely don’t always agree with the wives’ reaction to things. But I have also seen a LOT of what you’re describing.

[–] FeminineMistake 18 points Edited

It’s a way of weaponizing women’s emotions, particularly fear and pain. When you say “I get scared when you cry/express pain about how I treat you,” you rely upon women’s socialization to shut them up. Before, you can mistreat them with the only consequence being you’d have to hear that you were mistreating them. After that, you can mistreat women knowing they’re likely to feel that, for your sake, they have to suffer in silence.

I’m sure it fits in DARVO somewhere, but it’s emotional abuse for sure.

THIS. My husband isn’t afraid of my emotions, he would rather just not have to deal with them.

Men joke to other men about fearing their wives, call us the old ball and chain, whatever. Whenever I see it I think of the Handmaids Tale:

The Wives are portrayed as having ultimate control over the household when in reality the men have ultimate control over the Wives and leave the Wives to manage the household because they don't care.

I think men joking about fearing their wives is basically just providing the illusion of their wives having some sort of control or power when they really don't. Maybe they also find their wives' anger funny. It's funny to imagine a woman being feared by a man because that's just outlandish! /s

The Wives are portrayed as having ultimate control over the household

The phrase I've heard is "The man is the head of the family, but the woman is the neck."

My mother came back to this phrase with "someone please bring me a guillotine". She never had a man in her own home, save the unavoidable tradespeople.

I like and respect a lot of things about Colin Powell, who was a genuine ground breaker in many ways, not least for blacks in the US military. But he had this ‘joke’ about his wife: “We agreed when we got married that I would make all the big decisions and she would make all the little decisions. So far there have been no big decisions.”

So it’s meant to be cute and self-effacing and to suggest that this former NSA and Secretary of State and 4 star general was not the most powerful member in his household. And to be fair they seem to have had a genuinely good marriage. But AYFKM? She couldn’t even decide where they lived - not what city, nor even usually which house (after the midpoint of their career, he would have had a particular house assigned to him and no real option to live elsewhere.) She was expected to spend her life supporting his career, not just in the normal housewife sense but by hosting dinners for other wives and for VIPs, coordinating support groups, and often meeting with the installation commander to advise on wives’ morale. (And you bet she did do these things or he’d not have made 4 star.) She had minimal control over her children’s upbringing, because they went to the school where Powell was posted, and had to follow Army norms. And so on.

Your choices determined every aspect of her life, my man, show some respect and don’t pretend she wore the pants. Gratitude for her willingness to give over almost all of her life to help your career would be both more honest and more appreciative.

If they were actually scared of the woman, they wouldn't joke about it.

The men I've seen stuck in abusive relationships turn a blind eye and found any excuse for the girlfriend's toxic behaviour, just like abused women do.

Very true. If women (I suppose people in general) trapped in toxic relationships joke about it at all, it’s the blackest humour and only to very close friends, not in stand up routines. And not even that, for abuse.

They're terrified that their home life might become uncomfortable

It’s this. They’re not AFRAID of their wife’s retaliation, they’re nervous that if she’s unhappy it’ll mean less sex and coddling. She might start slacking off on trying to impress him with nice dinners and a clean house and stop folding his socks into nice little pairs so he can blindly reach into a drawer and pull out a set.

He has to sit with missing things he’s always taken for granted and resents after they’ve been “taken away”. Somewhere the cognitive dissonance turns that into fear of his wife’s “wrath” (which is, in actuality, just an existence temporarily not centered around him and his needs and wants.)

I think this is it. They don’t have real problems so this is a catastrophe to them. Like a kid melting down because he didn’t get to go to the park today and will have to wait until tomorrow.

Yeah, although they would see it as, I have heaps of problems in the Real World like my job and issues with manliness and whathaveyou, and my home is supposed to be the nice safe haven where I have pipe and slippers waiting, and if I screw up then the pipe and slippers might not be THERE and instead there will be NAGGING that makes me remember how inadequate I am.

If you come over here to my microscope I can show you a very special violin I had commissioned just for him

Have you ever read the book "Why does he do that?", it's a book about abusive boyfriends/husbands. While I don't think this behavior alone is makes someone abusive, I think it's a tactic that many people do to feel in control.

When men act like women are the ones who are vicious and mean, they can play the part of the victim. They can appear pitiable in front of their family and friends. They are the helpless and innocent ones, there wives and girlfriend are the ones who are mean and vicious. (Regardless if men did something to instigate the mean behavior or not).

Anyways, the book I mentioned goes a lot into this payche, so if you're interested, I would look into reading it.

When men act like women are the ones who are vicious and mean, they can play the part of the victim. They can appear pitiable in front of their family and friends. They are the helpless and innocent ones, there wives and girlfriend are the ones who are mean and vicious.

This! I think it's another tactic men use to put down women while at the same time upping themselves. It's presenting the narrative that their wives are ungrateful because "look at what we do for her" and yet she makes me walk around eggshells. This perspective is coming from a daughter who saw her father use the same tactic so many times. At every family gathering, everyone would sit and joke about how their wives were "controlling" them. It was apparently very funny when in reality my mother was living the life of a partner who had no say in what my father does.

That’s one of my favorite books!

I have seen some cases where it does appear the wife is psychologically abusing the man. These are cases that I am very close to and have observed very thoroughly for a long time. I agree with Bancroft’s assessment that wives are almost never abusive, and when they are, it isn’t super serious—but it can happen.

[–] drdeeisback 12 points Edited

This reminds me of something I used to hear a lot from random men, when I rode a motorbike--'I'd love to have a motorbike, but my wife/girlfriend won't let me.' I would always think 'you are a grown ass adult, you can have/do whatever you want.' I found it completely far-fetched that they'd not do something because 'their wife wouldn't let them'. I'm now wondering whether I would ever have heard them say 'I'd love to watch porn, but my wife/girlfriend won't let me.'

If you want to tear around dangerously on a motorbike then you shouldn’t be married. How selfish!

I mean there’s sticking to safe roads with full gear and driving smartly and having fun and then there’s what a lot of men do…which seems to be try to get killed and take as many people as they can with them.

Urgh, I loathe comedians who run those jokes... I once went with a date to an comedy night locally and well, the way he laughed at such horrible jokes put me off completely.

And yes, I think it's the comfort thing, men just want minimum effort for maximum praise so this line of thinking fits.

I saw my ex-husband afraid of my wrath. But not until I had made it clear that I was probably leaving him.

All of a sudden the mommy bangmaid piggybank might get taken away, he might well be afraid.

[–] Intuitive 12 points Edited

I believe it is simply because they would rather be miserable and hateful towards their own lives (and thus make post-rationalisations) than have a simple conversation about a problem. For example, a lot of times guys, when they have issues with their wives' behaviour (perhaps unjustifiably), they won't initiate a conversation because they are "afraid", quite incorrectly, that their wives will flip the topic over their heads and win the argument. And thus they believe that they would be in an even more miserable situation than they were before. As such, they would rather suffer from the issue, which could have been easily resolved had they brought it up.

Of course, the trope of nagging cunning wives who are "always right", which is just "the customer is always right" applied to a marital context, is largely to be blamed for this, which incidentally is also popularised by males, binding them in a feedback loop.

This seems like a very good explanation.

Men are generally horrible at arguing. They aren’t usually too logical. I think it’s because they’ve been told/insinuated their whole lives they are the rational sex so they confuse their feelings with logic. Whereas women are constantly portrayed as being overly emotional so we are always trying to detach our thinking from our feelings and be as objective as possible. It’s not something men really think about.

That’s not to say anyone can truly be rational or emotionless when making decisions.

[–] Intuitive 8 points Edited

You are quite correct in your assessment. Although, I don't think it is that women are able to detach their thinking from their feelings but more-so that women are actively invested in emotional well-being of a relationship. As such, they don't shy away from actively paying attention to what they are feeling and what the other is feeling and incorporating that into their decisions.

However, men, quite unfortunately, treat the emotional well-being as a chore, equivalent to getting a child to stop crying, and as such, they try to half-ass it as much as possible. This usually means: just temporarily accepting whatever the wife demands if she raises an issue, and ignoring and burying it deep within, if they themselves have an issue.

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