The next time your husband makes a condescending remark or acts as though he is the smartest person in the universe, try to deal with it without pulling out your hair from frustration. While you might not be able to change him, you can change your own thoughts about his behavior and your reactions to it by thoughtfully considering what underlies his annoying attitude.
Build Yourself Up
One way to keep your husband's arrogance from getting under your skin is to develop your own self-confidence. Our self-esteem "functions like an emotional immune system," says clinical psychologist Guy Winch, Ph.D. in the Huffington Post article, "A Simple Self-Esteem Boost That Improves Emotional Strength." When you work to build your self-confidence, it is like putting on a suit of armor that will help you to keep from feeling unimportant the next time your husband indicates that his opinions are superior to your own. To give yourself a boost, do self-affirmations, recommends Winch. Think of five positive qualities that you have and write a couple of paragraphs describing how awesome you are. While doing so may feel hokey at first, you'll find that the lift you get will help you to rise above.
Give in -- for the Moment
Being treated condescendingly by a spouse with a superior attitude can be a trigger for some very strong defensive feelings. As a result, you may find yourself responding in a snide tone of voice, cursing or otherwise communicating ineffectively. Don't escalate the situation into an argument. You can choose to agree with him as a coping mechanism to temporarily keep the peace, points out psychologist Robert Bramson in his book, "Coping With Difficult People." While the larger issue of the superiority will need to be addressed, capitulating now and then can help you to avoid awkward situations in public, for example.
Probably the last thing you want to do when your husband is insisting that his way is the right way is to admire his knowledge. However, know-it-all types often simply want admiration, says psychologist Clay Tucker-Ladd in the article, "Six Difficult Types of People and How to Deal With Them" on the PsychCentral website. When you show your husband respect and admiration for his abilities, there's a good chance that he will stop trying to prove himself to you through displays of superiority. The next time he struggles through the process of repairing the dishwasher or prepares an amazing chicken cordon bleu, let him know you think he is the cat's meow and you may see some of his arrogance begin to fade.
Seek Outside Help
A superior attitude can be the result of highly ingrained beliefs that may take considerable work to tease out and address. Consider asking your husband to attend couple's therapy with you so that you both can learn ways to better communicate with one another. A therapist should be able to help your husband get at the feelings that underlie his attitude of superiority, while supporting you both in your efforts to make your marriage both happy and long-lived.
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- Psych Central: 6 Difficult Types of People and How to Deal With Them
- Coping With Difficult People; Robert Bramson, Ph.D.
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.