Is Anyone Married to a "Genius"------when YOU'RE NOT?

Updated on October 15, 2018
B.F. asks from Newark, DE
10 answers

One incident can make all others seem to cascade right in front of me. Whenever I bump something with my car and it makes even a scratch, or else I get a tiny scratch on my car from an unknown source (shopping cart, maybe?), my husband is mostly the first to notice it and ask me about it. If I damage something, and know about it, I dread to tell him about it because he seems to have NO understanding of what it's like to damage something--and then hear about it. He's a great guy, but a little too "perfect" for me at times. Anytime I do something stupid with my car, and other things, really he freaks out like how could I be so stupid. Once when we were out of town I side-swiped a mailbox and had to "fess" up to him about it. I was already afraid of his coming reaction, because I know HIM. We were with extended family, and I felt so humiliated I actually broke down and cried. The rest of the family acted like it was no big deal and something that happens all the time. I don't see why HE couldn't have reacted calmly like everybody else. Instead, I felt worthless to him. He can see that I feel bad before I even say anything, and then once he hears it that's when he yells and whines, making me feel like a complete idiot standing in front of a perfect giant.
I have often gotten so upset that I wondered what he would do if one day I tell him that I feel so bad next to him anytime I have any kind of a mishap with my car that I actually went to the DMV and turned in my license--and walked out with a state ID instead. And that I would WALK everywhere (though I know that some places you can't, getting somewhere would take hours (even on a hot day) or it's unrealistic).

HE has never had an accident, scratched a car--nothing, except for when he got on some black ice (not his fault), but that was the only thing. He seems to have never gotten into any real trouble with anybody, about anything. He's so bright and catches on to just about everything so quick and remembers it, while my mind gets jumbled and I forget. I just naturally THINK SLOWER. So I often hear him whine out, like in frustration that "it's EASY".

If it has involved employment of any kind, he has never been fired or let go due to poor performance. I have--and that doesn't make you feel very good, either.

I doubt telling him how I feel upon his reaction after I've done something will only help long AFTER it happens. And I know enough by now that the next time I do something stupid, all I've told him will be out the window, like I never said anything.

To his credit, he is a bright, can-do, responsible guy.and able to do a lot at once and with success, understands everything the first time, and can remember about every conversation, with exact words and hold a person to what they said, even when they can't. But when it comes to somebody like me not matching up to his IQ it can be hurtful and humiliating, making me want to give up. Incidentally, I grew up with a super bright sibling like this too: learning disabled vs.perhaps gifted. Where I struggled to make the grade, sibling passes everything with flying colors.

So, until one can talk to a counselor about it, what can one do? Considering the circumstances, anyone who has NOT felt this way need not respond. I already feel hopeless enough about explaining it to him. Incidentally our kids have felt similar to they way I do around him. A good example is that they would rather drive with ME in the car than with HIM, just because of the way he talks to them. It seems to me that BEING that way is so much a part of him that he can't stop.

What can I do next?

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answers from Appleton on

He is an abuser. There is nothing wrong with you or the kids. It's time for you to make a plan and leave him. Talk to someone at a domestic violence shelter or hotline and get some advice about leaving him safely.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

He's not a genius he's a narcissist.
My ex husband was exactly the same way.
I left him four years ago and even though it was hell for a while I've never looked back.
Living without constant criticism and disappointment is amazing, I highly recommend it!

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

While I personally haven't been through this myself I went through it with my sister. Her ex was a self described perfectionist, very successful, and any time, and I mean ANY time she was less than perfect, he let her know about it. How could you be so stupid, so careless? Over anything, from a car scratch to a forgotten appointment to food that wasn't perfectly cooked. And she cried. And made excuses for him. But he's such a good provider! He loves his kids! I'm so glad she got away from that a-hole (finally) but it wasn't easy. She wasn't working and had young children, which of course he threw in her face and made HER feel bad for wanting to be treated like a human being! I can't really give you specific advice without knowing your whole situation but I know enough from what you posted here that you are being gaslighted and you need to start getting your ducks in a row. Your children are watching and learning from you, please do not let them think this is normal!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My hubby is similar. It got to the point that I just don't tell him anything. Counseling is slowly helping but it's so slow I feel discouraged often.
So I suggest a back up plan for when counseling fails.. I am getting my ducks lined up and everything in order just in case.
I try to use words to get him to realize what he is doing.. I will straight up tell him that he is being verbally abusive and I will not tolerate him speaking to me like that. and say I will think about talking with you when you can stop abusing me with your words.. And I walk away

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

It doesn't sound like you and your husband are a good match.
You should free him so he can go find perfection somewhere else.
You'll feel a whole lot better when he's not putting you down anymore.
Talk to a womens shelter, get your plan in place and then make your escape.
Work on your self esteem for a few years with a good therapist before starting another relationship with anyone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

He's not a genius. He's arrogant and verbally abusive. He does not respect you. He just walks around looking for an opportunity to criticize, because he cannot feel good about himself without putting someone else down.

I grew up in a home like this: my efforts were never good enough, my grades (even if a 98) were never good enough, my date or boyfriend was never good enough, etc. This was my mother. And my father was like that to her. It was horrible and affected my self-esteem for decades. I got married 6 days after college graduation so I could get out of there (bad marriage; I got divorced). I got a lot of counseling and I hope you will too - it helped me see that it was my parents' problem, not mine.

So, your husband is not such a bright guy (because he thinks belittling people is effecive and motivating), not such a can-do guy (because he can't "do" husband and father very well at all), not so responsible (because he doesn't much care about the psychological and emotional well-being of his family), and he can't do much with success that I can see.

I don't know why you have numerous accidents with the car - perhaps you are distracted by worrying all the time now? Maybe you need a driving course to help you navigate better? Does your learning disability interfere with visual processing or sensory issues? It's not uncommon - but perhaps you need something like a smaller car or some adjustments like not parking in a crowded lot (park farther from the store if you have to) or not parallel parking, whatever the problem area is.

But he's not responding with anything positive. And having children afraid to ride with him because he's verbally abusive? You have a big problem and you owe it to your kids as well as yourself to deal with this. You CANNOT get your husband to stop this. You need a professional - and by the way, he's likely to say that the professional doesn't know what they're doing. It's NOT true that he can't stop because it's a part of him - it's learned behavior and it's a terrible, horrible habit. But it won't change unless he wants it to, and unless he sees it as a problem. So, take care of yourself first and put your self-worth back together, and take care of your children by putting them in counseling as well. I don't know if you can save your marriage, but you can and must save yourself (a woman deserving of love she's not getting) and you must save the children (you are the only parent willing to show the children that they are accepted).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I looked at your title to question, and wanted to substitute 'narcissist' for 'genius' then I looked down and saw Mamazita already said same thing.

Narcissist have to make other people feel 'small'. That's what your hubby is doing.

It has nothing to do with you and how you process things. He enjoys making you feel less than him. That has nothing to do with being bright. I have very smart people in my family - perhaps some are gifted. We have engineers, scientists, etc. that are so far up into their heads but lovely people, however, they never condescend.

If you're walking on eggshells as they say, around him, that's not a good sign.

My FIL is like this. He likes being the smart one everyone goes to. His wife is an emotional wreck and her mind turns to mush around him, because she is anxious.

Keep in mind, as we women age, we do get a little muddled as we near menopause and that's natural. Having to be on guard from having someone kind of tear us apart (whether it's driving or whatnot) makes you feel jumbled.

I would just realize, it's him not you, he's not all that, and you're not a twit, and just go see a counselor on how to deal with this. He's a narcissist. I don't know too much about it other than they need to control. My FIL is very domineering and personally, I find him to be a jerk. I couldn't be married to him - but my MIL looks up to him and sees him as a great man - like you're calling your hubby a 'genius'. See how you're doing that? That's something you can work on in counseling. You're kind of glorifying him. He may well be, but he is treating you like poo.

Not good. It's ok to be pissed. I would be too. And no, it's not ok. No judgement - no one has a perfect marriage, but just tell hubby to go take a flying leap next time or walk away - whatever works for you. Good luck with the counselor and keep us posted :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

He doesn't sound very nice. He should be a team with you and should be on your side. Spouses should support each other. I'm sorry. Stop putting yourself have your strengths and you are a great person who has great qualities that are different than his. The fact that your kids would rather ride with you says a lot.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

your husband sounds like my ex-husband. He's a controller and mentally abuses you to keep you under his thumb.

Stop allowing this to happen. Stand up to him and tell him to back the eff off. One of two things is going to happen - either he will he become your partner in life or your ex-husband. When he no longer can control you with his anger, manipulation or words? He will stop demeaning you. Don't get me wrong - he will try one last time. But as long as you don't tell him to knock it off - no one is perfect - not even him - he needs to have some empathy and compassion.

Most likely? You will free yourself from him. As he most likely won't change. You are NOT feeble minded. Nor are you incompetent. My ex told me I would never make it without him or alone. I lived on my own for 2 years in Europe without him or someone else. You can do it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hi! Your description of your husband sounds exactly like my ex-husband. He's a really great guy, great father, etc but just happens to be absolutely perfect at everything. That being said, to use the words that others have, my ex is also a complete narcissist.

Anyway, when I was facing this situation, the biggest problem I had with him was that he never realized that the things he said were making my feel small or like I was bad at everything. When I actually specifically told him that his reactions were bringing my self confidence down, he did put in a lot of effort to try and change his reactions. I would also remind him before I told him anything that he should be careful of his reaction because he might make me feel bad....

Have you specifically talked to your hubby about the way you feel? I'm sure that he wouldn't want to make you feel bad if he knew you were feeling that way. Sometimes these perfect guys just don't realize that what they're saying is hurting your feelings....

Good luck. I'm sure it will all work out! Don't ever forget -- you are a capable person so don't let anyone make you feel like you're not!

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