As I began my weekly Torrey Pines hike, I noticed an attractive Barbie & Ken couple who seemed to be in embroiled in an intense conversation. I was shocked when suddenly the female turned swiftly to the male and without provocation loudly screamed “because it is for the future, You fucking moron”.

Needless to say, those of us in their wake were taken back by the outburst which gave rise to this question? How can it be tolerable for a woman to speak to a man in a manner that were the genders reversed would likely result in a public intervention?

Clearly if a man was shouting and name calling a woman, most of us would be called to action. Perhaps it is because he has the ability to physically hurt her and a societal norm is that women are to be protected by men. Many of us would agree that a derogatory overt gesture from a man to a woman would not be tolerated.

Although we never know what occurs behind closed doors; behavior that is displayed in public as an act of aggression creates a compounded scenario. Aggression is aggression no matter who the perpetrator is. However, in the above incident, none of us did anything short of a shocked glance in the couple’s direction. As bystanders why are we unwilling to be an advocate for the male?

Barbie’s upset had no regard for the effect she would have on those around her. She chose to elevate her tone, use profanity and escalate it by calling Ken a moron. In reaction Ken like many men was perhaps “uncomfortable with conflict” was humiliated in public which perhaps dissuaded a response.

Many male clients sadly report this scenario as more common than we may want to believe. For most the obvious question is why does anyone (none gender specific) tolerate this kind of treatment from their partner?

Relationships are complicated and have many layers, power plays resulting in outbursts or acts of aggression are not uncommon. We have heard it said, “I love her/him but I cannot take her/his temper.

This is where new coping skills along with growing into the relationship are mastered. Although, conflict is to be expected it is how we deal with it that creates a negotiated solution or drama/trauma.

Remember there is never a good time to fight dirty if that is your avenue of recourse; take a different path.

Fighting turns your partner into an opponent in the ring; it is hard to overcome the below the belt blows.

Words contain power; the power to build up and power to demolish.

Honor those you love by the words you choose to use.

Some of us who are not great communicators can step it up by learning to listen.

Those of us or that let our emotions pick our words are speaking from a place of emotion; therefore communication will in effective. Choose the proper timing.

If the words spoken to you by a loved one; are blatantly disrespectful, tear you down, or feel like emotional missiles; the question then becomes why have that person in your life at all?

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