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My husband thinks he does nothing wrong, what should I do?

At the start of the pandemic, my partner and I moved to his country of birth and it changed the dynamics of our relationship massively.

From a sweet, understanding, and responsible man I found him becoming more concerned with putting the blame on me and deflecting from himself whenever we argued.

Essentially, he started acting like he could do no wrong.

If you’re in the same situation, you’ll know how painfully upsetting it is when someone simply won’t own up to their actions.

But all is not lost yet, so we’re going to look at the different reasons your husband avoids taking responsibility for himself and what you can do to try and improve the situation.

Why does your husband act like he does nothing wrong?

Looking back on it, it seems that my partner had a bit of a confidence boost by moving back to his hometown.

Now, we were no longer on my turf, in my country where I speak the language and have my friends and family around.

Instead, we’re in his stomping ground and it was clear to see that he felt he could get away with much more living here.

Sometimes, he’d outright deny doing anything wrong, other times he’d blame me even though he was the one to snap or misunderstand something.

It started to become too much.

I was left thinking, is he acting out because we’re on his turf now, or is he just an asshole and I missed the signs?

But ultimately, knowing the cause did help me in the long run.

So let’s run through a few potential reasons your husband thinks he does nothing wrong:

  • He’s avoiding highlighting a bigger issue by not taking responsibility (essentially, he doesn’t want to open a whole can of worms)
  • He’s got a fixed mindset and doesn’t believe he needs to own up and change his ways
  • He’s afraid of seeming like a “failure” when he messes up so he chooses to deny it instead
  • He’s letting his ego take over (in the case of my partner) which causes him to feel slightly superior in the relationship
  • He has a lack of confidence

The last point is truly the core of this issue you’re facing. To own up, admit when you’re wrong and apologize, shows self-confidence.

When you have that, you’re no longer afraid of the outcome when you mess up.

Instead, you know that you’ve made a mistake and now you have to fix it, even if it means tucking your pride and ego away and confessing to your loved one.

Let’s go through the signs your husband might display, and what you can do about it:

10 signs he thinks he does nothing wrong

1) He always criticizes you

Where to begin with the criticisms….they can range from, “you drive too slow” to “that’s not the correct way to slice bread” (true story, apparently I lacked in bread cutting skills last year according to my partner *cue eye roll*).

When it gets to this point, you might feel unsure whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculousness of the situation (although I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more tears than laughs).

And even more frustrating?

Not only does he go out of his way to criticize you, but he also seems to have forgotten that he too isn’t perfect.

Oh no, nothing he does is a problem.

After a while, you feel like you can do nothing right in his eyes, but in reality, it highlights that he might be projecting his insecurities onto you.

By constantly drawing attention to everything you do “wrong”, the spotlight is off him and no one is pointing out his shortcomings.

What you can do about it:

It might seem a little petty, but I made a brief list of all the times I was criticized within one day (or you could do it weekly).

I then presented this to my partner and explained how disheartening it is to constantly be told I’m doing something wrong yet if I point out anything to him, he would get defensive.

Maybe seeing the sheer amount of criticism he throws at you will make him realize he’s going overboard and it isn’t healthy for your mental health or the relationship.

2) He doesn’t bother reading or responding to your messages

There’s nothing worse than someone slowly zoning you out.

Instead of replying instantly to your texts, he now leaves you on “read” and claims he was too busy to get back to you.

Whether he blames it on being at work or because he wanted to take a break from his phone (even though you know he’s glued to it) the excuses just don’t cut it.

You’re his wife, and ultimately keeping solid communication with you should be at the top of his priority list.

But instead of being honest, he keeps up with the bullshit excuses.

And you might find it becomes worse if you’re arguing or trying to discuss something uncomfortable with him.

Instead of acknowledging what you’ve said, he’ll simply ignore you and act as if he’s done nothing wrong.

What you can do about it:

Firstly, you need to confront your husband about it.

Ignoring your messages and calls is not cool, especially since your relationship is already on rocky ground.

If he can’t see that, try ignoring him back. He’ll quickly realize how horrible it is.

Secondly, I’d suggest finding another way to communicate with him. Sure, for practical purposes texts are fine.

But when it comes to discussing your relationship issues or arguments, face to face is always better.

Plus, there’s less chance for him to outright avoid you like he does when you text.

3) He never apologizes

Have you ever been in the situation where he’s blatantly in the wrong, yet you’re still waiting for that miraculous apology to appear?

It never does, and he doesn’t intend to confess it anytime soon.

So what’s holding him back?

Is he afraid of looking like a failure for making a mistake?

Or does he just not care enough to own up and apologize?

In some cases, your husband might have lost interest in the entire relationship, and he doesn’t see how saying sorry could make things better.

So he’ll prefer to sweep it under the rug and avoid mentioning it. By withholding his apology, he’s making a clear statement that he doesn’t take any responsibility.

What you can do about it:

Ultimately, you can’t force someone to genuinely feel sorry for their actions.

It’s clear here that your husband cares more about saving his face than being honest or fair with you.

You can try and talk to him about how he makes you feel and how by not taking responsibility, he’s pushing you further away.

In some cases, marriage counseling might help him overcome his issues with apologizing, but if he’s not willing to work on it then it’s time to think about leaving.

And I don’t say that lightly.

But a man who’ll never apologize for his actions is a man who simply doesn’t care and lacks respect for you.

4) He tries to twist the blame

Here’s the scenario:

He forgot to pay the bills on time.

Instead of simply owning up to it and recognizing it’s an honest mistake we all make from time to time, he’ll twist it around onto you.

Now, he didn’t forget to pay the bills. YOU were distracting him that day and you’re the sole reason he forgot.

When it comes to twisting the blame away from him, nothing you say will stop him.

He’s got an excuse for everything, and most of them start and finish with you.

And something which has absolutely nothing to do with you is suddenly your fault.

As much as he might distort the truth, you need to stay mentally strong and remind yourself that you’re not at fault here.

What you can do about it:

Whether your husband is doing this just to deflect the blame from himself, or he genuinely sees you as the problem, it’s not an easy situation to deal with.

It’s painful to have someone you love constantly accuse and blame you for their mess, and eventually, it will wear you down.

Give your husband a clear breakdown of how this makes you feel, but if he isn’t willing to work on it you need to protect yourself emotionally and physically.

And sometimes, the only way to do this is to put distance between yourself and the person who’s bringing you down.

5) He uses emotional blackmail to get his way

Emotional blackmail is where it gets extremely tricky.

This is where he’ll make you feel bad for doing certain things, or he’ll indirectly threaten you to make you behave in a way that suits him.

Some examples of emotional blackmail include:

  • Giving you ultimatums (“We either do it when I want to or we don’t do it at all”)
  • Blackmail (“I’ll die if you ever leave me”)
  • Guilt-tripping you (“How can you say you love me and then you go and do that?”)
  • Threats (“If you don’t stop, I’ll take the kids from you”)

If you’re dealing with emotional blackmail, it can make you seriously doubt yourself sometimes.

Don’t underestimate how dangerous and toxic this can be – not only will your husband get inside your head, he’ll also tug at your heartstrings to get the results he wants.

The truth is:

Your husband isn’t stupid.

He knows when he’s being dishonest and when he’s emotionally blackmailing you.

Ultimately, the longer he gets away with it the more he’ll do it.

So it’s down to you to put an end to it and take back control over your life. After all, marriage is about a partnership, not a dictatorship.

What you can do about it:

If you’ve been in this situation for a long time, it can be hard to break free from the chains he’s put around you.

Seeking professional help can allow you to see the damage he’s done to your wellbeing and you can start rebuilding your life.

If he’s open to recognizing his toxic behavior and changing, you might even work through it together.

But the bottom line is, you’ve got to do this for yourself regardless of whether he changes or not.

A relationship full of emotional blackmail will do nothing more than an end in heartbreak, misery, and a total loss of self-esteem.

6) He projects his feelings

When your husband projects his feelings onto you, it shows that he can’t handle being in the wrong.

It makes him so uncomfortable, he’d rather act defensive and make you feel bad instead of facing his issues.

Here’s a classic example:

Your husband secretly cheats on you, yet he constantly accuses you of cheating on him with no evidence to back it up.

He feels guilt somewhere inside, and subconsciously he’s trying to redirect that guilt by putting it on you.

What you can do about it:

The bottom line is:

Projecting his feelings onto you shows a deep case of insecurity. And the only way to overcome this is by him accepting his insecurities and working through them.

But, the truth hurts.

And that’s what he’s running from.

Try talking your husband through some of his insecurities calmly and compassionately.

Let him know it’s okay to be insecure and that everyone goes through ups and downs.

If you create a safe environment for him to own up instead of getting defensive, it might help him face his issues more healthily.

7) He’s manipulative to avoid taking the blame

Manipulation is a nasty, nasty thing to deal with.

If your husband does this, he might try to exert his control or dominance over you.

He’ll make you feel like you’re crazy and all the issues are in your head.

He’ll accuse you of being “overly-sensitive” or a “drama queen”.

Other signs of manipulation include:

  • Comparing you to other people so you feel bad about yourself
  • Giving you the silent treatment
  • They’ll act like the victim and make you out to be the perpetrator
  • They’ll “love-bomb” you
  • They’ll use passive-aggressive techniques

What you can do about it:

It’s time to put your emotional boundaries up and stick to them.

If your husband treats you this way, it can quickly lead to an emotionally abusive relationship and the longer you stay, the harder it is to get out.

As with all the points mentioned, therapy might help but that’s only if both partners are willing to get involved.

The first step to take is identifying how and when your husband is emotionally manipulative, and have a good support group around you that can counteract his crap and keep you grounded.

Without the support of others, it can be a very lonely and tough journey to come out of, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

8) His mood swings are all over the place

One minute he can’t get enough of you and life is great, the next he hates you and blames you for everything wrong in his life.

When this happened in my relationship, I felt like I was constantly walking on egg-shells.

Small things like mentioning we’re out of milk would cause him to suddenly snap and the default go-to was “well, you should have gone and bought some, how is it my fault?”.

As well as escalating the situation, it was clear that he was missing the point. No one is to blame that there’s no milk, it’s just a fact…there’s no milk.

Your husband’s mood swings might be related to things outside of your relationship, such as being under extreme pressure at work (I later worked out that my partner was burnt-out from working non-stop and sleeping very little).

But even with the most genuine of reasons, it’s no excuse to be treated as an emotional punch-bag.

What you can do about it:

Try and work out what’s causing his mood swings. If he’s genuinely unhappy in life or he’s stressed out, he needs to make some changes.

If you can support him through it, great. But only if he lets you.

If the mood swings become worse, it could be a sign of mental illness in which case your husband needs help straight away.

9) He tries to make you believe he’s helping you

Throughout all the criticisms and harshness, your husband will act like he does nothing wrong and even goes as far as claiming it’s all to help you.

It doesn’t matter how hurtful or judgemental he’s being, rather than admit he’s wrong he’ll say it’s for your own good.

He’s doing it to help you be a better person when in reality all he’s doing is bringing you down and making your insecurities worse.

It’s another form of manipulation.

And as we’ve already covered, that’s a dangerous area to be in.

So when he says he acts this way for your good, don’t fall for it.

Remind yourself that if he genuinely had your best interests at heart, he’d never belittle or put you down.

He’d help you and support you, all the while making you feel loved and cared for.

What you can do about it:

Stand up for yourself!

Now isn’t the time to back down and accept his lame excuses.

Show him you’re a strong person and that you know what’s good for you and what isn’t – and his behavior certainly isn’t.

Until you put your foot down he won’t change his ways. Ultimately, if he refuses to acknowledge it you need to reconsider whether this is a marriage worth staying in.

10) Your tone of voice is more of an issue than his mistake

Have you ever tried to highlight an issue to your husband, and instead of admitting it, he’ll say something like:

“I don’t like the way you’re speaking to me” or “I’m not going to talk to you while you’ve got that look on your face”.

This is another form of deflecting the blame and distracting the focus from him.

Now you’re the issue instead of him, because of the tiny bit of attitude you might or might not have displayed (which ultimately has nothing to do with the issue at hand).

Your husband might use this to avoid having a conversation altogether, and it could end up driving you crazy trying to always speak as monotone and politely as possible.

But he’ll inevitably find fault with that too.

What you can do about it:

Don’t let your husband dictate what type of tone of voice or facial expression you pull.

Remind him that the issue isn’t about your body language but his actions, and don’t let him distort the truth and make you out to be the problem.

Again, using the help of a professional might allow you both to raise your concerns in a safe space where there’s less chance of deflecting the blame.

Can your husband change?

In short, yes he can.

But only if he’s willing to confront his issues for the greater good of the relationship.

In my relationship, it all came to a head when I raised the issue of how difficult it was to be with him when he saw himself as an angel saint and I was just the nagging woman who wouldn’t get off his case.

It took many arguments, conversations, tearful confessions, and time to work through our issues but eventually, I saw him make an effort to change.

For me, that was enough to give the relationship another chance and we’re still working through our problems even now, but in a healthier way and with less avoidance when it comes to responsibility.

However, there’s a downside:

If your husband is a toxic person who has no intention of ever working on himself, nothing you do or say will make a difference.

I’m all for positive, encouraging advice and giving your marriage your all, but when it comes down to a truly toxic husband, sometimes knowing when to leave is the best route to take.

You have a life to live and you can’t let your husband drag you down, as much as you might love him.

Finally, some of the points mentioned are serious – don’t take issues like emotional abuse lightly as it can have serious consequences on your quality of life and mental health.

So whether you decide to work through your issues and give him a chance to change, or you decide to walk away, do it with your head held high and the support of your family and friends around you.

And remember – your husband thinking he does nothing wrong is merely an act. There are definitely underlying issues that need to be addressed whether he likes it or not.

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Kiran Athar

Written by Kiran Athar

Kiran is a foodie, writer and traveler. She considers herself a citizen of the world, who gets her inspiration from the people she meets along her journeys. She's currently living in Spain, where she spends her time writing, watching the shepherds and eating tapas in the mountains of Andalucía.

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