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Calling his wife a cunt under his breath

(164 Posts)
toomanydaisies Fri 16-Nov-12 20:12:07

Please give me advice.

My friend called me in tears just now. She and her husband had had an argument - but she said it was nothing major. He went off into their bedroom and called her a cunt under his breath.

Not the first time he's done this apparently.

She told him she'd heard and he wasn't apologetic - just said he was speaking to himself.

I think this is terrible. Is it emotional abuse? I just don't know what to say to my friend...

Casmama Fri 16-Nov-12 20:17:48

I think it is extremely unpleasant and she should discuss it with him in a day or two. However, I don't think it is emotional abuse but if he continues despite knowing how she feels about it then it is a problem. It depends a little on his normal language though- if he had said FFS under his breath would you think that was abusive?

NoraGainesborough Fri 16-Nov-12 20:18:13

Name calling is out of order, but I would just be a shoulder for your friend at this point.

Give her support if she decides to leave.

MrsWolowitz Fri 16-Nov-12 20:19:53

I don't think its abusive.

It wasn't screamed in her face he muttered it under his breath.

Unpleasent yes, does it need an apology? Yes. It is abusive? Not really imo.

toomanydaisies Fri 16-Nov-12 20:25:10

Thank you all. That's helped me get some perspective.

janelikesjam Fri 16-Nov-12 20:26:58

Depends on the context too. But I think the C* word is probably as non-negotiable as you get in terms of contempt...

But don't tell me, she told her best female friend about her upset rather than tell him to F.O to the far side and then F.O. again (sorry can';t remember traditional MN quote, wine but if anyone wants to clarify I would be more than happy to see again ...)

janelikesjam Fri 16-Nov-12 20:32:53

And, I would add something else.

The C* word is quite specific and a very strong swear word. Either used in the really low-down women-are-scum domestic or outer world or possibly in more salubrious but nevertheless anti-female world. People know when they use this word because its vile intention is unmistakeable.

If someone called me a C* (which they never have by the way) I think they would have crossed some line.

AnnaFurLact1c Fri 16-Nov-12 21:03:01

Of course it's abusive!

On what planet is this acceptable? A muttered FFS is a completely different thing.

HappyGirlNow Fri 16-Nov-12 21:10:21

I really don't see what the big deal with the word cunt is. Really, it's just another word. People say 'oh, it's because it relates to female genitalia andmis said as an insult in a negative manner blah blah' - well what about 'prick', 'dick', 'knob' etc?

It's only a word at the end of the day and I can't believe people give it so much power. It's like everyone just jumps on the 'oh, that's a terrible word' bandwagon!

Having said that its not good that he's name calling and your friend does deserve an apology. But it's no worse a word than many others.

AnnaFurLact1c Fri 16-Nov-12 21:14:32

Of course it's a big deal! The word itself is not...being called it by your husband is.

Glad to be in a minority!

ImperialBlether Fri 16-Nov-12 21:17:21

There'd be no going back if someone called me that. He muttered it knowing she'd hear and didn't apologise. Bad enough if he had.

HappyGirlNow Fri 16-Nov-12 21:18:27

I agree that it's wrong he called his wife that and he should be apologising big time. I'd be furious if it was my partner. I'm just saying that I'd be saying that whatever name he called her. He was out of order, not specifically for using the word cunt though.

NorthernNobody Fri 16-Nov-12 21:23:52

I would not be married to anyone who called me that

SorryMyLollipop Fri 16-Nov-12 21:46:05

HappyGirlNow I agree. I think we should step away from the idea that the worst thing you can call anyone is a cunt. Why should that word be given that much power?
Personally, I find it insulting that the "worst" word in the whole language is a word for female genitalia. Are female genitals that horrendous? Why should the most insultingly terrible thing be female parts ffs? We should reclaim the word and refuse to be insulted by it.

OP - calling someone a name is not necessarily abusive in itself, esp if its a one off when emotions are running high. Your friend should discuss it with her DH, if it continues I would be concerned.

struwelpeter Fri 16-Nov-12 22:04:18

My abusive ex called me a c***. I tried to explain that I didn't like it and he said but you are a c* aren't you. He was physically and emotionally abusive too.
If they happily call each other all sorts of names then that's fine, but if someone says don't call me a c* or a cow or anything even more innocent than that and the other person continues then it is abusive. So support your friend, find out how she feels, listen to her and if it's a deal breaker for her help her find the strength to stand up to him over this.

HappyGirlNow Fri 16-Nov-12 22:16:31

Thanks Sorry , glad someone else feels the same. Where I come from people use it for men and women so it's not specifically an insult thrown at women. It could even be used as a term of endearment at times grin But yet you'll still find grown women talking about the 'c-word' in hushed tones - I just don't get it.

And we have reclaimed it! A highly educated (think PhD) friend of mine and her equally intelligent friends regularly send birthday cards to each other saying 'Happy Birthday Cunt!' - that does make me laugh! grin

But as I said, name calling in a negative way is wrong and if I was he wife I'd be giving the husband very short shrift!

SolidGoldYESBROKEMYSPACEBAR Fri 16-Nov-12 22:22:01

I'm with HappyGirl: I think some people give way too much power to certain words.

WRT this specific couple and their quarrel: some people are much more sweary than others, and they don't actually mean 'I am calling you The Worst Name In The World Because I Hate You', they mean 'I am currently exasperated with you and I am a sweary person so I'm using a swearword.' If you know someone well enough to have married them then you surely know whether they swear lots or hardly ever and will have some idea of the intention behind the words.

Mind you, some people are such precious little flowers that they burst into tears if a toddler calls another toddler Bumface in their hearing...

timothyclaypole Fri 16-Nov-12 22:29:09

Happygirl are you Irish by any chance? The first time I met DH's Irish family I was shocked how easily they chucked that word into conversation, it really was just another word to them.

OP I hope your friend is ok, and that her DH just had a particularly exasperated sweary moment.

HappyGirlNow Fri 16-Nov-12 22:30:56

Scottish timothyclaypole grin

Bluegrass Fri 16-Nov-12 22:31:39

Was she being a cunt at the time?

<gets coat>

It's a bit one sided though isn't it.

We don't know what she called him...she could have stood infront of him and called him something equally abusive and personal.

Did she follow him into another room - perhaps he went off to mutter to himself, or did he mean her to hear it?

toomanydaisies Sat 17-Nov-12 03:15:25

Thank you all. So helpful. I think it's blown over now but I have a better idea of how big a deal this sort of thing is to other people!

Offred Sat 17-Nov-12 10:48:03

Somewhere in the middle of all of this for me. It wouldn't matter so much for me what had been said on either side if the marriage had descended to that I'd want out.

OneMoreChap Sat 17-Nov-12 13:14:29

ImperialBlether
There'd be no going back if someone called me that. He muttered it knowing she'd hear and didn't apologise. Bad enough if he had.

What nonsense.

What "magic" word could you mutter that your DP would kick you to the curb?
Any?
More probably none.

I think he's a a bit of a dick and a bit uncontrolled and I tend not to use words like that. I'd certainly walk away if someone was shouting at me..

But note:
She and her husband had had an argument - but she said it was nothing major.

Maybe he thought it was...

BelaLugosisShed Sat 17-Nov-12 14:06:33

OneMoreChap, it would be the the end if my husband ever called a me a cunt too, and that's after 30 years together, it's a truly awful thing for a man to call a woman, any man calling a woman that has absolutely no respect for her.
My husband wouldn't stand for me saying it to him either, before you start your usual "but what about the menz" .

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