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What to Do When the Commander's Wife Is a Bully

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I'm writing to talk to you about the bullying wife of my husband's commander. She has everyone afraid of her. My husband doesn't want me to speak up or say anything to anyone about her because he says if I do then he will have hell to pay in his unit.

I just want to go home back to Kentucky and not deal with all of these high school, mean girl games.

First of all, nobody likes this woman. Everybody talks about her behind her back, but then they are so two-faced when she is around. They smile and laugh with her like they are all best friends. Even the other officers' wives don't like her, and they talk about her, too.

As for me, I don't want to pretend to like her. Why should I have to play nice to her? Last month, we had some activities at my husband's company before they went into the field for training. Why couldn't we just go there and have a good time and then go home?

No, she had to do all of this extra stuff because she wants all the wives to be all Hooah Hooah. She can be so bossy and intimidating!

She knows none of the wives will go against her, and it's making me sick. I would like to say something the next time. I would like to just stay at home, but I can't because the bully has made it clear that our husbands' promotions depend on how much we participate and how much she likes us.

Most of my friends who are in other units complain about the officers' wives too. Are they all crazy? Why can't they get a life and learn how to treat other people with respect?

-- CJ at Fort Lewis

Dear CJ,

No one can force you to participate in any unit function by telling you that your husband's promotion depends on it. That shouldn't be happening.

The truth is, unit functions are a great place to build relationships and camaraderie. We know that some spouses will participate and some will choose not to, and that's fine. No one should be bullied, intimidated or fear reprisal for choosing not to participate.

Why would you want to go to a place where you don't feel comfortable and accepted? I wouldn't want to go there, either. Both you and the officer's wife are grown women, and both of you deserve respect and acceptance.

But, having said all of that, I don't want to gass you up to say something to this woman because, honestly, I can't promise you that the commander won't take it out on your husband. Your husband wants to stay in his commander's good graces. That's just the truth too.

So how do you handle this situation? There are two things that I can think of right off hand: Take notes of the bullying situations and then ask to speak with her. You can let her know which of her specific actions make you uncomfortable. You can also let her know that you are willing to help with unit functions in order to help ease her load, but that you won't accept bullying tactics.

Second, you can always choose not to go to any of the functions where you have to work with her. It's your choice. You're a grown woman. You can choose to stay home.

Most important, don't participate in the gossip about the officer's wife. It could turn in to a big mess. I know this is not a good time for you, but don't leave your husband and go back to Kentucky. Stay and keep your family together.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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