Degradation ranges from often unintentional, very subtle to highly manipulative behaviour, in some cases played deliberately by the degrader.

Obviously, there’a a massive difference between deliberate dominance using degradation as an empowering tool compared to subtle or unintended degradation that unintentionally affects others.

Deliberate Manipulative Degradation

First, I’ll address the deliberate dominance. Very simply, this is so far above my paygrade, the only real suggestions I could offer regardless of whether you’re Male, Female, Neutral, Trans or Fluid is seek serious professional help then get away from that person. I’ve had experience with serial degraders and the one thing I really understand is the behaviour will never change unless, for some serious reason, the degrader wants to change.

Therein lies the single biggest issue, most recidivist degraders are either highly entitled, good manipulators or both and will know how to look convincing in promises to change. I’m not even going to try to deal with these characteristics. If you need HELP seriously, here’s the contacts.

Unintended Degradation

Sadly, degradation very often has its roots in behaviours that aren’t deliberately intended to degrade partners. People often unwittingly sew the seeds of their own dissatisfaction. With just a little water, those seeds germinate. Those germinated seeds become the roots of dissatisfaction, then slide into degradation. Once a person’s self-talk convinces them their partner isn’t “Up To Scratch”, they look for reinforcement of those sewn discontent seeds.

Again, I’m no Relationship expert, Psychologist, Psychiatrist or walking talking Mahatma Gandhi. I’m just a Silly Old Fart (SOF) that observes things, people and behaviours. As such, I’ve derived a Personal Theory. I’ve watched these observations play out with very predictable, highly repetitive results. I just wish I’d understood this at 20yo. I’ll back my Theory with facts and data I believe support it. It’s your call whether you agree, choose to degrade me, tear me to pieces or to constructively continue the conversation. Please, if you’re not going to consider legitimate GENDER EQUALITY as the priority here, just don’t bother.

Remember, this applies to ALL genders. this is not to bash Men, Women, LGBTQ or Sling-shots that wish to identify as Howitzers!

For decades now, I’ve seen the fabric of society eroding. This erosion strongly coincides with a massive shift in both how we talk about our partners, then subsequently, how we view our partners, culminating in how we talk to our partners. Much of this seems to be caused by our modern Self-entitled Behaviours . We can track the massive rise in separation and divorce to match the rise in these patterns. My Theory is “Talk, Self-Talk, Partner-Talk” pattern has powered the biggest historical rise in Partner dissatisfaction.

What is the major driver of this dissatisfaction you ask?

(Before you go tearing me a new one, this is ALL genders, even the Mini Minor that identifies as a Sherman tank!)

I’m coining the phrase “Self Importance Discussion Entitlement” (SIDE). Again, this is opinion, however it’s an opinion born of observation and experience (Anecdotal, Demonstrative, Analogical and Prima Facie evidence). SIDE seems to be core of this dissatisfaction. It stems from and generally causes Unintentional Degradation. If you think you’ve never degraded your partner, I’m going to ask you to think again. Just ask yourself, have you ever said degrading things about your partner to others?

IMHO, The most common form of degradation is Partner bashing in social groups. Stop for one moment and think about the dynamic of friendship discussions here.

These can be as many and varied as there are social groups but some commonalities often include competition and escalation. In Early relationship or Honeymoon periods, especially where groups of friends partner up at similar times. conversations start with

  • My partner is/going to be a ZZZZZZZ
  • My partner bought me YYYYYYYYY
  • My Partner and I went to XXXXXXXXX
  • My Partner and I did WWWWW
  • etc. Here’s where the pattern of competition either starts or begins to be felt, often, just a little.

Usually, group conversations start as sharing experiences and comparisons. Experiences and comparisons of all sorts of attributes and behaviours. Humans, being humans, at times like to vent, especially if we’re a little frustrated, but what are the eventualities?

It’s basic animal instinct to want the best or feel envious if someone else has the best. Here’s where we get far more complex than the animal kingdom very quickly. We’re comparing many and varied items, outcomes, potentials, experiences as well as physical and behavioural characteristics. Naturally, we’d all like to have the best of each discussed topic. For most, our logic and common sense tells us this is completely unrealistic. Having the seed implanted though, it’s very easy to gradually think you should have more or better. In most groups, some group members start exaggerating. This rapidly compounds expectation.

As both familiarity amongst social friends and new partner relationship excitement subsides, an incredibly common behaviour evolves. Our friend conversations become less about sharing new experiences and future expectations to accepting normality. Here’s where we often see rapid deterioration.

These conversations regularly start to deteriorate into;

  • My partner did VVVVVV to me
  • My partner no longer does UUUUUUU
  • My partner won’t do TTTTTTTT
  • My partner doesn’t look so good any more

If caught here, these patterns can be adjusted pretty quickly because dissatisfaction hasn’t cemented. These conversations lead people to internal dialogue that’s extremely damaging. Unchecked, they begin to close or temper conversation with their partner as dissatisfaction sets in. This is the begging of a downward spiral if not corrected.

Self Importance Discussion Entitlement “SIDE”, (not just SID) is because of what’s happening under the surface. As the “Talk, Self-Talk, Partner-Talk” occurs, the Partner-Talk usually fails to embrace the 100,000 year old tradition of exchange within a relationship. Historically, the healthy relationship discussion element included, I would like you to to this for me, what can I do for you? Partner-Talk today is more likely to sound like;

  • You need to do this for me
  • You have to do this
  • I need this
  • You’re not doing this
  • If you loved me you would do this

All with ZERO consideration of exchange and if there is, it’s very often OK, you do this 100 hours of work I want and I’ll give you that token sacrifice I really don’t want to give. This is the Entitlement kicking in. Entitlement fuels the degradation like diesel on a fire! yes, diesel, (slow, hot burn)

You’ve all heard the term Criticise the behaviour, not the person. Do we practice it? More often than not, at least one partner will see their friend Conversations start to deteriorate into;

  • My partner is a Blankety-Blank because they did VVVVVV to me
  • My partner is a Blankety-Blank because they no longer do UUUUUUU
  • My partner is a Blankety-Blank because they won’t do TTTTTTTT
  • My partner is a Blankety-Blank because they don’t look so good any more

Remember, stories told, even in jest, ingrain into the psyche. Using this language, in most cases is awfully close to irreconcilable. Once your Self-Talk is convincing you your partner is a bad person, it’s almost impossible to discuss the behaviours/needs/wants and requirements objectively. Once this behaviour is internalised, very few people will ever go back and start asking, “What could I/We do differently to encourage my partner to ………………………………. “

What To Look For

The massive indicators to look for, in both your behaviour as well as your partners is if either of you are:

  • using Guilt Inducement.
  • Name Calling
  • Abusive language,
  • Withholding approval
  • Withholding affection
  • Correcting everything your partner says or does,
  • Finding Fault with your partners efforts
  • Humiliating or embarrassing your partner, particularly in public,
  • Trivialising your partner’s cultural traditions, spiritual beliefs, etc.
  • Telling someone they’re undesirable,

These behaviours are particularly insidious because the effects are cumulative. Criticism is normal, Criticism is healthy, We all need be able to deliver constructive criticism politely and to accept fair criticism. At times, everyone delivers criticism in an inappropriate manner, but not consistently or regularly. Constructive criticism always discusses the issues or the problem, never attacking the person.

As a receiver of criticism, people who feel equal will usually respond with questions working out if they need to improve or establishing if the criticism is unwarranted. Mutually agreed adjustments can then be made. This is part of healthy communication.

When regular criticism occurs, it needs to be established if it’s constructive or if it’s degradation, disguised as constructive criticism. If both people actively participate to agree outcomes then remedy and respectfully keep to their agreements, usually, that’s not degradation.

When criticisms aren’t appropriately discussed, with both people feeling heard and agreements not finalised, communication isn’t working properly. If criticism is usually coming from one partner and the other partner is making most or all of the concessions, there’s a fair chance degradation is happening. When one partner makes nearly all the concessions it often empowers a degrader. For some people, the growth in degrading a partner is a symptom of bad communication habits. For others, in my experience, a small minority, sinister intent is driving the degradation behaviour.

I’m no expert in understanding which is the case but I have observed if the pattern keeps emerging after being challenged a few times, it’s far more likely to be deliberate. Seeing a trained counsellor will usually reveal the intent.

I’ve definitely seen both inadvertent growth and deliberate dominance degradation from both Males and Females.

Why Are We Doing This

I see three main era related contributors underpinning this behaviour.

Entitlement, Observation and Social Proof. The three are intermingled and really can’t be divided.

There’s massive amounts written on the topic of Entitlement. I think from the early 60’s on, our expectations are so much higher than ever before in human history, for a wide variety of reasons.

  • Communal Wealth
  • Availability
  • Technology
  • Dramatisation
  • Media and
  • (Get out your Steak Knives) Managing Equality

Communal Wealth

For many reasons, including the industrial revolution, education, technological development, infrastructure and transport, societal efficiencies have increased. The resultant increased communal wealth means there is now, for the first time in the Earth’s history, sufficient clothing, education, sufficient shelter, sufficient water sufficient food with year round ability to obtain diet balance, all combined with warm bedding, at least in Western societies.

Go back to when my father was a 7 year old, families regularly shared beds, shared footwear, all used Hand-Me-Downs and very regularly didn’t get a proper meal every day.

With social security and other resources today, if money isn’t wasted on drugs, alcohol, unnecessary products or gambling, lacking the basics is very rare.


Availability creates expectation. As a general rule, the higher availability of goods and resources people have as children, the higher expectation they have there will never be shortage. Adding to this, the less commitment people have to provide to get the things they want, the more they anticipate ongoing ability to obtain without return.


Spread of news, information, ideas, concepts and communication is a massive driver in dissatisfaction. When technology was in its infancy, the general population counted on the printed word such as books and newspapers. In general, books fell into two or three main categories, Educational, Promotional or Stories. Even back in early print magazines promoted fashion and weapons. Do you consider Religious books Educational, Stories, a combination of both or a fourth category? I’m curious.

Our first major communication growth from print was radio. Radio allowed instant information transmission, creating all new expectations with news delivery, story telling, commercialising music and mass advertising.

Television ramped this up in the 50’s and for the first time ever, we could see life-like portrayals of other people’s lives in our own living rooms. How rapidly did that drive the expectation of what a standard family home should look like complete with the car and modern appliances? Behavioural norms and expectations were being beamed in 16 hours a day. (TV wasn’t 24hr originally) In that era, the norms pushed were I love Lucy, Superman, Lassie, Father Know’s Best, Patty Duke then Lost in Space. These all stereotyped how the family should look. We lapped it up and mimicked it. We learned back then to set our expectations of others in our sphere based on what we saw. If Maureen Robinson had a clothes washer that folded and wrapped the clothes, we needed one. If John Robinson had an All-Terrain vehicle, we needed one too.

We learned how to model our expectations and behaviours watching these. As time went on, the TV shows and general media steered more toward controversial material with Soap Operas, RomComs, then Sex and the City

Dramatisation and,

Once people started paying attention, RomComs, Sex and the City or typical Soap Operas massively exaggerated character behaviour which really plays with expectations of normal partners. For females in particular, Men have never been good enough unless they marry the traits of Richard Gere in Pretty Woman with Stephen Nichols of Days of Our Lives Sex and the City, Mr Big, all to the tune of Maid in Manhattan.

These stereotypes just drove the Cinderella expectations of Male expectation through the roof.

Personally, I was asked by my ex-wife why I wasn’t like a particular Days of our Lives character.

Were men affected the same way? Well, sorta. While females were watching this, men were watching Top Gun, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones then The Fast and the Furious.

Men were (and still are) dreaming about their Jet Fighter, Time Machine, Race cars or want to go Tomb raiding. (Yeah, a bit of Lara Croft would be fun to tag along but only if she kept up!)

From this sprang the greatest era of disparity ever to be seen. While men wanted more because they couldn’t go build there high performance Skyline, women were getting disappointed their own personal amalgamation of George Clooney, Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman and Will Smith weren’t spending countless hours changing their lives for them.


Media is so diverse so let’s just touch on a couple of items or this’ll never end.

How many questionnaires have you seen and read, defining whether “He’s Good enough” regardless of which Women’s Rag you buy all the way from Dolly to Cosmopolitan.

How many New Idea issues of Mere Male put downs have you laughed at. Men (including me) used to laugh at them too, historically when men could to tell a “Woman Joke” too. Just look now how much Male degrading material is on the market from Coffee mugs to T-Shirts and everything in between. Right now, go Google a few and have a laugh. Once you’ve spent say 5 minutes laughing at the Man put downs, go spend the same time looking for the same Woman Put downs.

How many Man Bashing Untruth based violence advertisements have you seen this week alone in print, on radio and on TV? How many ads have you seen publicising mutual or female violence which is statistically larger demographic.

This creates highly unrealistic expectations. Women are educated to look for the “Bad” in men. If you expect to see the bad in anything, you’ll see it for sure. If you think this won’t lead to degradation of people around you, please think again.

Managing Equality

Just like any other area where comparisons are made, each person wants the best of what the other person has. Ironically, human nature also shows us, we’re never really prepared to give up any advantages we have in exchange for the areas we want change to equalise. We all want to keep what we have as well as get what the other person has. After reading the above, can you possibly imagine how we could manage this well. We’ve shifted from the entire Earth’s history of co-operative or collaborative based Non-Equality thinking couples, trying to reprogram thousands of years of teachings and culture all in around 3-4 generations. Combine that with Entitlement, Dramatisation and Media driving One-Upsmanship like never before.

Degradation isn’t confined to individuals. Ask yourself if these behaviors are demonstrated between Radical Feminists and Men’s Groups.

If it’s not managed with more kindness to each other, it will finish our culture as we know it. Our culture is failing badly now.

Joke Of The Day

Q: How can you tell if you are a privileged white male?
A: I can’t tell the difference but feminist will tell you.

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