TL;DR; How to handle bullying partner in a group discussion where he is bullying and degrading his partner in plain sight of everybody?
This situation is some time past me, but is still nagging me, because I was very uncertain on how to react, and I still am. Also, it was already the second time I didn't know how to react.
Situation: BBQ in our Garden. 2 or 3 other couples with kids are there as well. We know each other because our kids share the same kindergarden. Not some precious and old relationship, but since the kid of Alice and Bart is best friends with our kid, we developed some kind of friendly relation towards Alice. When the food was served it came to my attention that Bart was always degrading his wife Alice in front of the entire group, who all knew each other at a basic level. Especially announcing foreign heritage, and how she should at least use it to teach their kid an additional language. And that she was not able to take care of her self, and how clumsy she was, and how embarrassing on another occasion, and how she could not speak the language well. (I can't tell that she is not a native speaker) This was not the only incident he used to pressure her in front of all others, and you could really feel the awkwardness gaining control of everyone else. I sort of spoke up, but not in the way I intended, or that I deemed neccessary. I gave a slight sign of disaffirmation and then switched the topic.
Later on my partner and me discussed this, and we couldn't find a satisfying solution to this. Is it right to confront the bully in the moment he is bullying and to stand up? How to weigh victimizing Alice in this situation? She might feel weak and like not being able to take care of her self.
I am not trying to be their defender, or fight their fights for them. But it is a kind of behavior that I totally despise and that I think is totally unacceptable. No one should talk to somebody else in that manner, and given that this was their "beloved" partner, who was attacking (Especially when being the host...)
The very first incident was another neighbour who told his partner how thankful she should be that "we" have her in this country... And I was like... Wooohh FIRST don't include me in this "we" you used, and WTF!?! You have a degree in social studies and I need to explain to you what a person can decide on birth and what not?
Again, I wasn't the main target of the attack but absolutely thought that I NEED to say something.
Feel free ask further information, I guess it is confusing. I'll try to explain further if needed.