I'd like to start with the strengths of a pushy/aggressive/ambitious man. He is a true leader, he doesn't take no for an answer. He is strong, he is powerful, and he demands respect. He is a producer, he can get results. You know he will get the job done. These are the CEO's of the world, the presidents, the leaders, the conquerers the pioneers and the winners. But along with that big personality can come some pretty big constraints.
Because a pushy man finds so much identity in achievement and success (and in being right), he will often leave relationships in the dust in order to pursue the next big thing. He most often chooses a nurturing, quiet, solid and steady woman as his helpmate because she is everything he is not. Early in the relationship she will try to set boundaries with him, and he will squash her efforts - which later on down the road will cause a painful amount of disconnection and disrespect. He is often critical of his spouse, children and friends. No one ever feels good enough around him because bottom line is nothing ever is good enough (in his eyes). A pursuit of excellence becomes a perfectionistic rigid way of life. His high standards leave him alienated and isolated. Pushy men will protect ideas instead of people. In many environments they are the predator and they hurt those around them often. They are obsessive about details which makes them good at their job, but a lousy family man. Often times he thinks that everyone in his family is thriving because no one ever confronts him. But what is really going on is people in his family are dying and they are retreating to silence. They have just given up hope that he will ever change and they have accepted the fact that he just can't hear the truth. Also, you simply don't want to argue with a pushy man. He will turn it around on you so fast that you end up apologizing to him for something he did wrong. Living with a pushy man is one big double standard. He can always do it (whatever "it" is), but you can't.
Ladies, I'm not going to let you off the hook even though you're in a tough position. Here's the thing about living with a pushy man. He acts that way, because you let him. Early on in the relationship he communicated to you that his needs were more important, and you believed him. It is in your nature to give and not ask much in return. But in doing so you have created a monster. I can't tell you how many women I know who ended up in a relationship like this only to find out 10 years down the road (when she finally explodes like a volcano) that she really did have a voice all along. And the moment she actually set a real boundary, that pushy man responded in love and respect. See, he is strong, and he will run you over if you let him. But what he really wants is for you to be strong too. He may fight it at first, but he will respect your strength. In fact, it will inspire him, intrigue him, bring him in closer. Because you are such a supportive personality you are a safe person when it comes to confrontation and boundaries. You can do "tough love" better than any other personality. You have an emotional compass inside of you. You know when things aren't fair, when he's pushed it too far, when he is out of line, and when he is out of control. But for so long you have ignored it, and some of you have defended it, even made excuses for it. "He works so hard, he has all these problems, I don't want to add to them." I've heard them all. So do you want to enable him, and lose any hope for real connection in marriage, or do you want to do the healthy thing, and teach him how to treat you well? Dr. Phil always says "you teach people how to treat you." I'm a firm believer in this.
Ladies, don't be the martyr. Don't be the victim. You may not carry the same drive he does in life, but if you don't develop the strong side of your personality you'll never see the results you want. A pushy man wants a safe, nurturing woman but he also wants a powerful helpmate that will run with him, at his pace.
Over the years you may feel like too much damage has been done. Some of the cuts may be too deep. But with the help of a counselor, you can heal. Your marriage can heal. You can develop the strength you need. You may need the help of a strong coach in the beginning who will pull your pushy man aside and say "hey, NOT OKAY!" Don't be afraid to pull in help in the beginning.
And my closing thoughts to a pushy man - you can be "right", or you can find love. Which do you choose? Which one will you find more rewarding in the end? You have the tendency to get out of control real fast. Will you have to lose everything before you learn how to develop your constraints? Or will you learn to value other people, and believe that they are just as important as you are? Your identity needs to be in what you bring to others, not what you can take or conquer. You were born strong, but not so that you could run all over people, it was so you could bring protection to the world. The world needs your strength, but in your strength you're called to serve, not dominate.
And for both men and women, no matter what your personality is, no matter your age or you circumstances please don't ever stay in a dangerous, abusive relationship. Get out, get help, and know that there is hope!