"Hold my shopping bags for me. Can't you see they're heavy?"
"Are you deaf? Why don't you answer when I talk to you?"
"Why are you so stupid? Can't you do anything properly for once?"
It's common in Singapore to hear women chiding their husbands that way. These women verbally abuse their other halves, speaking impatiently and rudely to them over the smallest matters.
Some months ago, I was at an MRT station when I saw a woman scolding her husband for forgetting to buy movie tickets.
She ranted loudly, taking no notice of the stares from people around them. He, on the other hand, kept his head low and apologised profusely, desperate for her to stop her PDA (public display of anger).
More recently, a friend of mine threw a fit when her boyfriend couldn't remember if she preferred a latte or cappuccino during one of our gatherings. "Can't even get a simple thing right," she rolled her eyes, and gave him the cold shoulder for the rest of the afternoon.
Why do we behave this way?
There are many reasons for this "dragon-lady" behaviour, says Winifred Ling, a psychologist and couples therapist. These include the woman's inherent attitude towards her partner, upbringing, unrealistic expectations, and bad habits.
"These women may believe they are entitled to behave in this way," explains Winifred. "They may have been raised with such attitudes, and no one corrects them when they lose their temper."
Other factors could be poor communication skills, hormonal imbalances that cause mood swings, stress, or an age gap between the couple.
Theresa Bung, principal therapist at the Family Life Society, elaborates: "Sometimes, a woman reacts this way because she is stressed and feels that she lacks support from her husband. In some cases, if the man is a few years younger or behaves in a less mature way, the woman may unconsciously take on the role of a mother rather than an equal."