My wife and I have been married for about 7 years, we have two sons, one is five years old and the other is eighteen months old. I disagree with the way my wife disciplines and reacts to our five year old when he misbehaves. He is no angel and often misbehaves and doesn't listen.
Her demeanor towards him in general when she wants him to do something is very unpleasant, when getting him ready for school or for bed she barks orders at him like a drill instructor which he almost immediately defies. This then sparks off a series of escalations which results in both of them screaming at each other like it is two children having an argument instead of a child and an adult.
Also when they fight like this my wife compares him unfavorably to his younger brother, which I think is causing resentment towards his younger brother, and says things about him as a person instead of his behavior. "I've had enough of you" being something that is said daily.
It is getting to the point now where he is only listening and doing as he is told when I am asking him, he is defiant of his mother all the time and when he is being punished by her, she is punishing him when she is still very angry and the punishments are not suitable IMO, often too harsh and numerous.
I don't think she would do anything to hurt him but there are two incidents that I am concerned about and I don't know if I should be worried about them. She dislocated his elbow when she pulled him very hard by the arm towards her when he was disobeying her and another time she grabbed him by the forearm and squeezed it hard enough that her nails broke the skin and he had four nail shaped cuts on his forearm.
I have tried to talk to her about this situation but she cannot accept any criticism or advice, or ever admit she does things wrong and sees it as an attack on her and lashes out at whoever tries to help her. I think there might be some sort of personality disorder.
I do not know what to do, I have been thinking about this for some time and cannot find any way I can change things, even if I go as far as leaving her she will almost certainly get custody of the children and the situation will continue. Any advice would be appreciated.