This is my attempt to ask a new question, as stated in my original question. See below my reasoning.

First the question with background:

Spouse 1 cheats on spouse 2, breaks the vows, and the whole 9 yards.

Spouse 1 is caught, spouse 2 is distraught.

Spouse 1 is reacting dramatically, says the typical : I love you. Don't you ever question my love for you !

Let's focus on the second part : Don't you ever question my love for you.

Question :

Is there a word that describes this kind of imperatives?

Attempt to answer :

Patronizing comes to mind. Is there a better word that captures the fact that spouse 1 is

  • Patronizing
  • Trying to shift the focus elsewhere
  • Pretending to be positive by challenging valid criticism

Thank you.

My old question was closed, and it said that if the provisional "similar" question do not satisfy my search, I should ask a new question. So here we are. I have been pointed to the following stack-exchange questions, but they are not satisfactory. Here are my responses to each of the questions.

  1. A word for somebody who tries to deflect the blame from themselves

The answers are :

1.1 Rationalization - but no, that does not capture the imperative/commanding/almost disciplining nature of "don't you dare...".

1.2 Apologizing - but no, that does not capture the imperative nature as well.

1.3 Spin Doctoring - spinning is rather general in nature, still does not capture my points.

  1. What's a word that means deflect blame?

The answers are scapegoating or implicating. But spouse 1 is not blaming spouse 2. Instead the situation is to draw attention off from the cheating and to spouse 1's proclaimed love. The method used is similar to the way a parent would discipline a child : "don't you dare watch TV now".

  1. Children caught by an adult doing something wrong, relaying the blame onto each other

This answer contains "blame shifting". But the situation i mentioned does not imply even a potential blamable event. Spouse 2 has not yet explicitly questioned the love of spouse 1. So spouse 1 is also not directly saying "How dare you question my love?".

Spouse 2's reaction is more pre-emptive in nature. But then again, spouse 2 has not explicitly pulled the "What about ..." card. Spouse 2 has not yet stated "But you are questioning my love - what about that?". If the last sentence was stated, then we could use words like table turning, spin doctoring, may be even blame shifting.

But I want to capture the imperative nature of the sentence, the patronizing approach (as noted by commenters, the lack of the word "please" is important) attempt to almost discipline spouse 2, as if spouse 2 is a child overstepping their boundary set by spouse 1 by questioning the love of spouse 1.

  1. What is the word that means to accuse someone of a crime, to divert attention from the guilt of the accuser

Among the answers here, demagogy, imputing, or even projection may sound applicable - but still missing the imperative nature of Spouse 1's statement.

So, a bit more specific, target vocabulary is what I am after.

Thank you.

  • It was an outburst. As I mentioned before, there is nothing patronizing about it, more accusatory. When I confronted my spouse about cheating on me, I received a tirade of accusations in return. Apr 22, 2022 at 18:59
  • An imperative remarks requires a verb in the imperative. Perhaps you mean: imperious nature.
    – Lambie
    Apr 22, 2022 at 19:09
  • Could be why Netflix is losing subscribers.
    – David
    Apr 22, 2022 at 19:12

2 Answers 2


But I want to capture the imperative nature of the sentence, the patronizing approach (as noted by commenters, the lack of the word "please" is important) attempt to almost discipline spouse 2, as if spouse 2 is a child overstepping their boundary set by spouse 1 by questioning the love of spouse 1.

In your example, "Don't you ever question my love for you!" is being used an (imperative) retort.

retort (n.)

The act of retorting; the repelling of an argument, accusation, or incivility; hence, that which is retorted; a retaliatory act or remark; especially, a sharp or witty rejoinder; a repartee. The Century Dictionary

A quick incisive reply, especially one that turns the first speaker's words to that speaker's own disadvantage. AHD

A sharp, angry, or witty reply.

Late 15th century (in the sense ‘hurl back an accusation or insult’): from Latin retort- ‘twisted back, cast back’, from the verb retorquere, from re- ‘in return’ + torquere ‘to twist’. Lexico

Hush [one's] mouth v. (1920s-1990s) a friendly imperative retort of playful disbelief; a request to stop and take back what has just been said; not a command or request at all to stop talking. C. Major; Juba to Jiva: A Dictionary of African-American Slang (1994)

A discourse structure at once familiar and flexible, both during the English Renaissance & currently, X me no X's is of interest not only for its durability as a vehicle of imperative retorts, but also for its contribution to a store of nonce-word formations. Hence, it may be designated more fully as a vehicle of the neologizing imperative retort. ...

In its most familiar guise, X me no X's takes the form of But me no buts.
D. Randall; "X me no x's": some examples (mainly from the Renaissance) of the neologizing imperative retort" in American Speech, 64:233-43 (1989)

“What has Uncle Richard been doing to you to make you so mad at him?” asked Ruby serenely.
Mind your own business, Miss Pert,” was Bernard's sharp retort; ... Annie Swan; Warner's Chase (1885)

  • Thank you. This is what I was looking for.
    – Sean
    Apr 22, 2022 at 20:27

The word misdirection could be used here. In an interaction where one party accuses another, it is expected that the other party will answer to that accusation. The answer might be to affirm, deny or ask a question to seek clarification. An answer that seeks to change the topic or challenge the accusation with a retort, misdirects that conversation.

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