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Author Topic: Help With Boundaries around micromanaging  (Read 92 times)
izzitme
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« on: February 26, 2021, 06:20:19 PM »

Hey All!

This is part B of a post from yesterday about being bossed around to do household chores. I developed some good boundaries around that but I need help formulating boundaries for another, more damaging issue. My unhusband micromanages everything I do. He will stand over my shoulder and tell me everything I am doing wrong. Even after I do a task, he will ask me a bunch of follow-up questions to make sure I did it right (his version of right). I have allowed this to kill my self-esteem and call my competency into question. For instance, tonight I ordered out chicken wings while he was out on a drive clearing his head. I got a laundry list of how to order the wings. He comes home and comments how I didn't get carrots and celery. It is always something that I do wrong. I feel like I am constantly up on the witness stand, being questioned by the prosecution. And then he falls into victim mode that "everything is on him".

How do I protect myself? How can I respond to the constant prosecution in a way that won't escalate him and protect me?  I need to take my power back and realize that I truly am a competent adult and I no longer have to do things his way. But how do I convey this without him feeling like I am "putting him down like his ex-wife".  Any advice would be appreciated.
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maxsterling
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic Partner
Relationship status: living together, engaged
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2021, 01:10:13 AM »

This kind of stuff destroys me.  My W does this to me all the time, and then says she has to because I am "ineffectual" or "incompetent" or "forgetful", etc.  Then she complains that she has to do everything.  The reality here is that behavior from your husband is emotional abuse meant to destroy your self esteem.  It makes him feel in control, and makes him feel needed.  I'm glad you ordered chicken wings by yourself.  Just keep doing stuff like that to take care of your own needs.  Try to avoid doing things just to satisfy him because that is a no-win situation.  I've faced nearly the exact same complaint - W won't order food or can't make up her mind, then when I do she complains that I ordered wrong, forgot to ask for extra napkins, etc.  Makes me never to want to order food for her again.

The funny thing is W complains I micromanage her.  Reality?  W can't hardly do anything without complaining about it.  And she gets upset if I don't address her complaints immediately (complaint followed by an immediate "did you hear me?")  That has trained me to be right there for when she starts to complain.  If she cooks, I hear moaning and groaning and banging dishes from the kitchen.  If I ignore it, she complains that I don't help.  If I respond to the complaints, I am accused of micromanaging.
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2021, 12:06:50 PM »

It’s definitely a no-win situation, damned if you do, damned if you don’t, with a mighty amount of projection.

The only way out of it, I discovered, is to let go of worries about being compared unfavorably to a previous partner or be unconcerned about being called names.

We can have a boundary about not listening to verbal abuse, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do it.

I got to the point where I no longer responded in the same way to being called “selfish, self absorbed, only caring about yourself” (which obviously isn’t true, else I wouldn’t have spent, as of this moment, 70 days and counting, participating here).

When faced with one of those insults, I started saying things like, “Yeah, I’m probably the most selfish woman you’ve ever met,” with a big grin.

This would irk him because he didn’t want agreement, he wanted conflict. And to see my standing my ground confidently, without being upset, and even worse, not undermining my self esteem with his insult, was unimaginable to him.

I repeated this on multiple occasions, until the insults quit being generated. He quit because it no longer worked on me. Why continue a behavior that is pointless and just made him feel worse?

Beginnng when I was a young child, my BPD mother trained me to immediately take action when called “selfish” and I’d be sufficiently supplicating forgiveness, promising to do better, begging for mercy. YUCK!!!!!!

As we often do, I carried those childhood patterns into adulthood and it was easy for a BPD partner to manipulate me into feeling guilt and shame.

It took a bit of mindfulness on my part to realize how quickly I’d respond to the word “selfish”—it was almost Pavlovian in its effectiveness, until one day it wasn’t.
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2021, 12:37:10 PM »

Years ago, I was in a relationship with a controlling man who, looking back, had many PD traits.

He used to criticize the way I made tea and told me that I should always boil the water first, then remove it from the heat and put the teabags in to steep. Made me feel incompetent for being twenty something and "not knowing how to make tea".

Over a decade later, I was in the relationship that brought me here, with my ex ubpdh who micromanaged every single thing I did, just as you describe.

He also criticized the way I made tea (I was still making it the way my first abusive ex trained me to do so he wouldn't criticize me). Ubpdh said I should put the teabags in the water first and then let it boil with the teabags in there. Once again, I was called incompetent for "not knowing how to make tea".

So who was right? Each of these men thought there was one correct way to do it and each called me incompetent for doing it a different way. Each man had a completely different idea of how to make tea, yet both undermined my self esteem and sense of competence.

Here's the thing: neither was right, though both were convinced that they were. The irony of this situation was not lost on me, and I decided that never again would I let someone dictate how I, a grown woman, choose to complete a task that I decided to do. If someone doesn't like how I do it, they can do it differently themselves.
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