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Help Setting Boundaries
February 3, 2005
7:56 am
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kc30
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This sounds foolish even writing it...but sometimes it's just good to see it...

Hubby and I are separated but living in the same house...was working well, until a couple of days ago. He's pretty controlling- total anal-retentive neat freak- everything has to be done his way, right. He's not trying to be a dick- he just needs to feel like he controls something in his life- I get that but...

Last night, he does up this "list" of household responsibilities that he feels we need to divide while we're living in the same house. Good idea to me- equal division of labour. Except, you should see this stupid thing.

He has things like "close curtains every day", "Make your bed (to me!! Thanks dad!)" "pick up your stuff off the floor" "Turn down the children's bed at night and turn on 3 lights" "only the can opener on top of the fridge"

Is it just me....or is that FUCKED UP?! It's one thing to say we do laundry on this day, or dishes daily, but please!! Seriously- I'm pretty sensitive about "being controlled" so want to make sure I'm not overreacting....

He's been critical of other stupid things too, but he's such a passive agressive fuck that he turns it around to make me the overdefensive, uncooperative one. The man's got 2 personalities, I swear it.

So I'm quite pissy but don't know how to address it. Calling him out won't work because he'll deny it- plus, he's just sooooo right, and his way is so much better. But I'm not going to live under his thumb either. I don't want to fight- I want to be a grown up. How do grown ups set boundaries and command respect for themselves?

Please help, before I blow my top off and my husband gets bitch-slapped.

Thanks

February 3, 2005
8:18 am
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readyforachange
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WHOA! What a control freak! I've never seen anything like this list, and you are not overreacting. This is insane! I would just let him know that you aren't comfortable with his "list" and calmly tell him that you will divide major household chores such as laundry and dishes and shopping, but if he needs these little details to feel comfortable, he will need to do them himself. And your living quarters are off limits to him....including if you'd like to keep your bed unmade for the rest of eternity. Close the damn door if he doesn't like looking at it! Wow, good luck with this one. Stand your ground....

February 3, 2005
8:36 am
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karen2oo5
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hi ive lived with men like your husband all i can say is i am so glad that i dont now after reading what you said today,and i am just learning to set my boundries but finding it hard but it must be done as i will forever have a foot print image on my forehead and i aint gonnar have that so yes set those boundries it is sure the best thing you could ever do x karen2oo5

February 3, 2005
8:54 am
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kc30
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Ready...thank you so very very much. Great advice...it feels right.

This will not go over well...anyone else who could throw in their 2 cents worth would be a big help to me at this point. I like feeling in control...of me! It's very empowering! Thanks again!

February 3, 2005
9:01 am
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gazelle
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Ye gods - he sounds terrible. I'm not surprised you are separated if he's so impossible to live with.

Yet he sounds very insecure in his need to set up a dictator's regime to such an extent. Why does he do it, do you think? What is he afraid of? Why can't he lighten up and 'go with the flow' a bit more?
Perhaps you come from different backgrounds with very different expectations of how a home should be run ... did his mother or father run a tight regime, I wonder, so it's all he knows? Or does he fear losing control perhaps - and so tries to control his environment and other people to keep himself somehow 'in charge' and therefore safe? What is his worst fear? Understanding where he's coming from might help here.

As for your boundaries - don't be cowed into submission! I know what you mean all too well about getting unco-operative and rebellious! So why not try to remain COOL, CALM and COLLECTED and simply state your position politely - then walk away with dignity? You could say something like: "I'd be happy to agree to sharing chores, and to a compromise about our shared living spaces - where you set some 'rules' and I set others. Just 3 or 4 rules each seems reasonable to me. This is a living home, not a military vessel. But my private bedroom is my business alone - as is yours for you." Bingo! There you have your dignity. In showing respect for him and expecting respect back, you are being reasonable and above criticism!

Then you have your power back and gain respect for being so rational and calm. Hopefully he will calm down and feel less threatened by the unknown and uncontrollable in his life, once he sees that you are grown-up and are in fact not threatening him at all!
Then get on with your own life and do something FOR YOU!

That's my best shot, from experience.
Be strong, be calm, be kind (then he might too.)
Best of luck. Love, Gazelle.

February 3, 2005
9:33 am
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kc30
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Gazelle
You've nailed him on most accounts. Very strict upbringing- totally appearance focused (don't let on, as long as it looks good) He's not controlling to be a jerk- he gets worse when he's stressed or feeling low about himself, so it's a sign to me that he's not doing so well. I feel badly for him, but it's his shit, if you know what I mean. I could follow every rule- every request to an obscene perfection (believe me- I've tried in the past)...and he will find something else wrong. It's about him not being happy with himself, and trying to get peace externally- I can relate.

Compassion and understanding is the way to go...to keep me from being hostile and knocking him down even lower. It's tough to be understanding though when his unhappiness only manifests through trying to change and control me, and he can't take ownership of what the problem really is. We both need some help in developing clear, direct communication...let it begin with me, I guess.

I lived in a house like that growing up- living under my father's thumb- subject to his bad moods. I'm no longer interested in living a life according to someone else's standards. I wouldn't intentionally do things to upset my husband, but I can't live my life by his checklist. I wish he could understand that, but alas, beyond my control.

Calm and cool and in control is definitely the way to go! Thanks again!

February 3, 2005
10:00 am
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karen2oo5
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hi Kc3o been on the net all morning reading your threads topic setting boundries, just wanna say that im with you all the way on this, its very knew to me about setting boundries but what i do no is that i now realise how important it is,otherwise people tread alloveryou ,all of my ex.s have treated me like poop, and thats cause i allowed it but no more,it takes a while but its worth while cause then you feel worthwhile,karen

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