You know the drill - you walk through the door and immediately ask your spouse if they ran that errand or did that chore for you. You don’t say, “Hi”
or “I love you"
or "I missed you"
. Instead it's, "You didn't do _______?! Do I have to do everything around this house myself?!"
You may not realize it, but micromanaging is an anxiety disorder. How can you stop doing it before it ruins your marriage?
Here's an example of how I fixed this while I was in private practice.
I was seeing this one couple in their early 20s who had a little kid. The guy would come home, put his hand on top of the refrigerator to see if there was dust or dirt. Really! There was also a lot of, "Our kid is wearing that?".
It was just terrible.
So, I said to him, “You’re making a terrible mistake.”
And he thought that I was going to start yelling at him for being a jerk. I said, “You worked a long hard day. You come home and the first thing you put yourself through is checking everything. You poor thing. You should be able to come home and be rewarded for the job you did all day at work.”
His eyes were getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
I told him, “This is what I’d like you to do... come home, go to your office and Mary will come in with some cookies and milk and your kid; and they’re just going to hang out with you. She’s going to rub your neck for about three minutes. That’s what’s going to happen when you walk through the front door.”
That was the end of him micromanaging and they got along really well after that.
Now, a lot of people micromanage because they experienced similar treatment earlier in life. Maybe when you grew up, you were micromanaged. Maybe you had no voice or control. Or, the flip side to that, you grew up in total chaos and your coping mechanism was to micromanage yourself.
So, if you’re doing this, it’s because you’re trying to rid yourself of anxiety. If this is being done to you, then you have to gently address that person’s anxiety and do something like I described. "Honey, you had such a long day… let me just rub your feet."
Obviously, you don’t feel like that because you’re being micromanaged, but it will change the universe.