“You know I don’t know how to iron”… Know how to flush out the “technique of incompetence” and counter it

“You know I don’t know how to iron”… Know how to flush out the “technique of incompetence” and counter it

Does your partner tell you that he doesn’t know how to iron without creating creases or wash the dishes without breaking glasses? It’s perhaps a great excuse not to do household chores… Our advice for uncovering the “technique of incompetence” and countering it.

Is sharing household chores with your other half a source of problems? When we live together, it is not always easy to distribute tasks fairly… especially if your partner lacks willpower! Moreover, some people do not hesitate to trick themselves into not doing the cleaning or the dishes, using the “technique of incompetence”. It’s easy to make you believe that you are the best at cleaning windows or that you simply don’t have the right method to do it without leaving marks on the tiles… Be careful, this phenomenon can really harm your life. couple. Find out what it is, as well as tips for making your partner aware that he or she is abusive!

What is the incompetence technique?

“Exploiting one’s incompetence in romantic relationships is a strategy to manipulate or control a partner”, explains therapist Benu Lahiry in Well+Good magazine. In fact, your partner who has to carry out a task will postpone it until you do it for them. For his technique to work, he doesn’t hesitate to pretend not to know which household products to use or to have suddenly forgotten the brand of soap to buy when he goes shopping!

This behavior is observed when people live together or share a common space. So, you can face “false incompetents” with family, friends, or even at work with your colleagues. The problem ? This behavior can undermine trust in a relationship and lead to an unequal division of labor.

A technique more often used by men

Anyone can face a “fake incompetent” for not performing their tasks. Clinical psychologist Wendy Walsh, a relationship expert at DatingAdvice.com, says it’s more often about lazy people and more often than not, men.

Therapist Lahiry explains that “some women feel obligated to adapt to their partner’s incompetence and carry out tasks for him.” Stereotypes die hard: research shows that women tend to be more involved in “traditionally feminine” tasks, such as looking after children, while men tend to do traditionally masculine tasks like DIY or do the accounts…

However, a study has shown that a fair distribution of household tasks between both spouses leads to better relationship satisfaction and less conflict within the couple. Conversely, when women have more childcare responsibilities upon returning from work, conflicts are more frequent.

Is incompetence necessarily intentional?

“Men who grew up without being asked to take on household chores may have difficulty acclimating to them as they grow up.”, explains psychotherapist and executive coach Daryl Appleton, psychotherapist and coach. Not always intentional, incompetence could be unintentional and the result of one’s upbringing.

But how do you know if someone is truly incapable of completing a task or is using their incompetence as an excuse? According to therapist Lahiry: “A person who manipulates you will tend to use passive-aggressive tactics to reassign tasks”. For example, the latter promises to do the laundry but ends up claiming that he “simply forgotten” when you call him to order. Another example: he refuses to do the accounts because he does not consider himself “not good with numbers”. Someone who uses helplessness as a technique “avoids responsibility, feigns a lack of understanding, or willfully fails to complete tasks”she says.

Conversely, “a partner who really doesn’t know how to do a task will try to make sincere efforts to help you and improve”explains the therapist.

How to act if your partner uses his incompetence?

Ultimately, your partner’s lack of investment can “create a power imbalance within a relationship” and lead to a loss of confidence, says Dr Appleton. Here are some tips to counter the incompetence technique.

Tell him what’s bothering you

Often the best way to resolve a problem is to communicate. Confide in your partner that their behavior is affecting you. Talk about it at a time and place when your partner is more likely to listen to you. Base yourself on proven facts and not on impressions.

To avoid turning him on, it is better to avoid reproaches and be understanding. So instead of accusing your partner of never emptying the dishwasher, tell them that you sometimes feel disappointed when they promise to do certain tasks but end up telling you that they won’t. I’m not capable of it.

Set your expectations

Formulate clear requirements regarding the sharing of responsibilities. Maybe some tasks don’t bother your partner or they could practice doing them correctly.

Be tolerant

If your partner doesn’t fold the laundry the way you’re used to, let them do it without help or intervention from you. Do not hesitate to encourage him when you notice an improvement. A compliment never hurts and the learning will be even better!

Consult a professional

Going to couples therapy can also be a solution to improve things, if you feel like you’re not moving forward. An outside perspective can help you better understand your partner and how they operate.