I've been at this MRP stuff for a month. I've devoured nearly everything on the sidebar. I've read WISNIFG twice, NMMNG, MMSLP, RM, MAP, Poon, and Pook. I'm working my way through the RP sidebar and am audiobooking WOTSM. On day 1 I went to the gym and started Stronglifts 5x5 and haven't missed a workout yet. So Lift/Sidebar/[try to ]STFU. All this not to say "Oh I totally GET IT" but just to give some perspective that I have done some work before putting this out there.
Married 21 yrs, 2 boys 16 and 10. This morning we had an encounter fairly typical of the shit that's been going on for over a decade and I need some help deconstructing it. Wife and 10yo were going to an event this morning and my son needed to get some gear together. My wife, who has been a little more pleasant since I started this journey, came out and asked if I could help my son with an unexpected problem he was having with his gear. They were trying to get out the door, she wasn't fully ready herself. I don't find she's much for shit tests, but I did a quick shit test check anyways. The information was new to me; she was occupied with things she couldn't drop; we were in a time-sensitive situation. It's something I would have voluntarily done regardless of her asking. So, to my mind not a shit test at all and just part of participating in a functioning household. I immediately went in and starting helping him with his problem.
Here's where the classic pattern comes in. About 60 seconds after starting to work with him, with no problems, my wife stops her own prep to come in and insert herself into the situation. She is very controlling and believes that nobody can do anything as well as she can. This is her hallmark personality trait in all circles of her life, whether work or volunteering or church or especially at home. Now in the past, I'd have done one of two things. Either a) quietly endure the nonsense of 3 people working on a 2 person problem while she is now not readying herself; or b) show some butthurt and disengage.
I ran through what I learned so far as best I could quickly. I felt that her inserting herself changed the whole scenario and that there was now no need for me to be there. In a sense, it was a retroactive shit test. I decided that neither of my usual responses was acceptable. It seemed doing "a", even though it was basically STFU, was then failing a shit test. So I decided to extract myself like "b" but to do so as neutrally and matter-of-factly as possible, and not demonstrate butthurt. So I said "I see you guys have got this, then" with an upbeat, not snarky tone, and left the room to return to what I had been doing. I was very careful to keep my behavior calm and avoid any impression of bitterness. And in truth, I wasn't: I just put my mindset into "Is my son's need attended to? [Yes] And is this what I want to be doing? [No]"
So that's question 1 - what was the right approach here? I'm willing to accept that I botched this - I could use some outside perspective.
Part 2 is a few minutes later, she came out and read me the riot act for, in her eyes, getting all butthurt and stomping off. She was just short of yelling and going on about "unacceptable" behavior, "this is what cooperation is all about" and other very critical commentary, saying it was just "wrong". I pulled out a little WISNIFG with "I don't understand. Can you explain how what I did was wrong?" but after getting hit with "how can you not SEE what was wrong?" I just STFU. My mind was burning to get into the old "Why do you have to take control of fucking everything?" but I didn't do it.
Now our house is very small and arranged so you can literally hear everything anyone says, especially with raised voices. So a few minutes after that, I took her aside and said "regardless of our positions on the events of a few minutes ago, DO NOT EVER criticize me or belittle me in front of my children again." This belittling is something we have done to each other over the years. For my part I have stamped that out the last few months and definitely since putting together my MAP. But she doesn't know that and of course accused me of being a hypocrite while not acknowledging her own fault. I reiterated my position, ended the conversation, and they left for their event.
So question 2 - Even though I can't see that it was wrong for me to make clear that her behavior was wrong, is there anything wrong with the way I handled it?
Not looking for any validation here - I can handle the slings 'n' arrows.