Broadly similar. And I’m the engineer! I don’t need to be in control, and I’m good at teamwork, but when a task/problem is my responsibility, respectful assistance is welcome but interference, micro-management and take-over merchants are not.
I married young, with a large age gap, and while suffering depression. Having irrational + overbearing and rational + borderline overbearing parents, a spouse with take-over tendencies, surrounded by uni students who elbowed me out in labs and well-meaning bosses/co-workers who snatched things away to do them for me everytime I’d pause for thought … I had boundary issues with EVERYBODY. :mad:
I couldn’t articulate this to fiancé/spouse. Feeling pressured to deal with depression & other problems “his” way didn’t help. (Maybe he felt being older made him wiser, but honestly, someone who comprehensively failed 1st year maths twice 20 years prior shouldn’t tell an engineering student how to study advanced calculus, fer pete’s sake! :o And pressure over how to cope with my illness just made me sicker.) He was/is a good man but when I said, “your ‘help’ is not helping, I need XYZ right now, ABC makes things worse”, he didn’t listen. And I’d only just escaped 17 years of having a parent’s completely inapplicable world view imposed on me in every way possible (the cause of my crash into depression).
Other people’s working methods may suit them but only I can discern whether they are productive for me. Well-meant interference is worse than hostile interference - you feel guilty about resenting those who care about you, which can cloud your perception. It slowed my recovery considerably - a psychiatrist asked me whether family/bf were making things worse and I reacted badly - of course not, they’re all helping because they love me! It’s OK to recognise that well-meant interference is still interference, and that interference is inappropriate even when practised by people who love you.
Counselling (even just for yourself) might be productive, because a counsellor might help you pinpoint and find words for what you’re trying to say. I didn’t have the words and concepts to deal with it - all I had to defend myself with was an angry “back off” when I could take no more, but I couldn’t tell them what they were supposed to “back off” from.
Eventually I could say to spouse & others: “When I pause mid-task, or comment that something is difficult or confusing, it does NOT mean I don’t know what I’m doing. It is NOT a roundabout request to be “rescued”. It means I am thinking, and sharing my thoughts with you. If I want help, I will directly and unambiguously request it. If you offer help, that’s kind, but if you take things out of my hands you are overstepping the mark and presuming to take control of my affairs without permission. The message I will take from that is that you judge me incompetent. You are taking it upon yourself to step in and take control of something that is not yours to control unless and until I give you control.”
Once armed with the words, rinse and repeat, quietly but firmly. Don’t back down. You’re under no obligation to keep explaining forever, either. You should tell people why you’re asking them to quit certain behaviour, but after that, refuse to argue. “We’ve been over that. Nothing’s changed. X is unacceptable. It stops or I remove myself from the situation.” Your boundaries are NOT conditional on anyone else’s understanding, approval or agreement. DH, who sounds like a reasonable man, will at best learn to understand and at worst “twig” that life is just simpler if he stops pressing that button.
It took 6-7 years of marriage to learn to stand up for myself rather than bottling and periodically exploding. 20+ years on, I don’t think H understands or “respects” it, but he knows certain behaviour means that I and the task in question both disappear and only return when it’s an interfence-free zone. We work well side-by-side most of the time, and I recognise his need to “put his thumbprints” on things. It can even be mildly endearing … but there’s still the occasional white-hot conflagration. He in turn must recognise that taking inappropriate control (especially of things in which I have professional experience and he has none at all, which never goes down well with an engineer) insults and belittles me. He doesn’t get it but know’s life’s quieter when he “doesn’t go there”. I’d rather he got it, but I’m not bugged one tenth as often as before, and that beats the alternative.