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About Everything Wiki » Relationships » How to recognize armed incompetence in a relationship and not become a victim of it

How to recognize armed incompetence in a relationship and not become a victim of it

15 Jan 2024, 12:01, parser
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Living together implies that each partner needs not only to contribute to the development of the relationship, but also to take on some of the household responsibilities. When we wash the dishes and do the laundry, we relieve the other person of the burden and at the same time show that we value their time.

But sometimes we don't want to do anything so much that we pretend we can't really do anything. For example, we "forget" to clean the vacuum cleaner after cleaning or "incorrectly" put things in the closet. This phenomenon is called armed, or strategic, incompetence.

What is armed incompetence

This is the behavior when a person pretends that he is doing something badly or does not know how to do it at all, so that someone else will complete the task instead of him. It manifests itself in different ways. For example, if a person does not like doing laundry, he may pretend that he does not know how to turn on the appropriate washing machine mode, or intentionally load colored things with white ones. All so that next time he would not have to perform this unpleasant duty.

Armed incompetence can be less obvious, especially when we believe that the partner has high expectations and strict requirements about how to do everything "right." For example, he has a special system for how to fold bed linen after washing, and we know that we will be "wrong" if we do not follow it. But instead of at least trying, even to no avail, or talking frankly with a partner, we pretend to be incompetent out of desperation.

This behavior is more common for men, since the division of household duties according to gender has long been considered the norm in our culture. This forced men to sabotage certain tasks in order to conform to the traditional view of gender roles.

But whoever uses armed incompetence, it must be understood that its purpose is to make a partner give up on everything and do the job on their own. This is a manipulative strategy that makes it possible to get rid of an unpleasant task not only now, but also later. After all, when we demonstrate helplessness in some business, we will most likely never be asked to do it again.

In addition, armed incompetence in personal relationships lowers the bar for partner expectations. Thus, every time we manage something, he appreciates our efforts much more.

Where does this behavior come from

Firstly, it may be due to ordinary laziness or a sense of permissiveness. Secondly, sometimes we pretend to be incompetent because we don't know how to start a difficult conversation. For example, it seems to us that we are falling short of the standards set by the partner. But we are afraid to discuss this issue — it is easier to sabotage certain tasks.

Like any other behavior, armed incompetence is more likely to occur when it is reinforced, and from both sides. If it's easier for one to pretend and for the other to do everything himself, and this strategy works, it will be used more often.

Why is all this dangerous

First of all, armed incompetence is an abuse of trust. By exaggerating our inability to complete a task, we are lying to our partner. Besides, it's selfish. Because we think only about ourselves and our desires, without taking into account the additional mental or physical burden that we put on another person.

Another disadvantage is that by refusing to participate in household chores, we miss the opportunity to grow and develop, and also, if there are children in the family, to show them what an equal distribution of responsibilities looks like.

Repeated armed incompetence leads to burnout, distrust and, ultimately, resentment. After all, we pretend that we don't know how to do something in order to avoid responsibility, and this can be regarded as lying and betrayal.

How to deal with armed incompetence

It can be quite difficult to get rid of this habit, especially if you only now realize that you may have behaved incorrectly. But if you are determined to improve your relationship with your partner, it is important to change your usual way of thinking and behavior.

Therefore, as soon as you notice that you are choosing armed incompetence, immediately try to figure out why you are doing this. Maybe you are outraged by requests to do something, you are bored with performing some duties, you are offended by your partner or feel that you are mired in a routine. When you understand your feelings, you will make more informed decisions about how to behave.

In addition, have an honest conversation with your partner in order to find a way out of this situation together. Discuss which division of responsibilities each of you considers fair. Agree on who will do what. And accept that each of you will sometimes have to do not the most pleasant things, but such sacrifices and compromises are important both for home comfort and for a happy relationship.

Such a conversation is especially necessary if both you and your partner are "guilty" of armed incompetence. For example, if the problem is too high standards, pay attention to it and explain that you are ready to help, but you are afraid to do something wrong. Decide together when household chores should be performed in a strictly defined way, and when you can act on your own.

Whenever you feel like resorting to armed incompetence again, do a cost-benefit analysis. The easy way to pretend will save you from having to do a job that you don't like at the moment. But in the long run, this can lead to resentment and disappointment, as well as to the fact that your partner will consider you inept, unreliable and, in the end, unsuitable person. It is unlikely that this is the result you are striving for in a relationship.

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