China Elevator Stories

Micromanagement Limits Your Independence (And So Do Certain Men)

Another boundary violation = another post.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


I have started writing blog posts whenever Joris crosses a boundary. I recently took a break because writing these posts took up way too much time (what with all the boundaries he crosses all of the time), but here we go: another boundary violation occurred, so I am writing another post.

Have you ever had to deal with a person who constantly tried to micromanage you? If so, what was your experience?

I believe we can all get a little controlling sometimes, especially if we don’t have much control over our own lives, but being micromanaged by someone else is a different story.

I remember a fight I once had with my ex-husband in our kitchen in China, back when we were still married and things had already turned south between the two of us.

In our day-to-day life, besides working, I also used to cook, clean the floor, buy groceries, wash the dishes, wash our kids’ clothes, bathe our kids, help them brush their teeth, read them books, take them for walks and outside to play, get up with them during the night, and change their diapers, while also handing my ex-husband half of my salary every month. When my ex-husband came home in the evenings, instead of saying ‘thanks for doing all of this,’ he would always be in a bad mood and start a fight over little things, such as leftover rice in the rice cooker, for example.

Micromanagement Limits Your Independence (And So Do Certain Men)

It is the same with my ex-boyfriend, Joris. Whatever I do is never good enough in his eyes, and when I do something, he always thinks I need to change the way I am doing it. This is not because I do things incorrectly, but simply because he wants to control me and likes to harass me by micromanaging me.

When he is with a woman, he wants to micromanage everything she does. From what you are allowed to wear, to how you are supposed to breathe – he’ll watch you constantly and will then also comment constantly so you will change. Because he may get so annoying that you may eventually change, once you have changed, he’ll still find fault with you.

I grew up very independent, and to be honest, my parents were so busy with eight children that there wasn’t much time to micromanage every single one of us.

I believe that not only is being micromanaged bad for almost anyone most of the time, but it is also particularly bad for those of us who are Rebels in Gretchen Rubin’s framework of The Four Tendencies (Type 1s), because being micromanaged runs against our very nature.

According to Gretchen Rubins, Rebels have the following traits:

  • Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike.
  • They value freedom, choice, and self-identity. They act from a sense of self and resist being told what to do.
  • They are independent, authentic, and spontaneous.
  • They can be perceived as difficult or uncooperative, may struggle with routines and commitments, and resist any form of control.

These are inborn traits, and thus cannot be changed.

In Carol Tuttle’s framework of The 4 Types, Type 4 individuals, whose main element is ‘earth’, are particularly prone to wanting to control others. Gretchen Rubin refers to them as Upholders.

I have found that my ex-husband, who is a Type 4, is extremely controlling. I have also found people who don’t have earth as their main element, but who have it as their second element, such as Joris, to sometimes be very controlling.

Certainly, other factors can also be at play. For example, people who are high on the Machiavellian scale are usually very controlling, but this behavior can be even more pronounced if they have ‘earth’ as their first or second main element.

Will this always show initially when you first get to know them? Hell, no! If a man knows he is jealous and controlling, but he knows you don’t like jealous and controlling men, most likely, he will try to hide this character trait. A controlling man may act as though he is kind, generous, and go-with-the-flow and may only show his true colors later in the relationship.

According to Gretchen Rubin’s description of The Four Tendencies, Upholders usually meet deadlines, keep promises, and maintain personal habits and routines. They thrive on rules and are self-directed and motivated.

If you ask me, Upholders may sometimes thrive on rules a bit too much, which can create havoc in other people’s lives – particularly in the lives of Type 1s, who are the opposite when it comes to rules.

If nothing goes with the flow because someone tries to control everything you do, it is usually time for me to say goodbye to this person. You are trying to make me dependent and take away my freedom? Goodbye. Micromanage somebody else!

Do you like being micromanaged?

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