I'm sure my husband would say I'm a perfectionist and controlling in that way. He says I'm impossible to please. I honestly thank him when he does things for me (washes my car, takes out the trash, does something he normally doesn't do). I try not to be critical. I rinse his dish and put it in the dishwasher, I don't want to be a perfectionist nagging wife.
But if you ask me, he exhibits the behavior from the start of your email. He "orders" me around thinking he's just requesting or suggesting. Sat down outside and he stated "put the umbrella down". I'm sorry, are your hands broken? No I didn't say that, but even our teen jumped up to do it. Nice.
It's all slowly killing our marriage.
Margaret, your life sounds like mine with my dh. He's a good man and good husband, but this is one of his character flaws. I'm also a perfectionist and pretty neat, where my husband is a bit of a slob. I usually find myself asking him to clean up after himself and he should respect the fact that I don't want to live in a pig sty. He, on the other hand, is controlling in that he bosses me around. He doesn't know how to ask for things, he just orders me to do something without saying please or at least putting it in a way that isn't bossy. I hate it! I don't feel that I'm bossy in my requests because I usually start them with, "would you mind doing..." or "if you have a chance can you please..." and so on.
The way I deal with his bossyness is that I usually ignore him and do things my way anyway. When he really gets to me I simply tell him to do it himself. He swears that he's not controlling and instead accuses ME of being bossy.
I recently realized that he's like that because that's the way he was brought up. His mother is the most controlling person I've ever met. She'll give you orders the moment you walk in the door (I ignore her too). She's like that with my husband and his sister (and anybody else within 10 feet of her), and in turn my husband and his sister are bossy and controlling too.
There isn't much I can do to change him except to ignore him, go against him, and sometimes I have to blow up and tell him he's not my damn boss. If I had been in your shoes, Margaret, I would have said exactly what you said in your head, "I'm sorry, are your hands broken?" In fact, that's what I said to my husband once when he was sitting on the couch and ordered me to get him a glass of water. My tactics have worked to some degree in that he isn't as bossy as he used to be. I think he knows that the more he tries to control me, the more I push back.
I think that it's not so much their controlling that gets to people, it's the way they say things. I bet that if they simply learned to ask the right way, it wouldn't bother us so much. What do you all think?