5/15/14 Over Corrected

Sunday , 11, May 2014 Leave a comment

Dear Susan:


My husband corrects me all the time.  This is not about important stuff, but really trivial things.  For example, I’ll say I’m getting a pan off the shelf and he’ll say, “That’s not a pan, it’s a Dutch oven.”  I’ll say that a car nearly sideswiped me and he’ll say, “That wasn’t a car, it was an SUV.”  It’s driving me crazy!  What should I do with this man?”



Over Corrected


Dear Over Corrected:


Tell him he’s in the wrong house and send him home to me immediately.  Just kidding.  I suffer from the same pickiness with my husband.  It’s infuriating.  And on those few occasions when I can turn the tables on him, he’ll steal my thunder by saying something like, “You were right to correct me.  It’s important to be precise.”


Okay, when you’re performing brain surgery, it’s important to be precise.  Not so much when you’re pulling a pot off the shelf.  But getting men like these to see the difference is usually a waste of time.  I’ll say things like “This is PRECISELY why I fantasize about emptying both barrels of the shot gun into your persnickety, self-righteous chest!”  But he’ll only sneer, “We have a rifle, not a shot gun.”  (“So I’ll BUY one!”)


But I digress.  I think people become “corrective” because of their own insecurities.  Just like we secretly enjoy seeing the tabloid pictures of “Stars Without Makeup”, it makes us feel better about ourselves to see others brought down a peg or two.  It’s not a virtue, but it’s also not that great of a sin.  You could just accept that your husband feels inferior to you, so he looks for ways to remind you of your inadequacies.  Then ignore him.


There are three types of reinforcement:  Positive, negative and none.  An example of positive would be telling him, “I’m so pleased that you went almost a whole day without making some ridiculous, hair-splitting comment on something I said.”  Negative would be the whole shotgun thing from above.  But no reinforcement is really the most powerful of the three.


Next time he corrects you, don’t respond.  Don’t look at him, don’t say anything, don’t even sigh or roll your eyes.  Maintain silence for as long as possible.  If (and this is a BIG “if”) he notices and asks you why you’re so quiet, say, “I don’t like talking with you because you always correct me.  I wish you’d stop that.  It’s a very annoying habit.”


As I say again and again, people will push your buttons until those buttons stop working.  This is really your husband’s problem, not yours.  Disconnect the button that gives him a fight every time he corrects you.  He may not stop doing it right away, but eventually he’ll get the message that his comments are not only not welcome, but they are beneath your response.

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