Don’t miss the next live chat: Dr. Andrea Bonior, a licensed clinical psychologist who has been helping readers with Baggage Check since 2005, hosts a weekly live chat at washingtonpost.com on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. She discusses her recent columns and answers any questions you may have about relationships, work, family, mental health and more. Join or read Dr. Andrea’s latest live chat here.
Q. What do you do when you know your wife is controlling, but she denies it or doesn’t see herself that way, even when others do?
That’s often the very nature of being controlling: wanting to see things your way and your way only, not believing that other people’s needs should matter, making excuses to dismiss the perspectives of others as wrong or unimportant. So this isn’t exactly a plot twist, unfortunately. You have to decide for yourself whether you want to live this way. What do you think you deserve in a relationship? (Hint: At the very least, it’s not to be controlled.) So how many discussions will you attempt to have? Will you try to get her into couples counseling? Will you set a time deadline before beginning to leave? Will you see if she’s willing to make small changes first? Only you can decide what’s best, but you’ll be strongest through this process if you have some support yourself. Lean on the trusted people who already know what’s what, and consider professional support of your own. If she is unwilling to look at her behavior and change her ways, then extricating yourself from this relationship may not be easy, but it will very likely be worth it. Thehotline.org can help.
Why’d she have to tell the boss?
Q. I told a co-worker of mine that I will likely be undergoing an elective health procedure that comes with significant rehabilitation time. She and I were close and I told her this in a personal capacity, not a professional one. She told me that she let it slip to our boss when we were discussing staffing for an upcoming project, and I feel so let down. I did not want our boss to know until it was absolutely necessary — he blows things out of proportion and cuts people out of things completely if they can’t be 150 percent on something. She apologized, but I’m still angry.
There’s no doubt she screwed up, but she told you quickly and apologized. Let’s respect that. But we can also respect your feeling angry and let down. So, first, do damage control with your boss. Speak to him directly and clearly about the specifics of how this health procedure will affect your work, outlining your goals of the conversation beforehand, and conveying your priorities about your responsibilities or inclusion on certain projects. The sooner you have this conversation, the more you can keep your boss’s reaction reasonable and keep the train on the rails. Then, have a conversation with your co-worker about how you appreciate her apology, but that you need time to process how this went down (code for “Give me space; I’m still stewing and there’s nothing you should try to do about it”). Finally, give yourself permission to re-evaluate the line between personal and professional friendships at work, especially with those who are prone to these mistakes.