Weaponized Incompetence: Is This Tik Tok Trend Ruining Your Relationship?

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How a viral TikTok Video sparked an important conversation.

It all started when @bonniedoes posted a video on TikTok about her husband being unable to do laundry, although she’s been telling him how to do it for years. The TikToker had even suggested to set up a whiteboard in the laundry room with instructions – but the husband didn’t warm up to the idea until their marriage counselor suggested the same thing. 

After @bonniedoes posted the now-viral weaponized incompetence Tik Tok video, the topic started trending, with people finally waking up to the manipulative tactics used by their partners to get away with doing less.

Laziness – or Manipulation?

Weaponized incompetence refers to someone pretending they don’t know how to do something when they are actually more than capable of doing it. In a relationship, this could look like one partner claiming they still don’t know how to fold the laundry, even though it’s obvious that they do know how to do this task.

This type of behavior could be seen as a manipulation tactic, where the other person is just trying to get out of doing the housework by pretending to suck at it. They want you to get frustrated and decide it’s easier if you do it yourself.

Why is Weaponized Incompetence Bad for Relationships?

Faking incompetency to get away with doing less is likely to affect the relationship negatively. An ongoing imbalance in the division of housework and childcare can lead to the more active partner feeling unsupported and even resentful. 

How To Recognize Weaponized Incompetence – Examples

So, how can you recognize when your partner uses this tactic? Watch out for phrases like this:

You’re just better at this stuff than I am.

Doing household chores is not a skill some of us are born with. It’s something anyone can learn. This could be the person’s way of just getting out of doing the task. 

Doing it – But Doing it Wrong

Another thing to look out for is them doing something but doing it wrong or only halfway. This could look like doing some of the dishes or throwing clothes in the laundry and leaving them. 

They Claim to be “Helping” 

If they claim to be “helping” after doing the bare minimum, this is another red flag. “Helping” implies it’s your job to do the housework, and they are being nice by helping you out here and there. It should be a given that everyone under the same roof takes responsibility for the chores. 

How To Stop Weaponized Incompetence

If you believe your partner may be using weaponized incompetence to get out of chores or childcare, don’t throw in the towel just yet. There are ways to deal with it, but it is likely to require some patience on your part – after all, habits change slowly. 

The first thing to do is have a proper conversation. Get to the bottom of the issue. Why is your partner trying to get out of doing the work? Not everyone who uses these tactics is even aware of doing it or has manipulative intent. Perhaps they are simply lacking confidence or are worried about doing something wrong.

Consider couples counseling if the problem persists. Talk to your partner, explain to them how their behavior makes you feel, and try to come up with a solution together. It’s important to set clear boundaries. If this continues to happen repeatedly, you might want to consider whether or not this relationship is really the right one for you, as your partner isn’t really supporting you.

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Author

  • Janica Niva

    Janica Niva is a Certified Life Coach. She has a Master's Degree in Clinical Health Psychology and a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in Psychology. Before starting her own coaching business, Janica worked with youth within the mental health sector for half a decade. Now she's focused on improving people's mental health through coaching and producing mental health content. In her free time, Janica enjoys doing puzzles, hiking in the beautiful Finnish forests, and filling in her bullet journal.

By Janica Niva

Janica Niva is a Certified Life Coach. She has a Master's Degree in Clinical Health Psychology and a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in Psychology. Before starting her own coaching business, Janica worked with youth within the mental health sector for half a decade. Now she's focused on improving people's mental health through coaching and producing mental health content. In her free time, Janica enjoys doing puzzles, hiking in the beautiful Finnish forests, and filling in her bullet journal.