Weaponized Incompetency…

4 min readAug 31, 2023

Even now, on my second marriage late in life, I must rewash thedishes my husband washes.

Photo by Scott Umstattd on Unsplash

I experienced weaponized incompetence (also called deliberate incompetence) even before I knew the terms.

I was married, working full time as an RN in a hospital when I fell over a rolled-up rug left on the opposite side of a closed double door. I broke my ankle. I had to use crutches. We had a toddler who seemed to recognize my limitations, taught herself to get out of the crib and even began to potty train herself. Unfortunately, her father was not as bright (or maybe he was really smart).

On one of the first days after my fall I asked him to fix supper, it was a disaster. He made French fries with olive oil, causing a lot of smoke in the kitchen and a not pleasant taste.

Standing on my crutches in the kitchen, I told him, I would just do it. I pushed a chair next to the counter, propped my painful foot on it and started a meal prep. He said, “I knew I could get you to come out and cook.”

Since we did not have a washer and dryer, I worked the 3–11 shift and we only had one car, he would dump the laundry in a garbage bag and drive to the laundromat. He would dump the dry, clean clothes back into the bag, unfolded, to bring home. I spent the next day before going to work ironing and folding everything. I finally learned he hurried through the laundry to get to a bar.

And then there was childcare. Since I was working fulltime (major support of the family), childcare (finding it) was my responsibility. For years my daughter and I would take a bus downtown to a church run childcare center before my afternoon shift. Her father would pick her up on his way home from work. But when she started first grade the center could not transport her to the school. I went to houses on the school’s block, knocking on doors, trying to find someone who could watch her for an hour before and an hour after. When I did find someone, her father, who had never been part of the process said, “I knew you would do it.” Read that again. He said “you” not “we.”

So just what is deliberate incompetence?

Care.com notes the following:

You’ve likely seen the posts on social media: A wife makes a grocery list with pictures




A 70+ year old retired RN who’s following her 60 year old dream of being a writer, one interested in everything unusual. www.facebook.com/MitziFlyteAuthor