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TrulyReconciled posted 3/5/2014 09:09 AM

My advice: DON'T

Unless (you fill in the blanks). I'm tired of it.


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musiclovingmom posted 3/5/2014 11:54 AM

I once had a mentor who cautioned us to be guarded in how we speak about our spouses. The statement that hit home for me - 'if your friends only knew your husband through the things you said about him, what kind of information would they have to base an opinion on'. Every time I catch myself complaining or criticizing, I think about this. Also, if he is doing something I don't like, I approach him, but not in an accusatory 'this has to change' tone. I try coming at it from the perspective of 'I feel this way when _____' or 'the kids react this way when ______', how can we work on this?

Sad in AZ posted 3/5/2014 13:07 PM

I may never have to remember this advice...

TrulyReconciled posted 3/5/2014 14:31 PM

Thanks for taking this seriously ...

Threnody posted 3/5/2014 15:30 PM

One thing which has worked very well for Mr. T and I is to approach all issues as if the couple (and the family) was a business. Criticism rarely helps in those situations, but thinking of the company as a team almost always seems to get good results.

We developed this before we married, and I have to say that compared to some of my friends, our communication model seems to give happier results without defensiveness.

Would a shift to a team-based perspective be helpful? Would one even be possible?

I wish I had a book recommendation for you, or a website, but I don't. I only know voicing my unhappiness or concerns with a team focus has been a useful communication strategy, and Mr. T has told me much the same.

The "I feel" approach is good, as well. I've had to use it when it's something particularly difficult to discuss (libido issues, for example).

TrulyReconciled posted 3/5/2014 15:34 PM

The "I feel" approach is good, as well. I've had to use it when it's something particularly difficult to discuss (libido issues, for example).

"I feel criticized when you criticize me because you're always criticizing me."

Yeah - that pretty much sums it up.

Good points!

Threnody posted 3/5/2014 15:40 PM

I feel criticized when you criticize me because you're always criticizing me.

Ouch. Yes, there is a circular element to it. But friend, unless you want to be stuck walking in a circle like a short-right redneck just off her hill (ask me how I know), you have to take a chance. And I know, that's a metric fucktonne easier to type than do.

Perhaps: "I felt defensive during our discussion last night. You said ______ and it felt as if I was under attack. I'd like to discuss my reaction with you."

This accomplishes a few things:

1) Shows some vulnerability, which is crucial in trust-based relationships.

2) It points out that there is a communication problem which is giving rise to negative feelings in you.

3) It gives her the opportunity to change how she interacts with you. If she's at all introspective, it will make her more aware of *how* she speaks to you. And that's a positive start. They can't change what they don't know.


TrulyReconciled posted 3/5/2014 15:45 PM

Well that's good advice.

Personally I think it's passive aggressiveness from the viewpoint of a perfectionistic depressive (treated) with a huge double standard and a side helping of S.A.D. but what do I know?

ie - Not happy about a topic that isn't really discussable so comes out in other ways, KWIM?

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 4:23 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)]

Threnody posted 3/5/2014 15:49 PM

Perfectionism is, at root, a self-esteem problem. And this:

Not happy about a topic that isn't really discussable

... is almost magical thinking. If you're in a partnership, everything is discussable. One cannot be in a relationship without having uncomfortable topics coming up, and needing to be protected from the topics at all costs is unrealistic and, frankly, a relationship killer.

So.

If she's refusing to discuss a topic, but is taking critical potshots at you while dancing around the topic, you may have just hit the dealbreaker.

I don't suppose MC is feasible?

Crescita posted 3/5/2014 15:57 PM

In art school critiques we were taught to focus on whatís working, and what might be done to improve it, rather than what isnít working with no suggestions for improvement.

How about, ďI appreciate that you are trying to communication your frustrations, and I donít think you are trying to hurt me, but when you focus on the negatives and donít offer suggestions, it is difficult for me to appreciate what you are saying. Perhaps you could be more positive and help me come up with strategies to improve.Ē

I once read it takes 5 positives to balance every negative in a relationship. I don't doubt it.

TrulyReconciled posted 3/5/2014 16:01 PM

Perfectionism is, at root, a self-esteem problem.

And there you have the crux of it (admitted, obvious, intractable).

[This message edited by TrulyReconciled at 4:02 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)]

TrulyReconciled posted 3/5/2014 16:02 PM

How about, ďI appreciate that you are trying to communication your frustrations, and I donít think you are trying to hurt me, but when you focus on the negatives and donít offer suggestions, it is difficult for me to appreciate what you are saying. Perhaps you could be more positive and help me come up with strategies to improve.Ē

Oh, believe me there's no shortage of strategies mentioned ...

TrulyReconciled posted 3/5/2014 16:04 PM

I once read it takes 5 positives to balance every negative in a relationship. I don't doubt it.

Now that's a good reminder I could use (since we valued that concept for kids).

tushnurse posted 3/5/2014 16:49 PM

I go with the balls out honesty approach.
" your feeling sorry for yourself, and need some sunshine, quit bitching and blaming me. Get off your ass and do something about it or be done with it. "

Then I tell him what he did wasn't helping and he made me angry....

gardenparty posted 3/5/2014 20:33 PM

....unless it is something that could seriously affect the family financially, emotionally or harm a member physically.

I have asked my SO to not let his family members bring their dogs over. I am allergic and suffer for days after.

I always say "don't forget the garbage, to call your Mom...etc. Probably will think about this now and find a better way to say it.

NaiveAgain posted 3/5/2014 21:46 PM

We don't criticize. "You never" or "you always" are discussion killers. If she is wanting results, that doesn't get them, that only gets resentment and hard feelings, defensiveness, etc....

I would want to know why your partner is feeling the need to be so critical. What is missing in her? What does she need (emotionally, because it is rarely seriously about "you didn't put your dish in the dishwasher" as much as it is "I feel taken for granted and I am so worn out at the end of the night that I don't even feel like cuddling."

She needs to get in touch with the emotions behind the criticism. Home is where you are supposed to feel safe and loved, not criticized and walking on pins and needles. Talk to her about what you can both do to make the home atmosphere a "safe" zone and build the team spirit of you, her, any other family members that live with you, as the team that takes on the rest of the world.

Sad in AZ posted 3/5/2014 22:46 PM

I'm sorry; I didn't understand the personal nature of the subject. I thought, perhaps, you were berating someone on the boards.

I know someone who is going through this and has been for the entire relationship. I view it as a form of spousal abuse, but it's so entrenched that it's undermined this person's self-esteem.

Have you read about covert aggression? It might help you understand the attacks and formulate a plan to deal with them.

Sorry again, TR.

authenticnow posted 3/6/2014 05:34 AM

t/j I understand your confusion, SadinAZ. TR is always so 'jokey', it's hard to know when he's being serious end t/j

TrulyReconciled posted 3/6/2014 08:51 AM

TR is always so 'jokey', it's hard to know when he's being serious

I only joke seriously

little turtle posted 3/6/2014 09:50 AM

Would you give a more specific example of what you're talking about?

What is she criticizing you for?

"I feel criticized when you criticize me because you're always criticizing me."

"I feel (emotion) when you criticize me about (event/action)."

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