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User Topic: Spousal Criticism
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 9:09 AM, March 5th (Wednesday)

My advice: DON'T

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


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"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
musiclovingmom
Member
Member # 38207
Default  Posted: 11:54 AM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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?

Posts: 1084 | Registered: Jan 2013
Sad in AZ
Member
Member # 24239
Default  Posted: 1:07 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

I may never have to remember this advice...


I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Posts: 20229 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: Upstate NY
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 2:31 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

Thanks for taking this seriously ...


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
Threnody
Member
Member # 1558
Default  Posted: 3:30 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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).


If you don't like my opinion of you, you can always improve. ~ Ashleigh Brilliant
"Great love requires determination." ~ tryingtwo
"Don't try to win over the haters, you're not the jackass whisperer." ~ Brene Brown

Posts: 14040 | Registered: Jun 2003 | From: Middle-of-Diddly, TX
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 3:34 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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!


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
Threnody
Member
Member # 1558
Default  Posted: 3:40 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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.



If you don't like my opinion of you, you can always improve. ~ Ashleigh Brilliant
"Great love requires determination." ~ tryingtwo
"Don't try to win over the haters, you're not the jackass whisperer." ~ Brene Brown

Posts: 14040 | Registered: Jun 2003 | From: Middle-of-Diddly, TX
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 3:45 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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)]


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
Threnody
Member
Member # 1558
Default  Posted: 3:49 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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?


If you don't like my opinion of you, you can always improve. ~ Ashleigh Brilliant
"Great love requires determination." ~ tryingtwo
"Don't try to win over the haters, you're not the jackass whisperer." ~ Brene Brown

Posts: 14040 | Registered: Jun 2003 | From: Middle-of-Diddly, TX
Crescita
Member
Member # 32616
Default  Posted: 3:57 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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

How about, I appreciate that you are trying to communication your frustrations, and I dont think you are trying to hurt me, but when you focus on the negatives and dont 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.

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


Posts: 3399 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: The Valley of the Sun
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 4:01 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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)]


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 4:02 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

How about, I appreciate that you are trying to communication your frustrations, and I dont think you are trying to hurt me, but when you focus on the negatives and dont 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.

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


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 4:04 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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).


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
tushnurse
Member
Member # 21101
Default  Posted: 4:49 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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....


Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 15 & 17
Married for 22 years now, was 16 at the time. .
D-Day Sept 26 2008
Fully R'd, and Happy Happy Happy

Posts: 8600 | Registered: Oct 2008 | From: St. Louis
gardenparty
Member
Member # 12050
Default  Posted: 8:33 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

....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.


divorced!

Posts: 2688 | Registered: Sep 2006 | From: newfoundland
NaiveAgain
Member
Member # 20849
Default  Posted: 9:46 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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.


Original WS D-Day July 10, 2008. Kept lying, he is gone.
New WS (2 EA's, no PA) 12-3-13
If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree.

Posts: 15245 | Registered: Aug 2008 | From: Ohio
Sad in AZ
Member
Member # 24239
Default  Posted: 10:46 PM, March 5th (Wednesday)

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.


I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Posts: 20229 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: Upstate NY
authenticnow
Moderator
Member # 16024
Default  Posted: 5:34 AM, March 6th (Thursday)

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


Take up your space (and do it well).

"That's the thing about pain, it demands to be felt."


Posts: 37757 | Registered: Sep 2007
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 8:51 AM, March 6th (Thursday)

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

I only joke seriously


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
little turtle
Member
Member # 15584
Default  Posted: 9:50 AM, March 6th (Thursday)

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)."


Failure is success if we learn from it.

Posts: 4185 | Registered: Aug 2007 | From: michigan
TrulyReconciled
Member
Member # 3031
Default  Posted: 12:21 PM, March 6th (Thursday)

No one thing in particular, just 2-3 things every day for no obvious reason.

It just.gets.old.


"In a time of deceit, telling the Truth is a revolutionary act."

Posts: 21175 | Registered: Dec 2003 | From: Hell and back, way back :o)
DragnHeart
Member
Member # 32122
Default  Posted: 12:41 PM, March 6th (Thursday)

I feel completely destroyed by the way wh speaks to me. The example is this:

Since getting the baby belly. I am as large at 20 weeks as I was when dd was full term (twins will do that). Some days I just stand sideways looking in the mirror in awe of how quickly my body has changed and how beautiful it is.

Wh comment "yes dear you ARE fat!".

If dd says anything about how large my tummy is wh is sure to comment that mommy is getting fat.

In reality I am not. I have actually been steadily losing weight to the point of having the doc weigh me twice at my checkups.

I have told wh thy his comments are hurtful but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Only when I turned the tables and made a comment on the body of a man in a movie did he seem to get it...


Posts: 2887 | Registered: May 2011 | From: Canada
Crescita
Member
Member # 32616
Default  Posted: 12:46 PM, March 6th (Thursday)

I think this might be a case of having to call her on it every time. Come up with a gentle stock reply like "I'm sorry you feel that way."

If she isn't intending to be shitty, this should clear up for her how often it's happening.

If she is intending to be shitty it sends the message that you are no longer going to play along with covert criticism.


Posts: 3399 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: The Valley of the Sun
purplejacket4
Member
Member # 34262
Default  Posted: 1:16 PM, March 6th (Thursday)

Yeah I get it. Unfortunately after being around her mother I know where it comes from.

Damn, we should interview prospective inlaws.


Me: BS 45
Her: fWS 48 (same sex partner)
Together: 18 years now (both MDs)
OW: meh so what 40s PhD
DD1: 10/30/11EA; DD2: 11/10/11 Had ONS; TT until 12/26/11; broke NC 6/12; NC again 7/12; R-ish

Posts: 2215 | Registered: Dec 2011 | From: Great Southwest
Topic Posts: 24