Dealing with a critical partner and constant negative criticism can wear you down mentally, emotionally and physically.
When criticism is the norm in a relationship, there’s usually constant hyper-vigilance and a “fight or flight” response is always just below the surface of all interactions.
One of the most difficult things to do is to be kind, open and loving when it feels like you’re being criticized every two seconds.
When it feels like you’re being criticized all the time, it’s hard to see that other person as your friend, lover or someone that’s on your side.
When you feel like someone else is being overly-critical (for an extended period of time), there reaches a point where you feel like you just don’t want to take it anymore.
Then you start fighting back, lashing out and giving them a taste of their own medicine.
When you feel like someone is repeatedly criticizing you unfairly, it’s incredibly hard to see what’s really going on within that other person.
After all, you wonder–why in the world would they be acting this way if they love and care about me?
Even though it may be hard to see this about someone who is being harsh, critical and in many cases downright mean to you…
Here are some general “truths” about people who are very critical…
–They are coming from a place of fear.
–They are coming from a place of “My life won’t be okay if this happens and I have to make sure it doesn’t.”
–As weird as it might seem, their thinking is telling them that the answers they have are better and going to make them happier, more peaceful, more alive, more at ease, more secure, more vibrant, or anything else that they think would make their life better.
–They are simply responding to the thoughts that are appearing in their head about you, about the situation or about what they’re thinking or feeling in the moment.
–They may actually love, care about and want the best for you but it comes off as critical. Sometimes another person’s criticism of you can seem totally warranted and logical to them and not criticism at all.
Here are some general “truths” about people who live with constant criticism…
–They feel like the criticism is constant but it may not be as constant as it appears.
–They are probably putting energy into thinking about the criticisms and defending themselves on a almost constant basis–and that makes the criticisms feel constant.
–They may not want to look at or acknowledge that the other person’s criticism is in part valid and he or she just doesn’t know how to express it in a kind and loving way.
–They may deal with a critical partner by being just as critical in return.
–They believe they are worthless and go through life that way.
So what’s the answer?
Dealing with a critical partner and the “Criticism Dance” is a challenge.
How do you do it without falling into a criticism trap yourself or into a major self-esteem drain?
One of the ways to deal with a critical partner is to take a step back out of your normal criticism “dance” and tune in to what it is you really want in your relationship.
Do you want to rebuild the connection and have more love?
Do you want to have more peace?
Do you want to experience a true soul connection again?
Or have you had enough and want out of the relationship?
Having an idea of what you really want other than getting back at your partner for being critical of you is really important.
It’s important because the temptation is to respond to their criticism with even more criticism.
That response will never get you what you want which in most cases is more connection and a deeper feeling of love between the two of you.
Ask yourself if there’s any truth in the criticism and acknowledge it to yourself and to the other person.
That simple exploration can interrupt the habitual reactions and escalating anger.
When you take yourself out of the criticism “dance” and open to exploring other possibilities for your relationship, you can see what your partner truly wants.
When you call a halt to the criticism “dance,” other possibilities open up.
When dealing with a critical partner, it takes you seeing something new and different and knowing that you don’t have to keep following the path you’ve been going down.