The slow killer of relationships .. Why should you stop criticizing your partner? | Lifestyle

To distinguish between constructive complaint and destructive criticism, one can focus on the language used.

Whatever the degree of agreement between each spouse, there must be some things in which they differ and over time these differences become clearer and more difficult to accept.

And it’s not just a negative or stupid comment your partner gets and passes. Criticism is the most destructive behavior among the 4 common styles of negative communication, identified by the famous American psychologist John Gottman and called the “Four Musketeers”: criticism, contempt, defense. , and crawling. Her presence in the relationship predicts that she will end up in divorce.

What is criticism, what are its negative effects and healthy ways to replace it?

character attack

“Criticism is the expression of a complaint as a defect in the character of another,” US marriage therapist Zack Brittle told the Huffington Post.

For example, the husband may be upset about his wife’s delay in preparing when she goes out, and he tells her, “You are negligent and do not respect time and appointments.” This is a personal attack. Instead, negative behavior can be mentioned by saying, “I feel nervous and upset when we are late and it would be better to prepare early to arrive on time.”

The difference between complaint and criticism

To distinguish between constructive complaint and destructive criticism, it is possible to focus on the language used, as criticism often includes the following characteristics:

  • The critic uses the absolute such as “you always do” or “you never do”.
  • Criticism includes harsh words, attacks on the person himself, rather than negative behavior.
  • Full of guilt and accusations.
  • It does not focus on how to improve behavior.
  • The critic focuses only on a “correct” way of doing things.
  • reduces the value of the other.
  • Criticism implies control over the other, while constructive complaint respects independence.
Criticism can make us question our worth, especially when it comes from someone who is supposed to love us (pixels).

relationship destroyer

If you are very critical of your partner, here are some of the negative effects your words can have on your partner and your relationship:

Weakens your partner’s self-esteem

Frequent words of criticism deeply affect the recipient, shake his self-confidence and question his ability to do things right.

And psychotherapist Kurt Smith points out how bad the impact of criticism is when it comes from a life partner and says, “Criticism can make us question our worth, especially when it comes from someone who is supposed to love us and we start to “We believe that what they are saying is really true because they care more about us.”

destroys intimacy

Criticism widens the emotional gap between you and your partner over time and the warm and positive feelings you once shared are diminished and replaced by resentment and hostility.

Underestimate your partner

The person who criticizes all the time feels superior. “Criticism tends to underestimate the recipient, suggesting that the partner being criticized is smarter, more capable, moral, and in some ways superior to his partner,” says Stephen Stosney, a Washington. psychologist.


In his article on Psychologytoday, Stusney says: “Criticism has failed miserably to bring about positive behavior change, and any short-term benefits you may receive will lead to increased dissatisfaction in the future.”

If your goal is to get your partner’s attention to change his behavior, then criticism is never an effective way, but rather it leads to taking a defensive position to defend yourself and becoming a rejection of what you say.

healthy communication

Stopping criticism does not mean accepting what worries you about your partner, but there are other more effective ways to express your negative feelings without ruining your relationship, and these are some of them:

Focus on what you want

Instead of expressing what you want in the form of a critique of the opposite behavior, you can simply express your desire directly. Instead of saying “You’re irresponsible because you do not sit with children” you may say “How to spend more time with children because they need you”.

The word “wish” can also be used to express what you want and to explain the positive effect of the action, such as: “I would like you to help me take care of the children, which would take the pressure off me.”

I feel and need

If you find it difficult to express your feelings and needs, you can use this wording that Gottman advises to discuss what worries you: “I feel ____ for ____, and I need ____”.

Expressing the feeling like “I feel” and not “You make me feel” so that the other party does not feel attacked and becomes defensive.

get out of control

Even when using constructive grievances, realize that there are some things that need neither criticism nor grievance and can be accepted as they are, not everything should be as you wish.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

If you are very critical and do not understand how horrible your words are and consider them only as comments, you can record what you say to your partner and listen to them until you put yourself on the other side and you will be surprised how you feel .

Permanent peaceful quarrel between spouses is evidence of love - Source Pixels
If you are very critical and do not understand how terrible your words are and consider them mere comments, you can record what you say to your partner (pixel).

Lack of healthy style

If you are prone to criticism, it is understandable that your partner’s harsh words affect you and hurt your feelings and you may think you want to attack and criticize him, but do not go his own way and view your partner’s criticism as lacking of healthy expression.

This can enable you to understand and recognize the covered request that your partner wants and here it is possible to refer to the request and discuss with the other party about the possibility of expressing his feeling and desire positively and directly instead of criticism.

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