Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Platinum Member geekgirl4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,497
    Gender
    Female

    How to not be critical - tips, advice, personal stories please!

    Had a discussion tonight about problems my SO and I think we have when we are in fights. He stonewalls and clings to the idea that he's a failure. He also gets really stuck on his side of the story. We recently had a fight and when we went over it today, he talked about how he felt on several things I said, when I absolutely clearly didn't say it and even told him the exact opposite to make sure I was being clear during that fight. As for me, he said I am too critical of him when he makes a mistake. I was hoping to get advice on how to not be critical. And if anybody has personal stories of their SO calling them critical and what they did about it, that would be great too. I've been researching how to communicate during fights and taking in what ENA has advised and it felt like a shock to me because I felt like I was trying hard to be a good communicator. But he's right, I think I hold him to a high standard and get really disappointed when he gets me upset about something. What can I do? It stings to know I'm critical, but I want to grow and learn from this. Tip, advice, personal stories, anything to help me on this road would be awesome.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    990
    google "how to fight fair" plus, and I hate to say this, Dr Phil has some good advice on this.

    I can only add, make sure you are both fighting about the same thing! I think that couples sometimes has a subtext that never gots spoken...oh and decide "which hill you are going to die on". ie: is it really that important?

    How not to be critical? I think the key is to listen to what you are saying?

  3. #3
    Platinum Member sidehop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Age
    36
    Posts
    6,878
    Gender
    Male
    General rule, don't criticize unless you're asked for a constructive criticism. Any time you point out one's action as a failure in your own eyes without considering their emotions you can sound critical and/or judgmental. This goes the same for bringing up the past, comparing with others, and using words that are demeaning.

    I'm not sure if this the way your parents were but often times critical parents raise critical children that end up becoming like them. With the critical/demanding individual have less tendencies to praise others. So try to encourage and support, not enforce more negativity into the situation.
    [URL="http://www.enotalone.com/forum/forum-rules.php"][SIGPIC][/SIGPIC][/URL]

  4. #4
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    12,002
    Gender
    Female
    It might help to know what kinds of things you criticize him about--and why you believe that a GF is entitled to do that.

    The most frustrating and unsexy thing to become is a parental figure in a relationship. It's an attempt to position yourself as one-up over someone else--and that's an awfully lonely place to be. If you don't have confidence in BF's ability to navigate life without your 'help,' then what, exactly, attracts you to him? What qualities do you admire about him, and why aren't those enough?

    Either BF is someone you can love and respect on his own merits, or he isn't. If so, then there's nothing to criticize, and if not, isn't that something you should recognize--right away?

    None of this is intended as harsh. I've been in your shoes, and I can only thank the person who said these thing to me--she liberated me.

  5.  

  6. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Age
    22
    Posts
    25
    Gender
    Female
    I am a very critical person by nature. It's an issue that came up at the beginning of my relationship with my boyfriend, and here's my personal strategy to make sure I never become overwhelmed by my critical thoughts when we're fighting:
    1. Remember that at the end of the day, you're on the same team, working towards the same goals (mainly no more fighting and post-argument hugs and kisses )
    2. Remember that often the faults we find in others are mirror reflections of ourselves (example: I dislike how emotionally distant my boyfriend can be, but that's because I'm a naturally clingy person). So instead of focusing on his fault, ask yourself 'what can I do to lessen this gap between us?' and then propose that idea.
    3. I hold people to an extremely high standard too - often I find myself disappointed by my boyfriend's actions (or lack of action) when we're fighting, or in a tense moment that might lead to a fight. At the end of the day, letting go of this disappointment is quite often the key (or this is what I find, at least). Sometimes you just have to tell yourself "yeah he's being an idiot, but I love him and reminding him that I hate it when he doesn't call me won't make either of us feel better". When I feel like I need to spit out something critical to my boyfriend, I instead say "I love you". Sounds silly, and won't work for everyone, but if you take a few seconds to break away from that critical thought, it's much easier to remember all the things you love about your SO.

    These are all my own personal guidelines for my relationship, but I hope they can help you. Being critical is a hard habit to break, but I've found these tips have helped me. Think before you speak, and above all, remember that it's a lot easier to accept and understand someone's faults than it is to try and make them change :P

  7. #6
    Gold Member MinziGirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    Posts
    853
    Gender
    Female
    Quote Originally Posted by geekgirl4 View Post
    Had a discussion tonight about problems my SO and I think we have when we are in fights. He stonewalls and clings to the idea that he's a failure. He also gets really stuck on his side of the story. We recently had a fight and when we went over it today, he talked about how he felt on several things I said, when I absolutely clearly didn't say it and even told him the exact opposite to make sure I was being clear during that fight. As for me, he said I am too critical of him when he makes a mistake. I was hoping to get advice on how to not be critical. And if anybody has personal stories of their SO calling them critical and what they did about it, that would be great too. I've been researching how to communicate during fights and taking in what ENA has advised and it felt like a shock to me because I felt like I was trying hard to be a good communicator. But he's right, I think I hold him to a high standard and get really disappointed when he gets me upset about something. What can I do? It stings to know I'm critical, but I want to grow and learn from this. Tip, advice, personal stories, anything to help me on this road would be awesome.

    Thank you!
    **Just my opinion only**

    I think i was once like this too.... the problem doesn't lie with being critical but being controlling. Everything had to be *my way* or at least the way i understood it to be.

    So how i corrected the problem was like this: I had to learn to respect the other person as a fully functional adult. If he makes a choice that is not my way or do thing not my way, i have to accept it that it is HIS responsiblity & that he will shoulder the consequences himself. IN short, i have learned how not to be responsible for everything or every choice he makes.

    Example: When he is driving & loses his way, my first response is: Lets stop & look for it in the map or ask someone. He keeps driving and i get annoyed. Then i nag. (Guys don't like this )

    My corrected response would be: Ok... we can keep driving or we can stop to ask someone or check the map. Then i say nothing. That gives him time to decide what he wants to do. Usually after a few mins of failure, he would choose one of the options i have told him... That way, he would feel controlled or wouldn't think that i am critical.

    Hope you understand what i mean. If not, feel free to ask me questions then
    Everyone is born clever. Some are clever now and some will become clever later. :-)

  8. #7
    Platinum Member geekgirl4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,497
    Gender
    Female
    Hmm, a lot of our fights in the past 6 months has been him not making the time for us to be able to have actual conversations and not making time for us to meet and do couple stuff (dates). We would barely meet despite him living less than 5 minutes away, and a lot of our communication during the week would be disjointed texts, instead of actual conversations either on the phone or online. Our most recent fight was over him sending a suggestive text to a female friend as a joke. I told him I lost some trust in him because if he thinks suggestive texts to friends are ok to do, what other lines in our relationship does he think is blurred for him? Because personally, to me, I feel suggestive texts to friends are an obvious line breaker while he didn't. It wasn't the idea of cheating that got me upset, because honestly, I really don't think he would cheat, but the fact that he did something that I thought was relationship exclusive with someone else. The things I do for him, say to him, how I act around him, many of those actions are things I reserve exclusively with him because he is my partner. I reserve my "dirty talk" just for him. It felt weird that he was ok with doing that with other people. He said this was an instance that I was critical, that it was just a joke and I took it so seriously.

    I think my critical attitude comes more from what I expect from him, rather than the things I say. I've been following ENA closely and every time we fight, I always let him know how I appreciate that he's been trying to talk a bit more during our fights. I try to use "I feel..." as often as I can. My primary focus during our fights is that I want him to understand why I feel upset because most of the time, he doesn't understand why. Conversely, I also try to voice what I think is his side of the story and ask him if I'm getting it right, which I usually do. What am I missing when it comes to talking? I pause a lot to let him speak. If he's not, I ask him if he wanted me to clarify anything or if I sense he's being overwhelmed, I ask him if he needs time to cool off and think.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,327
    Gender
    Female
    A critical eye is a gift. When you can see there is a problem, and you can figure out what the problem is, you have the power to FIX that problem.

    The problem isn't your critical eye... your problem is the resolution of the problem. You need to provide information about the problems in the form of suggested solutions.

    For instance, say your boyfriend's breath reeks. What would be better to say?
    "Your breath, it reeks." (Completely true.)
    "Sweetie, don't forget to brush your teeth." (ummm, nothing true or false, just a suggestion)

    Say your boyfriend says something negative about himself for the bazillianth time.
    "Uggg, you're ALWAYs so negative about yourself." (completely true.)
    "It's not so bad... Working out for the first week is hard on everybody! Should I give you a massage? Or would you rather have an aspirin and a nap?"

    I'm a firm believer that communication has two parts. Speaking and listening.
    Speaking has two parts. Thoughts and words.
    Listening has two parts. Words and interpretation.

    If you can navigate those four components, you have achieved good communication.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member geekgirl4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,497
    Gender
    Female
    I'll try that approach next time. Soften how I speak to him and suggest solutions. I think that I need to really relax when it comes to us having differences. I think I'm critical on our relationship in that I expect things to align perfectly - like when we were on opposing sides for the suggestive text, I really wanted us to be on the same side. Basically, I have to relax. Sigh. I think talking with softer words will help though.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,327
    Gender
    Female
    It's not really possible to always have the same opinion. It's best, in my opinion, to agree perfectly around 75 percent of the time, and leave the 25 percent up for debate. Think of it as an extra brain to help you reason non-obvious things, not an adversary who must be defeated.

    I mean, you've changed your mind about things, right? There will be arguments as long as there are relationships, but certain disagreements should just be a pleasant diversion and not a fight. Like, if he wants to buy oranges, and you're in the mood for pears, and he mentions that oranges are in season, you can say, "ok, you're right, but pears are cheaper per pound." and then you can buy oranges and pears. Or mostly oranges and just a few pears for you. Or decide that you have fruit at home and buy tomatoes.

    You can tell how good a couple is at communication by what they're fighting about in the supermarket. "But I don't want beef" is a problem of one or both thinking they have to be the same person. "I told you, we can't afford freezer dinners every night!" is a problem of lifestyle, and "but I told you I would never let grandpa take back the kid I adopted!" means that they're just weird.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Related Articles & Books
by Margarita Nahapetyan
It has not been a secret that some men at times get confused in the presence of women and hardly can find any words to say, but now Dutch researchers ...
by Margarita Nahapetyan
Women like it when their husbands or partners show emotions and talk about their troubles, suggests a new research by Harvard Medical School. In ...
That's Not What I Meant! How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships
by Deborah Tannen
You know the feeling: You meet someone for the first time, and it's as if you've known each other all your lives. Everything goes smoothly. You know ...
 

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Expert Advice

Online
Call
$1.99/minute
25+ YEARS EXPERIENCE. Intervention specialist and counselor who helps couples and families repair and rescue their relationships. "generously affordable"
Online
Chat
$2.99/minute
Unhappy? Confused? Depressed? Jealous? Angry at your partner? Tired of being misunderstood? Whatever your relationship issues I can help you address them!
Online
CallChat
$2.75/minute
Licensed Psychotherapist, Author, Relationship Expert Pictured on Oprah. With 25 years of experience, I provide caring, honest, non-judgmental help for your relationship issue
Online
CallChat
$1.95/minute
I do have extensive training and experience in clinical, counseling and transpersonal psychology. I provide counseling support for those willing to work on themselves...
Online
Chat
$2.49/minute
Are you having relationship issues in your marriage or family and need a professional to gain greater understanding and hope of your situation? I would love to help.