How to Handle Criticism in Relationships

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handle criticism

How do you handle criticism in relationships? Here are seven forms of criticisms that are not okay, and what to do about them.

How you handle criticism in a relationship can be a game changer. If you feel you’re being criticized by your partner in a non-constructive way, that’s not okay. For a relationship to work, both partners need to learn how to give constructive feedback instead of attacking each other’s personalities or behaviors. 

In this video, I share seven things you and your partner should never criticize each other for, or the relationship will be at risk.

How to Handle Criticism in Relationships

Criticism is an attack on someone’s character. The difference between expressing a complaint and criticizing is…

• Criticism: “You’re so selfish. You never think about helping with the dishes, because all you think about is yourself!”

• Complaint: “When you left the table after dinner without helping with the dishes, I was upset. I thought we had agreed that you’d help with the dishes after every meal. Would you be willing to do the dishes now please?”

If you and your partner are critical of each other, it’s a warning sign that the relationship is in trouble. If criticism is pervasive, it can lead to contempt, which is a relationship killer.

7 Types of Criticism That Are NOT Okay

When someone criticizes:

1. Your feelings

2. Your dreams and goals

3. Your sexual preferences

4. Your core personality 

5. How you look

6. Your opinion

7. Your level of sensitivity

The antidote to criticism is expressing what you DO want, rather than focusing on what you DON’T want.

If you want to give constructive feedback, create a safe atmosphere that allows for that. If the purpose of the feedback is to cut each other down, this relationship will not work. Diplomatic disagreement is an essential skill that will help you succeed in all areas of life.

And keep in mind:

“People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.”

– Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages

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