Everyone has weaknesses and shortcomings, and few things expose this like being in a relationship. Being in a relationship will reveal how petty, immature, and embarrassing you can be. However, as many shortcomings as you may have, it’s important to be able to tell when your partner is being unfairly critical of you or whether you are being overly critical yourself. A critical spouse is someone who consistently engages in a pattern of behaviour where they express disapproval, fault-finding, blame, and negative judgments. Here are the signs to look out for:
If your partner is frequently critical of you, as in they’re consistently disapproving, fault-finding, and judging you, there may be a problem. If according to your partner, every little thing you do is wanting and could be improved on, they’re being unfairly critical.
You may be a victim of unfair criticism if your partner consistently criticizes you in public. It’s especially bad if they appear to enjoy doing it and refuse to hear you when you say it’s better to iron out any issues privately. This can have a negative impact not just on your self-esteem and self-image but also on your other relationships.
Nitpicking is an informal term for giving too much attention to details that are not important. If they tend to magnify issues and fixate on small things, this could lead to tension and a feeling of walking on eggshells around them.
An overly critical partner will be excessively triggered, complete with big emotional reactions over minor mistakes. This can make you constantly anxious about how they will react to any minor infraction.
An overly critical partner will hold you to higher standards than they hold themselves to. Mistakes that are small and insignificant when they do them are huge and deserving of all attention when you’re at fault. This will justifiably leave you feeling like you’ve been treated unfairly, leading to a potential buildup of resentment.
How to offer criticism
Here are some helpful tips for offering your partner criticism so that it’s healthy and potentially constructive.
Don’t attack their character: Focus on the error to avoid making them feel like a mistake is a reflection of their poor character or a personality flaw.
Focus on the outcome you want: Unfair criticism often has no interest in helping or offering solutions or guidance. The goal of fair criticism is to have a productive outcome, while unfair criticism just focuses on making the other person feel bad.
Be specific: Unfair criticism is often blanket without focusing on the specific thing that needs improvement. Try to avoid speaking in generalities like you always … you never … It’s rarely helpful and often leaves the other person feeling attacked.
Be open-minded: Unfair criticism demands you agree with the person criticizing you. A healthy interaction should allow for pushback so that the person can give their perspective. You should go into it with the understanding that you could be wrong.
Offer grace: To be fair, keep in mind any struggles your partner may currently be going through. For example, are they currently dealing with something like a mental health challenge that’s contributing to the error?
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