Do you have a child that you find you are constantly pulling up?
Or a partner that you criticise over small things, from morning till night?
It might be time to take a look at what type of relationship you are creating, and whether you are happy to continue that way.
Usually, people have their hearts in the right place and are actually aiming to help the person they are critical of, by pointing out the easier/better way to do/achieve something.
But somewhere along the line, the ‘helpful suggestion’ can turn into an unhelpful habit that characterizes the whole relationship. It can also become a substitute for deeper resentments or hurts that are not being acknowledged in the relationship.
Take an example of a mother and son who are constantly at loggerheads over the son’s personal hygiene. Or, a mother who is constantly annoyed at the son’s lack of personal hygiene. These are actually 2 different things!
By being able to recognize that your own set of priorities can be very different from someone else’s, can allow you to become clearer about what the issues really are.
So, a son’s infrequent hair-washing may not really mean he will never get a job and be an upstanding pillar of society! He may just not see squeaky clean hair as part of his necessary ablutions.
Does it really matter? Is it symbolic of something deeper for the mother? Is this the type of interaction that either person wants?
Get clear on what the conflict is actually about and thoughtfully approach those issues at a time when you are not angry or irritated.
3 steps to stop the criticism:
Vanessa Steele, ThoughtMatters counsellor
Vanessa Steele: counsellor, mum, partner, blogger... listening and learning every day.