You live in constant criticism and nagging from your partner. You feel that the criticism is not justified and want to improve the relationship, but you're not sure where things went wrong between you two or how to fix these problems in the relationship.
If you are frequently criticized by your partner, it can lead to significant tension in your relationship. You may feel like you're constantly under attack or that nothing you do is good enough.
If you find that criticism has become a problem in your relationship, it's important to address it before the problem becomes even bigger.
Criticism in relationships has many facets
Sometimes criticism is openly expressed, in the form of comments or gestures that clearly aim to anger or hurt the person they are directed at - with phrases like "you've gained weight" or "you look tired today".
Sometimes, however, criticism can be more subtle or passive-aggressive, such as sarcasm or comments that seem to be meant as a joke.
Criticism and nagging can have many different reasons. Perhaps the person is simply expressing their dissatisfaction with a particular situation, but there may also be deeper motivations behind this behavior. A person who frequently criticizes another may enjoy embarrassing them because they sometimes feel powerless. Perhaps they are unhappy, or maybe it gives them a sense of control over you.
Dealing with criticism
If you're struggling with frequent criticism in your relationship, here are some things to consider:
- Speak gently but directly with your partner. Tell them how you feel when you are criticized. This way, you take responsibility for your own feelings, and your partner won't feel like you are attacking them.
- Consider what issues may be behind the criticism. While not very effective, criticism can be a way to express dissatisfaction in a relationship. If you're honest with yourself, would you say that there are areas in your behavior that could be better?
- Be open and honest about any issues. Again, you should not frame your comments as attacks, but as sincere attempts to understand what's going wrong. If you need help with this, you can work with a couples therapist.
Convert Criticism to Feedback
Learn to accept feedback for yourself. When your partner gives you feedback, it's important that you try to receive it in a constructive spirit. Don't assume that your partner is trying to hurt your feelings, but instead listen to what they have to say and seriously consider whether they're right.
Do I have to accept the criticism?
Just because your partner is unhappy doesn't mean that the criticism and nitpicking directed towards you are justified. The criticized person often believes that the fault lies with them and thinks they've done something wrong and needs to improve.
It may be that you don't want to change the habit you're constantly criticized for, and you're not obligated to do so either. You may be understanding, but no matter how hard you try, the criticism won't disappear quickly. Even if the criticism is true, it's not loving to continue nagging.
When to end the relationship
Maybe your partner has a dry sense of humor that comes across as unapproachable. Perhaps they intentionally send negativity your way, or they're not a very supportive partner. Whatever the case may be, you don't have to put up with feeling belittled on a daily basis.
If you're unable to solve the frequency and intensity of the severe nitpicking and criticizing, you should consider how much you can tolerate. Constant criticism can be a possible warning sign that your relationship has become toxic.
If your partner always tells you, "You're not good at that" or "You shouldn't have done that," you may have heard everything there is to hear. You deserve to be with someone who makes you feel strong and happy and accepts your behaviors. If you talk to your partner about how they should word their words differently, that may be the solution you need, but it's also okay to say goodbye if they constantly bring you down.
Try couple's therapy
If it doesn't work, don't hesitate to seek help from outside. Whether it's couple's therapy or individual counseling, if one person has more problems than the other. Couple's therapy is a great tool for saving your relationship that has gone through a difficult phase. It helps both parties talk about the events in the relationship and find solutions so they can move forward together without their partnership being plagued by problems!
Even if you don't argue or have negative interactions with each other, it can be helpful for both parties to hear what they're doing well and what they could improve. This will also help you work together as a unit rather than focusing on your own problems.