My Partner Criticizes Me


Relationship counseling video featuring Linda Nusbaum, who has a relationship counseling practice in Long Beach, CA.

My Partner Criticizes Me — Video Transcript

Being criticized feels really, really awful. Anyone who’s been picked apart can tell you that.

Why My Partner Criticizes Me

First, let me talk about why people criticize. They feel disappointed, and that disappointment stems from expectations. I expect someone to act a certain way; if they don’t, I will be disappointed. If I’m disappointed, I might criticize them.

A series of feelings underlies criticism. It’s not the first thing that people go to, but it’s usually the first action they take in response to feeling disappointed.

Try and understand where your beloved is coming from. If you’re being criticized, it’s likely that he or she criticizing needs something. Usually, when we hear criticism, our first impulse is to defend ourselves or disconnect from the situation.

I’d like to encourage you to have some understanding of where your wife or your beloved is coming from. See if you can help her.

It may take the form of, say:

  • “Why don’t you take out the trash?”
  • “Why did you leave your socks there?”
  • “You don’t listen to me when I talk to you.”

That’s criticism. That’s critical.

How to Deal with and Respond to Criticism

If you hear that, you’re being criticized. Instead of defending or disconnecting, stop and think to yourself, “What might my wife or beloved need?” Now, ask her about it.

It could sound like, “Honey, what do you need from me? I’m right here. I love you.”

I know it’s hard to say “I love you,” when you’re being criticized, but I know from clinical experience that people who are critical are sad. They’re sad because their needs aren’t being met.

If you, the one being criticized, can tap into that sadness and say, “Baby, I’m right here. Let me just be right here with you. What do you need?”

The person may not know what they need, but they know they’re going to feel something from their partner, and that’s really what they want. They want to feel something.

We all get into relationships, because we want to feel close, and to feel the most amazing we possibly can as human beings.

We want to feel heard, feel seen, feel loved, to feel like we’re meaningful to someone and that they cares about our thoughts and feelings. We want to feel secure in that relationship.

That transcends individual relationships.

If you’re having an issue with your mate, think about what isn’t being felt. Meeting that need will help your relationship.

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