Fed Up Of Being Criticised?
How To Handle Your Partner Pointing Out Your Flaws
It reaches a point where you’re just fed up of being criticised.
Your partner criticises you for working too much – or not enough. For driving too slow – or too fast. For being addicted to your phone – or not texting back.
You’re criticised for being too strict with the kids – or too lenient. For being too reckless with money – or too tight. For letting yourself go – or caring too much about your appearance.
You’re criticised for going out too much – or not enough. For wanting too much sex – or not enough. For not pulling your weight with the housework – or being too fussy about how your home looks.
Criticism takes its toll – and it’s wearing when you live with someone who’s constantly pointing out your mistakes or drawing attention to your bad habits. It’s understandable to feel fed up of being criticised, and to start to experience your partner as the enemy. It’s not unreasonable to pull away, disconnect, hold them at a distance, or close your heart.
You don’t have to stay with a critical partner. But if you’re choosing to stay, is there a way to be around criticism without it hurting so much?
A powerful perspective when you’re fed up of being criticised
Over the years, you’ve probably acquired a mirror or two – because you want to see how you look. You want to see a reflection of who you are.
You don’t blame the mirror when it shows you a reflection you don’t like. You feel grateful for that reflection, because it’s giving you information; you can use this information to fix your hair or adjust your outfit.
If you’re fed up of being criticised, try treating your partner as your mirror
Are you driving too fast? Are you being more strict with the kids than you’d like? Is your libido lower than you’d like it to be?
If you can find some truth in this reflection, then your partner isn’t the enemy. They’re the mirror. And mirrors can be supportive.
Rather than closing your heart to them, or arguing back, acknowledge the mirror. Acknowledge that you see some truth in what they say – even if only 1%. You could share what you’ve found with your partner, but what’s most important is acknowledging it internally.
“I wish I hadn’t come home so late last night. I didn’t get enough sleep / I’d have loved an evening together.”
“Yes, I have put on weight. I’m not enjoying my clothes feeling tighter.”
“When I go through an intense period of work like this, I notice I don’t do as much housework.”
You might not be able to acknowledge these aspects of yourself immediately after being criticised, when their words are still stinging; give yourself time.
Acknowledge yourself in the mirror that your partner provides you with.
Whatever they’re accusing you of being or doing, look for evidence that they’re right. “Ah yes, I do that. Oh, I see where I am that.”
Conventional wisdom says it’s unkind to point out someone’s flaws, and you can certainly ask your partner to share feedback more gently. But if you’re committed to personal growth, don’t you want to see everything about yourself? Who better than your partner to reflect you back to yourself?
Be gentle with yourself during that initial sting of criticism, and then use what your partner’s mirroring back as great support for your deeper self-awareness.
Easier said than done?
Seeing your partner as your mirror, and being grateful for any reflection, is a powerful way to stay open-hearted – but it can also be incredibly hard to adopt this mindset. If you’d like one-to-one support, book a free consultation here. You’ll discover how to move beyond the pain of criticism and feel peaceful within yourself – and connected with your partner.