Don't do these things.
"I've never been able to pursue my career; it's always your career first!"
"I just can't stand to look at you!"
Have you ever said any of these things to your partner or has your partner ever said any of these things to you? If your answer is yes, then, you are not alone.
1. You attack your partner with criticism.
Criticism attacks the character of the person. The antidote to criticism is to complain without blame. A complaint focuses on a specific behavior. Talk about your feelings using I statements and expressing a positive need.
Criticism: "You always talk about yourself. You are so selfish."
Antidote: "I’m feeling left out by our talk tonight. Can we please talk about my day?"
2. You are always defensive.
This is defined as self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victim-hood in attempt to ward off a perceived attack. Many people become defensive when they are being criticized, but the problem is that being defensive never helps to solve the problem at hand.
Defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner. You’re saying, in effect, the problem isn’t me, it’s you. As a result, the problem is not resolved and the conflict escalates further. The antidote is to accept responsibility, even if only for a small part of the conflict.
Defensiveness: "It’s not my fault that we’re always late, it’s your fault."
Antidote: "Well, part of this is my problem, I need to think more about time."
3. You show contempt for your partner.
These are statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Some examples of displays of contempt include when a person uses sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a practice in San Mateo, CA. For more information please go to, www.LessonsforLove.com.
This article was originally published at www.LessonsforLove.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.