Criticism is an utter failure at getting positive behavior change. Any short-term gain you might get from it builds resentment down the line. Read More
Well, I can say from experience (as the criticizer) that this is all completely true. While it may seem obvious to most (even people who are critical) it is extremely hard to see it in yourself or overcome it in relationships where you've already been critical.
As the criticizer, you honestly don't see it until you lose the most important people in your life because of it. I really did believe that my criticism was feedback. My intentions truly were pure. No one WANTS to be unhappy, unloved or misunderstood. But that is exactly what happens to you if you are critical. And just as the article says, it spirals out of control. About 3 weeks ago, the woman I expected to spend the rest of my life with, and had both been with each other from age 20 to now age 26, left me.
She left me because I was critical and everything else stems from this.
Much like the article said, it started off small but unfortunately that seemed to have planted the seeds of doubt. The seed grew, and I helped cultivate it by continuing to be critical. When you have been this way for so long, you really don't see it anymore. You really do justify it because your intentions are pure. You think you are being helpful pointing things out, or talking about issues with yourself, or issues you have with them. This might be true if you do it occasionally and don't use the approach that critical people use.
I honestly wish I had seen this article about 5 years ago. I know that things would have been different... that is if I would be able to honestly reflect on the article and commit to the changes. Unfortunately it is too late. The woman I was with feels freed. She feels like a huge burden has been lifted from her. She told me she loves me but isn't in love with me and that she doesn't feel there is anything left to salvage between us. She has friends and family to support her, a fulfilling career that she will be beginning soon, is in good health, and an overall bright future. I miss her and always will feel she is the one that I let slip away, but I know she is happier now and that she did not deserve to be miserable with me. There is no one to blame but myself and now I must live with this regret as I watch her be happy.
This is very accurate. I divorced last year after over 40 years of living with a man who was critical, blaming, and always ready with the "You SHOULD do (this or that)." No trying to please pleased.
And it is also true that critical people come to resent you, you withdraw, and the downward spiral keeps going.
It took me a long, long time, but I finally had enough. Thanks to a very good support group, faith in God, and a lot of research, I am now living life without anyone belittling me, contradicting me, blaming me, and mocking what I think and believe, and, as it was apparent in his last rage, who I am.
He was the only person who has ever treated me so disrespectfully, though there were, of course, good times in between. It's just that I never knew when it was going to be Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde. And no, I wasn't perfect, but I now know that I don't have to be in order to be accorded the basic respect every human being deserves.
I hope others find some good information here, too, to help them come out of the fog and get off the crazy-go-round.
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Steven Stosny, Ph.D., treats people for anger and relationship problems. Recent books: How to Improve your Marriage without Talking about It, and Love Without Hurt.
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