ERP 055: What To Do When You Are Feeling Criticized In Relationship

By Posted in - Criticism in a Relationship & Podcast February 29th, 2016 0 Comments how to respond to criticism in relationships

Criticism. It hurts. Especially when it comes from your significant other, the person who you want to feel a deeper connection with. Do you know what to do when you feel criticized in your relationship? This podcast episode helps you learn how to respond to criticism in relationships.

Listener’s question:

“You’ve done some wonderful work on avoiding or transfiguring critique… if you’re the one giving it.  However, what if you’re on the receiving end, and your partner is constantly looking for faults?  How would you turn that around?  My first instinct was to break up with her, that her mind has been poisoned with the opinions of others.

Key members of her family/friends thought I was a bit too weird and awkward, socially inept, even inappropriate.  Growing up in small towns, smaller schools, and being a techie… judgmental city folk like that really don’t get me.  Initially, we agreed that I see a therapist and read some social skills books, since I’m compliant, an advocate of self-improvement.

Eventually, it started bothering me.  About a year of that was enough, and I started standing up for myself, just straight up saying no sometimes, refusing the critique outright even.  She went distant after that, and two months later, she broke things off.”

(These are Show Notes: Be sure to listen to the episode to hear stories, examples, and more tips.)

Tips for How to Respond to Criticism in Relationships:

1. Trust Yourself

  • how to respond to criticism in relationshipsListen to your gut instinct and/or inner wisdom.
  • Acknowledge your needs.
  • Be honest about “a good fit” when dating and exploring relationship potential (i.e. values, desires, etc.).

2. Ask Curious Questions

  • Get to know her/his experience.
  • Learn what she is thinking, feeling, and desiring.
  • What is underneath her complaint? For example, What would me washing my hands do differently for you? What would it allow you to feel?”

3. Set Limits And Boundaries

  • Do not engage in dynamics that are hurtful.
  • Set a standard for respect.
  • Don’t participate in communication that does not feel good to you.
  • Participate in communication that is constructive.

4. Redirect And Ask For Constructive Communication

  • how to respond to criticism in relationshipsLet her/him know what type of communication you are interested in.
  • Let her/him know you want to hear her experience in a constructive way.
  • Communicate your needs and desires around this topic.

5. Practice Self-Validation

  • Acknowledge your positive characteristics and qualities.
  • Appreciate what you have to offer.
  • Validate your worthiness.



Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: What To Do When You Are Feeling Criticized In Relationship [TRANSCRIPT]

If you have a topic you would like me to discuss or a situation you would like me to speak to, please contact me by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Jessica Higgins” button here.

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Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication

Shifting Criticism For Connected Communication.

Stop the criticism loop, learn new ways to communicate
and strengthen the connection with your partner.


Dr. Jessica Higgins ~ Relationship and Transformational Coaching