The Constant Criticizer?
July 29, 2010 10:54 AM Subscribe
How constant should criticism actually be?
I feel like I’m living in a feedback loop of negativity. My partner points out absolutely everything I do that is even slightly wrong: if I chew too loud, if I shut a door too hard, if I step on the cat’s tail by accident (for which I already feel awful!), if my arm is on “their side,” if I simply bump into them (because they never bump into me, apparently). Nothing "off" can happen without a comment or some exasperated sigh. It’s just exhausting and sad.
If I do a “job” around the house, they will come by after to improve upon it/inspect it. It’s like they can’t help themselves. I don’t even think they realize that their behavior could be perceived as anything other than helpful, but it’s driving me crazy. I’m at a point where I actually get nervous, alone by myself, that I’ll break something or scratch the furniture, or whatever, because I am dreading the fallout. Not because it’s violent, but because it’s so degrading to continually hear how you’re -just slightly- messing up.
I’ve tried talking about it, calmly, and their response is that “it’s not about you.” Nor is there any concession on their part, nevermind an apology, that this might be hurtful behavior. The part that I don’t think they get is that their actions ARE now about me, because it’s hurting my feelings so much. To which I’m told that I am simply too sensitive.
Is this normal behavior? Am I way off base here? If I am being reasonable, what can I do to try and get my partner to acknowledge that these feelings are justified, and that I’d like for it to stop? Or, if I am just being too sensitive, how can I get a thicker skin to ward off the hurts that all of these little comments are producing?
Have you been on either side of this? What do you do to coexist peacefully?