How can two critical AND sensitive people get along better?
December 16, 2007 9:49 AM Subscribe
How do two people who are both a) super-sensitive to criticism, real or imagined; b) prone to being critical toward others; and c) married manage to coexist peacefully?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
My s.o. and I are committed to the long haul, relationship-wise, and in most ways we get along famously.
One way we don't, though, is in the realm of nitmicking/criticism/nagging. We each - proof that god has a wicked sense of humor - tend to do it, hear it and react poorly to it, whether it's real or (more often) imagined, implied in tone of voice or "that look," etc.
This often leads to annoying, exhausting bickering that sometimes escalates into fights over nothing - mostly a test of wills over who said what with what intent, what "really happened," who was slighted and who deserves an apology. Basically, minor details about who's "right," instead of the underlying feelings. (Did I mention we're both control freaks?)
It's the reflex to snap back when you feel someone is unfairly criticizing you, usually in the form of "why-did[n't]-you," "what-were[n't]-you-thinking" statements. Sometimes it's even true, but it's still no healthy way to communicate.
We're well aware of it, we talk openly and lovingly about it once things cool down, we've gone to couples therapy at times and read many books about getting along with your spouse. In short, we know we do it, but deeply ingrained habits (thanks Mom and Dad!) are damned hard to break.
I'm just wondering if anyone has any battle-tested wisdom to share about either end of the equation: avoiding the statements that could be construed as critical; and avoiding the snap-back response. Biting your tongue and growing thicker skin, I guess.