Solutions to Couples Criticizing
- Make Certain You Are Taking Good Care of You - Often times we feel blue or miserable. Perhaps we just aren't taking good care of ourselves. We're Moms. We're Dads. We're employees. We're volunteers. No matter what our roles. We sometimes wear so many different hats, we forget the hat of taking care of ourselves. Physically. Emotionally. Socially. Spiritually. Losing ourselves often leads to being unhappy in general. When this happens, we find it difficult to keep the negative thoughts in check. Take time to do an inventory of how well you are feeling. How's it going for you? Physically? Emotionally? Socially? Spiritually?
- Breathe and Notice - Notice what you are unhappy about. Notice how much it truly matters to you. Ask yourself questions. Is it life or death? Will anyone be harmed if you are silent? If you wait an hour, will it still bother you? Notice. Take 5 Breaths. Take 10 Breaths. Take 5 Minutes. Breathe! But, take the 5 minutes if necessary. There is no shame in taking a break. Not everything needs to be addressed right away.
- Learn to Issue A Complaint - Dr. John Gottman, researcher and psychologist extraordinaire, makes it clear in his findings that happily married couples know how to issue a complaint. It is really quite easy.
- Start with an "I" Statement - Try not to use any "You" in the complaint. I know it's hard, but try.
- State the Behavior - Don't make it about your partner, but make it about the behavior.
- State how a Behavior makes you Feel - Feeling words. Think the animated feelings in the movie 'Inside Out.' Sad. Angry. Scared. Disgusted. Joy.
- State what you need/want - Be specific. Be realistic. -- Here's a BIG TIP - Don't be afraid to say you aren't sure. Sometimes we know an action or saying makes us "uncomfortable." We're not certain what it is we are feeling. We're not certain what it is we need. It's OK. Give yourself a break. Chances are that if we're just learning how to Issue a Complaint, we didn't grow up knowing what we feel, think, want or need.
The next entry will cover what to do when you're the Criticized - Because we all trade roles!
Give this "Issue A Complaint" a try! Test it out. Let your partner know you're trying to change the dance steps of your relationship because you want to Ride Happily Off in the Sunset together! If you need help, call or email me. We'll talk. We'll decide together if I am a good fit for you as a therapist. email@example.com or 530-268-3558