In a relationship, we often unknowingly hurt our partner’s feelings while trying to help them. How? Well, often times it takes place when we’re trying to help the other person become a better version of themselves.
The “help” comes in the form of criticism, even though we might frame it as feedback.
Not many people can tell the difference between feedback and criticism. Here is a hint for you readers: it’s the jarring that separates them. It’s especially difficult to recognize feedback while unloading issues on another person—hey sound very much like criticism in the heat of the moment.
The sad truth remains that while critical people mean well, they can end up gnawing away their perfectly good relationships into bits. A critical person usually doesn’t realize they are critical; they certainly don’t understand the damage it can do to their relationships.
Psychologist Steven Stosny explains how a good relationship is ruined when criticism is mistaken or disguised as feedback.
# People take offense
No matter how many times you start your criticism with the words “Don’t take offense to this, but…” or “I don’t mean to offend you, but…” people will always see this as an insult or an attack on their personality.
It’s human nature to react and this sort of criticism sends us whirling into a defensive mode. Additionally, we tend to ignore the feedback in this state of mind and in the event of criticism, even less so. The result? Two frustrated unhappy people at the end of the conversation.
# Criticism makes people feel submissive
When people are pointing out your flaws and shortcomings in order to help you, how often do they take a step back and consider how it comes across? The criticizer takes a dominant role and the person getting criticized becomes submissive.
Generally, people tend to avoid any sort of advice coming from a dominant personality. People don’t like negativity and over time, if there’s constant “negative feedback”, a person can’t help but start to resent the person along with their criticism.
# People want to feel valued
Criticism has a way of making people feel unappreciated and devalued. The lack of appreciation and helpfulness in a relationship has a way of pushing people away. This, in turn, results in making people think “what’s the point or trying?”.
Sometimes people end up feeling that they would rather be alone than to continue being unappreciated for their contributions in a relationship.
It’s a never-ending cycle, and it’s hard to stop once it has started. If you berate yourself for simple things like dropping a plate and missing an appointment, chances are you are a critical person. You probably behave towards other people the same way you do to yourself.
Also, check out 11 Ways To See If A Person Is Emotionally Manipulating You