How to Stop Criticizing Your Partner [The Stress Less Show - Episode 25]

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>> Carlee: Hi I'm Carlee Myers I am a stress management mentor. One thing I hear day in and day out is that we feel like we've tried everything when it comes to stress management. We may have tried mainstream approaches to managing stress, but have we really tried to get to the root of the issue. Each episode, I bring on experts and leaders to not just put a Band-Aid on your stress, but to actually get to the root of the problem. This month, we're focusing on relationships and this episode specifically one of the top killers of relationships and that is criticism. Criticizing your partner and being criticized by your partner. I'm really really excited to have my guest expert, Alex Streisand, back for the second time. She is a certified professional confidence and relationship coach. Welcome back, Alex.

>> Alex: Thanks so much, Carlee. I am excited to be back.

>> Carlee: Awesome. So. For those of us who missed our our last episode that you were on, what is a confidence or relationship coach?

>> Alex: Yes, so for everyone who missed. Basically, what I do is I help break through those negative thoughts and emotions in order to transform your life so that you're able to truly trust yourself and your partner while accepting yourself for who you are. Both on the inside and the outside and gain a deeper understanding for what it is that you want and deserve while releasing that judgment that you have on yourself.

>> Carlee: Yes. So again and we talked about last time that you gotta love yourself before you can love someone else and that... that self-love sets the standard. And so I love that. So you know, I know we've talked a little bit earlier about how you... one of one of the reasons why you got into this line of work and we talked about a specific story would you mind sharing that?

>> Alex: Absolutely. So just like I was talking last week about how appreciation is so important in a relationship. Criticizing your partner is also something that is really really detrimental to a relationship and such an important topic which is why this really resonates with me as well. And what really came up for me is like... First it's knowing the difference between criticism and then like you know complaining or voicing your opinion. Whereas when you're criticizing someone, it's more of like you're telling you're attacking them verse when you were voicing your opinion or expressing what's going on. You're more like telling them. So there's there's that borderline of anger verse actually like communicating properly and the story really came up for me was... I know for me a big trigger is you know cell phones at the dinner table and I remember, back before coaching, I was sitting with my boyfriend at the table and he was literally sitting there on his phone and I was talking and he was not paying attention to a word that I was saying and instead of being like, "Hey I don't really enjoy the way you're sitting on your phone because I want to talk to you," I felt like it was like all of a sudden anger of like, "You're always sitting on your phone at dinner. It's so annoying. All I want to do is talk to you, but you could care less and you're being so selfish right now. And all of a sudden, he was like, "Oh my God" because that jumped into an argument and I was like, "OK what did I just start right now?" Right it was kinda like a big trigger of OK, we're both now on totally different pages and I reacted before thinking. And now he's jumping down my throat to kind of get into that defense mode because, I'm sure like we all know, as soon as we're criticized or do criticizing, the defense mechanism automatically comes up and then it's like war. So for me that was like a big thing that, especially when I started working with a coach which I absolutely recommend working with a coach or a therapist to really get through this, is you know having the coach show me like OK this is what you are... This is what's going on here and this is what's coming up and how do we get through that. And it really took a lot of self work to be like, "OK wow, I'm realizing that the criticizing is really detrimental. It's really hurting" because it wasn't only me, it was coming up a lot in him too and it was really starting to tear us apart. So for me, I think the biggest thing that I would recommend besides working with a coach and a therapist which I do recommend getting on, but before that is even something to start with today is really creating awareness around your behavior. So that means really taking time to think before you speak. So before you criticize like pause take a deep breath and then ask yourself like, "OK why is this affecting me so strongly?" Is this worth the fight? And what's a nicer way to express the way I'm feeling without attacking.

>> Carlee: Yeah. And what's a way in which your partner's going to be more likely to hear what you have to say right versus getting the defense mechanisms, you know, up. It's funny that you say that too because I remember a specific situation in one of my relationships of doing that same thing and snapping. Right. But I actually... Had I actually thought before I spoke, it wasn't it had actually nothing to do with what he was doing it had everything to do with my insecurities. And so your work is so important because if we don't address our insecurities and we don't think before we act and notice those and we're aware of them, we could we could start fights and start conflict that's totally unnecessary.

>> Alex: Absolutely absolutely and then we find ourselves. Like when that's happening we're like constantly getting annoyed. We're disappointed in our partners and like we're having then all of these false expectations of them. And I feel like that ties into the trick number two is like really focusing on being realistic with what your expectations are between you and your partner. So because it's so easy for us to create these high expectations and expect that our partner is in our head and reading our minds and knowing everything we want from him or her. Like that is so not realistic.

>> Carlee: For the listener at home I am not in my life to the point of being a bobble doll, like this is so true and it's something that I've had to learn personally, clients of mine have had to learn as well. Expectations are, and I think this is something even probably the Buddha or the Dalai Lama or someone has said that expectations are, you know, killer in terms of happiness, they kill happiness.

>> Alex: Yeah absolutely. So the next time that you're even like in a situation where it's like, "Am I being realistic?" It's like stopping then, pausing, taking a deep breath and asking yourself. OK, well what is leading to this criticism? Like where are my expectations in this... In this situation and are they realistic? Because that'll at least gain like... Create some clarity for you to be like OK, let's pump the brakes and see where I'm at before I move forward and now cause something so much bigger than it needs to be.

>> Carlee: Yeah

>> Alex: And that ties into my my third tip which is

>> Carlee: Just flowing along I love it.

>> Alex: You're just getting into it and like that for me. Then my third tip is really like communicating more effectively which I think is huge. Communication is such a big part of every relationship. And this again leads back to creating that awareness. But this time, it's with addressing an issue. So it's really focusing on making suggestions to help your partner understand and improve rather than attack and totally destroy. Because that can I can assure you that when we actually come from a place of understanding and trying to hear where they're coming from and trying to explain more of where we're coming from, our partner is going to respond more openly and they're going to take in our feedback and encouragement rather than shutting down and getting defensive.

>> Carlee: Yeah and I think that kind of brings us full circle of communication versus criticism and I think. Yeah I think that's absolutely key. And so for those of us who are listening at home we feel like maybe we want a little bit more or a little more support. How can we find you?

>> Alex: Yeah of course. So if you go to my website Alexandra Streisand coaching dot com you will find an area where you can sign up for a 30 minute free consultation with me where I can answer all questions and concerns you may have. Also my email is Alexandra Streisand coaching at gmail dot com.

>> Carlee: Awesome. Great. So thank you so so much Alex for coming on the show. And this concludes this episode of The Stress Less Show. This episode was sponsored by The Stress Less Space located at 16th and Walnut in Philadelphia, PA. The Stress Less Space is the ultimately lady cave for women to relax and recharge away from the cast of everyday life. You can find more information about The Stress Less Space at Stress Less Co dot com. We'll see you next week.