A criticism is a comment made in a demeaning way, and often using absolutist terminology, that is directed at a person when their partner wants them to change. Criticism can be hurtful to a relationship because it hurts the self-esteem of the one criticized, it causes distance in the relationship, and it is usually not effective. A better way to encourage change in a person’s behavior is to ask for what you need and talk about the person’s actions instead of insulting them.
- Criticism, which can corrode relationships, is not the same thing as a complaint, which can be entirely justified.
- While a complaint makes note of a thing done that was not appreciated, criticism goes onto suggest that act is representative of character flaw, ie inconsideration, sloppiness, stupidity etc.
- Criticism can be a way for the criticizer to engage in self-protection, as it is often too painful to admit what is really needed in a relationship.
“In fact, criticism is so damaging that relationship researcher John Gottman identified it as one of the top predictors of divorce — though it could spell disaster for nonmarried couples too.”