What’s the difference between criticism and a complaint?!
Ever feel frustrated that you can’t get your point across to your spouse or partner without a huge fight? Dr. Liz will walk you through a couple stumbling blocks and mistakes that even great couples make that interfere with getting their point across and their concerns heard.
Rough Transcription: It’s Dr Liz and Dr Penny here. We had a couple moments and we wanted to drop back in and say Hi and answer a couple questions folks had. A while ago, last time we chatted, we were talking about ambushing your spouse. And so folks said okay, I stopped ambushing my sweetheart and then started telling him all the things that were wrong, things that have been bugging me and it blew up. Nothing. It didn’t go right, Liz. So I said, okay, well let’s talk about you’re not ambushing him. You’ve asked for the right moment to have your sitting down or have some time to chat. And yet it’s going sideways. And here’s one of the examples that might have happened is that you’re sitting down and you tell your spouse, look, I love you, but you’re a pig. You are such a slob. I go in the bathroom, there’s hair and makeup, yes, ladies and Penny’s comfy now. And then I go in the kitchen and your stuff is all, you know, everywhere I go, there’s something that’s a mess and there’s something that’s um, just laying around and you’re filthy, you’re a pig. Well, they said I blew up. I got offended. He called me a pig. He called me a pig pen, a slob, and complained about everything that I did. I say, well, let’s back it up here. Okay. So first of all, that was a criticism. It was contemptuous, name calling and it wasn’t truly valid. Always this, you’re a slob, these global terms, we’ve got to back it up guys. And I know you’ve got a lot of energy and a lot of, um, concern about whatever trait that your spouse is doing. So in this case, a better approach would be to have sat down and said, thanks. You know, thank you for sitting down with me. I have this, this problem is really stressing me out and I need some help here. When I go into the bathroom, I am upset because I see makeup on the counter. I see hair or trash or old clothes sitting around. I go out into the kitchen and our clean kitchen just, it overwhelms me because I see objects all over the counter or our stove is dirty from grease from last night and I don’t know what to do about it except tell you that this makes me very upset, very stressed and I then feel very angry towards you because I don’t feel like you care as much as I do. There’s no name calling in there. We’re talking about how the the bathroom or how the condition of the kitchen impacts you, not them, because maybe they don’t mind or maybe they are so busy through the going through the business of all the things that they have to go through that they don’t have the extra bandwidth to address things that actually bother you. So it’s called turning it into a complaint. We asked for the right time and we talk about how the thing or lack of thing impacts us and we express our value. Tell him we appreciate for letting them air this and we talk about what can we do from here. How do we go from here, right? If you do that, in this particular case, the other spouse will have the hair and the makeup might say, ah, I didn’t realize that was such a big thing for you. Okay. Or I’m so busy in the morning between getting the kids out the door, myself ready and lunches packed and the animals, what would they be? I don’t have any extra time to clean up after myself. Wow. Perfect opportunity for those two to step in and say, okay, what can we do? What can I do to help you in the morning? Um, what do we need to take care of? Or what do I need to just overlook because I know that you’re gonna come back and take care of it at another time. All right, so let’s start out by not getting defensive, not complaining back at the other person that, you know, if they would just help out more, this wouldn’t be a problem. Or get over it because this is the way life is and let’s stop attacking or criticizing our spouse. Again, don’t ambush. Get the timing right to share your concern into a complaint, state your feelings, be factual about what you see, and then be open to hearing what they have to say. Okay, we’ll take care. It’s a wonderful day. It looks like we’re off to a great start this morning and I’ll talk to you soon. Dr Penny says, hi, keep sending in your questions and drop into FocusWithDrLiz.com. Love to have you participate in my masterclass and definitely, definitely send me your questions, your concerns.