No one likes criticism, especially when it comes from the nearest person. Therefore, in one of the previous articles, I wrote to you about the way in which I think it is right to express things that interfere with them, without moving in a critical way that will cause the listener to “lock”, defend, or attack back.
But, the world is not perfect, and we often get criticized, and here’s the listener’s part, to prevent the escalation, and to react effectively.
It is not simple, because criticism generates an instinctive and automatic response that is hard to avoid. In most cases people respond to criticism in one of three things:
Defending and denying your partner’s claims – ‘It’s not true that I’m always late, you’re just exaggerating’.
“You always see only the bad things I do, what about all the efforts I invest all the time for you?”
Counter attack – ‘I’m late ?! What about you?! When did you last arrive in time somewhere ?! ‘
All these methods are ineffective because they only deepen the conflict and invite more and more negative responses, so that a negative cycle of escalation begins.
How to respond to criticism effectively
As hard as it sounds – the most effective way to respond to criticism is … to accept it!
It may sound strange and difficult to implement, but the defensive response is ineffective, and certainly not the counterattack.
Of course, I do not intend to say that you should accept all of it, but it is very worthwhile to look for something specific where you can accept the criticism.
For example, in the situation described above, in which the husband visits his wife for being late, she does not have to agree that she is always late, but she can say: ‘You are right, I was late and I did not remember to announce, and I am sure it was not pleasant for you.’
If the woman feels that the inclusion that the husband has done (“you’re always late”) is not fair, the time to talk about it is in a calm conversation, and not in anger. Therefore, during the time itself it is recommended to respond as I described here, and in the evening, when sitting on a cup of coffee, she can say to him: ‘Do you know? This morning when you said I was always late I felt it was unfair. I make a lot of efforts to get there on time, and I am very much getting better at it, and it’s important for me not to allow every time I delay canceling all these efforts. ”
When things are said in a calm time, without anger, there is a much better chance that the husband will accept the things and apologize for the generalization.
Another example – this time about the husband:
When a woman is angry at her husband for not answering her phones during the day, there is no point in him being:
(“Why do you say I do not answer, I answered your phone at noon”).
“Why do you always attack me? Can not you see how hard I’m trying?”).
Or attack her back (‘You’d think you’re answering phones’).
Instead it’s better that he just gets the review or its share. He can say something like, ‘You’re right, I’m sure it was not pleasant for you to call again and again without an answer, I apologize that I was so busy and did not answer.’
If he still feels that the criticism was not fair, the right time to say it is when the anger calms down and then it is possible to talk effectively.