Does Criticism Keeps Anger Warm and Relationships Cold?
Criticism is a kind of assault. Critical and judgemental thinking accumulates assault ammo. It is helpful to remember that anger is about control while dealing with any rage issue. Criticism and critical thought habits are like a herding dog’s bark. Constant critical remarks and judgments about another person’s conduct tend to “head off” actions that the critic finds unacceptable. The sheepdog’s job is to keep the sheep from wandering from the master’s specified path.
Similarly, in relationships, the goal of your criticism is to keep your spouse from deviating from what you believe is the appropriate thing for him or her to do.
Jerry’s rage started early in their relationship. He rapidly assumed the position of “family supervisor.” It is his responsibility to ensure that everything continues on schedule. He serves as both the family sheepdog and the family supervisor. He isn’t really fond of this part. It hurts him the majority of the time.
While the children were still at home and growing up, his important family position left him lonely and alienated from the rest of the family. However, he believed it was his responsibility to protect the family sheep as a shepherd. His attitude toward his wife and children as “sheep” made it difficult for him to appreciate them as people.
Another function of criticism is to keep anger alive and ready for management. Anger has become a habit. If you don’t practice your habits, they will die. The habit is so easily accessible that we believe other people are the source of our rage.
Angry thoughts and sentiments seem to “spring up” in unexpected situations. It’s as though the people or situations around you “cause” the anger to “pop up.” Our practice of being critical, on the other hand, keeps wrath heated and ready.
Critical thinking and judgments keep the ammo for controlling your spouse fresh and ready at all times.
Anger functions similarly to other habits. Many things will “make” you smile if you have a tendency of smiling often.
Many things will “make” you suspicious if you are suspicious often.
In relationships, anger follows the same pattern: if you criticize your spouse often, your partner will “make” you furious frequently. We’ll divide this issue into two pieces so you may focus on resolving it: judgemental thinking and publicly judging your relationship, and critical thinking and open criticism of your partner.
One issue is thinking judgmentally or publicly judging your spouse on a regular basis.
Judgments turn facts into guilt. For example, if your partner fails to call (fact), you may consider him or her to be negligent (guilt). A distinct issue is having critical thoughts or publicly criticizing your partner on a frequent basis.
Critical ideas imply that you are in command of someone else’s actions. For example, when your spouse attempts unsuccessfully to set the VCR, you fume and squirm.
Let’s begin with critical thinking. Making factual decisions is a crucial element of life. “That’s a pine tree,” says the judge. “You are my buddy” is a statement of fact. “You are my adversary” is a verdict.
• Factual conclusions boil down to “You are X” or “It is an X.”
• Judgmental thinking adds a layer of meaning to factual judgments: “You are an X.”
Consider the statements below. “Mike doesn’t pick up the towels,” Kelly complains. He hands them over to me to collect.” You may believe that these remarks or sentiments can only indicate that Mike is guilty of something, and that they are consequently based on judgmental thinking. But they may be either judgemental or factual, and whatever way Kelly intended them matters a lot.
A guilty verdict means that Mike did something he shouldn’t have done and should be punished or held accountable for it. A factual judgment is nothing more than a statement of fact.
“Mike doesn’t pick up the towels,” Kelly considered as an example of guilty judgment. He hands them over to me to collect. As if I were a guy.
What a jerk.” The message is that being a guy entails being a slob, and that men should be embarrassed of their masculinity.
“Mike doesn’t pick up the towels,” Kelly says as an example of factual judgment. He hands them over to me to collect. I need to inform him that I will no longer be picking them up.”
Your emotionality is the key to identifying guilty judgment. If you can speak or think something with a feeling of calm elegance, they’re probably true. If thinking about or uttering them gets your “motor going,” they’re probably judgemental thoughts.
In the previous paragraphs, read Kelly’s two ideas. Take note of how one urges you to raise your voice while the other may be read calmly. Your rage is maintained through judgmental thinking. It closes the gap between thinking “Mike doesn’t pick up his clothes” and vocally assaulting Mike when he does something offensive or unexpected.
You are not obligated to stop judging.
You can still make factual judgments while avoiding judgemental thinking. Jerry believes he must quit expressing his thoughts in order to refrain from passing judgment on Joyce. He doesn’t have to become completely blank. He has the ability to shift from judgemental to factual thinking. “Joyce often takes judgments that I disagree with and believe are incorrect,” for example. This is undeniably true.
Changing Your Partner’s Judgmental Thinking into Factual Thinking
Identify four judgemental ideas you have about your spouse on a regular basis. Make an effort to convert them become facts. You may need to make changes.
It might be difficult to distinguish between judgemental and factual thinking at times. Here are a few of samples to get you started:
Example 1 My Discriminatory Thoughts:
My spouse prefers attention from outsiders over my thoughts. When we’re at a party, he simply disappears and speaks rubbish to anybody who will listen. He never seems to notice me.
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Factual Conclusion: I suppose the facts are that my spouse engages in a lot of small chat during social gatherings. Even though I’m left to fend for myself, he’s a salesperson who utilizes these gatherings to make connections. He’s not paying attention to me when he’s doing this.
If necessary, revise: I’m still irritated every time I read this. We’re at it again. My spouse works in sales. He finds possible customers at the gatherings we attend. This means that during these occasions, we spend a lot of time apart. I’m able to read this with greater ease now.
My Judgmental Thoughts in Example 2:
My girlfriend believes she is superior to me. She’s constantly bragging about her education and how excellent it is, as well as how wealthy her parents are.
Factual Conclusion: I’m not sure whether she believes she’s superior or not. So, there are the facts. My partner talks a lot about the college she attended. I never attended college, therefore none of it matters to me. She also discusses her parents’ finances on occasion.
If necessary, revise: I’m less enraged as I read these adjustments, but I’m still annoyed. So here we go once again. My girlfriend sometimes speaks about her college experience. It doesn’t pique my attention.
She also discusses her parents’ finances on occasion. She seemed to be pleased with herself. I don’t feel emotional when I read this. Thinking in this manner also helps me feel more mature and self-assured.