Perfect Image – 16th May 2022

Caught in my first impression
Trapped by a spider’s smile
The tail-wagging dog bites
The hand after a while
Escape at the realisation
Is never a pretty sight to behold
Be better to live with the mess
If the truth be told

From Eric Barker’s newsletter:

How do we make love last? A lot of people fear that if they raise issues with their partner it can lead to arguing and that will end the relationship. So they stay silent…

But it is doubleplusungood wrongthink to believe that complaining is a problem. The research shows bottling up actually ends more marriages than arguing. Complaining, in the big picture, is actually a positive – it gets issues out in the open where they can be resolved. What leads to divorce isn’t complaining; it’s criticism.

From Plays Well With Others:

Complaining is actually healthy for a marriage. It’s criticism that predicts divorce. Complaining is when I say you did not take the trash out. Criticism is when I say you did not take the trash out because you’re a horrible person. The first is about an event, the second is about your fundamental personality. To keep your relationship solid, turn your criticisms into complaints. Address the event, not the person.

To say that criticism is bad for a relationship is like saying “The Grand Canyon is kinda big.” True but insufficient. Researcher John Gottman found it was one of four things that predicted divorce 83.3% of the time.

So don’t be afraid to raise that issue — but don’t make it personal. Address the problem, not their character. This leads to conversations that actually make your relationship stronger.

Whilst I’m inclined to agree with the above sentiment, I thought about how this has played out in my life. Another factor that came into play for me was low self-esteem. So that when my partner may have been complaining, I took it personally as criticism. This is particularly what ended my marriage with Bronwyn, along with a whole bunch of other factors that added up to become too much for me to deal with.

I’m much better with this these days but it can still rear its ugly head from time to time, though I’m usually aware of it even if I can’t put my finger on it.

Let me know your thoughts

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