At some point in your life you will encounter criticism in public from your partner. Dealing with criticism is an important skill in married life. Criticism isn’t easy to accept, but it all depends on how you take the criticism. The reason most of us find it difficult to accept criticism is because it reflects on our perfectionism, insecurities and need for control. But if the criticism is on-going from your partner and is frustrating you, then you need a strategy in place.
How to deal with public criticism from your partner
1. Get preventive and draw boundaries. You and your partner should sit down and have open communication and come to an understanding that you will not criticise each other in public. Not only the person who criticises, but also the other should be part of the pact.
2. Do not be defensive or start a counter war when criticised. Calm down and appear composed.
3. Put on the shelf temporarily any problems that you have at home while you are socialising. Don’t take your dirty linen into public for washing. Leave that at home and you will see that time can minimise your frustration or hurt.
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Stay calm and contemplate
4. Delay your reaction, because no action is better than reaction. Let the criticism marinate on you, so you can reflect if it’s constructive or destructive and how you want to respond. You can leave the room and take a long breath or drink some water for a calming effect.
5. Do not let it remain with you also; calm down and handle it and do away with it.
6. List your grievances to your partner. You both can put anything on the list. Does your partner interrupt too much? Is the tone unbearable? Does the partner become verbally abusive? However, you must also explain why the behaviour bothers you.
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Show them you care
7. Develop care signals between your partner and you that you will use in public to alert the partner when he is going overboard with criticism.
8. Retaliate in a dignified way by giving her a piece of your mind in private. Be mindful of your tone and vocabulary in return.
9. Have a “no comparison policy” with your spouse, because comparison is always a part of criticism and comparison works on one’s pride.
“Any fool can criticise, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” Dale Carnegie
Do not let your own pride be a hindrance, but have the maturity to distinguish between constructive criticism and unnecessary ridicule. As important as it is to handle criticism, it is also vital to ignore it when you can.