Why does he tend to take your suggestions or opinions as criticisms? Is the problem in the way you word or present them? Maybe sometimes—but not all the time. Most likely it has to do with how he feels about himself in relation to you.
each partner assumes that the other one
has negative intentions
behind their messages.
In a distressed relationship, each partner assumes that the other one has negative intentions behind their messages. We can be certain that this belief will distort the message when it passes through the filter system. According to author Eric Hoffer, “We usually see only the things we are looking for – so much that we sometimes see them where they are not.”
We can change the way we feel about certain messages by changing our interpretation. One way to do this is to pause and explore other ways of interpreting.
Since our interpretation may be wrong, we need to share it with our partner: “This is what I hear you saying. Am I correct?” It is wise to remember: we cannot assume that our interpretation is the only one. Before getting upset, try speaking your interpretation out loud to see if it is what the speaker intended.
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700