I can't take criticism
My Fiancè and I have quarreled this many times. I do something for him like make his breakfast or lunch in the morning. Or dinner in the evening. Doing his laundry. And a lot of the times it's far from perfect.
Most of the time I get a thank you. But occasionally I get a "thank you, but..." To which I've done something that needs improving. The kicker is while my Fiancè and I were dating he said thank you consistently and everything was an attitude of gratitude even if it came out ugly or imperfect.
Since getting engaged and moving in and I had taken on a more domestic role in the relationship. I admit I'm not in anyway cut out for the job but I had been used to dealing with my own issues and facing whatever rewards and consequences happen. Anyways, I started not doing the laundry right (he wants it done his way). I would make a certain dinner the way I grew up making it and he wouldn't like it because he thought it was something else. I would put cheese in an omelet (because cheese makes sense to be in an omelet) and he doesn't like cheese in his omelet. Later to find out he doesn't want cheese for breakfast period after making him a breakfast quesadilla. I put too much dressing on the coleslaw. There was too much Mayo on his sandwich this afternoon.
Why do we quarrel over it? Because it's not just a quick thanks for the sandwich, can you give me less mayo next time? It's "you put a quarter inch of Mayo on that thing! Why didn't you take the crust off? Why didn't you toast it? (Things that weren't in the original request for the sandwich) I had to take a napkin and scrape off the mayo and go 'dammit baby' *pretends to throw it away*!" All in a joking manner. And since we have quarreled about this in the past I try to keep a neutral face. But he sees that I'm hurt by yet again disappointing him. He then gets mad and somehow turns it around on me. Yet again, telling me how I can't take criticism... "How on earth did you get through college if you can't take criticism? This makes me not want to talk to you. You always say if I have a problem bring it up to you. But you take everything personally."
This evening he's taken it as far as to "relieve" me of any responsibility. He will take care of his own breakfast and lunch, do his laundry, and take the trash out on his spare time. He tells me to just stay in bed and sleep since he stresses me out so much with his criticism and that makes him an "asshole." Like how does that not make me a burden? There are days I have to do the dishes 6x because I do them and a new pile appears after his mother brings her dishes out or I find dishes in our room. And I had to fix my lunch so there's dishes. His mom fixes her lunch. There's some more dishes. After dinner more dishes. But I don't throw it in his face like he does to me when putting away the laundry on the line or taking out the trash he strew over the floor over the course of the three days I was at work if it's still there on a day he gets home from work and I had off.
Now for some perspective. We both work full time. I will be the first to admit that I'm not a clean housekeeper. This place is a mess. And I get overwhelmed easily by mess. And this place is paralysing! I would probably be more successful at cleaning if the mess was my decision to get rid of (the place isn't mine, the clutter isn't my things, there is no room for the amount of stuff we have in the first place, and when I moved he didn't get rid of stuff he said he was going to). This place looks like a boarder line hoarder's house. No one wants to throw anything away/donate it until it's been used to the point of busting (and even then it would probably cause a fight if I was using it when it broke). But since I used to do 3 twelves at a hospital and now I took a new job working from home and therefore home more, the responsibility of cleaning up after the both of us plus my sick Mother-in-law (currently on chemo) should apparently fall to me. I'll admit that I haven't been doing my fair share of laundry. And my preferred method of laundry is not to his liking. Also his mother pays for most of the rent and I pitch in when I can and when she needs me to. Without question. I also pay for groceries for dinners on what used to be my days off from the hospital. I will pay for meals out most of the time pulling my card out and splitting it with my Fiancè or sometimes being told to put it away. I am also planning our wedding and paying for as much stuff as I can. I have not asked for financial help for the wedding from my Fiancè aside from the rehearsal dinner cost and to make sure his tux is rented. My money and my free time outside of wedding planning and spending quality time is limited.
Secondly... We both have been raised in different environments. He was raised to do things perfectly so that your things last and are taken care of. I was raised to be thankful for everything. If someone does something for you, whether it came out well or not, so you didn't have to; you say 'thank you.' Doesn't matter if it was my parents who are "supposed" to do those sorts of things for me or someone else. Be thankful you didn't have to do it and someone took the time to do it for you. Maybe it's stupid bit that's how I want to raise our kids and they can focus on taking pride in doing things for themselves and others to perfection. Like putting his point of view and mine together.
All in all I'm feeling frustrated. I can't take criticism. I've been prone to depression in the past and idk how to explain to him that criticism is a trigger. Idk how to make him understand any clearer than how I react that it's a trigger. Idk how to make it not a trigger. Heck, I don't even know why it's a trigger in the first place other than my biggest fear is rejection from the people who matter the most to me. And past lovers have always found a way to make me feel like I'm not good enough. Idk how to uncouple that from his criticism and I can tell the constant reassuring me is wearing on him. This evening he said it's unfair that he has to do that. And I get it. But his words sting. I tried to think about "sticks and stones." I try to be neutral. I try to not shut down. I try to stop the conversation at "ok" before it gets to the "you can't take criticism...."
My questions are this. How do I grow a tougher skin? How do I be a better future wife? How do I stop being a burden? I know seeing a therapist would probably help me and seeing a couple's counselor would help our relationship, but with my new job I won't be eligible for benefits until next year. My mental health and our marriage kinda needs help now...
You either share the same values and standards or you don't, but if you do, then your relationship is half way there. If you're concerned about his criticism, then ask yourself why you need a guy who judges everything you do now let alone choose to marry him. You guys have to learn to live together and it wouldn't be easy with his mother being there as well. It's a simple thing for him to tell you how his wants his sandwich without the drama or just do it himself...just as it's a simple thing for him to clean up after himself particularly when you work full time and you continually contribute to your relationship in more ways than one. You're his fiancé and not his slave. It's not so much about you not being able to take his criticism, it's about why he does it at all because it doesn't inspire you to do any better, rather it forces you into a space where you don't need to be.
Some serious conversation between you two would go a long way to sorting your issues and yes, a therapist is what you need. A successful relationship is about two people who love each other and share the responsibility of keeping the relationship on even keel using communication and healthy debate.
oh man...I'm sorry his Mom has cancer first off...and I wouldn't be worrying about the rent because you ARE working full time but you are doing 2 jobs I know how hard it is to take care of a sick, elderly person....or even just a sick person..And you did not even "complain" about THAT...it has to be on the tip of your tongue to say it to him.
It is clear to me that you are very much like me with low self esteem and no confidence at all....
These seem to be the facts to me....he DOES view that you are "home" even thou you are literally working 2 jobs....and that is WRONG.
Also, it does seem that since moving in together that you realize that HE is a very critical person...he seems unable to bend or compromise.
Seems to me you have done your share of compromising....and he belittles you on a daily basis...And with someone with already low self esteem and low confidence...this "marriage" would destroy you.
You shouldn't have to change yourself SO much....You do not seem happy as a "fiance" should be...You should not be carrying all the burdens you are carrying and then being beat up verbally for how you go about all these tasks...This is too much even for me to read ...I can't imagine you LIVING with this person...for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Do not be afraid of HIM rejecting YOU....YOU NEED TO REJECT HIM....I think if you are able to gather the strength to look at yourself in the mirror and then look at him and tell him you have realized this is not the situation for YOU....than things will either change drastically on his end....OR you really SHOULD find the strength young lady to appreciate yourself and all you DO....I appreciate you....you are trying...you sound intellegent but "fragile"....He is not someone who can handle a fragile person...there is NOTHING wrong with you...You just need a different type of partner.
Please don't feel like by thinking about leaving you are abandoning he and his Mom....He has abandoned you emotionally....you are a maid and a caregiver for him and his Mom...and you feel like crap....Being engaged should be the best feeling in the world (of course not always but more often than not this is the happiest time in a couples life)....you are not "winning"...he is not "winning" and I really want you to see that you like anyone else needs to be accepted for WHO you are..Its already very clear to me and TO YOU that you are not right together anymore....maybe there was a time it worked....but it is not working....
Stop wasting your life and your time unhappy.....Get out of this...make a plan....live your life and a better situation will come along...Your not happy NOW and you will not be happy with this person....IN my opinion.
ps...OH...Its not criticism he is displaying it is underhanded emotional abuse.
I can tell this is quite important to you. Very few write this much about any issue. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Marriage is challenging enough without some of the issues you share. Perhaps it is good that you find these things out now, before the marriage, and you can work them out. Maybe it is not a choice of either leaving him and his mother or continuing the profound emotional abuse. Have you thought about postponing the wedding until both you and your fiance understand each other better? Can you afford to be on your own until these differences are resolved? Being a care taker with him for his mother is noble and compassionate but may suffocate your wedding "bliss" and your relationship. His love for you, will understandably be shared while both of you are in the same house. Can you share this love? Will you be satisfied with what he can give you at this time in his life. Be sure. Marriage should be forever. It is a promise.
If this relationship is worth saving, you may need to take more time to nourish it.
It’s easy to see that a meal is on the table and that the laundry is being done, those things are noticeable throughout each day. What is HE doing that isn’t as noticeable and therefor you have been unable to see the balance and sharing of responsibilities in your relationship? We all need perspectives in order to see truth and feel peace, but we have to feed ourselves with perspectives. Our emotions often get in the way. Is he paying for the heat and hydro because that is not as noticeable and it isn’t something that is typically thanked for. Is he taking care of all of the automotive needs? Is he taking the lead on looking for the contractors needed for house repairs?
Consider your lives and gather the facts on paper so that you can see a bigger picture. But be careful, be sure to be inclusive and to work on your list with an eye for truth, right now you are one sided. Try to prove yourself wrong, try to prove that he is not being unfair. If at this point you find that he is being unfair you will have to design a plan that outlines everyone’s expectations so that they can be met and so that you can be free to enjoy your relationship.
I know that I love taking care of the little things that I can because I know that he takes care of the things that I can’t, or don’t have interest in, or things that just come easier to him than to me. I especially love it when we get to work together for spring cleaning and winter preparedness, projects that support our lives. Sometimes all of the little things can’t really compare to some of the big things that need doing in a relationship. I bet when the time calls for real need, he is there. He will be happier to be there knowing that you were happy to be there for him.
As for the food prep problems, I would hate to have a husband that tolerated my cooking as it is and didn’t tell me how he likes things. I know that you believe the same thing. Your mind has just been busy with so many other things that you have forgotten how much you want to cater to your man. Everyone’s minds need to be filled with what supports us. Life is too busy to keep it all in perspective. What kind of music do you listen to on a regular basis? Add, BEYONCE – CATER TO YOU to all of your playlists and any other songs that remind you of what it is to be in love.
Right now you are caught in patterns that time has built, you have to break the pattern just as Tom Hanks had to get off that island. You are defining the FLOW OF LIFE in your relationship with these quarrelling interactions… and that isn’t life. Its an exchange of energy. Life glows and generates on it own with truth and love. It sounds like your relationship was strong and but it’s taken a bit of a spiral down, so it might be easier than you think to jump back into old GOOD patterns of thought, and interaction. Its science, the flow of energy, that has everyone in the world spinning, the key is to be aware and take control so that we can be on a team against darkness and not be taken by it.
As for your new plan to do everything separately and take care of yourselves, its just a way to end the immediate conflict but it isn’t what will work. That feeling of taking care of someone, that feeling of being taken care of is so beautiful and adds so much security to our lives. And it is a feeling that has to grow because as we age you are going to truly need one another.
You used the word’s ‘I am not cut out for’ domestic things but we all have to train ourselves to be able to manage all different kinds of things in life. To be cut out for something is to grow ideas from seeds to gardens. Seeds are what we have believed in. So all of our thoughts and experiences have contributed to our gardens and what we feel we are able to do. Landscaping never ends. You have the power to prepare your mind for whatever you believe you need to be able to do.
Death is one the most challenging things we have to prepare for, it’s a subject that most people avoid, but if we look at it and build perspectives and beliefs based on truth and continue to expose ourselves to those truths over time, we will grow those truths and be prepared to not be afraid and to embrace death. And to embrace the life we have up until death.
As for your house or apartment being a mess, you are two busy professionals you have to create a SIMPLIFIED MINIMIZED home. You don’t need the hassle of clutter. GET ORGANIZED. MINIMIZE MINIMIZE MINIMIZE. You ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE a clean home so that you can have a positive energy flow.
As you simplify your space think about how you can simply your LIFE. Your actual life force is powered or weakened by how much SECURITY we have. SECURITY meaning TRUTH. Truth and meaning in our BELIEFS, thoughts, words, and actions. So slow things down and focus on truth, focus on saying what you mean. Until you know what you mean, be quiet, put some music on and let it lift your spirits. In your relationship make a new rule that provides for the space and time to present truths. If you give each other the space and freedom to think, before you know it you will be so strong that you will say what you mean when you mean it, without regret or amendment. Isn’t that worth something worth building towards? After we know ourselves and can manage ourselves, we are in a position to manage the world.
Take time to understand yourself, and then just live your life free, there is SO MUCH that needs to be built in our minds to support our lives. There are reasons why you feel the way you feel, reasons that are acceptable. Sometimes we define and express ourselves well, other times we don’t, we don’t have to have all of the answers and when we are moving forward with the right words and the right actions the past can fade away. You are on a new track. You just have to build it one thought, one word, one action at a time.
There is so much energy in the world and a lot of it is against us. I am really passionate about seeing couples make it because where there is love there is so much energy that can be used to contribute to LIGHT in the world. It isn’t fair that there is so much conflict and that there is so much to be up against…. when the purpose of a relationship is to enjoy each other and HEAL.
If the need to be praised and your defensiveness to criticism are real problems, they are rooted in your insecurity. You have become NEEDY because you don’t know yourself or what to do with yourself. You have not DEFINED YOURSELF OR LIFE. We go through our lives day to day and to do list after to do list but we lose perspective and the definition of our purpose. You just need to see yourself so that you can believe in yourself again. Define 'I AM', and no one will make you feel like less.
Get a notebook, your new best friend. Its not a journal where you spell out emotions, it’s a PATH. On different pages you will have different focus ideas and then you will leave room so that you can take your time to gather your ideas.
There are an unlimited number of ideas to define, we each choose what is important to us, and where we hope our lives are headed. Just to throw out a FEW ideas, words to define…
WHAT DO I BELIEVE IN?
PLAYLISTS THAT SUPPORT MY LIFE
WHO AM I
WHO IS MY FIANCE
WHAT IS FUN
MY BUCKET LIST
MY HUSBANDS BUCKET LIST
MOVIE LIST THAT SUPPORTS MY LIFE
ARTIST AND THEIR BODY OF WORK MEANS THIS TO ME
WHAT CAN I HAVE ON AUTOMATIC PILOT WHILE I PURSUE AND BUILD WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME?
HOW DO I WANT TO GO THROUGH LIFE FEELING?
Because you are in this conflict with someone else and you want to truly fix things, I think you should give yourselves a restart. You should show him these letters and the truths that help you see that science can take over our lives, energy, and patterns and that you want to start fresh.
Give yourself a break, let him understand that it has been pressure that you are putting on yourself that has made it difficult for you to think clearly.
I’m going to close off my letter to you by saying that your duty as a loving wife is to bring perspectives to the table, beliefs that can grow to support your minds and your paths. That isn’t something that is as measurable as doing the dishes, it is entirely more valuable. He brings you peace and focus with his energy, also entirely more valuable than doing the dishes.
There is more to life than we are realizing because we are all caught up in it and unable to see it. I hope that I have helped you see things a little bit more clearly.