You are mad at your partner. While you are fuming and ready to burst anytime, you know, deep inside, that this conversation is pointless as every other time you have tried to explain to your partner your point, only to fail miserably each time.
Often it is more effective to complain to a wall instead of the person in front of you; both won't budge, but at least the wall won't start a fight.
Why is it so difficult to explain even the most obvious things to people? What should you do when they continue to do things they shouldn't be doing? Even if it is for their own good, they ignore what you say.
How should you tell the person when you believe they are wrong and you are mad at them?
What we usually do is sharpen our tongues, saturate words in fury, and spit venomous verses to spill out our anger and resentment, to make them feel how we feel.
By doing this we only get to vent our frustrations, not get our point across.
To me, criticism comes as naturally as a sneeze. However, later on, I realized how ineffective it is in getting people to do what you want them to do.
Having a conversation with an element of criticism is very difficult, because people either become defensive or withdraw, since criticism feels like being stabbed. I learned that lesson the hard way.
So how do you complain?
Here are a few tips to use when you criticize or complain that will result in your complaint being heard.
1. Tone of voice is more crucial than words
Try complimenting someone by saying, “your dress looks nice” in a malicious tone and watch their reaction. They will discard your comments and hold onto the way you said those words.
Now, say something in a loving tone and see what happens. It’s all about the tone.
A lot of people sugar coat things and it works. While I personally struggled with that, I have learned that the tone has a huge impact on how your message is received.
An iceberg can melt when a tone reflects respect, appreciation, and a touch of admiration.
In reality, though, the challenge is holding on to your simmering anger, watching out for your tone and words, when you actually feel like exploding.
I understand that it is difficult, but this is what you can do to get your point across.
2. Avoid constant complaining
You don’t listen. You don’t understand how hard I work. You don’t support me emotionally. You don’t help me or support me. It’s easier to complain than to appreciate.
Think about how you remember bad things more often than good things. Our minds work that way. We pick out everything that is wrong, not what is right and we keep complaining about it. Sadly, the more we complain, the worse it gets. Often couples reached to a point where they find it difficult to speak plainly to each other. Constant complaining can keep your partner away. Instead, why not keep endless complaints away?
3. Avoid complaining back when someone else has just criticized you
If someone just criticized you, should you respond back? No. You should avoid retaliating immediately. However, the tendency is to cut people down when you have so much to say. Just because your partner just criticized you, does not mean you should respond back instantly to prove your point without them finishing.
In that case, they won't listen to you either. If you hear a lot of "Let me finish!" it means that your partner doesn't feel heard.
Therapists recommend acknowledging your spouse's feelings before you state your own. Most issues in marriage arise when one spouse feels unheard. In order to avoid such a situation, they suggest couples work out their thoughts before bringing up specific concerns.
“The end of an argument or discussion should be, not victory, but enlightenment.” - Joseph Joubert
4. Watch out if the timing is correct
Whenever you open Pandora’s box, watch out for the timing. If the timing is not right, your partner will not be listening, and a simple conversation could quickly spiral into an argument. When someone just got home from work, that is the worst time to do so. We all need time to relax and unwind.
Try not to cross-examine the listener with questions that require an explanation for their behavior
“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” -William James
The questioning, “why have you not done this? You are useless!” such a statement ruins any conversation. When you cross-examine your partner's actions, "Tell me, why did you do this? Why did you do that?" It simply shuts them up. You rage and you lose almost every conversation.
The main culprits in ruining your ability to share your point are constant complaining, accusation, and a negative tone. They shift the focus from where you are trying to go and people tend to ignore what you are saying. You would do better to think through your thoughts before bringing up specific points. We'd be thrilled to hear your thoughts on how to handle your complaint wisely. Wouldn't it be better to have control over criticism than to let it control us?