Is Constant Criticism Supportive

Question: Hi Luise: I have had the hardest time getting along with my husband. He is going on this path of growth and I am also trying to get on that path. We argue about the pettiest things like me speaking to someone about business on the phone and He telling to get off because the conversation is going nowhere. We have a 9 month-old daughter together and since we argue more and more. I get upset most times he is trying to tell me something of what I’m doing wrong and I bash on myself for it. He feels he is never wrong and I at least admit when I am. I can’t keep going on like this. 95% of the time I am doing things for other people (husband, daughter, mother, sisters, family) and the rest is for me like taking a shower or eating and other things. I have no time for myself. I get called on it by my husband when I’m taking to long doing something. My husband will tell me something I’m doing wrong in support of my growth and I just bash myself by yelling and saying I’m a failure, dumb, etc. Luise why do I do these things to myself and how can I heal my self-worth and esteem? Also, do you think he does these things in support of me or for his needs? Thanks. J.

Answer: Dear J.: What you do on your spiritual path is none of your husband’s business. It is between you and your “Higher Authority.” (And that’s not him.) Thank him for pointing you in that direction and let him know you will take it from there. He is not your parent; he is your partner. That gives you the rights of an equal, not a dependent child. Assure him that as his equal, you will be careful not to correct and criticize him even though you see huge gaps between what he professes to believe and how he acts and lives his life.

His conduct suggests to me that he has a long way to go. Mistreating a spouse through invalidation is psychological abuse. To do it until you come unglued is not reflective of any spiritual path I am aware of, and if there is one… I would suggest you stay away from it! When one person sits in judgment of another person, even if “correcting that person for her own good”…it is vicious. No way can it be called love.

You need time for yourself, freedom to live your life the way you see fit and respect. If you don’t have those things and can’t get them, your daughter is going to grow up with a very distorted concept of what it means to be an adult female…with you as her role model.

Find help and act in your own best interest. This is your life and you deserve to live it joyfully and with a light heart. It sounds to me like your husband is insecure and builds himself up by tearing you down. You aren’t a failure; you’re a sensitive and valuable human being doing your best in very disheartening circumstances. Blessings, Luise

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