My wife complains on just about everything, from work to the weather, and I’m at a point where I don’t want to put up with it anymore. It’s affecting the way I feel about our relationship.
Even vacationing with the kids, she is often criticizing and yelling at them about their behavior. They are just being kids at age 7 and 9. I’ve tried talking with her over the years, which has helped cool things down temporarily, but nothing seems to change for the long term. Can a constant complainer stop and see the bright side of a situation?
Calming the Complainer, Kalaheo
Aloha Calming the Complainer,
Thank you for writing in and asking for assistance with this challenging situation. Let’s first focus on you feeling better and then we’ll explore options for your wife.
Intimate relationships give us the opportunity to work on our own behavior. Not always fun or painless, yet well worth it in the long run. We show our “ugly” side most to the one’s we are closest to. You can’t force her to transform, so by you learning how not to “bite into the poisoned” apple you will be more compassionate and forgiving of the situation. You’ll have more success from inviting her from a place of love, not frustration to transform this behavior.
Begin not reacting to her behavior by repeating silently, “This is a truth, it’s not the only truth” when you hear her speaking negatively. For instance: the kids never listen to me, my boss or co-workers are idiots. As “feelings” are the main culprit for being uncomfortable around your wife’s negatively, this mantra will greatly assist you in choosing to not react and lose your peace of mind.
When folks are negative or critical of others it’s usually caused by a blend of a few things going on inside their thoughts about themselves. Often times they feel insecure, scared of being out of control or have high expectations of themselves and pressure others to be at that level as well. Subconsciously feeling frustrated by not knowing how to ask for help or not believing that they can get assistance.
Let’s take a look at some ways to offer her a transformation on being more easy going and upbeat.
Ask her, “If she is aware of how often she makes critical statements in a day? Does she like the way she feels when she is making these comments? Is she aware that it’s uncomfortable for you and most likely creating a chasm in how much the kids want to be around her? Would she like to work together to transform this behavior?” If she is not interest-ed in transforming this pattern, it’s important to express to her that life is precious and you desire to enjoy more of it. Therefore you may choose to explore other living arrangements. Hopefully, she’ll desire to transform.
Choose To Transform
Make a commitment to communicate 5-10 minutes a day with each other on the issues that bug her. Explore together in a fun, playful manner what’s at the core of the complaint and come up with a positive way to approach the situation, so she can begin to incorporate a positive outlook. Practicing yoga and Vipassana mediation are helpful ways to relax and be mindful of her thoughts and feelings. Have a fun goal to have a complaint-free day. When she hits this mark, celebrate and take her out to her favorite restaurant.
Ask her to make a list of the people and things she’s grateful for. It will be interesting to see how similar her list is to the people and issues she has complaints about.
Take it one moment at a time. Don’t expect this pattern to completely turn around over night, yet within a month of consistent effort you should be feeling a happier household. By taking these steps, your wife will feel better about herself and will be less stressed. Creating an internal ocean of happiness, both of you will feel more intimate and juicy, allowing the “kids to be kids.”
Good luck. Keep in touch with the transformations.