Stop Criticizing – Ask For What You Need – 7 Tips

Stop Criticizing - Ask For What You Need - 7 Tips

Stop Criticizing – Ask For What You Need – 7 Tips

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the reasons criticism does not get you what you want and why it is critical to ask for what you want and need from your partner.

First a quick update:

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Now, let’s talk about the reasons criticism does not get you what you want and why it is critical to ask for what you want and need from your partner.

One of the primary reasons you enter into a relationship is to get your needs met – needs for love, attention, approval, friendship, companionship, physical intimacy, security (financial, physical & emotional), bonding, connection, parenting, and so forth.

If you ask for what you need and your partner refuses to give it to you, then it is blatantly clear that your relationship will never be satisfying or fulfilling because your partner refuses to meet your needs!

How do you ask for your needs?

Do you actually ask for your needs?

Or, do you instead criticize your partner?

Criticism attacks the person instead of the issue.

Criticism triggers defensiveness in your partner.

Criticism damages relationships.

Criticism does not get your needs met.

Criticism does not help your partner to change their behavior.

Criticism is a way of avoiding asking for what you truly need.

Criticism masks vulnerability.

Criticism runs from responsibility.

Let me explain.

When I was a young child my mother was studying for her PhD and often she would arrive home late at night. There were no cell phones at that time. If my mother arrived 15 minutes later than expected, my father would come out to the driveway and kick the car and shout at her. He would accuse her of having an affair or criticize her as being selfish or thoughtless or something else.

The result would be an argument and the evening was spoiled for everyone. My mother would isolate herself and no one was able to spend time with her or enjoy being a family.

My father lacked the skills of asking for what he wanted and instead he verbally attacked and criticized my mother and her actions.

If he had been willing to be vulnerable and ask for what he wants, he could have instead expressed his needs this way:

‘When you arrive late, I become concerned and worried. I fear that you’re not ever coming home or you have had an accident or something else bad has happened. I feel lonely when I don’t see you until 9 o’clock at night and I miss you. I want you to call me from the University when you are leaving so that I know approximately when you will be arriving home and so that I don’t panic about your safety.’

You might argue that my mother was not responsible for my father’s reactions or fears, and you would be correct. However, a relationship is a partnership where both people choose to love and care for each other and do their best to meet each other’s needs.

If my father had the necessary skills to state his fears and needs, and ask for them in a non-threatening, calm manner, my mother would have had the choice to respond to those needs. The result would have been a more loving relationship with deeper bonds where both partners got their needs met.

7 Tips to asking for what you want

1. Become clear about what you are actually feeling (beneath the anger are other feelings – fear of abandonment, neglect, loneliness, self-doubt, etc.)
2. Be willing to speak your feelings and emotions (it will be uncomfortable at first)
3. Be willing to speak your fears, doubts and insecurities
4. Be willing to calmly state your needs
5. Be willing to ask for what you want (state it clearly – be specific)
6. Beware of bottling emotions
7. Beware of brooding

Most people were programmed in childhood (by the example of their parents as well as personal experience) to criticize and verbally attack the other person – often making ad hominem attacks – attacking the other person instead of addressing the actual issue, and asking for what you want and need.

Thus, I use the words ‘be willing’ because these actions can be challenging at first and therefore require small steps and practice to become a new habit and new program. Remember, you are responsible for getting your needs met and this directly implies that you must be willing to state those needs and ask for them.

In steps 7 and 8 above, I suggested to beware of bottling or brooding.

Bottling is avoidant action – pushing down your negative or uncomfortable emotions and avoiding dealing with them and the actual issue or problem.

Brooding is anxious action – becoming consumed with the emotions you’re feeling; you become anxious and obsessed with the problem or pain to the extent that it impairs you from functioning or getting other things done.

Finally, to avoid conflict and ensure a meaningful, symbiotic communication and relationship, one more thing is required.

Let’s use the example I shared above of my parents.

Conflict could only have been fully avoided if my mother were to respond to my father’s request in an equally caring and emotionally intelligent manner.

What would that ideal response be?

My mother would have displayed openness and tolerance to my father’s needs and perspective once he stated them in a neutral tone and vulnerable manner.

Further, it is a misconception that you cannot make a complaint in a relationship when something occurs. For example, if my parents had expressed their needs & wants and made an agreement that my mother would call from the University before heading home and she failed to do that, it would be appropriate and necessary for my father to respond with, “I was concerned that you didn’t call because I felt afraid for your safety. We agreed that you would call before leaving the University.”

Finally, getting your needs met begins by knowing exactly what your needs and values are. I devote an entire section to “self-awareness” in my new audio program “Get Over Your Ex Now!” It is a powerful program for getting over an ex and finding or building a new, happy, loving relationship where your needs are met.

If you would like help to overcome an issue or become more effective in your communications with your partner, family or friends, book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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