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Dr. DeFoore's Healing Anger Newsletter entitled "Criticism, Doubt & Questioning"
May 15, 2016

Criticism, Doubt & Questioning
Create Huge Anger Even With Good Intentions


May 15, 2016
Healing Anger Newsletter, Issue #096

Contents of this newsletter

Why Do We Criticize, Doubt & Question?

The shortest answer is that we are problem solvers, by our nature. We want to make things better.

We tend to be the most critical in the closest relationships, because that other person has such a huge impact on our lives.

Our (mistaken) thinking goes like this..."If I could only get him/her to act right, I'd be fine." Problem is, that just doesn't work.

Here are some of the processes we go through:

  • You think you know what's best. This is human nature, but it's way out of bounds when you start claiming authority over another adult and start telling them how to live their lives.

  • You really think you're helping with the "helpful comments," "constructive feedback" and the other forms of criticism, doubt and questioning.

  • You find yourself saying things like, "Are you sure you want to do that?" "What you really need to do is..." "Why don't you try..." "It will work a lot better for you if you just..." Of course, it can get a lot more harsh than that, but these are some of the things people say, without realizing they're actually intruding on the autonomy of the other person.

  • When your partner, spouse or significant other doesn't respond well (most people don't), you might think they're messed up, and if they would just listen to you, they'd be much better off.

Think of it this way...

"Nobody changes their behavior for the better in a lasting way as a result of criticism, doubt and questioning."

William DeFoore

There is a powerful need and desire for autonomy, independence and self-esteem in every one of us. These needs and desires are threatened every time you are questioned, doubted or criticized.

Since the original purpose of criticism is to make things better, let's look at some ways that actually do make things better in your relationships.

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happy marriage

What Should You Do Instead?

If you find yourself caught in a pattern of criticizing, doubting and questioning your loved ones, you are probably having some frustration and anger in those relationships...coming from you and the other person both.

Let's look at some perspectives and approaches that actually do work.

You actually can have a very positive impact on your loved ones, but it does not come from focusing on their shortcomings, limitations and faults.

This approach is based on the fact that people do not change their behavior as a result of criticism, doubt and questioning...people grow, improve and change the most successfully in an atmosphere of love and support.

  • First, make up your mind that you're going to remember and focus on what you love and appreciate about the other person. It will help if you will journal regularly about their positive aspects, until this becomes more of a habitual focus.

  • Do your best to hold other people in the highest possible regard. This not only benefits them in your eyes, it helps you to rise to your own highest and best as well.

  • Express love, gratitude and appreciation to and for the other person as often as you possibly can.

  • Your true nature is love, and when you express your love to and for another, it moves you closer to your good heart and good nature. So, as you can see, the benefit goes both ways.

  • The more you practice giving love, gratitude and appreciation, the easier it gets. Just keep doing it, don't stop, and eventually you will start to see some great results in yourself and your relationships.

If you're in a relationship with an abuser, this is not necessarily the approach for you. Learn how to deal with abusive relationships here.

Of course, there's a lot more to creating and maintaining positive, healthy relationships than we're able to cover here.

This audio program called Expectations In Marriage: Healthy Ways To Deal With Anger And Disappointment In Relationships will give you a lot more information about not only a healthy marriage, but about healthy relationships in general.


happy marriage

This highly effective audio program, available as a CD or MP3 download, will help you understand and improve your marriage and all of your relationships.

Take advantage of the free previews, and the no-risk return policy that guarantees your satisfaction.

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What's New On The Web Site?

New web pages for you. Read new contributions from good folks like you, such as It Started As A Fairy Tale by a young woman in a relationship with a very controlling man, and When Is It Time To Throw In The Towel? by a woman caught in an abusive relationship, wondering if her boyfriend can change.

We Have A Mobile Site. Please visit our site, using your smart phone, and check out the mobile version of the site. I would really appreciate your feedback -- just look for your favorite information, and see if you find it easy to navigate. Then let me know what you think! Thanks in advance.

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New Web Site! That's right, Dr. DeFoore (that's me) has created an all new web site that is all about helping you feel good about yourself and the world around you. Visit and find lots of positive, upbeat perspectives to help you with your anger and every aspect of your life, and sign up for the Goodfinding Newsletter, and/or the Daily Goodfinding Quotes.

P.S. Why not make the rest of your life the best of your life? You can get started right now with Elegant Aging: Growing Deeper, Stronger and Wiser.

P.P.S. Did you know that I offer telephone (including Skype and Face Time video phone) counseling around the world? That's right, from the comfort of your home, you can get professional counseling from me, Dr. William DeFoore. Contact us now to schedule a session!

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