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(Los Angeles, CA)
I have been in a relationship currently for almost 7 months and find myself constantly criticizing, judging, putting down and one-upping my boyfriend.
He has told me I am verbally abusive and I never really thought of myself in that way, but looking back I see a pattern of this behavior in all my past relationships.
I feel this desperate need to be better than him and to put him down and feel really bad about it. But I don't know how to stop.
I have just recently started doing some online research into stopping criticism and came across your website here. After taking the Anger Test I see that I have serious anger issues and most likely low self-esteem issues as well. I also suffer from depression and anxiety which I have been on medication for.
I have pretty good insight into myself and my patterns, but just do not know how to stop trying to make him look bad & me look better than in every circumstance. It is very frustrating to me that I cannot seem to stop this behavior pattern and I know my cruel put-downs are hurtful to him.
How can I stop criticizing and accept my boyfriend as he is? I do not want to lose him but my behavior and constant anger is beginning to push him away.
Thank you in advance for your suggestions.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello Pamela, and thanks for telling your story here. I respect your willingness to take responsibility for your behavior, and your desire to improve. I will try to help.
Rest assured that there are reasons for your actions, and that you can discover them. When you understand where the behaviors come from, you can begin the healing process so that the patterns no longer exist.
I suggest that you do all of the exercises described on this FAQ page. These are powerful processes, and the more you put into them the more benefit you will receive. This is an opportunity for you to help yourself, Pamela.
When you do the journaling processes, be sure and journal from the abusive part of yourself. Let that part of you speak clearly and without judgment in your journal. That way you will understand it and be able to heal it so that the abuse does not continue. If you fight with the abuser inside you, she will only get stronger.
The reason you don't like the anger and abusive behavior, Pamela, is that it does not align with who you really are as a person. Your heart is good, so you want to stop hurting the people you love. You can do this.
Believe in yourself, and the goodness in your heart.
My very best to you,
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