Compliments can lift anyone's mood especially when it comes from your partner. But what are they actually complimenting?
Being complimented always feels nice. When it comes from your partner, it feels even more special. After all, knowing that your partner acknowledges your individuality can bring you happiness. But you might need to take a step back and see what the compliment is truly about. Once you find out, it can reveal a lot about your relationship with your partner. And here is a practical way of finding out. According to psychiatrist Eric Berne there are four kinds of compliments.
When your partner comments on your skills or the way you do something, it's considered a conditional "stroke." He addresses your abilities and makes a critical analysis of it. It can either be positive or negative.
If you hear comments from your partner like "you cook really well," "you do a great job in taking care of the kids," "your projects and ideas are amazing", or even "I like the way you solve problems," then it's a sign your partner appreciates the things you do. It indicates that your relationship is practical and balanced, factors that make the two of you a great team. You're willing to support each other and enjoy giving compliments to make sure your partner knows they're not taken for granted.
When you hear comments like "your cooking sucks," "you're terrible at driving," "your screaming is affecting the children", or "that was a horrible idea", it could mean one of two things for your relationship. If these comments are far and few in between and are balanced out by compliments, then it indicates that your partner trusts you enough to be honest with you. He knows you can do better and just wants to push you to reach the best of your potential. However, if this happens more often than not, then your partner is most likely the type who is judgemental and has high expectations. It would be best to watch out for any gendered opinions when he makes comments.
Unconditional "strokes" pertain to characteristics which occur naturally, they can not be earned, according to Study.com. So when your partner comments on the kind of person you are, it shows how he sees you as a person. This too can be either positive or negative.
Comments like "You are extremely talented," "I love how kind you are," "I am awed by how creative you are," or even the more potent "I love you" are more telling than you know. When he appreciates your inner beauty, it's an indication of a strong emotional intimacy. He makes sure that the bond with you is never broken and more than what you do, it's who you are that draws him to you like a moth to a flame. If he brings up an unconditionally positive compliment and adds a conditionally negative point, it's not entirely a bad thing. For example, he might say, "You're a smart person but that was stupid." He's just being honest with you. But when he couples it with conditionally positive comments, you've actually struck gold with him. Never let this man go because he is the one who truly understands that value and never wants you to fail.
No one likes to hear negative criticism, especially when it comes to your personality. So when your partner calls you stupid or says truly harsh things like "you are a bad mom" or "you're a terrible boss", it can be a blow to your confidence and self-esteem. And if he says "I hate you", it can truly be heart-breaking. This could indicate that your partner is extremely judgemental and doesn't care about how you feel. You might want to have a sit down with him and discuss where this anger and frustration is coming from and if it still doesn't work, then you might have to watch out for the impending negativity that can tear the two of you apart.