In the last chapter of save your marriage, I explained how a “king/queen” mentality can affect even the most wonderful of relationships. Over time, kings only strengthen their position of feeling superior, which can drive any “servant” out of the relationship.
In this chapter, I will talk about the king’s cousin – the nitpicker.
In a similar way to the king who adopts his mentality from his upbringing, the nitpicker adopts his habits from his parents. Growing up with a parent who is a nitpicker starts a pattern that children carry on into adulthood.
Depending on their emotional state, kids will choose to either adopt or totally reject this mentality. They will either be like their parents or avoid their company and adopt a completely new way to communicate. This is not a conscious decision. Most people are not even aware that they do it.
That is why external help is necessary if you want to change from a nitpicking communicating style.
The nitpicker is the person who has a very clear definition of right and wrong. And they are always right. They are highly critical, often find faults in others and tend to mention the faults they notice. They are highly opinionated and have something to say about everything and everyone (not always in a good way). They are the ultimate complainers and often seem unsatisfied. If you make a mistake around them, they see it as a sign of weakness.
If the king is abusive towards their servants, the nitpicker is a bully. The nitpicker in any marriage relationship will collect evidence of weaknesses in order to better his/her position in the marriage.
You might think that if someone feels secure in their relationship, he/she will not have to bully others to strengthen their position. In fact, the feeling of insecurity is usually something they bring from their own homes, the home they grew up in, long before they ever met their partner.
Many children just continue this communication pattern into their adult relationships. Growing up with a king or a nitpicker for a parent can significantly damage a child’s self worth. They then become nitpickers in a helpless attempt to regain this self worth.
The partners of nitpickers often feel like they can never win with them. If they do one thing, the nitpicker will complain and find faults. If they do the opposite, there will be complaints and faults as well.
Here are examples of common phrases a nitpicker may use in a relationship. These phrases can be as damaging in a marriage relationship as in a parenting relationship. Mommy and Daddy Nitpickers raise baby nitpickers, who grow up to raise raises more nitpickers…
- “Why did you give him the blue cup instead of the red?”
- “How long does it take you to decide?”
- “I expected you to it before”
- “That’s not the way to do it”
- “I will tell you exactly what you need to do”
- “Lucky you have you head attached, otherwise you would have lost it”
- “You are so disorganized”
- “I can’t trust you to do a small thing?”
- “I told you to do that. I am not going to say it again”
- “You don’t know how to do it”
- “What’s the big deal? It is a simple thing”
- “You are hopeless”
- “Why did you do it that way? I told you that it is better to do it the other way”
- When you fail, they say, “I told you!”
- When something goes wrong, they say, “I knew it”
If you find yourself in them, seek help and change the patter. As a life coach I am a great believer of the human ability to change habits and find happiness. I did it myself many years ago. With self awareness you can make great changes. However, doing it yourself can be a hard thing. Getting a professional to help save your marriage can make a big difference.
As a life coach, I take my clients on a journey that takes 3-5 sessions over 4-6 month. In that time, my clients achieve what it took me 15 years to achieve on my own. So seek help. Learn new ways of communication that will be fantastic for you and help you save your marriage and your relationship with your kids. Because successful relationships are essential for happiness.
Join me next time on how kings and nitpickers attract the other two communication styles that damage marriages.
This post is part of the series Save Your Marriage:
- Self-Regulation in Your Marriage
- How to Save Yourself from Divorce
- Marriage and Divorce Statistics
- The Marriage Institution
- Marriage is the Foundation of Families
- The Unpleasant Side of Divorce
- How to Get Things Wrong in a Marriage
- Marriage and Self Talk
- More About Self Talk
- Facts vs. Meaning in Marriage
- All Men Are… All Women Are…
- When Two Do Not Become One
- Marriage and Money
- Be Your Partner’s Best Friend
- Relationship Between Two Onions
- The Greatest Gift: Staying Married
- Marriage of Singles
- The "Right" Trap
- The Intention Trap
- Best Marriage Quotes
- 10 Rules for Civilized Dialogue
- 10 Tips for Re-Building Trust
- The King and His Servants
- The Nitpicker
- Expressing Feelings in a Marriage
- Don’t Be On Guard
- Don’t Clam Up
- Have Good Sex to Save Your Marriage
- Trust (or The Boy Who Cried Wolf)
- Emergency Relationship Coaching Essentials
- Save Your Marriage with Better Time Management
- Choice Theory Can Save Your Marriage