“Behind every criticism is a veiled wish.”

—Esther Perel, Belgian psychotherapist

Image from Unsplash by ahi ismail

How do you feel when you are criticized?

How often is your immediate response to defend yourself or perhaps go on the offense and attack others?

Explore a few recent interactions in which you were criticized for something you did or didn’t do.

Dig deeper into the thoughts and emotions of that person to see if there was a hidden desire or veiled wish below their barbed message. What did they secretly want that was not communicated in an acceptable way?

How might you shift your perspective and translate the harshness of their words into simple requests that would have a higher probability of acceptance?


A few books that can help your relationship skills are Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, Crucial Conversations, and Crucial Confrontations.

Please send an email to barry@dempcoaching.com or reply to this post with your email address and I will be pleased to send you a copy of my one page Communication Toolbox.