Synopses & Reviews
When you are in a relationship with a critical partner—someone who constantly blames you and holds you to unrealistic standards—you may feel picked apart, unworthy, and unhappy. You may start to wonder if you’ll ever be good enough for your partner. This guide can help you repair your relationship by getting to the root of why your partner criticizes you so that you both can build a more loving and supportive partnership.
Based in schema therapy, The Critical Partner can help you gradually change unhealthy relationship patterns and help your partner move beyond the need to criticize. Through a series of assessment quizzes and worksheets, you’ll learn what’s driving your partner’s behavior and what makes you vulnerable to critical attacks. You’ll also discover alternative coping strategies for deflecting criticism and break the long-standing conflicts that keep you from moving forward as a couple. This book will help you get to the root of the problem so that you can repair your relationship and get the love you want.
“Like a good detective novel, Michelle Skeen’s book will help you uncover the mystery of your difficult relationship. After reading this book, you’ll understand how your childhood experiences still affect your life, but more importantly, you’ll learn what you can do to put them behind you and move on.”
—Jeffrey C. Wood, PsyD, psychologist and coauthor of The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
“The couples in successful relationships will tell you that, in order to succeed, partners must learn to work on their relationships. The Critical Partner is the ideal workbook to help couples who are dealing with this uncomfortable dynamic. It will teach them how to do what is necessary to make their relationship successful.”
—Barton Goldsmith, PhD, author of Emotional Fitness for Couples and Emotional Fitness for Intimacy
“The Critical Partner is required reading for anyone living in a relationship where they feel frequently hurt, devalued, or blamed. This book will show you why this happens and give you tools to do something about it. Highly recommended.”
—Matthew McKay, PhD, author of Thoughts and Feelings
“The most challenging issue in the life of the couple can be learning how to express disappointment and hurt without hurting your partner. Michelle Skeen offers an effective framework for understanding and dealing with the ruptures and self-defeating consequences of criticism in a relationship. She carefully applies the thoughtfully designed elements of schema therapy to her keen knowledge of this subject matter and offers her readers easily accessible strategies for transforming painful life patterns into healthy responses.”
—Wendy T. Behary, LCSW, author of Disarming The Narcissist
In The Critical Partner, readers use a variety of assessments and checklists to assess the core "schemas," or entrenched patterns, that drive their partners' critical behavior. The book provides tools for identifying the schemas that attract readers into relationships with critical partners, and then clearly presents a variety of powerful schema therapy skills for reducing criticism, improving communication, and ending destructive relationship patterns.
About the Author
Michelle Skeen, PsyD, has studied schema therapy under Matthew McKay and Jeffrey Young. She completed her postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco, and maintains a private practice in San Francisco, CA, where she lives and works. She is coauthor of the forthcoming Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Interpersonal Problems. www.thecriticalpartner.com
Foreword writer Jeffrey Young, PhD, is founder of schema therapy, director of the Schema Therapy Institute of New York, and a faculty member at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is author of Schema Therapy: A Practitioner’s Guide and Reinventing Your Life.