One of the themes that came up from my writer's survey was this: how do writers weather hurtful comments like "get a real job" and "when are you going to bring home some money?" Or barbs like, "No one is going to read what you write, so why waste your time?"
At the heart of statements like these is a lack of understanding, lack of compassion, and lack of respect.
One of the above is definitely indicative that the couple could benefit from counseling.
Can you guess which one?
Yep. Lack of respect.
Research as been done about indicators of marriages (or partnerships) that succeed or fail. And Dr. John Gottman has written the definitive material (Why Marriages Succeed or Fail...and How You Can Make Yours Last!) based on this research.
And lucky for me, I've written a series based on this book already. So I want to draw your attention to some previous posts.
First of all, there are six signs that relationships are souring. Comments like the ones above definitely fall within within that realm. Gottman found one sign to be four descriptors of rocky marriages, which he called the The Four Horsemen (e.g. of the apocalypse). They were: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.
Comments like "get a real job" are both critical and contemptuous of writers. Seek professional help ASAP. (click to tweet!)
If you want to read more about the other five signs, then click here and here.
This might not have been the post you were expecting, but the stakes are very high in a relationship at a juncture like this. Pussyfooting around the issue doesn't do anyone a favor.
I use the material in the 3 posts listed in couples therapy all the time. If you purchase his book (Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last), it has some great self-help-type questionnaires that you can take to see if your relationship truly does match his criteria.
To instill a little hope, I've seen couples change it around. Knowledge is power, and simply being aware of patterns can help put an end to them.
But don't just sit there and do nothing while your partner berates you. Reach out for help, whether that's with the book or a professional counselor or a pastor.
Let's AnalyzeThe series is over, and I'm glad. These are hard questions that popped up in the comment section of my survey. I hope that you've found the suggestions helpful, and don't think I copped out on this post. My heart truly goes out to those with partners who are not compassionate or understanding about the singular and oft-difficult calling to write.
If you've had to deal with comments like the ones mentioned in this post, how did you deal with it? What did you say? Leave your answers anonymously if you prefer.