I agree much of what we hear in criticism isn't helpful. It can be hurtful, pointless, or even abusive, but I think sometimes, if used sparingly and said respectfully, it can be both important and helpful. For instance, if we criticize how someone is treating us, isn't that important communication? Or what if a loved one is drinking or taking drugs or if a child was doing something dangerous or wrong, would it really be better to be silent and not criticize how the other is behaving? And i think it's important for us to be able to express our opinions, even when we don't agree. Sometimes i think it's not so much that it's criticism, but rather how it is said. Dissenting opinions should still be offered respectfully, and with sensitivity to the other's feelings.
I don't think that is the kind of criticism Billiecat is talking about, though. Sometimes people criticize out of a bad habit, or like Sharon says, because they're miserable, or even are trying to control. I guess what i've tried to do when i've found myself in situations like that is first to let them know i don't like it, and sometimes get myself away from their presence until their mood passes. Sometimes I've told people why i was hanging up the phone, sometimes i've stepped out for a few hours to give myself a breather, and twice, after communicating that it had to stop over weeks and they continued to habitually criticize, i decided to end relationships. What are you thinking you should do about your situation, BillieCat?