ACoAs – Dealing with CRITICISM (Part 1)

being judged 

it takes me right back to childhood!

PREVIOUS: Helpful/clever responses

SITE: ”7 Realizations to Help You Deal with Feeling Judged


Being Judged – (Usually) being told / have implied there is something terribly wrong with your fundamental identity (Mother to daughter: “You’re not smart enough to become a doctor” / “You’ll be the death of me yet” …)

Having Good Judgement – deciding between an objective positive or negative alternative (that fruit is spoiled, I’ll take the fresh one / the left hand trail is safer than the right hand one….)
OR between something that is personally suited to you – or not (I’m allergic to sugar, so I avoid it / I regularly watch comedy shows but never horror flicks)

Being criticized – when a mistake in our behavior is pointed out – OR when our behavior or communication is not liked by the criticizer. This may or may not be accompanied by being told how to do/say it correctly (according to the speaker). It is most often done with one or more of the following: anger, disdain, superiority, to be controlling, to manipulate, BUT in rare cases with caring & good will, if the person is healthy & you’ve agreed to learn from themcriticism styles

Given a suggestion
– When we’re told of a better way of doing something – to make it easier or better for us, or our environment (If you added an aspirin to the water, the flowers would last longer / When you travel, why not take less baggage?…). This is done with kindness, respect & from a genuine desire to make your life better

‘Negative’ Opinions: When someone says what they think or feel about something or someone – having nothing to do with the object of their criticism (I hate that hairdo / You’re doing that backwards / That’s no way to….. / they’re just stupid)

Being judged vs. legitimate criticism
The main difference is that judgmental comments are about the essence of something or someone, & is generalized to the whole category (Blue is bad, all men are pigs….),
— while legitimate criticism is aimed at someone’s behavior (hitting your little sister is not OK & not allowed) or the state of something (that building is a mess, & needs a lot of repairs)

Children & wounded adults do not make the distinction between BE-ing & DO-ing. So – it’s imperative for ACoAs to ‘hear’ whether we’re being told something about our behavior (speech or actions) vs. our identity. The latter is absolutely not acceptable, & healthy adults don’t stoop to this low blow (usually), nor will they tolerate it from others.

ACoAs confuse criticism with abuse
Legitimate criticism is an ‘evaluation of the merits or weaknesses of an action, choice, decision, thought process….’ & at best used as a method of correction. It is NOT a de-valuation of our whole being or identity! as ACoAs believe.abuse vs criticism
We confuse or blend the two because:
a. In the past – our family we were almost always judged & misjudged, attacked & humiliated, with little or no balance provided – no praise, encouragement or patience when we couldn’t do something – perfectly, the first time, without guidance or when we were too young
b. Now, having absorbed the original abuse from the PP, it has become the essence of our Self-hate. So any ‘disapproval’, slight or even a correction from others is taken as a personal indictment of us.

This causes much confusion, because of our own Double Bind: (review ACoAs’ D.Message)
— on the one hand we agree with them: any time others are not positive & supportive to us, our Self-Hate flares up, because it mirrors what our PP has been saying/ implying all along, AND what the WIC believes as absolute truth (S-H). Even as we’re terribly hurt & upset, when someone points out what they consider to be our imperfections (even when it’s only their opinion or their projection), we feel exposed & worthless. Endlessly obsessing about what we did wrong, we try to justify ourselves to ourselves, but deeply convinced we are to blame

— on the other hand we’re resentful:  we hate the person who has said or done something that hurt our feelings, that makes us feel disrespected…. We’re depressed & hopeless, or rageful, getting on our high-horse, thinking “Who do they think they are saying that to me, judging me, ignoring me” ….).
Endlessly obsessing about what we should have said, what we will say or do to get back at them, get them to see how wrong they were, wanting to justify ourselves to them….. we go round-and-round, digging our hole even deeper, getting nowhere.

ACoAs take ‘Alternative Suggestions’ AS Criticismsuggestions
ACoAs usually think in B & W, only knowing one way of dealing with all situations, ways which are most often ineffective, negative or harmful. We use one tool for every job, like using a ‘hammer’ equally for pounding in a nail, changing a light-bulb or petting a cat.  We don’t even realize that there are potentially several other – positive – ways of responding (& thinking), & that different tools are needed to handle different situations.
SO – being given such alternatives is not criticism but rather an offer of information, to improve our lives. (fromCONFUSION’)

NEXT: Criticism (Part 2)


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