I live with two people who are free with their criticism. Some of this criticism includes such things as the way the spices are organized to the way I do my laundry. If this was constructive criticism I wouldn’t be so upset. However, it is not. This is done specifically to make me feel “less than”. It takes a toll on a person, and I decided to do a little research into exactly what kind of effects this has on the person being criticized. One notable effect is that being constantly criticized can really affect your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. This is true, since after I’ve been criticized I really feel sick, whether it’s a headache, upset stomach, or both. Then I find that in the days following such an attack I just want to curl up in my bed, hide under the covers and do nothing. It takes every ounce of energy I’ve got to continue on my path to change.
When I looked up information on this subject, there was a lot of information regarding parents being overly critical of their children. My parents were overly critical. If I got a score of 100% correct, I was asked why I didn’t get 101%. When I graduated college with a double Major in four years, my Mother was upset that I didn’t also have a Minor. My achievements were not recognized, only my “faults”.
So, I’m now struggling with this issue in my life, and either the attacks are getting worse, or I’m not dealing with the after-effects as well as in the past. Being told to grow a thicker skin is not helpful, and not something I’d recommend to other people. However, I try to look at the problems of the person who is attacking me. As far as I’m concerned, the only reason they are attacking me has to do with them, not me. If the criticism is valid, I look for the truths in it. However, when the criticism is generally about how I do something, or say something, or in some cases just the very act of my being is the object of the criticism, then I try to remember that it’s not valid. So, look into the critical statements, see if it’s valid and if it isn’t , consider the source.