Everyone has critics, but a critical person will attempt to tear you down at every turn.
Critical people make rude comments, judge our decisions, talk at length about what we’re doing wrong or rarely have anything nice to say.
A critical person could be considered a type of toxic person. And if you have one in your life, they are probably a family member, friend, or partner.
Identifying A Critical Person…
A critical person will usually try to tear you down, much like a manipulative person. They are extremely negative, judgemental, and will go on and on about what you have done/are doing wrong.
You usually feel like crap after being around them for more than three minutes. A critical person wastes no time letting you know everything they think you are doing wrong. Over time, this behavior can translate into a kind of verbal abuse. Here are my Five Ways Of Dealing With A Critical Person…
|1| Stand Your Ground
In order to keep your sanity and your dignity – stand your ground when you are talking to a critical person….
“I appreciate your concern when it comes to how Chris and I handle our finances, and we really love having you there for us when we truly need it – but how we spend our earnings is really up to us. We always consider what’s best for our family, and make our decisions based on what is important to us.”
“I know you think joking about my ________ is all in good fun, but I’ve mentioned to you multiple times now that it really hurts my feelings. I need you to respect me and stop talking about my ______.”
|2| Keep Communication To A Minimum
The less contact you have with this person, the better. Let’s face it – you can only dodge them, and be kind, and take hit after hit for so long. Do not choose to voluntarily hang out with this person. Family get-togethers are okay if you can maintain a distance while still being kind…but anything extra should be avoided.
And if they catch on to the fact that you’re eluding them – you can then explain, briefly, that you feel judged and criticized for your personal decisions. You are instead choosing to surround yourself with supportive and positive influences. This will no doubt either enrage them or hurt their feelings. But you cannot continually make the sacrifice of your own dignity and feelings for someone else’s poor attitude and criticism. This enables their critical behavior and degrades your good character and attitude.
Eventually, they must be made aware of their actions, and the effects those actions have on their loved ones…including YOU. If you are feeling this way, chances are there are plenty of other people around this critical person that feel the same.
|3| Give Feedback
If they are willing to listen, or you truly believe they do care for you and your feelings as a true friend/sister/mother/brother/cousin/partner/etc should – you should offer some feedback. For instance, should you be explaining to your friend how hard of a time you’ve been having with transitioning your little one from the bottle to the sippy or diapers to the potty, and they insist on telling you everything you’ve done wrong since day 1 (and why they’re better…blah blah blah), kindly interrupt this person to let them know that you aren’t seeking criticism. Let them know you need a shoulder to lean on, support, and a listening ear to simply vent. You already feel bad, after all!
Feedback doesn’t resonate well with everyone though, so keep that in mind.
|4| Less Is More
The more you share with a critical person, the more they can criticize. More information = more criticism. They will likely criticize you without the additional information, so why bait them? Keep your personal drama, secrets, and insecurities away from this person. They will surely use it as an opportunity to tear you down.
Sometimes, and I hate to say this, but a critical person will act like they are suddenly being really uplifting and supportive in order to gain information, and then swoop down on you like prey. So, with this person, it’s always best to just keep it to yourself. All of it, if you can help it.
|5| Cut Them Off
I don’t say this last one lightly. There might be some instances where you need to completely cut off this person. I never hope for this scenario, but I’m sure there are instances where this proves to be the best option for yourself and your family. Some examples of when this might be necessary are:
- They attack you on social media or in public for personal reasons
- They make you feel terrible or hopeless after talking to them
- They have been made aware of their behavior but continue it
My husband and I have had to, unfortunately, cut off some people close to us before because of their toxic and critical behavior. We made this decision with a heavy heart, and consideration for our family’s security and well-being.
Do what is best for yourself and your family – but I would always advise you to do it with a kind heart. While this person may not have respect for you at the time, I would have respect for them by following my steps above before jumping straight into cutting them off. Certainly, if this person poses any kind of risk to your family or your personal mental health – then please consider doing so.
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