Do you have friends and family members who tend to be critical? How do you handle their negative comments?
It’s possible to handle these comments without turning to arguments or other negative coping mechanisms. Remember, you’re in control of your responses to their comments.
Try these techniques to resolve their criticisms without arguments or angry feelings:
1. Avoid taking it personally – It’s easy to get defensive and take things personally.
When a family member judges your weight or appearance, it’s hard not to take it personally. You feel attacked and vulnerable, but the key is to remember that their opinion isn’t the only one that matters.
Keep in mind that comments about you actually show more about the state of mind of the person saying them. When they’re criticizing your appearance, it’s possible they have issues with their own looks. Family members sometimes attack others because it’s an easy target for them and it takes the focus off of their own shortcomings.
2. Know your triggers – Triggers are things that can set you off. They are comments or actions that affect you deeply. By becoming aware of your triggers, you can learn to notice when others are “pushing your buttons” and consciously calm yourself to tone down your reaction.
For example, weight issues are a common cause of concern, so negative comments about your weight might be a trigger. They can trigger a cascade of negative emotions such as feeling worthless, hopeless, or like a failure.
Family members are usually aware of your triggers, so they know how to hurt you easily. It’s important to avoid letting them have this power over you.
3. Share how you feel – In some cases, your family may not be aware that they’re hurting you. They may even think that they’re helping by pointing out your faults so you can work to overcome them.
To nip this in the bud, share your feelings and let them know that their negative comments are painful to hear. Explain that you’re aware of your issues and don’t need constant negative reminders. It’s up to you to make them aware that they’re not helping.
4. Set clear boundaries – You can teach others how to treat you by setting clear boundaries. Let your family members know that you won’t accept some things. They will eventually get used to you standing up for yourself.
Be prepared to take action if they overstep these boundaries. In this case, you may have to cut off contact with them or take other measures to let them know that you’re serious about the boundaries.
You can’t control everyone, but you can make it clear that you won’t tolerate rude or negative comments.
Although you may feel obligated to spend time with your family, you don’t have to spend time with people who hurt you on a regular basis. You deserve to be treated well, even by your family members.
If your family is constantly sharing negative comments or criticisms, it will benefit you to learn how to deal with them. It’s not an easy process, but it’s important for your sanity and well-being to manage your emotions and their comments.