SITE: “How to give Constructive Criticism”
Getting VALUE out of Criticism
Whatever style of communication being ‘sent’, remember you’re not responsible for what others say, but only for how you react.
Using our Adult ego state, we can have our internal feelings of hurt, anger, disappointment, confusion…. but it’s more self-esteeming if we don’t justify, over-explain, attack, or cause a scene. If we challenge the other person, it may escalate into an unnecessary & possibly damaging argument
Ultimately, if the constant criticisms are in fact judgmental, controlling, manipulative, attacking our character…. then it’s wisest to walk away, or be very brief in our response (See “Effective Responses” & “Useful, Clever responses”)
😣 Suggestion : No matter what – it’s not empowering to be defensive or try to ‘make them see’ – which comes from the WIC. (see ‘ACoAs & Anger’ post). This is especially important when dealing with family, a mate, friend or boss – IF those people are in the habit of being emotionally abusive.
However, if the person offering criticism is reasonably fair-minded & genuinely wants to be helpful, you can :
1. Think of the criticism as a ‘suggestion’ rather than a condemnation or a command. Consider what you’ve been told carefully, thinking it over & looking at it from different angles.
KEEP in MIND: If you’re having a rage or S-H reaction then it’s an old wound, so it’s best to process that first (in 2-handed writing, therapy, Program….).
• is the criticism accurate & I’m ashamed of being exposed?
• is it similar to what I heard a lot growing up?
• is the ‘thing’ being criticized related to a deep need or longing in me?
• is my criticized behavior the result of my damage, or a disability (ADD, dyslexia), because of a recent trauma, a change in meds?…..
OR are you actually being misjudged & you just want to kill? ACoAs :
• get enraged when accused wrongly – growing up there was no justice, no one took our side or wanted to hear an explanation of our reality…. AND
• feel terrified when accuse rightly! – as kids we got severely punished, often unfairly, leaving us feeling deeply alone. Nor did we get the right info to learn what we did wrong & how to correct it!
2. With due consideration, decide what you think of the criticism
a. If you do not agree, either wholly or in part, take the time to form your reasons, based on intuition, experience & positive information. You may or may not choose to express this to your critic, depending on how important it is to your well-being or to your work, & depending on whether the person is dangerous or not – to your livelihood or health
b. If you do agree, hopefully you’ll have dealt first with any negative fallout from you WIC or PigP.
No one can be perfect – it’s not human! Agreeing with the other person is not an admission of failure or worthlessness!
• ASK yourself if there’s any reality to what I’m being told
• is the Sender simply telling me about themselves – nothing to do with me? Or are they seeing me clearer than I can see myself?
• Did the ‘sender’ provide any alternatives? Were they useful?
If you’re not sure, ask someone else – who is safe & trustworthy.
• if there is some truth in it, am I interested in making a change?
• if they may have a point, do I have the courage to ask for more information & suggestions?
• if I don’t agree with the criticism, can I keep my ‘center’ & either not say anything, or just say Thanks & drop it?
IMP: Consider how you can apply the offered suggestion to your actions or way of communicating. Whatever you choose to change must be suited to your personality, abilities & current circumstances.
• Once you’ve made a change, note how it has helped or hindered you. Was it a good, neutral or bad outcome? How does it feel?
• If one revision didn’t work very well, don’t give up. Try others
ACoAs have a hard time knowing the difference between the + & – types. In either scenario always try to remember that you can use criticism to your advantage.
REVIEW posts:‘What to do when confused” // “Victims or not?”
“What just happened?” // “Noticing Painful Events” //
“Positive Responses to Painful Events 1-5” // “Actions – Healthy opposites”
NEXT: ACoAs Being Negative #1