ACoAs – Dealing with CRITICISM (Part 1)

being judgedPREVIOUS: ACoAs Being Disappointed #4

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


➖ Being Judged – (Usually) being told / have it implied that there’s 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” …)

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

➖ Being criticized – when a mistake in our behavior is pointed out – OR when our behavior or communication is disliked by the criticizer.
The critic may or may not include telling you how you ‘should’ do do/say it correctly. But it’s often done with anger, disdain, superiority – in order to control & manipulate.
In rare cases it’s done with caring & good will, if the person is healthy & you’ve agreed to learn from themcriticism styles

🟰 Given a suggestion
– When we’re offered a better way of doing something – to make it easier or better for us, or our environment
EXP: “If you added an aspirin to the water, the flowers would last longer / When you travel, why not take less luggage?…”).
Done with kindness, respect & from a genuine desire to help

➕ Having Good Judgement : realistically choosing —
☆ between an objective positive or negative alternative
EXP: That fruit is spoiled, I’ll take the fresh one / The left trail is safer than the right one….)
☆ between things that do or do not personally suits you
EXP: I’m allergic to sugar, so I use honey / I regularly watch comedy shows but never horror movies)

✔️ Being judged vs. legitimate criticism
★ Judgmental comments are about the essence (being) of something or someone, & is generalized to the whole category (Blue is ugly, all men are pigs….) , while —
☆ Legitimate Criticism is aimed at someone’s behavior (doing)(hitting your little sister is not OK & not allowed) or the state of something (that house is a mess, & needs a lot of repairs)

Children & wounded adults rarely 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.
Attacks on the latter is absolutely not acceptable, & healthy adults don’t stoop to this low blow anyway (usabuse vs criticismually), nor 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 its best used as a method of correction.
It is NOT a de-valuation of our whole being or identity! as ACoAs feel/ believe.

We confuse or blend the two because:
a. In the past – our family almost always judged & misjudged, attacked & humiliated us. There was little or no balance provided : no praise, encouragement or patience – when we couldn’t do something the first time, or perfectly – and without guidance or when we were too young

b. Now, having absorbed the original abuse into our PigP, it has become the essence of our S-H. So any slight ‘disapproval’, or even a correction from others is taken as a personal indictment

OUR confusion, because of a Double Bind: (see D.Message)
★ on the one hand we agree with them
Any time others are not positive & supportive, S-H flares up because it mirrors what our PigP has been saying/ implying all along, AND which the WIC believes as absolute truth.

When someone points out something they consider to be our imperfections – even when it’s only their opinion or projection – we feel exposed & worthless, endlessly obsessing about what we did wrong

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

NEXT: Criticism (Part 2)

Double BINDS – STAYING AWAKE (Part 6a)


I’m going to have to pay close attention

PREVIOUS: Double Binds (Part 5b)

BOOK: “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” ~ Chip & Dan Heath (review…..)

D. Binds, created by D. Messages, are like being called over to someone who is crooking their index finger, meaning “Come to me, my darling,” – but when you get there they slap your face.
Or being told, “Darling, tell me how you feel,” but then when you do, they sarcastically sneer that you’re being dramatic, hateful, over-sensitive, crazy, ridiculous, immature…. (More…..)

📣 IMPERATIVE : We can not afford to mentally blank out when dealing with controlling, narcissistic, double-binding people – which is what the WIC does when terrified & trying to disappear.
It will make a big difference to your well-being if you stay awake for how you feel around people who do the come-here-go-away dance or give other kinds of DMs.

🔺Identifying the specific D. Messages you’ve been getting is crucial so you know what you’re dealing with, & then figure a way out.
If one specific person you’re around is a S, you’re probably angry a lot of the time, but may not recognize it as that specific emotion. And underneath the anger – you’re really scared of displeasing or losing them – whether you can feel that deeper layer or not.

❗️VERBALIZE what’s going on. You’re only in a full Double Bind while the contradictory statements you’ve been subjected to remain unconscious. Once they’re articulated, they lose some of their force. Questioning AND objecting to the contradictions, & getting external support, can often help with our own internal distorted beliefs

of self-hating D.Message (More….. )  Also DM Part 7b)
a. Having many PTSD symptoms means I’m broken, worthless -AND-
b. Admitting to only a few symptoms means the abuse wasn’t that bad
c. I’m not supposed to notice what really happened, or help myself out of it

❓CHART: Use it for your own DBs, to figure out what were imposed on you by another person or institution. 📕 Expand & add columns as needed
Re. RESULTS: Internally – what’s already happened
Externally: what you fear will happen
Re. OPTIONS: The one best suited to your personality & current circumstances
Final RESULTS – of your choice, in T.E.A. terms

Fill in columns for each part of the Double/Triple BIND you’re in, in as much detail as you can. DO a little, then add as you figure more out. Include:
🔸 (A,B,C) Conflicting commands & Consequences, from yourself or others
🔸 Blatant & subtle Punishments
🔸 Any attempts to unhook yourself, successful or not
🔸 What happened – in yourself or from others / overall outcome
🔸 If still stuck, why you’re still in it (internal reasons)….
Step Away from DBs and post “Negative Benefits

• Since DBs are often stacked together, it’s necessary to unravel them statement by statement – like parsing a sentence. See how many parts you can identify in the following abusive, distorted manipulative communications:
EXPToxic Parent to actual Child
“Now you want my help! Hah! I never got into this kind of trouble when I was a kid. Surprise me by doing something right for a change, I’d like that!”
“You should be ashamed of yourself. Listen to me, you’ve got to take control over your life. Stop questioning what I tell you. I’ve been around a lot longer than you have, you know.”

EXP Authority to ‘Problem’ Person / Patient
“You have to accept that you are X (mentally ill, addict, out-of-control, raging, self-destructive…) before we can help you. We’re only doing this for your own good, out of love and compassion for you, even though you are X (the label).”

“When you say that — “we have the problem, that we’re doing this to suit ourselves because we don’t like the way you are — it only proves that you are indeed X (the label)”

NEXT: DBs, Staring Awake, Part 6b