Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This was on the list of defects I posted a while ago.  I am often critical.  I know this and I know it has impacted my relationships, both intimate and otherwise, adversely over the years.

It was good to read that being critical/judgemental is an overcompensation for defectiveness.

I've got an interesting relationship with this tendency - on one hand I want to defend it, on the other I feel ashamed of it.  I have a well developed pitch as to why being critical is a good thing, including being transparent(as opposed to talking behind others backs), giving the feedback needed to improve etc.  Truth is I think I have a right to express less than positive views (after all I also say good stuff too) and if others can't cope then that's their issue.  Not pretty huh?  And not smart.

Every so often I see cleary the results of my criticalness, in acquaintances that withdraw, and recently in my work environment.  I feel horrible about myself when this happens.  It brings up all my "I'm a bad person" shamefulness.  Yet, I keep doing it. 

I've been cogitating on this since a conversation with my boss yesterday.  I was about to make a comment about one of my colleagues not doing one of his tasks well, and prefaced it by saying "I know you think I'm critical but...".  My boss (who is lovely) piped up and said "No, I don't have a problem with you being critical.  It's the being snarky.  The self-destructive stuff".   Wow.  It was full-on but good. 

What occurred to me is that criticalness is part of my normative way of operating.  Because I spend so much time judging myself and berating myself it's just standard.  I accept it for myself so I don't quite grasp why other people react so strongly to it.  That made me kind of sad for myself, for my vulnerable child who has never been well supported and nurtured.  Just a steady stream of "you're not good enough". 

I think I'm going to target this criticalness for behavioral pattern-breaking.  It's an ideal candidate really.  The trick is, I need to work on two fronts - criticalness of myself, which mostly happens in my head (although I do verbalise at times) and criticalness of others, which is expressed publically.  It's both thinking and doing.  This is going to be tricky - working on changing thoughts and behaviours at the same time. 

I'll work out a plan and put it in my next post.

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