It’s natural for us to feel defensive sometimes when someone criticizes us. However, this doesn’t mean we’re incapable, stupid, or a failure. It simply means that the other person wants something done differently or is trying to help. This post is for anyone who struggles with constructive criticism due to growing up with narcissistic parents.
Growing up with narcissistic parents can make it challenging to receive criticism. Narcissistic parents often criticize their children excessively & make them feel like they’re never good enough. As a result, children of narcissistic parents usually struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, depression & C-PTSD. They also may view any criticism as a personal attack & become defensive or shut down entirely. If you grew up with narcissistic parents, it’s essential to recognize & acknowledge how their behavior affected you. This awareness can help you start to change your mindset & respond to criticism more realistically.
It’s also important to differentiate between constructive criticism & destructive criticism. Constructive criticism is feedback that’s intended to help you improve. It’s not meant to tear you down or make you feel badly about yourself. Destructive criticism is the opposite, & is meant to hurt you & make you feel bad about yourself.
Changing your mindset takes time & effort, but it’s very possible. Start by recognizing that not all criticism is meant to be destructive. Some is constructive criticism, & it’s an opportunity to learn & grow. It’s not a personal attack.
Try to approach criticism with an open mind & a willingness to improve. Remember that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes sometimes & have room to grow.
It may also be helpful to practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with kindness & understanding, in particular when you make mistakes or receive criticism. Remind yourself that no one is perfect, & that’s ok! Also remember that you’re doing your best, & that’s all anyone can ask of you.
When someone asks you to do something a different way, take a deep breath & try to remain calm. Again, remember that not everyone is attacking you personally; they may just want something done differently.
Listen carefully to their feedback & ask questions if you’re not sure what they mean. You’ll be able to identify if their criticism is constructive or destructive rather quickly. If it’s constructive, thank them for their feedback & let them know that you’ll do your best to make the requested changes. If you need more time or support, don’t be afraid to ask for it. If it’s destructive, remind yourself that people who use this tactic don’t mean what they say. They are critical as a way to gain control over someone by damaging their self esteem.
It’s important to set boundaries with people who criticize you excessively or destructively. You have the right to protect your mental health & well-being.
If someone’s feedback is hurting you, let them know that their criticism is not helpful & ask them to stop. Sometimes people become excessively negative & critical when stressed or going through a particularly difficult time. People like this are likely unaware of their behavior & will make appropriate changes. If they continue to criticize you & excuse their behavior, it may be a sign of a toxic person, & necessary to limit or end contact with them.
Changing your mindset & responding better to criticism takes time & effort. It’s a process, not a quick fix. Be patient with yourself & celebrate your progress along the way. Always remember that you’re not a failure or incapable just because someone asks you to do something differently. Viewing constructive criticism as an opportunity to learn & grow is a very healthy thing to do.
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