My Family Criticizes Me All The Time: How Do I Deal With It?

Last updated by Lauren Hart

From my choice of clothes to the color of my hair and the work I do, I’ve often received criticism from my family. Uncles, aunts, grandparents, parents, everyone has something to say. It’s not necessarily mean (although...), but repeatedly hearing their opinions makes you suffer. For a long time, I suffered from the negative remarks of those around me, but now I completely detach myself from them. How can we free ourselves from a family that criticizes us all the time?

My Family Criticizes Me All The Time: How Do I Deal With It?

Take a step back from your family?

Who hasn’t had a critical old aunt or grandfather 😅? It seems like it’s always the same people who come along and throw their opinions around. And that’s kind of the case, especially since the members of our family who pass judgment are often rooted in the era in which they spent their youth. They’re people with their insecurities and pasts, which they carry over to us 😣. 👋 Let’s stop projecting our own fears onto others!

The gospel truth, my ass!

You need to take a step back and tell yourself that their criticisms aren’t gospel 😬. It often feels like they hold the truth because we are their offspring, but that's not the case, they are still human beings with flaws! Psychotherapist Heather Garbutt, therefore, gives this valuable advice, explaining that you need to detach yourself from their opinion and hold onto your own. Just because they think and say something doesn’t mean it’s better than our truth, so there 🤧!

Don’t seek approval

“Did you see, I bought a new dress, do you like it?”
“I think it’s too tight around your stomach and stop spending your money on clothes! Ugh, you don’t even know how to save. What will you do the day you have a problem, eh?”

When it’s not a shit compliment, it’s a well-formulated and ardent critique that comes out! Oh yes, what’s the point of buying another dress and daring to show it off? However, the problem with this exchange (barely inspired by my reality 😅) is that you seek approval.

A reflex to banish

Well, sure, it’s a small thing to seek approval, but this example shows that we shouldn’t worry about what our family thinks. Seeking this validation is in a way asking for permission to do something ✅ (or to wear that new dress). We seek to conform to the norms and codes established by our family and especially by the authoritative voices who are often older than us. Yet, this is an old reflex that needs to be banished in order to gain self-confidence.

👩‍👧 Becoming an adult is about learning to detach yourself from this approval and no longer needing to be reassured by your family circle.

Don’t (or no longer) idealize your family

For a long time, I idealized my family, having grown up with all the magic of 90s Christmas movies 😪. When you start to grow up and especially when you set yourself free, reality hits. Family secrets come to the surface, and you realize that your family is far from perfect! Learning to detach yourself by no longer idealizing your family also enables you to distance yourself from their criticism. As such, we can build ourselves for ourselves and not through the eyes of those around us.

"We sometimes hate our own flesh and blood, but we always love our spiritual family." Maurice Chapelan

We shouldn’t overlook the fact that there may be toxic people in our family, either. Once we remove the idealized vision, we learn to spot these individuals, who are always ready to pull out a critique. We shouldn’t hesitate to distance ourselves from them, for our own good, or even to cut ties if we feel that it’s necessary to get better. This doesn’t stop you from having another type of family, especially a friendly one 🤗.

You may be interested in this article >>> How to recognize you are in a toxic relationship

Refocus on yourself

This is the heart of the solution to getting rid of family criticism! Outside opinions only add to the weight and complexity of our thinking, exacerbating anxiety and bouts of depression 😞. Therefore, refocusing on ourselves can go a long way in helping us to stop taking negative criticism at face value.

Set your limits

We already have enough complicated social injunctions to deal with on a daily basis, so if we add those we hear at home from our family... You shouldn’t hesitate to set your limits with the most critical relatives. This allows you to assert yourself, even if you don’t always make yourself heard at the time 🙃. By correcting people in the long run, it eventually sinks in, at least that’s what I’ve found.

Don’t judge (them) either

The hardest thing is not to become bitter and judgmental in turn. What we need to remember is that there are also people who criticize out of fear. Especially our parents, who want us to do as well as possible and who are constantly unsure about our development. Of course, criticism is a very bad way to protect and preserve security, but we need to talk to them about it and not hold on to our resentment.

Psychotherapist Heather Garbutt also reminds us that criticism is a way of being for some people, and ultimately it has little to do with us. That’s why we might as well detach ourselves from these kinds of words and live our lives as we see fit, after all, we don’t live for them, we live for ourselves 😌.

Editor’s note: criticism that hurts...

Repeated criticism over several years, especially when it comes from the family sphere, is very painful. It sometimes leaves indelible marks on us, which is why it’s important to get out of this spiral. If your family hurts you, makes you feel bad, less than nothing, then it’s urgent you make an appointment with a psychologist to discuss it. Together, you can better understand your situation and decide on new habits that will allow you to get out of this condition.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!

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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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