Nothing hurts worse than when you receive negative criticism from someone you love.
Negative criticism in the developmental years can be psychologically damaging, according to Childhood Trauma Recovery. Verbal abuse is sometimes more challenging to overcome than physical abuse, as wounds heal, but words cut deep.
Whether an adult or a child, handling such negativity can be a challenge, you want people to like you, think you’re doing great in life, and be in the cheerleading section. When they say things that are criticized, it hurts badly.
Twenty Responses to Negative Criticism From Your Loved Ones
When someone you love says something that hurts you, you don’t have to take it sitting down. Depending on the personality or situation, you can use several tactics to counteract this verbally rude individual. Here are the twenty best responses to someone who negatively criticizes you.
Sometimes, the situation isn’t even worth your time or effort. Don’t waste your precious time arguing with them if someone vents their emotions at your expense. Like the famous country music artists wrote, “You say it best when you say nothing at all.”
2. Tell Them How You Expect to Be Treated
If this person commonly criticizes you for many things, you have a right to stand up to them. Tell them how you expect to be treated if they are around you and your family. You don’t have to put up with their disrespect, and you have a right to set boundaries with them.
3. Evaluate the Remark
There may be some truth in what they’re saying, even if the delivery was wrong. Evaluate the statement they made, and you must take a long, hard look at yourself. Were they trying to help you, but it came across negatively?
4. Stop the Negative Criticism Tirade
When someone is rude enough to criticize you, you can be harsh enough to cut them off. Stop them in mid-sentence if they start running their mouth about things that are none of their business. You don’t have to listen to this garbage, as it will do nothing but hinder your self-esteem.
5. Have A Good Come Back
Remember that when you’re pointing at someone, you’re also pointing back at yourself. So, if this person is throwing stones, perhaps you should throw some back at their glasshouse. They can’t be perfect, so giving them a taste of their own medicine can be an excellent way to combat their verbal abuse.
6. Thank Them
One way to combat negativity is to use positivity. If you’re constantly trying to overcome this person’s toxic comments, then hit them with optimism if they tell you that you’re not a good parent and should be doing more for your kids.
You can say something like, “You know, you’re right. I am trying every day to be a better parent. Thank you for pointing this issue out to me.” You can almost guarantee they will have nothing further to say. They wanted to get a rise out of you, and you didn’t play into their hand.
7. Tell Them to Change Their Tone
The message this negative person is giving you might be the truth, but the delivery was wrong. Tell them you don’t mind discussing issues in the future, but you expect them to change their tune and have an open dialog rather than criticism.
8. Find Common Ground
While you may not agree with everything, this person said, maybe you can find common ground. While you may not be the best spouse or parent, you can decide to disagree on some things. Acknowledging there is an issue will defuse them a bit.
9. Ask For Patience and Understanding
No one is perfect, not even the person providing the negative criticism. Ask them to be patient with you and understand as you deal with the matter. It’s a rule of thumb never to tell someone something they already know.
Take, for instance, a person who walks up to you at a family reunion and tells you that you’ve put on weight. You already know that you’ve gained a few pounds, and them bringing attention to something you already feel self-conscious about isn’t going to help anything. It could make matters worse.
10. Tell Them They Have A Good Eye for Detail
If you can think of nothing else to say, you should commend them on having an excellent eye for detail. It’s evident this person is super observant and has the sense of a superhero. Commend them for noticing something that you try to hide about yourself and go about your day.
11. Offer Them A Debate
If someone tends to be negatively critical of you on many occasions, why not offer them a friendly debate. Ask them to have a sit-down conversation regarding the matter. They may find they have less to say about it when you want to challenge them to a battle of words.
12. Don’t Take It Personally
It’s difficult not to take everything a person says to you personally, especially if you love them. If this person tends to be free with their comments, you must realize that you’re not the only one on the firing line. Realize they like to grumble, and they don’t mean anything by it.
13. Address Your Discomfort With the Negative Criticism
The only way these negative comments can hurt you is if they’ve struck a chord with an inner belief. So, it would help if you addressed why you feel so upset by their comment, and you should work on methods to try and fix it. The key is to get to the root cause and get busy with the issue.
14. Disengage from the Negative Criticism
If you want to end the conversation without being rude, politely disengage from the topic. This person probably wants a debate about something to get you going. When you give a sigh or make a slight noise like “huh,” then you’ve acknowledged their comment, but you don’t care to respond.
15. Show Them Kindness
No matter how unkind the statement is or how much you want to fly off the handle, smile and compliment them. For example, if a person says that the shirt you have on is unflattering to your figure, you should hit them back with a kind statement.
You can say something like, “Wow, I was just thinking about how much I liked your outfit.” People that hold you to a higher standard than most probably also hold themselves to an exceedingly high level. Overly critical people usually have esteem problems they are trying to combat, so they lash out at others to take the attention from themselves.
16. Avoid People Who Love to Engage in Negative Criticism
When things escalate to the point where you don’t even feel comfortable in their presence, then make sure to avoid them. If someone is judging your parenting, looks, or things that are none of their business, then you have a right to say who you will and won’t entertain.
17. Consider the Source
You will often receive wisdom from elders who know what they’re talking about, but some people don’t know anything. Before you get all worked up, you should consider the source.
18. Tell Them You Welcome Constructive Criticism
It’s okay for someone to offer you constructive opinions, but negative criticism is uncalled for in life. Tell them that they need to change their approach if they want to help you be a better person.
19. Ask If They’re Offering to Help
If this person is so bold as to criticize you, then maybe they’re willing to help. If they tell you that you need to dress better, ask them for a few tips and pointers. Perhaps they want to go shopping with you and pick out some new clothes.
20. Not Now
There is a time and place for everything. If someone has some critique for you, you have the right to tell them it’s not a good time.
Maybe you’ve already had a bad day, and you can’t bear any more drama. Telling them not now is a polite way of saying you don’t have time for their negative criticism.
You learn from family members who’ve been through many experiences in their life. However, having lived through some troubles doesn’t ever give you the right to be rude to someone else. Negative criticism will only drive a wedge between you and the person you love, especially when they love to pick out your faults.
The best way to combat this type of person is to consider the source. Does this individual tend to be a bit nosey and talk down to everyone? If so, you need to learn to let it roll off your back. If their comments bother you too much, it’s best to avoid them.
However, there could be some truths hidden behind all that negativity, and you need to find out what they’re trying to say and apply it to your life. If they tell you that you need to improve your cooking as the potatoes you made are awful, you may need a cooking class.
The key is not to let constructive criticism be misconstrued because you wear your emotions on your sleeve. You can learn and grow with the help of those around you, and you can also put naysayers in their place.