Do you feel that you are being picked on by your partner, friends or coworkers all the time? In the beginning, everything seems good. They seem to like/love you, but gradually they become critical of you.
It is possible you actively encourage others to criticize you without even recognizing it. This would be an unconsciously taught pattern based on how you interacted with people as a child.
Let’s look at this example;
You look in the mirror and ask your partner, “Do I look fat in this outfit?” “Do I look ugly?”
You might ask your partner these sorts of questions. Answer to these questions always leads to an argument, fight or conflict. If your partner says, “mmm. you look a little bit fat in this outfit,” or “No, you look good,”
Both scenarios make you upset and maybe angry. You might think, “he just wants to make me feel good. I’m sure I’m not good,” or “how dare you are saying, I’m fat. Yes, I’m fat.”
The important point to remember here is that you were the one who initially criticized yourself. By presenting this self-criticism to others, you altered the other’s perspective to a negative one.
How do you create opportunities for constant criticism?
See which one of the below scenarios is familiar.
You constantly ask yes/no questions about yourself from your partner/friends
· “Be honest with me, do you think my love handles is big?”
· “Do you think my body is wrinkled too much?”
· “Do you think that I need a nose job/eyebrow lifting?”
· “Do you prefer to be with happier girls?”
· “Am I boring?”
You make assumptions about what the other person is thinking
· “I’m sure you want to get a divorce.”
· “it’s clear you think that I’m useless.”
· “I know you think I need to lose weight to be truly beautiful.”
· “You think I’m a boring person. That’s why you want to go home and sleep early.”
You often bring us down by making negative comments or remarks about yourself, even if they’re just ‘jokes.’
· “I’m stupid,” “I’m the ugly duckling of my family,” “I’m just a loser.”
You try to avoid receiving compliments, being extremely humble or feel uncomfortable when you get a compliment
· “Oh, thank you. But it’s not that way at all. It’s nice you to say that.”
· “Oh, that? it wasn’t a big deal.”
· “I don’t think that I’m that good. But thank you. The beauty is the eye of the beholder.”
You spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think of you and what they don’t like about you.
· “I am sure my boss thinks that I’m not ambitious.”
· “I’m sure they think my project was not good enough.”
· “They think I’m useless.”
· “My date didn’t answer my text; they must think I’m desperate and needy.”
You look for even small flaws in every situation.
· “You didn’t like my cooking. You didn’t finish all of your plates.”
· “You said that you love me, but you slept last night without kissing me good night, like other nights.”
Why would I do encourage others to criticize me?
Like other psychological patterns, it is rooted in our childhood experiences. You may grow up with critical parents. Perhaps your mother or father made negative comments about your behavior or appearance or made unfavorable comparisons between you and another sibling. Maybe, nothing was acceptable for your parents, and they have high expectations from you. Or maybe you grow up watching one parent regularly criticize the other. You may develop the impression that love entails being criticized. Without knowing this backwards motivation, you would encourage your partner and others to criticize you in order to feel loved. In these situations, you develop this core belief that you deserve to be criticized, which means you’ll continuously create scenarios in your life to ‘prove’ this hidden belief is true.
What will happen if I put myself in the situation of being criticized?
Criticism in any form destroys self-esteem. Self-criticism paves the way for depression and anxiety. It also has been linked to self-harm behaviors, eating disorders, and relationship difficulties. It also encourages addictive behaviors. When you unconsciously encourage others to criticize you, you basically make your negative core beliefs about yourself stronger and stronger.
To summarize, it is difficult to live a happy and healthy life if you are only focused on what is wrong with you and never acknowledge and recognize your strength.
Can therapy help me to change this pattern and stop the self-criticism pattern?
It can. A skilled counsellor or psychotherapist can help you build your self-esteem and identify your patterns of criticism and block positive feedback from others.
If you are actively contributing to creating criticism in your relationships, counselling can help you transform relationships. You may begin to understand and get along with coworkers, enhance your social life, and possibly even discover new methods of interacting with your spouse that will make you feel in love again rather than moving towards a breakup.