How to cope with a hyper-critical individual
Constructive criticism is fine, but some people who are so relentlessly negative that they can suck the joy out of life. No matter what happy news you might have, they are guaranteed to find the cloud to fit your silver lining.
This is such a big problem for so many people, that I have a few thoughts on coping with hypercritical people whether you volunteer, work or live with them.
Listen to The Message
Is the person obscuring the message? Maybe your critical colleague or friend is tactless, or bad at expressing themselves rather than being mean. Try to see past the messenger to understand what is really being said, otherwise you might miss out on some valuable advice.
Accept the Feedback
You can decide to take crucial feedback on its own merits. That is, as a source of honest feedback. At least with hypercritical people what you see is what you get! If you can see past the blunt delivery, you may be able to find a kernel of truth that can improve the way you do things.
Deal with Your Discomfort
Criticism never feels good. Try to read your own discomfort as another source of information about what is being said. Does the negative feedback trigger a recognition deep within you? Maybe it subconsciously reminds you of a past event, but maybe there’s a ring of truth in the criticism. Sit with your discomfort and see what it’s telling you.
If You Can’t Take the Heat, Stay Out of the Kitchen
If you can’t stand being criticized, then it’s up to you not to get into situations with people who are likely to criticize you. Don’t ask for advice or expose yourself to their negativity. They’re not likely to change, so you need to take control and avoid such conversations. Don’t share good news if you know they’ll throw cold water on it, don’t seek their praise if you know you won’t get it.
Stay Out of Their Way
You have a choice about how to deal with negative people. You can decide not to engage with their negativity, you can ignore them, or you can just avoid them altogether. If you must have contact with a negative person at work, for example, be helpful but don’t engage with them. Otherwise, it’s up to you whether you want to have any contact with such negativity, or not.
The challenge of coping with a hyper-critical individual can take its toll on your general outlook and enjoyment in relationships. This is one of the challenging personality types we explore in the navigating challenging personalities workshop.
You will find a number of additional e-courses, e-books and audios that can support a more aligned and intentional approach to navigating this personality, right here on this website.
If you need a little more one on one support, please connect with me and let’s work on a customized response strategy together.
May you be inspired to lean into the best version of yourself today and everyday!