Some people have been carefully trained to be faultfinders.
They look for the problems, the inadequacies, the not-quite-good-enoughs, and the less-than-perfects...and pounce!
Fault is often the first thing out of their mouths. You might know one or two such folks. Maybe, you're related to one? Or, married to one? Or, do you have faultfinding down to an art?
How about this scenario? You (the parent) walk into the house and the first thing you do is see what you kids have not done that they should have, and what they have done that they shouldn't have. No greeting from you. No, "How was your day?" Just a barrage of faults. Does this sound familiar?
Or, maybe you're married to someone who only sees what you have not done. S/he seems blind and oblivious to what you do, what you contribute and how you improve. S/he wants to hold you in their view in a certain way--a certain negative way--to keep you down and keep themselves in control. Or, at least, that's what they think and are hoping for. Somehow, making you smaller is supposed to make them feel bigger!
That doesn't work. Or, does it? Abused women--and that doesn't mean begin hit only with fists, it includes words, too--often do tend to put more stock in the opinions of others who want to tear them down than they do in the opinions of those who want to lift them up. That expands the more frequently they believe the emotional and verbal abuse, too.
Live with a fault-finder and you have two ways to go:
- You cringe whenever they come near and your shake in your boots when they open their mouths.
- You take what they say as a reflection of themselves, rather than as a reflection of you, and you assess it honestly in the light of reality.
Your choice. Yes, it's easy for me to say, I know. But, if you are regularly being put down, criticized or belittled by someone, you are honestly letting them do it. Stand up and speak up. No one deserves to be put in that situation, but all too many folks take it lying down.
- Have a boundary
People do not have the right to criticize me if I did not ask for their opinion.
- Express that boundary
I prefer that people wait until I ask them for their thoughts about me before offering them.
- Maintain that boundary
I do not wish to hear anyone's opinions of me unless I ask. If this cannot be respected, I'll have to leave this conversation (or relationship.)
- Release folks from your world who will not respect that boundary.
Walk away or limit your time with these folks. They do not respect you and seemingly do not take your boundary seriously.
You'll notice that not one of these statement has you using the word, you, when you are talking to someone else. This is the best rule-of-thumb in any conversation that can be inflammatory. Just speak about yourself, what you prefer, what you want, and what you will do if it is not respected.
THEN, DO IT!!!!!
P.S. If you need help--because I know this is difficult for many people--let's talk. You can book an appointment or take a class with me by visiting OptimizeCenter.com and seeing the options for you there. You deserve to have loving, mutually-supportive relationships with your partner, your family and your friends. Speak up!