Handling Criticism from Your Family


What do you do when an insult is hurled your way, privately or publicly? Do you pretend you didn’t hear it, hurl an insult right back, or hold it in and cry when you’re alone?

How we deal with criticism — no matter who it’s from — will determine whether we develop a tough skin or let the criticism get to us.

When insults and criticism come from a loved one, it is even more hurtful. People tend to be at their worst with the people they love the most. People feel safe enough with family to just “let it all hang out.”

Here are some tips for dealing with criticism and insults:

Don’t take every insult personally. Though the insults are thrown your way, the reason behind them probably has nothing to do with you. An elder may be angry at their circumstances: growing old, losing their independence, watching spouses and friends die. This has nothing to do with family members, but unfortunately, they bear the brunt of the anger.

Detach. Pull away from the situation and look at it without ego, as if you were observing someone else’s life. Is it possible you are being overly sensitive, or has someone treated you like a doormat for no reason? A clear sense of which it is will help you find the best solution.

Realize you can’t please everyone. You can be the best caregiver in the world, but people — be it your elderly parent, siblings or friends — can always find fault. It’s human nature. Someone will find something that you do wrong, or tell you that you aren’t doing something right. It’s a fact of life and we can’t change it. Accept this and you’ll be a happier person.

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