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The Pain of Criticism

It hurts me right down to my core when I get criticism or feedback. Even feedback given in the kindest manner can be agonising. When someone tells me something that they think I can do better or something that I have done wrongly, I feel taken over by guilt and shame.

This guilt and shame can take over me for days and weeks. When this happens, I don't want to relax or have self-compassion because my self-esteem is so low. I feel prickly with embarrassment about what I did, or did not, do. It can affect my sense of self so much that I forget who I am.

text reads: seeing the bigger picture can be really hard for me. background is white dots.

In the aftermath of criticism or feedback, seeing the bigger picture can be really hard for me. All I seem to see is the detail that relates to the criticism. It can play on loop in my mind until my sleep, eating and social life are all affected.

During these times, I forget that criticism and feedback is one person's opinion. I. know that it is necessary to use the DBT skill check the facts to work out if the criticism is valid. Checking the facts is often the last thing I want to do however because I feel so convinced that my worst fears are coming true.

Why would I want to check the facts when I 'just know' that I am a terrible friend/colleague/girlfriend/human being?!

Of course, DBT has taught me that feeling something does not make it true. I know that checking the facts is vital for managing my BPD and living a happier, calmer life. Checking the facts can help me see that the criticism doesn't mean I am a terrible friend, colleague, girlfriend or human being.

I also know that there are many more DBT skills that can help with managing criticism such as wise mind, check the facts, mindfulness of thoughts and emotions, self-soothe....

I am going to do some of these skills tonight.

Do you struggle when you receive criticism or feedback? How do you cope?

Check out my video about how DBT helped me feel so much better >

1 Comment

Feb 28, 2020

I can really relate to how you describe the hurt. I find any criticism or perceived criticism to be excruciating. I have been stuck in shame for the last few weeks and it is a soul-destroying place to be. I tend to push everyone away because the shame is so intense. Am currently revisiting DBT skills to try to tolerate the feeling. Radical Acceptance that my shame is high at the moment and Mindfulness of emotions, to try to observe the shame rather than getting swept up in it.

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