These criticisms can do much harm, it can turn into real poison darts that have a huge impact on our self-esteem and confidence. We can’t avoid these criticisms, but we can become immune to them. To succeed, the best protective barrier is to know that behind many of these words often hides a complicated mechanism of projection.
The offensive criticism says more about who critics than who’s criticized
The projection is one of the most common self-defense mechanisms in daily life. It is a mechanism that serves persons to defend themselves from those impulses, desires or thoughts that refuse to recognize as their own. As a result, there is a profound negation and the persons attribute them to others, projects them onto others.
Recognizing these impulses, desires or thoughts would be too painful for the person because they go against the idealized image he has of himself. As a result, he projects them constantly on others, criticizing them when recognized, as well as establishing a psychological and turning them away unconsciously. But since they are his own impulses, criticism is always accompanied by a strong emotional reaction.
Obviously, the projection does not occur in an arbitrary manner, it happens that the person detects a defect in the other (perhaps presumed) and magnifies it. Therefore, a small slip of the tongue or some words that can be misinterpreted, become the fuse that detonates destructive criticism.
The mechanism of projection is based on the idea that we analyze and react to the world as we see it. That is, as we try to hide these impulses or prejudices, they continue to influence our psychological life and our reactions.
A typical example of projection is when someone accuses his partner of being unfaithful, but in reality what happens is that he/she feels guilty because had those thoughts, but refuses to accept it, because he/she believes that infidelity is something pretty negative.
In fact, the sense of guilt is one of the feelings that are mostly projected onto others, as well as stereotypes. So there are people who stick to a spoken word without thinking too much and accuse others of racism, sexism or homophobia ... when in reality what happens is that they are projecting their own prejudices, that part of themselves they refuse to accept .
The renegades “self”
There is also a very interesting theory that our personality would be composed of a multiplicity of “self” who take the initiative, one by one, when necessary, to protect us from danger, guarantee our survival and make us less vulnerable.
With some of these “self” we feel at ease while others there are definitely strange or unpleasant, these are the renegades “self”. According to this theory, these “self” are formed from behaviors that have been repressed and are not socially accepted. But ideas, impulses and emotions that are at the base do not disappear, but continue to exist, repressed in the unconscious.
To locate these renegades “self” just think about those features of the others that irritate you the most. When we think of seeing our characteristics in the others, this produces an intense emotional reaction that drives us to punish or criticize that person. This way we release this psychological energy and we’re not obliged to integrate these qualities that we do not like in our personality.
How to survive a verbal attack?
- Discover the emotions that underlie. Normally constructive criticism are made as of rationality and respect. This means they have a contained emotion. When critics overflow emotions, chances are good that are a projection of one of these renegades “self”. Therefore, the problem is not yours but of those who criticize you this way.
- Remember that a critic is only an opinion. Too many people are easy to criticism and speak easily. In any case, remember that criticism is only an opinion, good or less like any other. In fact, chances are that the critic is based on a totally distorted image of you, without knowing you as a person or know your story. Don’t forget that constructive criticism is based on understanding and builds bridges, destructive criticism is based on misconceptions and raise walls.
- Keep calm. Sometimes it's hard to stay calm, but it is the best weapon we have for dealing with this type of criticism. If you lose control and let emotions flow, the poison of criticism will begin enter inside you. So, try to keep a calm and rational attitude. Ask yourself if you can take advantage of this opinion in order to grow as a person and, if not, simply delete it from your mind. A good strategy to keep you from getting harmed is to identify the most absurd aspect. When we laugh of the things that happen to us we subtract emotional impact and, therefore, we can go on without major consequences for our emotional balance.
What happens if we don’t learn to defend ourselves from destructive criticism?
Self-esteem and confidence in yourself are the structures that suffer the most with these criticisms. If you let others project their fears, insecurities and prejudices on you, you’ll begin to doubt your abilities and then you will experience guilt and rejection. These are feelings that lead nowhere and make you just feel bad.
This kind of criticism will snatch one of your main treasures: the ability to feel good about yourself, express yourself freely and, ultimately, the possibility of being who you are. It is much better protect yourself from these criticisms.
Don’t let others project on you their fears, insecurities and prejudices
4/ 5Oleh Jennifer Delgado