Unfortunately, every one of us has to deal with at least a couple of critical family members. While they love you, their critical nature can be frustrating and upsetting. If you happen to be the target of their judgment, it may be tempting to become defensive. However, there are much better ways of coping with critical family members than becoming defensive and hostile. The following methods of coping will allow you to maintain your dignity and preserve the peace in the face of someone being critical.
1. Ignore Them
If you have family members who are being judgmental of your decisions, you can choose to ignore them. You don’t have to respond to their judgments. This method of coping with critical family members works best when you're at large family gatherings and the person being critical is a part of your extended family. While this coping method is situation specific, it's extremely effective because it allows you to have the chance to walk away.
2. Stop the Conversation
Since you can’t always ignore critical family members, another good option is to put a stop to the conversation. All you have to do is tell the person being critical that now is not the best time to talk about that particular subject. Then, change the subject right away. This prevents the critical family member from being able to continue a potentially hurtful conversation.
3. Make a Joke
If you happen to be blessed with a great sense of humor, you can always make a joke when a family member is being critical. Personally, this isn't my strong suit, but I have several family members who are quite funny and find this method of coping effective.
4. Set Aside Time to Talk to Them
If someone is being particularly critical and won’t back down, set aside some time to talk to them privately. Ask them why that particular thing is so important to them and why they are so concerned. You may find out that that the judgment is coming from a place of caring, and they don’t want to see you make a mistake.
5. Stick to Your Beliefs
When family members become critical of your beliefs, it can be very difficult not to get upset. You just need to remember that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. Your family members don’t always have to agree with what you believe in, but you can still stick to your beliefs with confidence.
6. Share Your Feelings
If your feelings are constantly being hurt by a critical family member, you need to tell that person. Tell them that their judgment is very hurtful and share your feelings. In most cases, they will apologize. If they don’t, at least you communicated with them.
7. Shrug It off
Shrug something off is easier for some people than it is for others, but if it is possible, you are much better off letting the whole thing go. Your family member’s critical nature and judgments don’t have to affect you. That is their problem, not yours. You just need to have confidence in your decisions.
Critical family members can be difficult to cope with. However, if you use these techniques for coping with critical family members you can hopefully walk away feeling much better than you used to when you were faced with a judgmental member of your family. How do you deal with critical family members?