My students this week have been learning about the difference between constructive criticism and abuse. There can be a fine line between the two however when you feel you are constantly blamed, criticised and hurt in a relationship then it may be time to draw the line and create healthier boundaries.
Sometimes we hurt people without intention and make mistakes. We place blame on others as it can be easier not to look at our own faults. Accepting constructive criticism that is designed to encourage us to change can help when it is offered in a supportive way rather than oppositional.
However, “some people have a tendency, when they are hurt or angry, to project all that hurt and anger on someone else, even if they know they do this and that they shouldn’t do it. They snap at you, criticise, say mean things… Some people don’t want to change and others want to change but just can’t. They experienced trauma as a child that has left them with an impulsive nature, or were parented in a way that gave them negative core beliefs about themselves and the world (Jacobson, 2018)”
Constant criticism and blame damages self-esteem and trust. Some people can be distorted in their way of thinking, being hurtful and bitter towards you when you have done nothing wrong. You don’t deserve to be treated this way.
Hurt people do not need to hurt others. They can choose to get the right help and support to communicate their feelings better and gain new perspectives. Professional counselling can gently help them to see where this way of negative relating comes from and how to start to change it.
Of course, we can understand why someone is hurt however constantly feeling sorry for others and making excuses that its where they ‘came from’ does not help emotional abusers look at destructive and abusive behaviour. There is a difference between showing empathy and sympathy, the latter can encourage a victim mentality of ‘poor you’ instead of learning that being hurtful and abusive to others is wrong. Empathy encourages choice, where abusers can seek professional help to break cycles of abuse.
Jacobson, S. 2018. Why do people hurt my feelings all the time? [online] Available at; https://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/why-do-people-hurt-my-feelings-all-the-time. Accessed 6 November 2020