Are Hurtful, Critical People Missing Something Inside?

· January 30, 2018

The answer to these questions might be the key to understanding critical people.

A study at Wake Forest University proved how critical people were actually unhappier and showed a higher risk of depression.

Another recent study showed this too. It revealed how destructive criticism, rejection, and humiliation are processed in the same part of the brain. It’s the part that regulates our feeling of pain. 

If we give that sentence some thought, we might realize that critical people are the least satisfied with their lives. They’re people who need to “knock down the external to bring up the internal.”

People who aren’t happy for other people’s achievements, preferring to cause problems rather than propose solutions. They’re negative people, or empty ones with low self-esteem.


a group of girls laughing together

Low Self-Esteem is the Basis of Destructive Criticism

What we criticize in other people says more about us than it does about them. When we talk about other people, we’re actually projecting our own traits onto others.

In this case, critical people project aspects of their personality or behavior they don’t accept or want to see in themselves. But they do see it in others.

That’s why people who are healthy and have good self-esteem don’t constantly criticize. It’s because they have internal peace. They know themselves and know what they don’t like about themselves.

That’s why they work on themselves and not just on other people. A good self-esteem and a healthy relationship with oneself determines how we interact with others.

So what can we do? Anytime we see something about someone else that irritates, displeases, or annoys us, we should see how much of it is actually within us. 

How does this affect me? Why can’t I take it? Why don’t I like being near them? Maybe it will bring us closer to understanding part of ourselves we thought was outside of us.

critical people gossip

How Can We Make Criticism Positive?

Before we criticize, we should ask ourselves a question. Will my comment help at all? That is, am I providing information, advice, or anything valid to them? Is it constructive or destructive? If I’m not going to add something, why should I take anything away?

There’s another good question. Am I criticizing something about the other, or something I actually don’t like about myself? What part of that behavior do I not tolerate in my own? What part of that criticism actually has to do with me?

Lastly, before we criticize, we should turn to empathyBefore we make a subjective comment, the best thing to do is to think about the other person. Because there are two sides to every story, right?

What might have made them act that way? What can I bring to improve that situation? How does it affect me, or what effect will my comment have?

When criticism comes from an internally healthy person, it’s helpful criticism. On the other hand, when we criticize out of anger, bitterness, envy, or unhappiness, it is negative. And it can be very hurtful.