You may think that you aren’t an overly critical person until you read about it. If you are, you can learn how to stop.

I am an overly critical person. There, I went ahead and admitted a fact about myself. To be honest, in the last few months, I’ve realized quite a bit of unhealthy aspects of my personality. But instead of letting it drag me down, I choose to work on this issue and get better. Are you overly critical?

What is an overly critical person?

You won’t recognize that you’re criticizing and judging people until it’s been done to you, or until you start reading about the signs. You may think the way you operate is normal, and your intentions are to help others be better people.

But remember, every human is an individual, and criticism doesn’t change them, it shouldn’t. If anything is to be changed, it should be done by the one who wants to change. Do you see my point? Well, in case you don’t understand, read on…

Signs of criticizing way too much:

1. A negative upbringing

Unfortunately, so many of us were surrounded by negative people when we were children. Our mothers, our fathers, even extended family members constantly talked about other people, and judged individuals on one trait, or what they wear.

If you grew up listening to all this negativity, you may still think it’s normal to criticize people and judge them. Yes, this trait of being overly critical can be deep indeed.

2. Labeled a negative person

If the people who are close to you are saying that you’re negative all the time, then it might be time to evaluate yourself.

No, you don’t have to take everything a person says to heart, but when family and friends repeatedly tell you to stop being so judgemental, then you probably need to change that fact and try to be more positive. If you’re used to being negative, this will be hard to do, but it will be so worth it when results show.

3, Micromanaging is second nature

If someone in your household is repairing a window or cooking a meal, it will be almost impossible for you to let them do it without your help – moreover, it does not really help, it’s the fact that you will tell them all the ways they’re doing it wrong. You may even take hold of the tools or utensils and do a bit of the work to show them.

This is a glaring indication that you are much too critical of others and what they do.

4. You have a mental disorder

I hate mentioning this one again because it seems to be a growing issue. However, if you have a mental disorder, you may also have a problem with criticizing people. Paranoia will make you constantly ask questions about how someone is completing a task. Anxiety will make you criticize almost everything, honestly.

I do this. If I don’t have consistency, then something is wrong. If someone looks shady, then I will say they’re shady. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit it, but mental illness can cause us to become extremely judgmental while we wish others weren’t so judgemental of us. So, when we fight the stigma, remember, let’s fight the judgment in ourselves as well.

5. Nothing is completely enjoyable

Do you know those people who go out and have a good time and come home smiling? Yeah, I’m not one of them. I want to be, and I want it so badly I could scream. You will recognize the overly critical person by the fact that they find something wrong with everything.

You could simply be going to see a movie, and they will complain about some trivial little things like too many previews. Ordinary people enjoy the movie and go home happy. No matter how fun the day is, the critical people will find the fault – we will find the crack in perfection.

6. You’re always moody

An overly critical person will always be moody, whether they have depression or not. That’s because not everyone else is doing things as you would do them.

For instance, a critical person can get angry because someone forgets to open the door for them. This could have been a one-time incident, but they will label it as being inconsiderate. There are so many things that moody people notice and it makes them even darker.

7. You complain all the time

A critical person will complain so much that they prepare themselves for the bad day they will have, no kidding. I got in the habit for a while of waking up and immediately wondering how someone was going to make me mad at some point during the day. I should have been thankful and thinking about all the time I had to get good things done.

Then when people come around, and something isn’t right, like you expected, you complain. You complain if you get too much attention, you complain if you aren’t, you complain if it rains, you complain if it stays dry and hot. No matter how wonderful the day is, a constant critical person will make it tarnished.

How do we stop this?

So, since I do this too, we gotta learn to stop together, right? I’ve been reading up on some material that’s starting to help me with this problem. If that critical thinking is deep-rooted in childhood, then when you start thinking that way, remember where it comes from and say a resounding “NO!”

What this does is it reminds you that you are not your ancestors, and you can see the world in a different way.

If you suffer from a mental disorder, then working with your therapist and telling them ALL the truth about your day will help them find ways to turn your thought process around. It’s all about your mindset.

I’ve learned that. You see, you’ve set your mind to bad, and gradually, with small steps, you can set it to good. Instead of saying, “Oh god, I wonder what crap I will have to put up with the day.”, say, “Oh, I am so excited to start this new day!”

For the complainers, practice finding at least one good thing about the person you’re criticizing. For the ones who criticize even their fun times, try to only have fun and ignore those pestering thoughts telling you that the drive was too long, or the bathrooms were too dirty.

It’s all about practice, you see. It’s bettering yourself a little bit every day. If you fail, just try again. Don’t let others’ negative remarks spark your negativity. Return a negative comment with a nice one. It will startle them and they will get confused. I’ve been doing this lately.

Okay, for now, I gotta run, but keep trying. Being overly critical doesn’t make you a bad person. But it will damage your relationships, your health, and the fabric of who you are. I wish you the best.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. B Parkar

    OMG you have just described 2 people in my family! After retirement, my husband has become this awfully critical and judgemental person, someone who once was live and let live personality. As there is not one bt myself living in the house, I am the butt of his who knows frustrations or maybe he’s become his father as his father was such a person. Critical, judgemental and above all mucro managing.
    We have been married for more than 5 decades and it’s in the last few years he’s changed 190 degrees. Even with his grown son, he behaves as if he’s a sibling and needs to compete by passing stupid remarks and then saying Oh its a joke, YEs and no one’s laughing, same behaviour with me its a joke, the same crap repeated 4 times a day and only him laughing.

    The other member well was not critical of me, just small stuff earlier but since last 4 years, wrong perceptions of normal things blown up to the extent that communication has come to few lines hello and bye, but outside the family it’s even worse no one can pass her scrutiny. Even people not known personally to her.
    Life has become very difficult, what if any suggestions are there to combat these people?
    I am a happy go lucky person, who can burst out with loud laughter if it’s funny or be spontaneous if the situation demanded.
    At times YES I do lash out at my husband and let him know that he’s being a crude, but after 50 + years of being together and so much history between us all I do is vent and move on and I let him know this too, that he’s spared because I know he’s stupid, and I weigh the good with the ugly.
    Unfortunately, am afraid our son will follow in his footsteps as its a trait or is it in the genes perhaps? of my husbands family??

    1. Marie

      There are several influences I’d like to point out.

      1. You are becoming older. Older people are more vulnerable mentally(they become physically and mentally weaker) and when he is retired he no longer have that exercise for his brain that would keep it from becoming weaker which might spell out more emotional vulnerability for him.

      2. Is he developing an inferior complex? Was his job perhaps a source of reassurance to his self-image and a confidence booster? You mention his competitive behavior towards his son and his defensive behavior in form of ridicule. I just read about defensive behavior and making fun of people and pointing out peoples weaknesses is a form of defensiveness. Gossip and pointing out flaws makes them feel less of a threat to him in the future. Is your son successful in his career? He is younger and might be stronger, more successful and more relevant. All which can trigger insecurity in an aging man who don’t have much going for him any longer. It doesn’t help if he put a lot of effort into his career and his job just continued like he didn’t matter to them. They are just fine without him.

      3. Are you living isolated in retirement? He used to go to work regularly and had other people to talk to outside family and other things to occupy his mind. Now he might suddenly have too much time to himself to overthink things and ruminate. Research shows that isolation doesn’t just make people unused to -and insecure in- social settings (Which can lead to social anxiety) it might also give you brain trauma. A hobby where he get’s out of the house weekly to see other people might help.

      Lastly, your opinion of him is that he’s stupid… you wrote it in your comment. Do you perhaps show this to him unintentionally and/or subconsciously and he picks up on it and start to feel small? It could also be a factor. He might be smarter or more sensitive than you think and picks up on this opinion from you and then get defensive or self-conscious. Perhaps he feels useless and unwanted around the house or in the family. His job is gone, now family is all he has left. People who aren’t good socially at work usually just do their job really well and then all is forgiven. In a family there is no job to be done, only the social part.

  2. B Parkar

    Thank you, Marie, for your time to respond to me and give me your thoughts. When I said, He is being stupid I did not mean he is stupid Oh No, he is the most intelligent person I know from every man in our circle I have known. He is excellent in every subject every topic, and very knowledgeable. EXCEPT for very little knowledge of Psychology, or why a person behaves a certain way, in short, I call his kind who only believes in face value evaluation. Never probing deep even a little bit to ask well, why is this person doing this? what is that deep core problem? I can live with that, but when I explain to him he just refuses to accept the explanation and he’s RIGID to change!

    He grew up in a family where children were seen and not heard, where a parent said whatever AND GOT AWAY WITH IT. The basic empathy is missing for humans His empathy is more for animals! ( which is great)

    As for his job, yes my psychologist said the same including my Gp that he was in command of the largest of aircraft and over 350 people carrier, in his 45 years of service all over the world not one incident or accident and today he cant control anything that is why you being close by is his punching bag.

    We both like gardening and spend time in Spring, Summer and Autumn. I have pushed him to join our city council. He likes to feel important and these places help him as he has good knowledge and people respect his opinions.

    Also, our son has followed in his footsteps and gone further in that line is also a test pilot, and his dad is very proud of him, both can sit discuss aviation stuff ad son takes cues and info from him. It’s only at times his silly rib-tickling makes me MAD. Son is smarter, initially, he would feel angry but now he says mom he’s at times senile and don’t feel much.!

    I know that he has been/is caring, and that is why I now have decided that what the heck, best is to just walk away or not answer unless it really chokes me!

    I wish this forum was not so public as I want to write about a problem that is sapping my existence.
    Would you know such forums, please?
    Once again my grateful THANKS to you.

  3. Theresa Spain


  4. Brooke

    I love this article and I am certainly the person being described. I would love additional books and resources to help improve. Thank you!

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