Becoming less sensitive to criticism

Share any tips or ideas that you have which make living with dyspraxia easier.(Please start a new thread for each tip)

Becoming less sensitive to criticism

Postby Hermionefan5 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:12 am

How do you deal with criticism? How do you become less sensitive to it? I sometimes do very well with it and then other times no, I hate it? What should I do?
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Postby Steph » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:08 pm

I wish I could help but I have major problems with this too. I just can't seem to help taking it personally and dwelling on it.
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Postby parnassus » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:11 pm

I've written my reply in your other thread, Shanna:

http://www.dyspraxicteens.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=4668
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Postby Hermionefan5 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:21 pm

I have read it and thank you, Vicky. I think I will talk to my doctor about it a little. It may be a good idea as it might be some kind of other symptom of my illness that I don't really know about. Some people who have my illness do have a tendency to obsess over being liked. I may have something to that order as well as the other symptoms I have. I was wondering though, can we talk about my illness as an illness on here and not exactly as what its real name is? I am still getting used to it and therefore I don't know if I want to broadcast it yet even though I did a few months ago on a whim. Thank you so much for your advice though! I think it will help a lot. :) You are so good with words and making people feel better. :)
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Postby parnassus » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:27 pm

Hermionefan5 wrote: I was wondering though, can we talk about my illness as an illness on here and not exactly as what its real name is? I am still getting used to it and therefore I don't know if I want to broadcast it yet even though I did a few months ago on a whim.


Of course, Shanna. I will remove my mention of your condition's name.

Adjusting to the diagnosis may also have an effect on your ability to manage criticism. I felt unusually fragile and sensitive when I was diagnosed with specific mental health difficulties, even though I was relieved to have the doctor's confirmation and the promise of more help. It made me feel as though I had to work even harder to prove that I was capable, as I didn't want people to underestimate me because of my difficulties. I know that a few of my fellow students at Cambridge thought that I was just making excuses for poor performance, and that did hurt. For a short while I took any criticism, however mild, as a sign that people saw me as incapable of doing the things I wanted to do. With support from my therapist, I was able to fight off this tendency.

The therapist suggested that I track my train of thought very closely after receiving a comment that unsettled me. She asked me to do this in writing and then bring the record to my counselling sessions. Here is an example:

"Your essay isn't very structured. I didn't have much idea where you were going with it - I think you tried to include too much. You need to work on sticking more closely to the topic."

That is something my supervisor said. This is what I thought:

"I've written an awful essay."

The train of thought gathered steam, and rumbled on. "I've written an awful essay. I should be able to produce better quality work by now - I'm in the last year of my degree! I'm going to fail my exams if I hand in work like this."

But my supervisor hadn't said that the essay was awful. She hadn't said that I was going to fail, or even that this particular essay was below the pass mark. She hadn't said that I was making poor progress for a finalist. She had drawn my attention to one aspect of the essay that needed some improvement - its structure. I imagined all the rest.

Instead of mulling over critical comments and allowing them to grow bigger and more threatening, write down exactly what was said. Word for word. Then write down what you thought. Is there a gulf between what was said and what you have interpreted those words to mean? Do this when you're feeling relatively calm, so you're able to look at things logically. It's no use trying to do it immediately after hearing something that has upset you, as your thoughts will be in disarray and you won't be able to judge fairly.

Once you are able to challenge your thoughts, you need to learn how to respond appropriately to the person who has made the critical comment. My therapist encouraged me to be unfailingly honest and to politely ask for clarification if I felt upset by something somebody had said, e.g. "I feel as though you're saying that my work is below the pass mark. I know this might not be what you meant, but I'm anxious about the upcoming exams and I'm finding it hard to think clearly."

Asking for clarification is not the same as asking for reassurance. Too much reassurance is actually very bad for you, as you become dependent on it, and you will need more and more reassurance to restore your calm after each perceived mistake. You need to learn how to strike a balance between assertively asking people to clarify and challenging negative thoughts without help. This is not something you can easily learn from advice on a forum, especially if it is a big problem. It is something that a good therapist should be able to help with.
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Postby Hermionefan5 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:14 am

Thank you, Vicky, for all your kind suggestions. I am taking those into account and it is nice to know that I am not the only one who deals with these things. I did tell my doctor about them and he has since upped my medication which should help too.
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Re: Becoming less sensitive to criticism

Postby hamsterboi » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:09 pm

I find it really hard to cope with criticism. If someone calls me names, i dwell on it for ages and can think of nothing else for the rest of the day. One thing i will say is it really helps to talk to a good friend about your experiences, even if they're not dyspraxic. My best friend really helps me to cope with stress. :D
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Re: Becoming less sensitive to criticism

Postby Skinny3600 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 6:07 pm

when somone critisizes anything ive done or about me, i feel extreme rage towards em :P, i just ignore critisism, its all nonsense to me :P
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Re: Becoming less sensitive to criticism

Postby Goldenhamster » Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:09 pm

Dealing with criticism can be very challenging, particularly if people have made hurtful remarks to you in the past or if you have always found certain activities much more difficult than the people around you (both often true of dyspraxics). I am by no means an expert but here are some tips that I have found helpful:

1) When you are praised, drink it up, it doesn't matter how insignificant the praise might
seem at the time or to other people, it is still praise. Try writing it down if it helps you
to remember. You'd be surprised at how often other people pick up on your strong
points more readily than you do.

2) If the criticism is from some one you don't know well, bear in mind that they don't know
you very well and so their view may not be accurate and is probably of little value.

3) Learn to differentiate between constructive criticism and non constructive criticism. If
you are arguing with somebody and they are very critical, it is likely to be a result of
their anger and therefore not worthy of too much attention. Also, if criticism is abusive
or comes from somebody who criticises everything (ie. an unhelpful teacher, an unkind
classmate) then you should just chalk it down to their ignorance and insensitivity.

4) On the other hand, if criticism comes from a trusted friend or family member and is
tempered with advice it might be worth listening to, but even in this case you should
not allow yourself to become downhearted by it. Failing and being criticised are a
natural part of life for everyone, including the people who do the criticising,
and learning from these experiences can help you to avoid the same pitfalls in future.
Don't let constructive criticism cause you to think of yourself as stupid or worthless,
instead think 'this is a problem, but not an insurmountable one. How can improve /
cope better?'

5) Success is not always the best way of measuring the worth of something that you have
acheived, and success is not the only thing that is praiseworthy. Learn to praise
yourself for everything and anything you have worked hard on or do well at. Some of the
best praise I have ever recieved has been about my failiures, not about my successess.
In particular I was very fortunate to have an understanding PE teacher for the first half
of senior school, who despite continually awarding me low grades at PE also told me that
she 'had never seen anybody work harder to improve and in that respect I was up there
with the best of them.' Learn to see something of value even in your failiures, it will
make up for any criticism you might recieve for them.
You don't have to be dyspraxic to be exeptional

But it helps!
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Re: Becoming less sensitive to criticism

Postby Syrons » Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:54 pm

I think we are just human, we respond differently to different criticism's... Different peoples criticism if it's someone you like, then you probably will respond fine to it. If it's someone who you dislike, then maybe a different response will come. If it's somebody you respect, you will probably listen and take a look at the matter or your personallity and maybe try to change it. If it's somebody you want to do better, and they are saying, you should be doing this. Your personality may come through and think I am better, I do not need to listen too people like you, when that person comment could be on point. That's how i see it, i don't feel greater or worse than anybody, i haven't seen anybody, that standsout better than the rest to criticism... Different matters, diffferent things, all effect us differently, or not at all. Them not all of people, may have worries. Where for me, wouldn't matter at all too me...
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