Q&A: What can I do to help a relationship where someone is critical of me?
posted on 11/17/2014
Ask A Doctor Question:
Hello, I have a question relating to a friend. First of all he's a great guy and he's very intelligent. He has a good humor sense. I have been friends with him for 6 to 8 years now. When I'm with him we mostly talk about intellectual ideas and we have a good time. He's sort of like a man with principles and takes pride in what he does. He has saved me from many situations that I couldn't handle alone. He is one of my best friends and I have shared many secrets with him that I don't with all the others. But whenever I'm with him (after first year), he's been critical of me. Most of the time he's spot on and very accurate. It may be his heightened sense of perception. He has a knack for observing things that other people ignore. But he expresses critical points about me in a way that I don't feel comfortable with. Here's the reason why. My father was an alcoholic in my childhood and he's pretty emotionally abusive (Not physically but emotionally). He's also overcritical without any logic or reason to it(My father). Hence from there I don't feel comfortable with people who yell at me, even if it's for a rightful reason or argue with me in a cold manner. I like people to point the mistakes I made in a simple way (which I always try to do). So whenever someone criticizes me in front of others or in a loud manner, my mind just shuts off and cannot respond to it or argue with them back. I don't have this problems with my mother or my siblings. So back to my point.... I sometimes feel I can share anything with my friend. But him being critical in the way that I mentioned above is haunting me. I told him how I felt, but it always feel at the end the fault bounce back to me. I even tried tell him what I told just now about my father and all and suddenly he feels angry that I compared him to someone like my father. I really didn't compare him with my father in other aspects, just only in this small characteristic. So what shall I do. Is it my fault. Should I see him less from now on. Because we use to hang out all the time. I don't know what to do. I'm confused. Or maybe I'm hoping for someone to agree with me so that I feel better. Any Thanks in Advance.....- Ezio
--James S. Anthony, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist
White Bear Lake, MN
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