I have wondered all my life why I am the way I am; judgemental, hypercritical, unkind, phoney-what is it that makes me this way exactly. Moreover, for having professed Christianity for the largest portion of my life - why can't I change, be delivered from this sin that so easily besets me?
One day while I was making our bed, and bitching and bellyaching to no one in particular, AGAIN, about my husband and kids, etc. It hit me. I sat down on the edge of the bed and googled the question "Why am I so critical and judgemental?"
The top link lead to a page from Psychology Today about being this way because you have been raised in a hypercritical environment. As I read on, it described me to a tee. (This also makes me think that there must be a LOT of other's out there that struggled with this).
The term hypercritical environment was something I had to do more digging into, and when I did, it was also spot on.
When a child grows up in an overly critical environment it can have a damaging effect on their psyche. Overly critical parents may feel like they are just driving their children to do their best, but realistically, critical behavior leads to a negative family dynamic. It has an effect on everything from a child's creativity level to her self-esteem.
Under this were the subheadings: Perfectionism, Anxiety, Unconditional Love, Self Esteem,
This creates a family dynamic in which the child is expected to perform at unrealistic levels. Psychology Today outlines the issues that come along with seeking perfectionism. The article, "Pitfalls of Perfectionism," says that perfectionism decreases creativity, innovation, and a child's desire to take risks. A child who is raised with overly critical parents is afraid to fail and disappoint her parents. According to Psychology Today, the unattainable expectations put on a child by overly critical parents serves only to increase her negative inner dialogue.
According to the site Children with Anxiety, a child needs a loving, calming environment when dealing with anxiety issues. Overly critical parents only serve to increase the stress and anxiety within a child. The site says a child can develop depression, or even mental illness if anxiety issues are not dealt with in a healthy manner. A child who has anxiety issues needs parental guidance that does not include stressful criticism, and second-guessing of every move he makes. Children with Anxiety points out that dealing with anxiety is a family issue, not just the child's issue.
Hypercritical parenting can result in a child feeling she has to earn her parents' love. Dr. Benzion Sorotzkin, psychotherapist, says a child with overly critical parents grows up feeling she has to achieve enough in order to earn the love of her parents. Due to the negative nature of a critical family environment, the child feels she does not receive unconditional love. Sorotzkin explains, in a healthy home a child knows they are loved, even when they do not meet her parents' standards. She knows love is not tied to achievement. In hypercritical households, a child grows up feeling parental love is something that is dangling like a carrot on a string, and until she does enough to earn it, she is not loved. Sorotzkin says this leads to later issues with self-esteem, negative parental relationships and perfectionism.
Children develop self-esteem as they grow and learn to value themselves. According to Kids Health, a child who lives in an overly critical environment internalizes the critical dialogue she hears from her parents. This lowers self-esteem and can lead to depression, says Kids Health. The children's health site advises parents to be supportive and nurturing with children. A child who learns to love and accept herself even when she fails, will develop healthy self-esteem. A child needs to see from her parents that even when she is not perfect, she is worthy and loved. This will help her believe in herself and increase her self-esteem.
Having grown up in this kind of a household was the insight into all my issues of being so incredibly critical.
I had lived my entire life in such an environment. The problem was, I lived with a man who had not. Actually, that wasn't a problem, it was a huge blessing. But how to change, how to come out of years, a lifetime of this was hard to figure out.
I Googled again. I don't remember the question that I asked "the box of knowledge" as Audrey calls it, but out of all the information that it came up with, only one had a spiritual answer and that was what I was looking for. Basically, I was looking for how to balance what I had growing up with what I professed to be and with the God I believe in. I found the perfect answer.
You can read it here
But the jest of it was that by focusing on the faults and fallacies of other people, you negate the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Just like that I was shown what my years and life of criticizing others was a direct slap in God's face at my lack of faith in Him to change, deliver, restore and redeem people.
Where was my faith in the God I believed in.
About this time I also started reading a book by Anne Graham Lotz called the Daniel Prayer, which I will write more on later, but suffice to say the combination of the questions and the book, my life and outlook has changed drastically.
Don't ever be afraid to dig. And if you use the internet and Google, and pray before you do it, I won't doubt that God will lead you to exactly where he wants you to be.
I had prayed about this problem and God answered by leading me to what he wanted me to know. He is still leading.... I'm so thankful.