3 techniques to defend yourself from assertive criticism

On a daily basis, it is easy to be exposed to criticism against us which can offend us, annoy us or even lead us to a state of anxiety. In this article we will see how we can face criticism in an assertive way, Without losing good manners and clarifying our opinions and point of view.

    What is a review?

    By criticism we mean the issuance of a judgment or evaluation that is made of something or someone.

    This is an opinion and although there is a tendency to associate criticism with offense, insult or discredit, it will depend on the intention put in the wording of what will determine whether it is. is a constructive criticism (it helps us to learn or improve ourselves) or destructive (intended to hurt us).

    The purpose of constructive criticism is to help another person. He speaks with respect and it is usually done alone, because far from being ridiculous, it is intended to show a possible improvement error. The data on which this point of view is based is argued so that the recipient learns from his own experience, broadening his point of view by dealing with any errors or correcting them.

    Destructive criticism, however, is expressed in a harsh tone.Offensive words can be chosen, no arguments are provided, and their purpose is to harm. Far from helping to improve, it places the recipient of the criticism in an asymmetrical relationship in which the one who emits grows before the eyes of others.

    In this article, I will focus on this type of review. They are called aggressively, pejoratively, their main purpose is to hurt, either by ridiculing you or making you doubt yourself.

      What is the purpose of malicious reviews?

      I am asking you a question. What’s the point of going to work every morning? Among other things, most of you will have answered “Earn money”. If I go to work, I earn money. Take the example of a self-employed worker who depends on himself. If you are working you are making money, if you are not working you are not making money. Will he continue to work? Well, if one of your goals is to earn, you will be working every day because there is a correlation between work-income and non-work-not-earning. In the same way that I ask you, What have we said is the purpose of destructive criticism?

      Doing harm would be the answer. If in front of him the criticized person, with counter-attacks demonstrating his anger, cries like a fruit to feel damaged, he is silent by accepting what he is told … The answer is yes, then if the attacker finds a correlation between criticize-hurt Will he continue to do so? The answer, like the freelance writer who goes to work to earn money, is yes.

      By this I mean that criticism is not only destructive to the way it is said but also our way of interpreting the message and how we deal with it, because we can experience it as an opportunity for improvement or as an offense.

        How do we react?

        Let us not forget that criticism can help our personal development as long as it is heard, to be accepted and to be considered.

        But in focusing on the destroyers, it is important to stand up assertively, that is, to stand up for our rights without engaging in submissive, aggressive, or disapproving conduct. Our way of reacting conditions the final product.

        We automatically tend to react in three unassertive ways, damaging our social relationships and our self-image:

        1. Counterattack

        It is a question of responding impulsively with another criticism or disqualifying the interlocutor and if possible more harshly. The inevitable result of this strategy is discussion and anger..

        Example: “You are a lazy person” / “So look, you look like a sergeant.”

        2. Denial of criticism

        A second way to react is to deny the criticism head-on, whether we agree or not, but it also does not improve our interpersonal relationships.

        Example: “You watch football all day” / “Lie”.

        3. Passive acceptance

        Finally, a third way of dealing with criticism is accept immediately without further delay, without analyzing it, Demonstrating a passive attitude.

        Example: “Go to the mask this morning” / Silence.

        How do you face criticism with confidence?

        We must respond in a neutral tone, As aseptic as possible, so as not to prove that it hurt us (main target of such criticism), and without attacking, because otherwise the conversation would end with a discussion or competition of mutual aggression.

        To deal with a criticism, we can use the following techniques:

        1. Negative question

        It consists of asking for clarification on what they are telling us. in other words it is, Ask why we are criticized.


        • “Dude, you’ve lost your hair a lot” (What are you criticizing? Hair, so let’s ask ourselves)
        • Yes? What do you find weird in my hair?

        – “What are you painting the doors today?”

        (In this case, they attack the way we dress)

        – What fault do you find in my way of dressing?

        If they criticize the way I dress and show an insecure attitude, looking at my distressed outfit, reach the attacker’s goal. On the other hand, if I take criticism and shut up when I put on something I like, I show submission, which in a way is usually good enough for the attacker.

        When the reviewer comes back saying something like “You looked at yourself in the mirror before you spoke”, even if in the short term it relieves us to fire him, we have demonstrated our weakness. I attack because I felt offended (let’s not forget that this is the main purpose of a destructive review). And if he offended me, he achieved his goal, then he will continue to do so. As we can see with this technique, we make those who criticize us think about it, thus negating the ultimate goal of it (hurting us).

          2. Negative affirmation

          it would be recognize without sinking, relaxed, without adopting defensive attitudes, Without justification and, of course, without anger. This technique should be used when we consider that although it is not constructive, the criticism is true and we agree with it.


          – “Uncle, I’ve been waiting for you for 20 minutes”

          (Suppose this is true and I arrived late)

          – You’re right, I took a long time.

          – “You have no idea about football”

          (And I really have no idea about football)

          • The truth is, you’re right, and I don’t have much control over it.

          If when they tell us a review, the content is true, even though we don’t like the way we feel attacked, we can get into a discussion and exchange of mutual aggression (“I’m waiting 20 minutes” / “Well the other day you came in late” / “Logically it always takes, and for once I remember it” / “it’s your fault not to warn me” …).

          We also projected an image in which no one seems to be able to tell us anything. and that we don’t know how to take criticism. So if his goal was to hurt us, he understood that, because we got angry and showed that he was hurting us. If we keep quiet and accept it in a submissive way, we will most likely feel like “the scroll has cut us off,” then we hurt ourselves as well.

          Recognizing it confidently is the best way to project a confident image. of ourselves in which we in turn take responsibility for our mistakes, if even if the form is not the right one, there was no intention to hurt we encourage dialogue. Take the second example, someone tells their partner that they don’t understand the football to which the other party replies that it is right.

          In this situation it is easier for him to say something like “Nothing is happening, you know other things and I don’t”, or “Nothing is happening, it’s not criminal for that … “, that if he puts on the victim disguises himself and says something to him like” for example, I don’t know how I’m going to know something “,” I don’t have as much free time as you “. This last attitude can trigger anger. Accepting and keeping quiet may cause you to get up off the couch or do something else.

          3. Fog bank

          This technique is often used in the face of malicious criticism, and it is good to use it to get used to receiving it naturally, without feeling ashamed or angry. consists of calmly recognize the possibility that there is truth in criticism which we receive.


          – “What shirt are you wearing, it looks like your grandfather’s”

          – Yes? Maybe I don’t like you.

          • What uglier necklace you wear
          • Maybe you don’t love me I love you.

          As in the previous techniques, responding with another review shows not only that its objective has been achieved but also we again enter a chain of possible insults. To take the first example might be to answer: “You look like a grandfather and I am not telling you anything”.

          Accepting – it’s acknowledging something that we don’t agree with, at least for ourselves, which puts us in a position of submission that can eventually affect our self-esteem. Contemplating the possibility that the other person doesn’t like something we are doing demonstrates our flexibility in the face of another point of view and the security in ourselves.


          As you can see in any case, our way of responding to a criticism and our attitude towards it conditions the subsequent outcome. Reviews are still different points of view, sometimes they help us improve or take into account something to work on from our own experience and that of others.

          You must be open to any opinion, In some cases, admit that we do not know everything and in no case accept what we do not agree with. Well-handled criticism and assertive response help us grow as a person by maturing or affecting the intention to harm our ego as little as possible.

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