How many times does such an individual say something positive about the people around them during the week? Or maybe compliment someone? And on the other hand, how many negative remarks will he make, from gossip to muttering to himself that he can’t be talked to because…? Surely the second option wins, and there will be so many negative comments that it will not even be possible to count them.
According to psychologist Petr Šmolka, we live in a time marked by an emphasis on performance, mutual comparison and a certain elitism, that searching for and finding faults in others has become a daily part of life for some.
“It’s as if we’re trying to improve not only our own self-image, but also our position in relationships – to have the upper hand in them. And that both in partner relationships, as well as work or any other relationships,” says the expert.
Such behavior is especially characteristic of persons who cannot rely on their self-confidence. They question the successes of others, point out their shortcomings, and if they cannot deny the success, they will at least question the way in which they achieved it.
This approach can sometimes be due to repressed traumas from childhood or other bad experiences, psychologist Petr Šmolka admits. Today’s world, however, supports and exacerbates this negative attitude in each of us.
“Unfortunately, a similar attitude towards the environment has quite a lot of power, a very strong ability to see ourselves as better than we really are,” says the expert.
He who is very critical of those around him is not at all critical of himself. He considers himself an elite, and what’s worse – he has a prevailing feeling that his assessment of others is objective.
“It’s not my fault that others are so terribly imperfect… If only they tried a little…”, Petr Šmolka outlines the way of thinking of these people and adds: “However, such an approach is mostly just self-delusion, often abused especially in partner relationships. The criticized being, whether male or female, then tries and tries, it could break, but it’s still not enough.”
Deep inner insecurities and a certain vulnerability are evident in most critics. By not letting the other person touch his body, because he discourages him with his criticism, he feels more secure in his fragile shell.
It is said that he who does not like himself does not like others. But it is only partially true. “There are a lot of smug and self-absorbed fools for whom others are just a difficult and incompetent piece of shit,” says the psychologist.
One thing is more than certain. If that critic sees others as bad, incompetent, stupid and unworthy of his respect, others will treat him similarly. They will avoid him rather than criticize him.
“This is why people who are critical of their surroundings tend to be quite lonely. Sometimes, however, they flamboyantly present their loneliness as an advantage – I don’t need anyone, I can do it on my own. Or they resort to the method of sour grapes – I wouldn’t mess with someone so bad,” the psychologist describes typical self-deceiving behavior.
Psychotherapy can effectively help those whose negativity stems from some sort of trauma. Others have to help themselves.
Petr Šmolka’s advice is: Look for the good in people.
Every such critic should realize what he is good at, in which he does not need to constantly compare himself with others. He should focus on what others are doing well and then comment on it. Without sarcasm and irony. He should admit that he too has his weak points, that he too may not know how to deal with something and can ask others for help.
Coexistence with this individual is not easy at all. His behavior is a strong psychological burden for others. Which requires a lot of tolerance, patience and strong nerves. Because sometimes they are figuratively speaking already “on the blow”.