Whose Issue Is It?

When you are criticized and feel attacked, do you wonder what you did wrong?  Sometimes you do need to take a look at yourself and see if the criticism will help you grow.

At other times when people are critical of you, attack or try to control you, it’s not about you. It is an unresolved issue for them. At times you can get confused, especially if it is someone close to you or someone you respect.

7 Tips How To Handle Criticism When it’s The Other Person’s issue

  1. Go somewhere by yourself to think through what they said about you.
  2. Ask yourself, is this true about me?
  3. If you are not sure, you can talk it through with a trusted friend who knows you and ask them if they think it is accurate.
  4. Also, you can also ask God to shed His light on the situation and ask Him to help you see what is your issue and what is the other person’s.
  5. If you see there is some truth to what they say, then take advantage of the criticism or the attempts to control and look for how you can learn and grow from it.
  6. Focus on the truth. Once you know, it was not you, then don’t engage in discussion about the issue with them. You may even say, “I don’t see that is the truth about me. I believe this is your issue and not mine.” Don’t be mean about it. You can say it humbly and simply be truthful. Sometimes they will accept this. Other times it might make them mad especially if they don’t want to take responsibility for their issues.
  7. Let go of the responsibility and let the person assume or not assume the responsibility. Don’t fret about something that is not your issue. At the same time figure out what you are going to do in response to the other person.

Joe* accused Sarah* of lying about an issue. In reality it was a misunderstanding. Joe had a tendency to lie about certain things so he was quick to accuse her. She started to get defensive, then simply focused on clarifying the truth of the misunderstanding.

Bert* blew up at Lana* every time she made a mistake. Since mistakes are a normal part of life. It was his perfectionism that was the issue. Lana choose to simply speak the truth to him, “Bert, I made a mistake. The way I see it, we are all imperfect human beings who make mistakes so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t be so hard on me about it.”

After you’ve determined that it is not your issue, if the person continues to criticize, attack or control, you can try to talk to them about it and invite them to look at their own issue in the situation. If they listen to you, you will both grow from the experience. If not, then you’ve done your best to try to resolve it so “let go and let God.” God will take care of it.

It’s important not to stay offended. Process your feelings so you don’t get stuck in anger or resentment. Remind yourself, it’s not about you.

The ideal thing after you get over the offense, is to talk with them about the situation. It’s not always possible and sometimes may make things worse. In those cases, you may need to put some space and boundaries between you and the other person to avoid such attacks in the future.

However, as much as possible, do make efforts to work things out with them and to live in peace.

“Make every effort to live in peace with all men…”Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)


This entry was posted in Arguments, Conflicts, Criticism, Difficult Relationships, Offenses, Relationship Help, Resentment. Bookmark the permalink.