Many of us come across people in our daily life who are critical. They come in varied relationships, and may be those whom we communicate with sometimes, or, on a daily basis. They could be our parents, partner, boss, colleagues or teachers. I call them ‘The Faultfinders.’ Though perhaps they sound like superheroes, they are far from superhero-like.

Unlike the characters who can save a person, or a community, the faultfinders have the effect of damaging the self-worth and confidence of their target, which results in demoralization and reduction in self-esteem, and can make the people around them, bitter and angry. Being in the company of such people is very exhausting. If given a choice, one may choose to not be around faultfinders – even if they are our very own colleagues or parent.

I have closely observed many of them and considered the reasons for their behavior.

These could be one, or all, of the following:

  • Making oneself feel powerful by pointing out errors of others
  • Inability to control their habit
  • A superiority complex, where they will complain to a superior, without considering the validity of another reasoning
  • Being self-absorbed

Faultfinders lack self-awareness and hence find it easy to see fault in others, and not themselves. Also, failure to resolve their own issues makes it easy to find fault in others, and trying to fix them by their own terms, and taking-up other’s battles, allows them to take away focus from their own issues. However, even challenging them is not going to be helpful, because of their lack of self-awareness. Your lack of response will only be assumed as your acceptance, which will result in more criticism, with the faultfinder thinking that they are being helpful.

How can you deal with these Faultfinders?
  • In polite words, bring to their attention that you are hurt, and don’t appreciate their criticism
  • If they still don’t understand it, and refuse to maintain boundaries in the conversation, walk away
  • Bring to their attention, that the very reason that you are having a conversation with them, is not to seek their expert opinion, but merely to listen patiently to what they have to say
  • Many times, constant criticism makes one believe that what they say is true, but remember, it is merely their perception, and you don’t have to believe it.
  • Even after practicing the above, if the person refuses to change, you may choose to terminate the relationship
  • It is important to believe in yourself, and your noble intentions, in the work that you do. Failure of others to recognize it, is simply lack of their knowledge about you, and your work

The information and views expressed in the blog are individual and inspired from writer’s experience and study in Mental Health & Hypnotherapy.