How do you deal with judgmental people?

I hate being judged even though I notice myself judging others sometimes. I’m trying to work on that.

In treatment, I worked on judgments about food and weight but I know it goes deeper than that. My family is made up of traditional Midwest WASPs although we used to be sprinkled with a few Catholics. Passive-aggressive judgments seem to be the name of the game where I’m from. I don’t think it’s just my family – it’s probably most families around here. 

I think moms are especially guilty of this. My daughter is a little night owl and sometimes it’s very difficult to get her to go to bed at a decent time. Another mom in my family has told me that her kids used to be in bed at 7:30 every night. EVERY night. She’s told me this about ten times.

Thanks for that. 

Which is more difficult to deal with – a judgment from a stranger or a judgment from a family member? I seem to forget about comments from strangers faster. When a family member says something to me, I tend to ruminate. Although I sometimes wonder if comments from strangers are more honest even though most of the time they’re meaningless. If a loved one judges you, is there an underlying motive? Is there a reason they want to hurt you?

One of my grandmas was particularly judgemental – racist and sexist even. As I got older, I learned more about her life. She got married pretty young because she was pregnant. While it doesn’t forgive her behavior, it seems to make a little more sense now. Her judgments only revealed how unhappy she was herself.

So now I question myself when I start noticing judgments stewing in my head. Is there something I’m unhappy about? Does this judgment really matter? What does this say about me?

While I work on myself, that doesn’t stop others from making judgments about me.


How do you deal with judgmental people?


  1. Katydid says

    IMO, one good facet of Christianity is the command to “judge not, lest ye be judged”. However, most Christians don’t follow that one. The Simpsons demonstrates this one in the gossipy, mean-girl wife of Reverend Lovejoy. Everyone knows she’s like this–even her husband–but nobody tries to stop her because they’re afraid she’ll turn her mean-girl schtick on them.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the midwest is passive-aggressive and judgmental; conformity is big out there. An introduction I had to that was back in the mid-1980s, when a guy from the midwest came to work in my office and went on a nearly-constant rant about men in music bands *wearing eyeliner*. Like it was personally hurting his sexuality that some guy he would never meet chose to wear makeup on stage.

    I agree that often people get judgy and critical when their own house is not in order.

  2. sonofrojblake says

    Ah, this one is easy.

    Fuck ’em. Seriously.

    I mean, on one level, I’m actively grateful for judgement from others. Oh, you think I’m doing this thing wrong and should do it the way you say? Well gosh, I hadn’t considered that, let me think. (Note: do NOT read the preceding two sentences in a sarcastic tone – I mean them sincerely).

    OK, I’ve had a think. You’re one of my friends, and I generally try to only have friends who are at least as smart, ideally smarter, than me (I’m comfortable with not having that many friends). On that basis, I’m taking your judgement seriously. Not kneejerk just responding to it, but giving it due consideration, then doing what I want. And because you’re my friend, and know me, you’re cool with that, so we move on.

    Oh, you’re not one of my friends, you’re one of my family? Then you (a) aren’t smarter than me and (b) know me better than anyone, so you’re used to me ignoring you and probably won’t waste your breath repeating yourself. You know I’m going to take on board your suggestion and either follow it or ignore it.

    Oh… you’re not one of my friends or family? You’re an expert in this thing? I’ll give some weight to that. You’re NOT an expert? I’ll take that into account. I might still even take your judgement on board if on examination it has merit. Statistically you have a little under a 1% chance of being smarter than me, so there’s that, but I don’t discount anyone’s point of view out of hand, even if they’re demonstrably as dumb as a rock. A stopped clock, and all that.

    But if I don’t take any notice of you, and you repeat yourself, well, I’ll point out you’re repeating yourself. And if you continue, I’ll probably make fun of you.

    Judgy people are funny. They’re taken with this idea that I should care what they think, and disabusing them of this notion is almost invariably hilarious. Life is far, far too short and busy to take any notice of them. Fuck ’em.

    Do I judge others? Sure! Do I try to impose my judgements on them? Fuck no. My friends know they are my friends because I demonstrate it. They know it even more since about 15 months ago, when the suicide of my best friend caused me to reassess and decide to TELL my friends I love them, just in case they didn’t know. I recommend this. The people who I don’t consider friends don’t get advice or judgement or comment from me. I wouldn’t presume to intrude on their lives with my probably wildly underinformed opinions. I empathise with the not-realising-your-life-was-so-hard-but-that’s-not-an-excuse thing. More and more as I get older I realise that most people are objectionable sometimes or all the time because they’ve had a harder life than me. The number of people I’ve encountered in my life who I’d count as truly evil is very few. Evil people, as I see it, are the ones who are cruel, sadistic, lacking empathy, selfish and so on, despite having had comfortable, privileged upbringings. Our current Prime Minister and Home Secretary and Chancellor and indeed most of our current government are perfect examples. I only personally know a few such scum, and try to avoid them. I certainly don’t tell them what I think of them, mainly because it would be a complete waste of time. I’m comfortable judging them.

    My tuppence-worth.

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