My parents are really judgy. Especially my dad. I haven’t followed the traditional life path they kept trying to keep me on, and any decision I make, even as a grown woman, revolves around what my dad is going to say to me about it. I spend a lot of time stressing out about decisions, or just not even doing things, because I know my dad will make me feel bad no matter what I choose. My confidence to do anything is tied up...and really non-existent...because I’m worried about them judging me. Is it too late to fix this? I feel like I’ll never not think about them and what they’ll say....
First of all - It’s never too late.
During a heart chakra yoga class this week, my teacher reminded us “Your heart mantras are:
What my heart wants matters.
I trust my heart’s desires.”
That means that if this is something on your heart, it matters. Trust that the fact that it’s on your heart, something you’re thinking about, and something you want to change, that it’s important to you and changing it will help you live a more happy and fulfilling life...and probably have a more enjoyable experience with your parents.
When we become adults, it’s important to acknowledge that our relationship with our parents is a two-way street. When we were kids, it definitely was more of a one way - they told us what to do/not do and we listened. WE had more of a say as we got older but...they did have final say until we came of age. When it’s time to go two-way street, this can be a tough road to build if your parents dig into what has always been in your relationship. They birthed you, raised you, kept you safe from danger, reprimanded you, tried to keep you on the path they thought was right for you and your success...based on what they knew.
I think it’s normal for parents to think we are doing weird things, experimenting with dumb stuff, and generally need guidance when we are growing up. Somewhere along the way, though, they have to trust that we learned everything we can from them and now it’s time to start living our own lives. Some parents have a hard time letting go of thinking they know what’s right for us, (or that they know what’s right, cool, progressive, whatever) in the world in general. If they are stuck in their views they can look at almost anything outside themselves that think “that sucks” and judge it for not being the vision of what they believe is acceptable.
This idea can vary degrees from parent to parent, family to family but, I think it’s true for a lot of people as they get older, and that includes you too (boop!)
It all comes back to - you guessed it - communication!
One thing that I’ve noticed about Judgment is that - it’s very ingrained in our current society. We’ve gotten to a point where judgment is a quick go-to for many people, and not only that but, we’ve normalized the hell out of it. It’s okay to be openly judgmental. For goodness sakes, judgment is a huge part of our entertainment these days. Every reality tv show has an element of showcasing, and winning or losing based on a judges panel.
We’ve made it okay to judge people in our family because, well, they are family. What’s the big deal? Don’t be so sensitive.
For some people, these types of interactions with family members don’t feel good when they are grounded in judgment. (even if it’s a joke) In fact, sometimes they hurt more. Family is meant to be a safe space, a haven from the shitstorm that is the outside world. You don’t need negativity within the walls when there is so much of it outside.
Here’s the thing about parents - sometimes they don’t know they are doing something that is impacting you. And there is always the possibility they won’t care. But, the important part is that - you put it out on the table so that there can be the first bit of movement towards changing it. The point of this conversation is to
Provide awareness to the judgment
Attempt to change how he talks to you moving forward.
Now, you may wanna know why he’s doing it and honestly, that is a question and a game plan that you may wanna create with a therapist. When we start digging deeper and asking questions about intent, you get into the psychology of the problem. However, I do think you can have a conversation about how you don’t like it and asking him to stop it.
Here’s the other thing about parents - when we ask them to change how they treat us as their children, their immediate reaction tends to sway towards defensiveness. During the “people are always telling me what to do” episode we touched on this next point - it’s important that these conversations don’t happen because of a fight, a blow up, or during a big emotional release. REMAIN CALM. Create a calm, balanced space to bring it up.
This is the process I use:
Acknowledge the problem (the bit that’s bugging you) = (for your situation) parents are judgy about my life and my decisions and voice it with everything every time I talk to them
Try to see it from their perspective = you didn’t follow the plan they expected you to, or that they laid out for you, and that disappoints them
Tell them how it makes you feel/how it impacts you = not all my decisions are bad, not all my stories are dumb, the things I do aren’t a waste of time and it’s a total bummer that I can’t share things with you because that’s how you make me feel. I’ve wasted my life and I’m doing dumb things.
Tell them what you want and let them know you can be part of the solution if that’s helpful = How can I help you drop the judgment because what I’d really like is to have your support
“I noticed every time I share something with you or something around you, your response is judgmental. I get that you don’t agree with the life path I’ve chosen because you saw something different for me but that doesn’t mean all the decisions I make, or the interests I have are dumb ones. What can I do to get you to drop the negativity and judgmentalness towards me? It would be nice to have your support sometimes.”
Make it your own, put it in your own words. Try it out once if it doesn’t work, try it again a different way. You will likely have to bring it up more than once. Don’t think tha your’e gonna say it this one time and he’s gonna respond “I didn’t know that, I’ll change right away.” No, he’s probably gonna have something to say back. Be prepared for it. What might he say and how can you bring it back to what you want - to share with him without feeling like he’s always judging you. YOu want more support. GON GET IT
Keep at it. The more you remind him you’re now down with the judgment, the more he’ll hear you, and hopefully start shifting his speech towards you.
I know your parents are important to you and you probably do value what they say however, constantly devaluing what you share with them is not okay. It’s not a way to treat anyone, let alone your kids or fellow family members. Also, you shouldn’t be made to feel like you can’t do things or experience things in the world because of what your parents think. DO THE THINGS! Enjoy them! Let your dad be crabby patty by himself if he’s gonna keep treating you this way. Please, don’t let it stop you from Living! xo