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How to Silence Your Critics

THE MOTHER OF ALL CRITICS: YOUR MOTHER continued...

"Your mom has spent a lifetime pouring her hopes and dreams into you, so when you fail to live up to her ideals, she often can't help but take it as a reflection of her own failure," adds Newman. The result: She ends up running her mouth when she probably shouldn't.

The best way to cope with her critiques is to not allow yourself to slip into that damnable inner-child mode. For instance, instead of feeling like a pudgy, sullen 15-year-old the next time she makes a comment about your weight, remind yourself that you are a capable, enlightened adult.

Then talk to her. "Explain exactly how her words affect you," suggests Newman. ("Mom, it really makes me feel lousy when you say those things. Is there a reason why you keep doing it?")

If she can't stop criticizing you, simply don't engage in discussions of sensitive subjects with her — your child-rearing methods, your marriage, your weight. If need be — and this may be tough — stop talking to her completely until she understands that you're dead serious. And don't be afraid to ruffle her feathers, says Newman: "As a child, you weren't allowed to challenge her. But doing so today allows the relationship to evolve from a parent-child dynamic to a mature friendship."

 

Originally published on May 14, 2008

 

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