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Why am I so judgemental?

Old 09-18-2015, 05:53 AM
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Why am I so judgemental?

So, in the vein of putting all my flaws out there, here's another I have noticed of late (funny how I have all this time to focus on my defects now that Im not choosing to focus on xAH's...) lol

I am, first and foremost, a merciless judger of myself. I don't cut myself any slack and am my own worst critic (with xAH being a close runner up- hahaha)...

But I am also noticing that I have a nasty tendency to judge others under the (genuinely) "well intentioned" guise of "wanting to help"...

Examples:

1) my best friend is in a bad relationship and though she asks my opinion and wants to gripe about him, she doesn't ask me to make judgements about her choices; but I do. I see her saying the same rationalizations that I said about staying with xAH and minimizing one day and saying "she's done" the next... And I find MYSELF upset and frustrated by her choices... But I don't know how to turn off the judgement in me that leads to being upset

2) a man I dated then decided it was best to just remain as friends, makes what I think are some dubious choices around parenting-- for example, skipped his sons open house because his ex wife annoys him and he told her that if she went he wouldn't... complains that he wishes he had more free time for himself (when he only has his son a few days a week)...

Anyway... while these are things that I feel strongly about and don't necessarily think Im wrong to be bothered by, I do know that it's total nonsense and BS that I am judging (and doing it even in this post)...

I don't like this about myself...

I guess I am struggling to find a middle ground between ignoring bad behavior and acting like things that aren't acceptable are ok, AND the other extreme of being bothered to the point of wanting to end contact with people whose choices I dislike...

I know I am far from perfect and people probably dislike lots about me, yet I don't have people bailing on me bc of my annoying qualities (well, some have but that's another issue)...

So, I guess Im just not sure where the gray area is for me with being able to say "hey this is not ok with me but I also want to maintain some connection with you" with people who I struggle to understand with some of their choices.

Does this make sense to anyone else?

Anyone else struggle with this?
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:08 AM
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Well, first I would pause to separate that which is my treatment of others in a negative and harsh way, VERSUS my having thoughts that are negative toward their choices or values, etc.

I don't consider my negative internal processes the same as being judgemental if I'm simply not in agreement with another's values or choices. It's what I DO with those thoughts that could morph into judgementalism.

And even if I'm having very harsh internal "discussions" within my own mind about somebody else, I can use it for reflection or a teachable moment for myself, without ever harming the other person or treating them harshly.

Neither do I think we have to stay silent; if we disagree strongly it's ok to state we have an opinion or position. That's fair enough. But to extend that to telling the other person what they "should" do transforms into something else.

I guess Al-Anon teaches us well:

Say what you mean
Mean what you say
But don't say it mean

And, to give our self a break: the whole looking critically at the world around us is really just our own process of finding ourselves and our own footing, of coming to a centeredness. Nobody is perfect in this regard - it is a process as we go through life.

CLMI
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:15 AM
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I love this saying..... I hope it helps, I don't always follow it, but I try.

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be, at this moment.

Hugs my friend, we are work in progress!!
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:22 AM
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Wanttobe-

Catlovermi said it much better way than I ever could and I agree 100% with what was written.

I found myself talking to my therapist about how judgemental I feel about the last 18mths. She is helping me to see that having opinions about someone else's behavior and their impact on me is not judgemental but a survival mechanism that was not in place for me before.

Previously I took on other's stuff as my own and blamed myself. I am FAR from perfect and I don't have this all figured out yet, but this process is allowing me to know what is mine vs someone elses, how it impacts me (if at all), and with some people IF I want to be in relationship with them.

I am starting to view what I thought of as judgment as a filter on my wellbeing, that I really did not have in place previously.
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Old 09-18-2015, 08:28 AM
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I know that in my experience, all of my outer judgment is driven internally. I know that I have to focus on not judging myself if I want to stop judging others; I saw this in myself very clearly a couple of years ago & it's still something that I wrestle with constantly.

For me, it's not even judgment once I focus it externally... it's more like validation for my internal judgment. Does that make sense?

I also have to be careful to not mistake Truth for Judgment. Am I just shaking my head at my friend, because I see her bigger picture better or maybe she's in denial? Or am I REALLY judging her in my head with a lot of "she should be doing this or that" or "wow, that's a mistake!"

A very close friend of mine struggles with a lot of recovery issues & dual diagnosis with her RAH. I've started to measure whether I'm judging her by examining the thought to see if it's something I'm willing to take to her about F2F. If so, not so judgey, but if not - I need to keep examining to figure out why I'm personalizing her situation.... because somewhere in there, I got triggered.
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Old 09-18-2015, 09:51 AM
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Makes so much sense and I struggle here also. Such a fine line in our brains between 'ugg - that's a poor choice" and "i hope their choices lead them to better things."

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be, at this moment.
This is great Maia!
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:10 AM
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Who knows if he actually said this or not, but dang - what a great sum-up of this part of recovery. Acceptance of everything, what a great goal!
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:13 AM
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I dealt with these same issues during the first few years of sobriety. Fortunately I had a brilliant sponsor who helped me "grow up". What I learned is it's much easier to point the finger at someone else than deal with my own issues. I felt superior. This is very rude and it makes people angry. I also learned NEVER to offer unsolicited advice, which is still difficult two decades later. It's one thing if someone asks my opinion (rarely happens) but most people just want me to listen as a way of being supportive. I was constantly reeling my mind back in and looking at my own issues. Also, I developed a mantra: "it's none of my business!"

You're off to a good start ... at least you see it's a problem.
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Old 09-18-2015, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by NYCDoglvr View Post
I dealt with these same issues during the first few years of sobriety. Fortunately I had a brilliant sponsor who helped me "grow up". What I learned is it's much easier to point the finger at someone else than deal with my own issues. I felt superior. This is very rude and it makes people angry. I also learned NEVER to offer unsolicited advice, which is still difficult two decades later. It's one thing if someone asks my opinion (rarely happens) but most people just want me to listen as a way of being supportive. I was constantly reeling my mind back in and looking at my own issues. Also, I developed a mantra: "it's none of my business!"

You're off to a good start ... at least you see it's a problem.
Well, I'm debating right now if it's a problem or if my thinking about others' behavior which isn't something that I'm a fan of is me sorting out my own boundaries...

I don't have any trouble with this issue strangers or acquaintances.

It's with people close to me who as I get to know more about them, seem to be acting in ways that aren't really in line with what I want in my life...

So is it judgemental of me to not be a fan of their choices and to be questioning the friendships, or is that self care?

I started this thread this morning thinking it was the former but now Im not so sure...

Clearly we all draw a line in terms of who we choose to have around us or not... I think this maybe is less an issue of my judging and more an issue of me trying to set some boundaries and it feels really uncomfortable for me to do that...

Lots of things Im wondering...

Prior to the last few years I felt weirdly obligated to maintain even dysfunctional friendships.... And I think maybe with these two situations Im currently claiming to be judging (and maybe I am) it's more an issue of me having to decide if these are people I want to maintain relationships with. When a relationship feels toxic and reminds me of a lot of my own prior dysfunction Im not sure that's something I want to be a part of...
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Old 09-18-2015, 04:23 PM
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Judgmental - having or displaying an excessively critical point of view

I have thought about judgement quite a lot because my FOO has LOTS of it. I view it as the opposite of support.

Some ways I have thought about it are

1. Life is like a basketball game that I'm playing. The judgment comes from the "fan" who constantly badgers at me. I make a basket - they say, "could have been a 3-pointer". I get injured, they say, "get up you sissy". I get the ball stolen, they say, "what are you doing?" the list goes on

I don't know about you, but for me, judgment akin to #1 has NEVER lifted my spirit. Has it enticed me to listen? NOPE. Has it ever been helpful? NOPE. Do we tend to look at the fan funny that spews constant negativity and wonder, "Do you even want this team to succeed?"

Another way of looking at it is that if I want to decide what's best for someone else, aren't I taking on the role of the higher power? Aren't I being a little bit arrogant? Self-important? When will I EVER know precisely all I need to know to make the best possible decision...FOR SOMEONE else. I believe it's a no. I will never "FEEL" for another person. So much of our choices have to do with how we're feeling.

I'm not in actual physical danger with my estranged sibling. I just feel extremely uncomfortable around him (due to the #1 example above where he criticizes my marriage, and I don't want him as a fan nor anywhere near my basketball game of life). Thus, much of my decision is predicated on feeling. No one else can tell me exactly what the right thing to do is. They're often seeing the situation from a limited view. They see it from this angle, and my other friend sees it from that angle, and co-worker 2 sees it from that angle. But none of them see the bigger picture.

In my mind, maybe that's the job of the Universe...the higher power.

So, when I see a friend struggling and I think the situation is similar to my own and I wonder, "maybe they should separate from that toxic person" - I try to back up for a moment and realize. I don't know everything and it's definitely not my decision anyways. Often what I'll do is share my personal experiences in my own life - define the pros and cons of my choices and leave that person to decide what they'll do.

I wonder...is judgment a manifestation of me wanting to take control? In which case, I work to accept the things that I can not control, and to change the things that I do control (and knowing the difference is daily work!).

However, in my own personal life...hmmm, how would I characterize setting a boundary? Such as, loved one #1 drinks so much and in front of their children, and that's not something I want in front of my child. John Gottman's work has helped quite a lot (he talks about using a complaint through I statements instead of criticism --- you did this and I felt that and I need this). To separate a person from their behavior. I wonder if removing the "it's wrong" part helps? I'm not sure. So, for example, I told my family that they put things under the rug, and that just isn't the way I want to live my life. That I didn't believe they were wrong. Just different. It was not something I wanted for myself. That something else works for me than what works for them. For my brother, I told him that I loved him very much and did not think he was a bad person - only that the things he said about me and my wife - I felt deeply hurt by and that I wanted to live free from criticism and judgment.

I'm not sure if this helps. I spent decades living with the judgmental mindsight. I'm trying to change my behavior drastically. I struggle as well to even identify if what I'm thinking, saying, or doing is the expression of judgment. One thing I would say for sure...when I look in the past and see something I said/felt that was definitely judgment, I also feel pain. Because I was judging someone I loved.

For me, judgment is TOXIC NASTY stuff. It's like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. A double edged sword that harms the other person and me as well.

I'm working to clear that stuff out. It feels terrible to carry it around.

Take what you like - leave the rest.
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Old 09-18-2015, 07:52 PM
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At it's root, I found my judgmental attitudes to be about expectations. I expected people to live their lives in a manner that I approved. Expectations and judgment are also an excellent way to move the focus from our shortcomings. It was one of the ways that I tended to play God, and it was one of the things I learned to work on and change through working the 12 steps.
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Old 09-19-2015, 10:02 AM
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Want to be-

Brought this up with my therapist again yesterday.

She helped me to see that having an internal opinion/dialogue about someone else is not necessarily judgemental. Those are my observations of the world and I need them to sort out what I like, dislike, want, don't want, have boundaries around etc.

It is taking that internal opinion and dialogue and putting it out in the world as good/bad, right/wrong, black/white that is when I get judgemental. It is when I put those opinions ON someone that I am making a judgement.

If I am using them to decide what I want (from the relationship, to learn, to discern) then it can be a healthy behavior.

I am kind of starting to see it as the difference between having emotions and the BEHAVIORS of what I do with them.

She left me with a lot to think about at the end of the session so I think there will be more that emerges on this for me.
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Old 09-20-2015, 07:59 PM
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This is a great thread Wanttobehealthy. And it makes tons of sense to me.

I can certainly relate, and find myself struggling with this also.

I think I easily judge, and honestly, I think I have been doing it my entire life, and as I try to let go of some of this, I find myself shaking my head.

Try to be nice and supportive to friends and family dealing with their current life crisis, but there simply comes a point , where I find myself intolerant of their actions and choices, and I just need to let that stuff go.............. but it's difficult when you care about those in turmoil.

Not only to I judge I am quick to label............

We form relationships with those with similiar likes, and values, and while nobody has to embrace my life values, I don't have to embrace theirs either.

I truly am practicing "the live and let live approach" , until something or someone attacks my inner constitution, and then I find myself passing judgement.......... and avoiding contact also.

When I find myself struggling with my dear friend's woes of the day, ( usually her lazy ass husband ) , who refuses to cut the grass, or maintain his home, as he would rather be off fishing, hunting, playing cards, pool, bowling or anything else but take care of business, yeah I get judgemental......... I cannot substitute his lazy lifestyle ways for mine, is that really wrong? I am so lucky I don't live across the street from his unkept yard, and house that has needed paint or siding for the last 5 years.......

While we cannot raise the bar for others, we certainly shouldn't have to lower it for ourselves. Should we? and that how i find myself judging other people's choices, decisions, lifestyle......
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Old 09-21-2015, 05:25 AM
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Sometimes its hard to draw the line between opinion and a judgment. In both situations you described I think I would feel the same as you. What I would suggest is that you draw boundaries with your friend re: discussion of her current BF. This is something I have had to do with a couple of friends who are in toxic relationships. The endless b!tching about a partner is not something I want to hear. I am open to discussions and we all need to talk about things - yet when the discussion is a constant circle of complaining, asking opinion (or not), then complaining some more its very draining. The ups and downs can mirror our own experiences and own patterns of staying in bad relationships and can be a trigger to bad memories and our own poor decision making.

Recently I have been in lengthy discussion with a lifetime friend regarding her dysfunctional situation with the father of her child, his failure to pay child support, and the resulting trauma their behavior is causing their child. What I decided after many, many discussions is that the situation was getting to me - and that she really doesn't want advice, she really doesn't intend to do anything about it, and she would talk about it 24/7 if I were available/willing. In the meantime I lost one of my animals we had to put her down this weekend and I (naturally) have been devastated. The sum total of her response has been 2 sentences in text maybe a total of 20 words, then immediately back to her and her situation. This is not doing anything for me as far as a friendship. This is not what I call a friendship, and honestly I have better things to do than to have my brain picked for advice and strategy that will never be acted upon, and to hear the trauma that her child is going through. The relationship is unbalanced. In my time of need she was not there - in hers I have been there too much. Truthfully I broke my own boundary rule and stayed involved because of her child (rationalization), when it was apparent VERY early on that she wasn't going to do anything about it.

So yesterday I sent one text to her after the normal 10K word paragraphs of the antics of the day 'I don't want to discuss this anymore". Haven't heard a peep since.

Draw your boundaries with your friends. We codies generally not only pick sick partners, but also sick friends. I have drawn boundaries with many over the past couple of years and either they have remained and the friendship is healthier and flourishing, or they are gone.
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Old 09-21-2015, 08:51 AM
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Yeah - big difference between judgment & recognizing red flag behavior/laying down boundaries. At that level, it's just critical thinking in action.

When it comes down to judging a person, and not just an individual situation, I try to look at the whole picture. If I don't have the full picture because I don't know the person that well, I realize I'm only judging them based on a piece of who they are; just this part that I see. And, yeah, sometimes that's ok. Not every situation warrants deep thought & introspection.

Example - one of my BFF's is a slob. Her house is always cluttered, sometimes downright dirty with dishes & stuff like that left too long. Never any organization, she is forever losing things & finding them months & months later. Inside & out - her yard is no better, her garage is scary. She struggles with a lot of major life decisions & her dual-diagnosis RAH.

But she's probably the most considerate, generous person I've ever known. She's the most loyal friend & employee & as a kindergarten teacher, she's completely amazing. She will adopt, donate, help out, volunteer & show up for anyone, anytime. She is forgiving & understands acceptance of others as such a natural state that I need to take notes on how casually she manages to see others that way.

She's more than just her uncluttered disaster zone of a home , and I choose to never visit her AT her home - we go out, she comes to my place. When her lifestyle gets to her periodically I chuckle & if it goes on & on for some reason, I remind her it's her decision to live the way she does & that I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Like red, I've drawn some important boundaries with friends of all types since working my own recovery. I've lost many friends & it makes me sad sometimes - but the ones that stayed & were willing to respect my boundaries, are Pure Gold.
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Old 09-21-2015, 09:22 AM
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Not every situation warrants deep thought and introspection

thank you for this, firesprite ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^.
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:24 AM
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I spent a great weekend alone this weekend. I am dog-stitting. I took the dogs fishing, to the park and rode my bike all over the place. I had a lot of time to think - it was great!

But I found myself judging ME the whole time - more harshly that I even judge others. Maybe that's why we are so critical of others. We have unreachable expectations of ourselves, and it continues onto those we love. I beat myself up for poor choices in men, with finances, with my health, with my family, and at work. SO CRITICAL OF MYSELF. I can't even live up to what I think is "the right way to live," and somehow get upset with those close to me for not being able to either.

Just an observation that had me circling back to this thread this AM. Why do us codies have such a hard time balancing healthy expectations - because we have to have SOME, RIGHT?! Of a partner, of ourselves, of a friend and of family and work. VS. unhealthy and unrealistic expectations. I need a line - what's ok and what's not. I feel like I'm in this huge gray area on the subject, and i should have learned the right and wrongs of this before now.

Damn - typed the last sentenced then realized and decided to leave it to remind myself that it is on the WRONG side of that line.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by firebolt View Post
I spent a great weekend alone this weekend. I am dog-stitting. I took the dogs fishing, to the park and rode my bike all over the place. I had a lot of time to think - it was great!

But I found myself judging ME the whole time - more harshly that I even judge others. Maybe that's why we are so critical of others. We have unreachable expectations of ourselves, and it continues onto those we love. I beat myself up for poor choices in men, with finances, with my health, with my family, and at work. SO CRITICAL OF MYSELF. I can't even live up to what I think is "the right way to live," and somehow get upset with those close to me for not being able to either.

Just an observation that had me circling back to this thread this AM. Why do us codies have such a hard time balancing healthy expectations - because we have to have SOME, RIGHT?! Of a partner, of ourselves, of a friend and of family and work. VS. unhealthy and unrealistic expectations. I need a line - what's ok and what's not. I feel like I'm in this huge gray area on the subject, and i should have learned the right and wrongs of this before now.

Damn - typed the last sentenced then realized and decided to leave it to remind myself that it is on the WRONG side of that line.
I've been thinking about this thread a lot in my offline hours too, lol.

I have determined that for me the internal judgment leaking out onto others is a result of the need to put a Label on It. So I know what box it belongs in, I guess. Is it better/worse? Good/bad? Right/wrong? It's become clear to me that when I set up these mental boxes I didn't always allow for non-paired, odd boxes. There is no "Miscellaneous" box.

What I don't quite get is why, internally, I need things like this to be definable in that way? Like you, I think it's leftover from childhood & something that knee-jerks automatically until I run the situation through my recovery filter. It's how I learned to measure myself - in relation to others. It's how I learned to define myself - in relation to others. When I'm judging You, I'm simultaneously assessing where I stand in comparison.

I'm hoping it just takes correcting it over & over & over for that filter to move in place to catch this crap without the effort on my part to re-think it through...... to finally become my New Normal. Hopefully some day I'll look back & wonder about when I used to judge everything around me so harshly.

Using this example (because I totally relate to it), I know part of it will come in breaking down stuff like this:

Originally Posted by firebolt
I can't even live up to what I think is "the right way to live," and somehow get upset with those close to me for not being able to either.
to redefine "right way to live". Right? Says who? What's "wrong"? etc. Is it really immoral, which would fit my personal definition of "wrong"? Or is it simply "different" by society's standards or "wrong" according to the definition set up for me by dysfunctional FOO crap?
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Old 09-21-2015, 12:38 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
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redefine "right way to live". Right? Says who? What's "wrong"? etc. Is it really immoral, which would fit my personal definition of "wrong"? Or is it simply "different" by society's standards or "wrong" according to the definition set up for me by dysfunctional FOO crap?
RIGHT?! I always *thought* I felt that if you aren't hurting anyone - then you are doing just fine. But then in the back of my head judge, judge judge.

It's striking to me that who I've always thought I am and what I've always thought I'm about seems so far from the REAL me I am seeing in recovery, and trying to correct...like, I was just so clueless about myself, so self unaware - and this figuring it out part is really hard !
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:24 PM
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This thread has me thinking a LOT. Will come back later to share my thoughts.
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