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Episode 41, When a Parent Feels Judged
In This Episode:
What does it mean with someone feels “judged”?
When you feel something in your heart that your mind knows isn’t true. It can wreak havoc on family relationships.
One thing that I remember from a pre-marital training called Pre-Cana was the emphasis of not sharing personal disagreements and issues with friends and family members. When personal conflict occur and get resolved within the couple relationship, but close members of the inner circle are made privy to one side of the issue, long after the issue is over, the knowledge of that deep, personal feelings of their often skewed (because they only heard one side of the argument) perception lingers. And, the relationships suffer as a result. It can’t be unheard, unfelt or undone.
Feeling judged isn’t something that everyone deals with though. Some people are more impacted by their caring what people think of them. It has a lot to do with how we are wired, our own life experiences and the things that we feel to be true about ourselves. When it can have a big impact is when someone feels judged, whether perceived or real, by multiple people. It can feel painful, especially if the parent is already conscious of a need for improvement in that area anyway.
It’s important to distinguish between reality and perception. Sometimes it can feel like others are judging us simply because we are judging ourselves. Or if we have been judged or called out on a certain issue before, when it comes up again an emotional response could be triggered.
It’s really helpful to see it for what it is. If it’s really painful, do a check in with yourself to determine if you need some healing in that area. If big emotions come from a situation of feeling judged, it’s almost certain that the feelings link to another situation. If that situation hasn’t been fully processed and healed from yet, you may be more at risk for feeling judged. When people feel judged, sometimes they close up to risk their vulnerability and that is when maladaptive behaviors start to form and relationships start to suffer.
Putting it into perspective can make a difference. Looking at the source and thinking through the facts can be incredibly helpful with putting it into a healthy perspective.
I love Brené Brown’s books. In her works, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong and The Gift of Imperfection she speaks a great deal about vulnerability. Vulnerability is feeling free to be authentic, daring to follow your dreams, being true to yourself and your values at the risk of being judged. When we can be vulnerable, we can be more creative, we can parent better, we can love more fully, and a gazillion other things that aren’t possible if we live in that space of fear of judgment.
So, why do people judge? Quite simply, I believe it’s a character defect to go around judging everyone else. I’m certainly not saying that I’ve never done it. I’ve gotten so much better over the years and with my years of training and experience in this field. It is common unfortunately, but it can be “fixed”. When you stop judging others, you ultimately end up feeling good about yourself. Way back in the early days of this podcast, I had an episode on about “How to Nurture Kind Kids” with Carol McCloud the author of Have You Filled a Bucket Today book. The link is in the show notes https://www.jackieflynnconsulting.com/03-nurturing-genuinely-kind-kids-with-carol-mccloud/ one of the big messages in this book is that when we are kind to others, we ultimately make ourselves happy in the process.
In this world, there’s no such things as a “perfect parent”. We make mistakes, it gets messy sometimes, and it is a work in progress. Give yourself permission to be real, to be human. In this space of authenticity, you can model that genuine you to life and problem solving. While it’s not always pretty, it can help you raise a confident child that feels free to be their authentic self. Free to love and live without having guards up. If you haven’t done so yet, listen to my episode 29 “How Taking Advice From Other Parents Can Be Like Wearing Their Skinny Jeans” on this topic. The link is in the show notes.
In a couple of other episodes, I mentioned the quote “HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE”. I think for this topic of when parents feel judged, it’s helpful to look at who’s doing the judging. In Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she mentions one of Teddy Roosevelts quote “in the area” from a speech that he gave that still holds true today. It’s an excerpt from his speech “Citizenship In A Republic” that he delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910.
Here it is: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
So if the person that’s doing the judging isn’t “in the arena” then their judgment, aka “opinion” doesn’t really count. They don’t get to take up valuable real estate in my brain. But if they are someone in the arena, worthy of me caring about their opinion, then I take it with a filter. I keep what is helpful and filter out what is not. This was a profound lesson in my life. If you haven’t read her books or watched her Ted Talks yet, I highly recommend that you do as soon as possible. Her concepts can help you get through tough times, as well as raise your resiliency levels to other people’s judgment.
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