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2 Feb 2015

How to Protect from People Dumping Their Garbage on Us

People dumping their garbage on us often appears as constructive criticism.

People dumping their garbage on us often appears as constructive criticism and hypocrisy.

Constructive criticism is often nothing more than people dumping their garbage on us. It says more about them than it does about us. In psychology, it is a projection. In everyday life, we often see it as hypocrisy. Unless we are aware of this, such garbage can lead us on pointless paths and to bad decisions.

Why Are People Dumping Their Garbage on Us?

People often talk to release pressure. Secrets, fear and joy are examples of this pressure. Psychology knows this as the talking cure. Venting is a form of this cure. It also tells us why people have a hard time keeping secrets. We see people cannot “contain their excitement.”

Many things can trigger this pressure in people. Advertisers do it with their ads. We can do it with our words and actions.

Examples of People Dumping Their Garbage on Us

People who talk a lot will often complain about those who do. This is a very simple example of people dumping their garbage on us. As another those who are disorganized will often complain about how disorganized others are.

Thus, by criticizing us they position themselves in their own minds as an authority. By default then they are not disorganized. They do not see the hypocrisy. They release the pressure.

This can also appear as shame and guilt. We might do something extra for a meeting. It unnerves them. They will not see it this way. They might say we are “going over the top,” “providing too much detail” or “explaining too much.”

Our personal qualities also strike nerves in people. Let us say that they are organized. Let us also say they see that trait as critical to success. If we then succeed without being organized, this will unnerve them. We have other traits that they do not have. These traits more than compensate for any disorganization they think we have.

The Harm of People Dumping Their Garbage on Us

People dumping their garbage on us can cause us to change the way that is natural for us. Many times our worse choices come when others talk us out of them. We end up leading in a way that is not right for us. Besides, if constructive criticism was really that good, they would offer it as advice.

3 Responses

  1. Quoting: “Constructive criticism is often nothing more than people dumping their garbage on us.” May I suggest “… dumping their garbage on us” is NOT constructive for the most part. Maybe it might help us understand better the person doing the dumping – maybe … But that’s a stretch for me. Being ashamed or guilty or relieving pressure may be important to them (we might even be empathetic to their issues) but I don’t see how it’s constructive!!!

    1. Mike Lehr

      John, this is where word choice often reveals one’s intent and personality. Consider for instance why someone would offer “constructive criticism” instead of “advice.” There are many different ways to offer help other than as constructive criticism. When someone chooses this packaging for their help, it definitely is a warning to us that he is likely going to try to dump his garbage on us. Word choice matters.

      Yes, we can try to be empathetic. First, we need to ensure that this act of aggression does not lead us down a pointless path or to bad decisions. The purpose of this post is to give us some of the code words that indicate someone might be trying to do this. It’s helping us to see the smoke so we can safeguard ourselves from a possible fire.

      “Constructive criticism” is akin to saying “good massacre.” We are attempting to make a negative positive simply by using a positive adjective.

      I know we’re not disagreeing on this. I just thought it would help to highlight the psychological aspects of this often used phrase as this is really my orientation on this.

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