Below the Radar Make-Wrong

I am NOT amused
– with a Top Ten List of Types of Criticism
that I never want to hear AGAIN –

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Mean Come-backs I wish I could have said

Criticism in all its forms seldom works as designed.  Instead of helping us make better choices, criticism makes us defensive – and then we have to figure out how to respond.

I have never been able to respond very well in the moment – my startle response closes most of the pathways that might grant me access to what is otherwise a pretty fine brain.


Why are they voting on MY life?

When slapped across the face with a negative comment, especially one that is little more than a vehicle for make-wrong, I seem to struggle to come up with even a one sentence response — except a mean one, of course, which I reject out of hand.  Tit for tat has never been my style.

Since I’m not a fan of the eye-for-an-eye, tooth for a tooth manner of doing life, which leads only to a world filled with the blind and toothless, it often feels like I have to choice but to suffer the sting in silence.

Only later, as negative comments echo and RE-echo, do I dream of a million ways I could have responded without violating my core value of kindness.

Wouldn’t you think that, by now, I’d have an arsenal of come-backs to use the next time somebody makes me wrong?  Nope – because most of life’s criticism comes disguised as something else.


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Who died and left you in charge?

I guess that’s the mean comment that pops into my head most often when the criticism is overt.

Sometimes, however, I barely understand the intent of the critic when the comment is indirect, or even thinly veiled (advanced make-wrong at its [un] finest!)

That “subtle” criticism shuts me down for more than the moment, which is only one of the reasons that I absolutely hate it!

My brain could vamp for the rest of my life on creative come-backs to even ONE of those.

I have observed that the “subtle” kind of criticism is over-represented here on earth.

How come?

In my experience, most people hate to be identified as chronic critics or make-wrong mavins, even when – or especially when – they feel entitled to vote on how everyone else chooses to handle life.

Despite the fact that they haven’t a clue how to frame a clean and clear change-request (a necessary part of communicating effectively with another), some of the worst offenders don’t seem to believe that what they say merits the criticism label.

I suppose they are so used to attempting to get their needs met indirectly (and after the fact) that their comments fly beneath their own radar.

To be clear, for anyone reading, the following Top Ten List offers examples of the type of criticisms that I object to most.

If the gods of karma were just, people who employ the following criticism formats would have them aimed back at them forever more without relief!

Top Ten types of criticism I most wish would Boomerang

  1. The sheer nastiness of overt belittlement (most often in online comment threads)
  2. Criticism masquerading as humor (the favorite dinner party tool of spouses who don’t resolve their conflicts at home.) I never know how to respond in those moments, especially if I do what they are making fun of too.
  3. Black and white indictments from the “you always did” or “you never do” folks (with double penalties for the “everybody thinks” or “I’ll bet I’m not the only one who thinks” comments prefacing their criticism)
  4. “Helpful” comments that do nothing beyond criticize choices in my past, with nary a clue as to how I might do things differently (and seemingly NO awareness that no one can change the past).
  5. Neurotypical suggestions those who aren’t could never implement, with the clue-free implication that we simply need to try harder
  6. “Helpful Hints” I can’t decipher, except for the fact that I seemed to have done it wrong again (whatever “it” is)
  7. Comments on my affect – implying that I have no entitlement even to my own emotions
  8. Criticism of the behavior of another in one-on-one conversations with me (are they really talking about ME here?)
  9. The “for my own good” or “your life would be so much easier if you would” comments that express what the critic needs in an indirect and critical fashion without taking responsibility for being aware of – and owning – their own preferences.
  10. Labels aimed my way (sometimes, but not always, prefaced with “You are . . . ” or “That was” followed by a one or two word commenter-specific  label)


Are EXAMPLES necessary?

Probably not – and they would increase the length of this post as well as turning it into a different type of article. I’ll leave it to YOU to supply examples of critical comments that were aimed your way, whether overt or indirect.

I’d also like this article to host an informal survey of what kinds of criticism we hear most often, for an upcoming article on responding to criticism — so take a moment to help me out by ringing in, okay? 

The article will credit all who participate with a link back to your site.

Feel free, by the way, to add to my list of “boomerang” candidates.

My fantasy is that enough readers would reference or reblog this article (or write an article of their own on the same topic, linked in both directions), that maybe one or two of the worst offenders would STOP that nonsense — or at least aim it in another direction!

Let’s hear it from YOU

I invite you to dump YOUR Monday grumps and gripes
in the comment section below each of my own – related or NOT.

As long as you don’t make individual people wrong, and do your best to avoid the dreaded “should” word, I will approve all comers (link-spammers shot on sight, however).

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

One Response to Below the Radar Make-Wrong

  1. Pingback: Medication Fears | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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