Verbal Abuse: The Differences Between Criticism and Constructive Criticism


Verbal Abuse: The Differences Between Criticism and Constructive Criticism

Are you around somebody who is constantly telling you what you are doing wrong and what you should be doing?  It can be a real source of negativity as it can cause you to feel bad about yourself and it can also cause you to question your decisions. 

Even a person with a high self-confidence can find themselves negatively impacted if they are constantly barraged by somebody else’s verbal abuse. The person who is constantly doing all the criticizing might tell you that they are saying what they are saying for the sake of helping you when they are going about it in the wrong way. That is why, today I am going to go over the difference between criticism and constructive criticism.  This way should you identify destructive criticism, you can become aware of it, not personalize that person’s words and have a heart to heart with the other person so that you can create some boundaries. I say this because destructive criticism can become a source of stress, anger and hurt. 

  • The main difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the way comments are formulated. There is always an appropriate way of saying something. The tone of destructive criticism can be negative, mean and angry. And it can make you feel as though the person is just pointing out what is wrong with you.  As though they are just blaming you.  Hear it enough and experience it with plenty of intensity and it might even feel as though you are being bullied.  

    On the other hand, constructive criticism is just feedback without the imposing tone.  It’s somebody saying something like, “Hey, maybe you should try blank instead of doing blank, because I think that would really work for you.  Notice that in my example there is no negative tone or imposing attitude.  


  • Another big difference between destructive criticism and constructive criticism resides in the intention of the person offering it. Unlike constructive criticism that is intended for helping you improve some part of your life, destructive criticism might hide other intentions such as a desire to manipulate, feelings of envy, the desire to be hurtful consciously or subconsciously or a person not being happy with their own performance in life so they project their unhappiness on you by nit-picking.  Sometimes, the person constantly criticizing you does it because it’s a bad habit that they have.  It’s something that comes practically instinctive to them.  For all you know, maybe they had a highly critical parent.  They are so use to that kind of behaviour that now, they themselves are pros at doing it.   


  • The last big difference to consider is if the person or people who are criticizing you are constantly referencing to the past. When providing constructive criticism, the past is mentioned only as a starting point to learn a lesson and make a better decision in the future. When providing destructive criticism, the past is constantly thrown at you with comments that may start with words like…. You always blank.  or You never blank.  The person might be keen on bringing up things that happened in the past because they are hell bent on proving a point for something that they themselves are not complete with. Constructive criticism on the other hand is logical, well-structured and is supported by facts, it is related to actions and results but not directly tied to you and who you are.  It doesn’t leave you feeling as though somebody just ripped you apart. 


Keep in mind these differences and you’ll be able to see criticism in general from a completely different point of you.  And if you are somebody who has endured a whole lot of destructive criticism remember that it’s never really been about you, don’t bite the bait anymore.  Instead, begin to establish those barriers and if needed distance yourself.  Sometimes… you just must for your own well-being.  

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