NLD and Responding to Criticism

Criticism is more difficult for someone with NLD (or a related disorder). I’ve just realized that I’m extremely sensitive to criticism, plus NLD makes me confused about the content of someone’s messages. I have a hard time trusting my judgment about whether a statement is valid, invalid, or semi-valid, much less finding the right response.

I did find information on a couple self-help websites, which I’ll quote next. What I haven’t found yet is advice on how someone with NLD can best deal with criticism.

When I’m criticized, I feel very defensive. I probably look like a dog bearing its teeth. I feel fearful and pessimistic. I just see the negatives sometimes, which is a result of long-term struggles with depression. The depression disorders my thoughts, and causes an overload of negative feelings, plus a negative reaction to my environment. I need to change, but doing so requires that I understand my emotional journey and that I relax more. Both are tall orders for an NLD person, but I’m sure I can get better at dealing with criticism. It’ll take awhile, but will be worth it.

Author Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project (
offers eight rules for dealing with criticism. From these rules, I’m learning that I must talk myself through a calming process when someone says critical things. I need to ask questions, which gives me time to sort out my reactions. I also need to delay these reactions and not be defensive. But I also have to keep doing the work of being assertive. It is a long process, not a short one to accomplish this goal.


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