Why Someone You Know is Overcritical

You have met an overcritical person at some point in your life (or maybe you are one.) I have encountered my fair share of overcritical people in my life. Sometimes they even criticise things you cannot change about yourself. An overcritical person can say words which sting and if put to heart your mental health can suffer terribly. 

The Danger of Overcriticising People

Too many people have opted for suicide because of being criticised too much. the closer the relationship, the more hurtful the sting. With experience and self-training, I have learnt to tolerate criticism from people who don’t know me easily.

Criticising people is not wrong if done with good motive and due consideration of the other person’s well-being. 

You can gently criticise my writing to make me a better writer.

You may criticise your child to help them improve in their time management.

You may criticise your spouse about arriving home early or friends you don’t like.

But, the catch is criticising frequently and all the time until you can’t hold a conversation without criticising someone. A person who criticises strangers whose histories and personal struggles are unknown to them is an outright bully.

It hurts and you are probably reading this because someone you know is too critical of you. They don’t even know you are hurting and they seem to find errors with every aspect of you no matter how good you are to them.


Characteristics of the Overcritical Person (with malicious intent)

The overcritical person believes they know everything and are above everyone. According to the overcritical person, their opinion is prime and it describes everyone’s reality.

An overcritical person is malicious and has no good intention with their criticism. The aim of their negative criticism is to tear down and never to build up. It helps them to boost their self-esteem and they enjoy it. The following characteristics define the overcritical person. This is how to know when criticism is malicious.

They are quick to spot mistakes in everything and everybody.

Nothing seems to satisfy the over-critical person. They don’t think you have the ability to accomplish anything. A person who is overcritical will not appreciate your positive traits even if you waved them right in front of their face. They will criticise you for wearing a colour which is too dark. A stranger will pass wearing a bright colour and they will criticise that person for wearing too bright a colour. 

They take criticisms to heart.

If you criticise them, they blow things out of proportion and might even start a fight or insult you. They will make you seem like the worst person on earth and play the best victim role ever. To an overcritical person, it is okay for them to say negative stuff about everyone but no one has a right to correct or criticise them no matter how respectfully you do it. 

They hold your past against you.

They will never forget the past. As you try to move ahead, they will always bring up the mistake you a long time ago and advice you for it. The bad thing you did will stick in their mind and if they don’t find a flaw in the present you to criticise, they will use that past behaviour against you.

They excel at believing and spreading negative gossip.

Overcritical people accept and believe in negative gossip and rumours without verifying the information. They are also good at spreading rumours and reporting other people’s perceived or real weaknesses. They are so quick to believe the bad things bout somebody. However, when they hear some good gossip about someone, they will be the first to give a negative comment to dilute the good like “you can’t be sure about who someone really is.”

They will criticise you behind your back.

They won’t criticise you directly to your face. a sure telltale sign that their criticism is meant to tear your reputation down and not the kind of criticism that helps you to become a better person, their mission is to injure your character. You will notice that they always tear down somebody when the subject of their criticism is not around to defend themselves. 

They will criticize natural endowments or lack of it.

An overcritical person likes to condemn people for circumstances beyond their control. They attack characteristics and features you have little or no control over in your life because they have this idea of what perfection should be. Perhaps the shape of your nose, your parents, your background, your body. I once met someone who criticised me for my “lack of ass” but, “Oh, I do have an ass, and it’s mine. If you have a problem with it, that’s your problem.”

They will criticise your personal preferences.

Overcritical people behave as if their preferences should be a universally accepted standard. This reminds me of one of my poems written in the past when my maturity level was lower than it is now.

They criticise people who they don’t even know personally.

They give you the once-over look from top to bottom with meanness in their eyes (Lord, if looks could kill I’d be dead already.) They put people into a category which is always below them. You know like love at first sight, for them it’s criticism at first sight. They don’t care about your possible struggles, they don’t give anyone the benefit of doubt even when they know nothing about them. An overcritical person will make a harmful assumption about you without getting to know you.

They are always negative and are mean with compliments.

No matter how good you do something, or how impressive someone is, they will find something negative to say. For example, you prepare a meal today, they will criticise your meal for being too salty. The next day you lessen the amount of salt they’ll claim it id too saltless. and when the next time you get it right, they will create another issue like say the onions didn’t get brown enough. They will not congratulate you for the improved attempt to improve. 

They like to entertain an audience.

The overcritical individual does not rebuke you in private. They point out people’s weaknesses in front of people (whether the person they are criticising is there or not.) The aim of the overcritical person is not to help you do better, but to demean you and make it known that they have authority over you. They take pleasure in publicising your faults making you seem smaller and expect you to cower in a corner. 

Reasons Why Some People are Overcritical

What someone says about another person reveals a great deal bout their own psychology. For overcritical people, it often reveals they have some internal psychological battles and their coping mechanism projecting their “demons” to everyone else.

Being overcritical is a sign of unresolved psychological and emotional issues such as the following:

Low self-esteem

Making negative comments about others in their attempt to feel better about themselves. By criticising you they tend to believe they are better than you. Their public attempts to criticise you intend to make other people see how faulty you are, thus, giving them the illusion that the world will not notice their faults. They are trying to redirect focus from their own faults to yours. Being overcritical is a mask to cover up their lack of self-esteem.

Negative self-perception

They are intimidated by you and have a low opinion of themselves. It is possible they are treating you the way they have always been treated and they are not aware they are being overly critical. They don’t have the courage to tell it to your face since they know their criticism has some grains of lies even though a bit of it might be true. Due to negative self-perception, they see you as a threat. Therefore, they amplify your weaknesses, in order to conceal their own. 


Perhaps how you handle your life and other business seems so perfect in their eyes that they have to bring people down to their level. Negative criticism is the easiest way for them to bring you down. 


Since they feel guilty they and they want to cover-up that emotion. Being overcritical is a way of assuring themselves they are not alone in feeling guilty. Other people have things to feel guilty about too. It makes them good at guilt-tripping their loved ones.


An overcritical person is likely to be stressed out given the abovementioned. They are insecure in their own mind and being overcritical is a way of coping. They have to dull your shine to fell better. And they hate it when someone says something good about you. In fact, they will be angry when they tell someone about you and they still see you having a good time with them. 

Final Word

Before you become overcritical of an overcritical person, please make sure you understand their struggle first. The mind of an overcritical person is a sad place to be. Avoid being an overcritical person. Lift others up. Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up. 

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