How Judgmental People define other People by Pam Witzemann



in defence of the truth

Guest writer and fellow blogger Pam Witzemann continues to bust through the fog with the conclusion of  her two part article about living under constant judgment and disapproval. Pam is a regular participant in almost all the discussions here in EFB and has her own blog; “Boomer Back-beat ~ Talking bout our generation”. As always I am looking forward to the conversation~ please contribute your thoughts and insights! ~ Darlene Ouimet

How Judgmental People define other People by Pam Witzemann (this is Part 2 of Judgementalism: A Cloud of Disapproval and Condemnation)

Bad things happen to good people.” This is a truth that a judgmental person can’t accept. They view the world through a simplified black and white lens and in that world, bad things only happen to bad people. Unless, of course, something bad happens to the one who passes judgment. In such a case, a scape-goat is needed and children are convenient scape-goats. Judgmental people can’t accept the random nature of life and what they fear most is becoming a victim because victims are unable to control what happens to them. By raising themselves above all others and passing judgment on them, they are able to explain away the randomness of evil. By this, they maintain a delusion of control that makes them feel safe. Of course, bad things happen to all of us and that is where the scape-goat comes in. When things go wrong, it is because the scape-goat did something to invite evil in. Blaming, shaming, and punishing the scape-goat enables judgmental abusers to see themselves as good and above bringing any disastrous consequences upon themselves. It also, prevents them from recognizing themselves as abusive because in their simplified black and white view of the world, there are those who deserve evil consequences and those who don’t. In this world view, according to the abusers, victims are those who deserve what they get. Disapproval keeps victims in their place, accepting the consequences that only they, deserve.

“Water finds its own level“. Judgmental parents raise children who are condemned to self-doubt and they are likely, to become perpetual victims, who accept the treatment they receive as deserved. I was one of those children. The cloud of disapproval that I grew up under robbed me of the ability to validate my thoughts, opinions, and decisions. I lacked self-direction and tended to do whatever my friends or the men in my life told me to do. It made me an easy target for abuse.

In my twenties, I began to see myself differently but it took decades to see myself apart from my mother’s disapproval of me. The rest of my family of origin, especially my sister, adopted this view from my mother and also, used disapproval as a way to manage and control me. Even when I didn’t see my family often, that cloud hung over my head and every decision I made was accompanied by wondering if my mother or sister would approve. I was a talented, intelligent, young woman but I had no confidence in myself. I couldn’t picture myself succeeding at anything. I loved to paint and for a time, pursued a career as an artist but the lack of support from my family, left me feeling that to do so was taking too much time from my husband and children. I was made to feel that the things I loved and aspired to do weren’t realistic and a waste of time. I was made to feel that it was bad for me to want personal success. I was comfortable with failure because that was the position my family of origin assigned to me. I was held in that assigned role by their judgments of me and my acceptance of their (and everyone else’s) superiority over me.

Awww! Quit whining and sniveling about abuse!” I don’t think that most people would call judgmental behavior abuse. As adults, we all know to avoid judgmental people and to not take their judgments into ourselves. Children who grow up under the control of a judgmental person don’t have those defenses and the judgments passed against them are powerful. Growing up in a black and white world with no hope of ever measuring up is psychologically and emotionally damaging. There is no hope of receiving what is needed to thrive in the real world because overly judgmental parents are afraid of reality and create an alternate reality for themselves and their families. Growing up under constant disapproval robs a child of their true identity. Judgementalism creates the atmosphere of abuse by misapplying truths and making what is right, appear wrong and what’s wrong, appear right because the purpose of it is to keep the judging one safe from the reality that everyone is at some time in their life, a victim. What judgmental abusers fear most is becoming a victim and “getting what they deserve”

The truth hurts, don’t it!” It took me a long time to admit that my mother didn’t like me even though, I always sensed it. Because of her disapproval, I grew up not liking myself. However, I didn’t understand how her disapproval ruled my life until the cloud of disapproval that hung constantly, over me was gone. That cloud dissipated when I told my mother that she would have to treat me with respect if we were to continue to have a relationship. She couldn’t meet the requirements I set as proof of that respect and we’ve not had contact for over a year. The cloud is gone because I was finally, able to validate my own thoughts, opinions, and reality about the events in my life. It no longer matters if my mother or my family of origin approve of me or not. I’m no longer a part of that black and white world in which, I was always to blame. It’s no longer my job to protect my mother from the reality of her own victimhood. I no longer carry or suffer the consequences of her actions even though, as far as I know, she still refuses to accept them as her own.

 “The truth will set you free!”  I understand now that I’m not the person my mother’s disapproval colored me to be. The cloud of disapproval she hung over me was simply, the reflection of those things she despised in herself. My mother’s judgments of me were never valid and only useful in creating an alternate reality that enabled my mother to dissociate from the reality of her life. As my mother’s evil daughter, I was the scape-goat that prevented my mother from having to take responsibility for her life. Without me, her harsh judgments can only be directed at herself, along with the condemnation that she too is sometimes, a victim. Sometimes, we get what we deserve and sometimes, we get what we don’t deserve. Lies only confuse things and in the long run, make life more painful. Judge-mentalism is another form of lying and the only way to break its spell is to find the truth and rightly, apply it.

I’m happy to be free and to know myself, as I really am. I’m someone that only a right-thinking mother could approve of but I don’t need a mom to give me the approval I need because I’ve learned to validate myself. I am the mother I dreamed of and I’m proud of the woman I grew up to be.

“I can see clearly now, the rain has gone. There are no obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that made me blind. It’s going to be a bright, bright, bright, sun-shiny day!”

Pam Witzemann

Please share your thoughts with Pam and I about how living with judge-mentalism creates and atmosphere of abuse or about any of the other points Pam makes in this insightful article.  Remember that you are free to use any name you wish in the comment form. Only the name you use will be seen by the public. Although EFB has a facebook page, your comments here will not be published there or linked to you in anyway. ~ Darlene

Pam Witzemann was born in Santa Fe, NM and is married, has raised two boys and has two grandsons. Pam and her husband have had their own business for over twenty years. Pam is a painter and a writer and hopes to make these pursuits more than a hobby in her later years. Pam authors the blog Boomer Back-Beat; a place where baby boomers find inspiration in the process of aging.

Related Posts ~ The fear of Goodbye if you don’t Comply

135 response to "How Judgmental People define other People by Pam Witzemann"

  1. By: Summer Posted: 24th February

    Thank u so much!!!

  2. By: Jessica Posted: 28th October

    Dear Pam, many thanks for your personal sharing. I’d say my life from the 20s to now almost fifteen years is highly traumatised by my verbally abusive mother. From a Chinese background where filial piety is of utmost importance I’ve suffered from enduring the abuse, feeling depressed and yet returning such abuse with kindness to my mother. After I finished highers I’ve got flying colours which had gotten me into medicine. However I was at that point really burnt out and heavy hearted with years of examination and studies that I couldn’t take it anymore. I chose an ‘easier’ field which is the profession I like – teaching. For most Chinese parents who like to compare kids’ achievement and justifying their time investment in ‘educating’ for doing well in exam, I had done a gravely unacceptable thing and brought shame to family. I am cutting short here the barbaric treatment that I received back then for five years which were the worst to ‘lesser’ evil following that only because I pursued and secured a PhD. There were slamming of doors and windows, constant mocking of my lack of intelligence and value as a child, celebrating birthday with my twin sister but not me, texts after texts of scolding, telling me that if ever she has cancer it will be my doing of causing her the emotional turmoil.. And all these and more were done in public and at home that I’ve cried everywhere in my town. I was silly that I thought I should understand their reaction by never saying a word back, crying silently for years, treating them even better and even kneeling before them to apologise. After I became from their lense of judgment, finally successful as a lecturer things were better from the outlook but I can always feel the hidden grudges and mockery that has gone on. The treatment to my siblings are always better, whatever I do is still in her eyes childish and stupid. At those times at the depth of depression, my only consolation was my religion and my loving grandma. When my mom unwillingly followed me overseas to help me briefly with my baby my grandma passed away. Everyday she bad mouthed her nonstop and I was only softly reminding her that she has just passed away please speak only of her kindness. Because of this she scolded me everyday and I just couldn’t take it anymore with the grief and lack of support in my challenging life. I reduced interaction with her after she left but slowly we got back into speaking terms. After a year I have just returned home and she chose to bring up this issue and scolded me in front of everyone including my sister’s helper although she could have spoken to me privately. At night she yelled at me for one hour and mocked my one-year-old son while I just shut my ear and walked away busily preparing baby’s food. To me that was the last straw years I have endured her madness and abuse only with kindness and care. I threw away the letter she wrote me in the morning, I blocked her on my phone and moved out to be with my kind in laws. I will not argue with her but will not initiate contact anymore. Deep inside I feel sad it has to come down to this but it doesn’t mean anymore that if my mother disapproves me I must be unlikeable. Sorry for this long message but it feels calming to voice out with people of similar experience, to feel that I’m not alone. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.