Judgement and Confrontation

Tris and I received a question from a reader this week that we thought we’d both respond to here:

I have a partner and we are both following Divine Truth. We have discussions where I feel that they judge me but they feel they are just being confronting emotionally. I specifically feel that they are judging me as if I am not trying hard enough to process. Can you offer any advice? Have you encountered anything similar in your relationship?

Tristan’s response:

I have seen this tonnes during our relationship. I’m usually the one who is suspected of judging Anna.

I had started working on a relationship with God and processing my emotions much earlier than Anna had. So, it was natural that I had a little more idea of what it took to process certain emotions and what kind of realisations that awaited Anna on “the journey”. I was excited for Anna to find out emotionally what I had found out and to join me on a perfect rainbow relationship full of emotions, love and God.

Needless to say, it did not exactly work out that way. Anna has not always wanted to throw herself into getting closer to God or processing emotions. When she has wanted to hold onto an emotion that I can see is already causing her to treat others or myself badly I say something. Occasionally she has stated during these times that she feels like I have been judging her.

This is understandable. Lately I have anger (what I have been wrongly calling ‘reluctance’) to process myself. While I don’t feel Anna is judging me, if she points out my reluctance I have felt that she is a villain wanting to tear me down.

When we are doing something addictively unloving, we feel hurt when someone points out the problem, even if they are or are not judging.

If one of us is so resistant to dealing with an emotion that is causing us to treat others or our partners badly, we can have a break from their presence until they are willing to talk about the issue.

Anna and I do this.

The better option, however, is if the person who is upset about what the other person is saying just takes the time to processes the emotion. I love it when Anna does this with her anger and after we feel closer than ever.

It’s always good to remember that our emotions are our responsibility, not another’s, even if other people are judgemental.

After the emotion is felt, and you feel clearer about what’s going on, then you can talk about the issue that triggered it.

Most often the other person is not judging. In my experience, a judgemental partner often is passive-aggressive about it but that just may be my own attraction.

I have seen others couple where a person is aggressively judgemental but their partners often feel that they deserve that treatment and don’t usually fight back unless they make some emotional changes. A person who is angry about judgement won’t usually engage with someone who wishes to aggressively judge them.

However, the other person may be judging the heck out of you. After you have dealt with your own anger, embarrassment, shame, fear (whatever the emotion is) then you can be more accurate about whether the other person is being demanding and judgmental or just truthful.

The next step would to be honest about their behaviour minus the emotional negative attitude you have towards them before. You can now talk about them being responsible for their emotional issue causing their personal judgment.

In my experience, it’s better to:

  • Ask myself if the person telling me something about my emotional state that upsets me.
  • Process through my own emotion no matter what it is.
  • If I cannot deal with the emotion while they are around (because I feel they are judging me) then go and deal with it somewhere else. Get some personal space with the sole goal of processing emotion, not avoiding their feelings.
  • When I no longer am upset, come back and talk about the issue with them again.
  • If I get upset again, do the first four steps again until I am no longer angry, demanding, or upset at them.
  • Notice if the other person is being demanding, angry, or arrogant in the way they talk to me about this subject.
  • Stop the conversation and talk to them about the feeling I notice in them.
  • They now do the first five steps.
  • After all this me and my partner should now agree on the answer to the emotional issue we had been talking about and hopefully God’s view of it as well.

This process takes real humility from both partners but it is still worthwhile even if only one of you wants to do it this way.


Anna’s response: 

I have definitely felt that people (or Tris) are judging me and my feelings or behaviour.  At times I have been utterly without doubt as to the unsavoury, judgemental and disapproving tone and manner of Tris towards me (usually, only to discover later that he hasn’t been).  I’ve often had arguments with Tris where I’ve stated, “You are judging me”, or tried to just ignore what he was saying because I felt it was too harsh and unkind.  Usually I’ve been irritated that he is judging me (I mean – the cheek! 🙂 ).  I still have times when I feel judged by him and angry about it, so I still feel like I’m learning too.

This is a little about what has helped me with this issue so far:

  • Action check: Take a step back from what’s going on and see if Tris treats me like he judges me. Does he treat me as though I’m worth less than him, or as though he thinks I’m some kind of gumby/vixen/monster/sinful-creature? I’ve had to step back from the interaction and cool my hot head before analysing the way he treats me – do his actions indicate he judges me as ______?   This has helped me gain perspective.  It’s helped me see the truth.  It’s helped me to separate fact from fiction.
  • Next, I need to look at why I’m upset by it. Sometimes I might feel judged for a number of reasons. Maybe I judge that attribute in other people. Maybe I am afraid if people know that I have that attribute, they’ll judge me, so I want to shut Tris up (lest he get the word out that I’m a cranky woman and everyone else judges me!). Maybe I would really like to control what Tris says and how he feels about me: whenever he says something about me that isn’t positive, I flare up because he’s not fulfilling my addiction to ‘make me feel good about myself’.

To summarise:

Step 1: Step back and analyse how the person treats me.

Step 2: Have a look at what’s upsetting me so much about feeling judged.

*Tris reckons that my process would be improved if I first did Step 2 – and then did Step 1. 

Usually, I stop after that, because Tris doesn’t judge me.  But if hypothetically he did, I would need to talk to him about this when I’m not feeling upset about it.  This would probably mean feeling some emotion so I’m not so full of baggage when I talk to him – I need to be able to see the issue clearly and I can’t do this if I am upset or blaming.  If Tris continues to be judgmental after I’ve brought it up, I might need to take action – ie. Do I really want to be around someone that is judgmental?

I’m don’t do this process well all the time, and would really be helped if I took my own advice more often (laughs).

Jesus and Mary recently reminded me of the need for both partners to be on the same page for them to be close. They reminded Tris and I of the importance of asking, “What does God feel?” Often in an argument or disagreement, I become intent on my own opinion and this doesn’t lead to further closeness between Tris and I.  To grow closer to God I need to ask, “What does God feel? Does God see that ____ is an issue for me too?” For Tris and I to grow closer together and to God, we both need to be asking these questions.

Lastly, you mention ‘trying hard to process’.  For a long time in my and Tris’ relationship I ‘tried to process’ but was actually insincere; what was driving me was probably my anger and fear that I’d lose Tris if I didn’t and an unwillingness to give up certain emotional addictions.  But I didn’t want to feel that, and instead tried to skip over it into feeling other feelings.

My ‘trying hard to process’ was me being dishonest about how I actually felt and where I actually was.  It’s helped me to acknowledge the reality (I don’t want to feel this/ I want to be angry/ I don’t want to clean up after myself etc) and to acknowledging and accept where I’m at right now.

Then feel the resistance.

Then go, “Right – now what do I want to do?”


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