Love, Criticism, Sex, and Abuse
Criticism often has a more profound and lasting impact than praise. Praise, many of us believe, is often "phony" and may be motivated by a desire to manipulate, to win some concession, or merely to maintain the flow of conversation in a socially acceptable manner. "She just said that to be nice." "I bet you say that to all the girls."
By contrast, although we may well realize that the person who has criticized us may have "just been trying to be mean," we don't assume that they probably "say that to all the girls." Rather we tend to think that they believe their nasty comments, and that there may in fact be some truth behind their evil words. That is, we tend to take criticism more personally and may even think we are in some way responsible for what is being said.
Having been criticized as children, similar treatment later in life has a familiar ring to it. Although we do get praise as children, even at a young age some of us begin to suspect that praise may not be truthful, so we tend to feel critical words much more deeply and sharply than anything positive, and these nasty characterizations tend to stay with us longer and to leave a deeper impression because of their more