Why Am I So Sensitive To Criticism(+5 Reasons)

This article will focus on why someone may be very sensitive to criticism directed at them and what they can do to increase their resilience against any such unnecessary attacks. The article will mention important reasons to explain sensitivity to criticism such as mental health problems and personal interpretation.

Why Am I So Sensitive To Criticism?

Here are some reasons why you may be sensitive to criticism:

  • Personal Interpretation
  • Mental Health Problems
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Traumatic Past
  • Sensitive Nature
  • Not Meeting Their Expectations

Let us take a look at each of these reasons up ahead!

Personal Interpretation

Sometimes how we interpret the actions or sayings of others causes an affect on our sensitivity to that criticism because we tend to take a negative stance on people’s behaviour towards us. Hence, because of our negative interpretation of what others say to us makes us feel more sensitive mostly due to the reason that we firmly believe they are criticising us even though they may just be trying to engage in constructive criticism or genuinely trying to help us out!

How we view the world not only affects our perception but also our thoughts, feelings and actions; one’s approach to life and how they interpret it has a huge impact on whether they take something as positive or negative and this makes all the difference. It could be possible the other person is joking or trying to explain how to do things better but we have become so negative in our thoughts and so mistrustful of others that we tend to perceive them as negative beings too who are out to get us; this makes us sensitive to whatever they say in a bad way.

Thus, it is very much possible that how we interpret things leads us to become sensitive to the ‘criticism’ of others and not necessarily the other person’s behaviour.

Mental Health Problems

Closely related to the previous reason, mental health problems contribute to what we make of the various experiences that we have in life and hence how we feel about them. Depression, stress, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and other disorders play a big role in how we perceive the external world; our perception not only affects the decisions we make but the thoughts and emotions we experience have. Not to mention, this in turn affects how sensitive we are to a certain stimulus. If we perceive it as positive, we will react in a good manner where we appreciate it however if that same stimulus as something negative then we become adverse to it as our sensitivity increases due to it’s bad effect on us.

Take depression for example, it affects how we construct our worldview! We perceive the self, the world and the future in a negative light and hence we are more sensitive to our surroundings to keep ourselves safe from even the slightest ‘harm’!

Low Self Esteem

One of the reasons why someone may be so sensitive to criticism is because they are already suffering from extremely low self esteem. How they think or view their own selves is already enough to break them down – the criticism someone throws at them is just the trigger that causes them to break apart into tears. 

Low self esteem is something real that affects how a person thinks or feels about their own self. It makes them feel lesser than they actually are and they do not realize their true potential. It is this time when they need support from others to help them realize who they truly are and why they should believe in themself. However, when they receive criticism from others, that criticism is just a validation of their thoughts that were already pointing in the direction the criticism pointed to.

Hence, if someone breaks into tears easily at the slightest hint of criticism, it is possible they are suffering from extremely low self control.

Traumatic Past

Another reason why someone may start crying profusely when exposed to the slightest ounce of criticism is because they have had a traumatic past where they have experienced constant criticism from someone who played a big role in their life or had sufficient influence over them. These ‘individuals’ leave an impact on the person because of how the person viewed them; they may have considered them close or important or prescribed a relationship to them of great importance. Nevertheless, that individual took it upon themself to criticize the person whenever they felt like it either because they had issues themselves or used it as a tool to manipulate the other person.

The results of such a relation are long lasting; these effects can last an entire lifetime where the person is constantly reminded of who they actually are and how nothing or anyone can change that truth. It is like an engraved writing in their mind which cannot be erased. Hence, when someone uses the same words that a past abuser used, it hurls the individual into their past and exposes their wounds. This is why they break into tears because their mind and body feel as if they are in the past where the criticism was actually ‘justified’.

Sensitive Nature

Some people are indeed sensitive. Their limbic system is way more active and sensitive to that of others hence their thinking brain kicks in later and they take the other person’s words to heart without scrutinizing them. Hence they automatically accept what the other person has said and feel bad, so breaking into tears and crying miserably.

Not Meeting Their Expectations

One of the reasons why someone may start tearing up because of what someone said to them is because that someone actually means a lot to them and they feel horrible for disappointing them.

This is more because of the relationship that exists between two people rather than the nature of any one of the two people involved. Neither of them needs to be either aggressive or too sensitive. However, if the relation is strong enough then given the right circumstances where one is upset and expresses it a bit too harsh, then the other will automatically feel bad to the extent that they may break apart emotionally and hence weep.

They may actually agree with what has been said about them and feel too bad because of which they begin to cry! Therefore, this is another reason why someone you see may tear up easily!

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How To Be Strong?

Being sensitive is not a bad thing in itself. It helps us in many situations that require us to be sensitive to our surroundings and the people in it. It helps us develop emotional intelligence where we can understand the emotions and feelings of others, notice small but important changes in the environment and of course pay attention to the little details! However, in some certain circumstances, we need to be able to defend ourselves against unnecessary attacks people make against our existence!

Here are some tips to increase your defense against other people’s criticism!

Positive Self Talk

This type of activity that people engage in – positive self talk – is actually a coping mechanism that is used in the face of danger or when a person experiences stress. It involves a person repeating statements or talking to themself in a positive manner that reminds them to see the positive side in situations or circumstances that may seem grim or even scary! 

Positive self talk has been used to increase one’s self esteem, confidence and ability to get through difficult situations. It is because a person pushes themself to see things in a more positive light and hence be more prone to see any opportunities or ‘ways out’ from a bad situation!

Take The Good, Leave The Bad

It is important to realize that whatever a person says, there is a high chance that somethings they say may be true while others are just verbal attacks at you. Hence, take the good and leave the bad! People may be trying to reach out to you in their own way and hence you might need to go through all that negative talk to actually see what they are trying to say! However, in the process, remember that the other person will say a lot of mean things that are not true about you and you must not let those words get to you!

Keep A Diary

A good way to become strong emotionally and mentally is to raise your confidence and self esteem. You do not realize the good things in you and hence, when you overlook them it is easier to give in to other’s opinions about you because you talk less to yourself! Keep a diary that lists the good things you do, the skills you learn and what good deeds you have done for others and of course how you can improve!


The article shone light on the reasons why someone may be sensitive to criticism by others. Furthermore, the article not only explained these reasons in detail but explained to the readers how someone who is sensitive to criticism can be more strong emotionally and mentally!



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