News from Jude Bijou and Attitude Reconstruction™      


Joy, Love, and Peace for 2019

Attitiude Reconstruction                                     

December 2019               Dealing with Criticism and Finger Pointing

Artwork by Chuck Ingwersen
Mark your calendars! The next "How to Communicate Simply, Lovingly, and Effectively" will be on March 21, 2020.

And come join me for a new class I'm teaching on April 25, 2020 on "Handling Emotions Constructively and Rewiring Your Thinking."

Details forthcoming next month.

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Great for holiday gifts to those special people!  
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Praise for AR and the newsletter.
As a newcomer to Santa Barbara I am excited for your upcoming community offerings and so thankful for the resources you provide.  I love the newsletter and just want you to know how grateful I am for your work.  It has a lot of meaning for me.

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"We'd love to, Fran, but I'm afraid we'll have to take a rain check. With us, Christmas is traditionally a family day."

Greetings dear ones,    
To help make it through the holidays with more joy, love, and peace, I thought I'd summarize Attitude Reconstruction's spin on how to deal with people who finger point, blame, or knowingly/unknowingly toss negative "yous" at you. These tips are priceless for every day of the year!  

But first... 

A Few Articles  

Here's a study about whether college is worth it.

Turning broken watches into sculptures.

Be careful. Broaching the topic about getting pregnant and having children can be more sensitive than you realize.


Some breeds of dogs have a bad rap. Regardless of the dog, "bad dogs" just means they didn't have a loving and thoughtful owner. Here's one such dog that will warm your heart.

Here's an inspiring video of a women who has dedicated her life to saving wild orangutans.

Back in September I did an interview with Emily Francis. Check me out and have a listen.
Silly songs with Larry about Mr. Cucumber, cookies, and Santa.

When we can accept that people and things are always shifting and changing, our hearts can open. 
           -Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, "The Hunger for Home"
or as Dr. Albert Ellis and Attitude Reconstruction say:
People and things are the way they are, not the way I want them to be. 

The Downer Effect of Blaming and Criticizing

Chances are you've seen and heard an emotional manipulator at work. Perhaps you even live or work with someone who regularly pulls out their blame gun and sprays accusations on everyone else. They get angry and indignant and go on and on about how stupid, ineffective, or lame others are. They use their verbal tirades to dismiss situations and ideas that are divergent to their position. Everyone else is responsible and wrong; they're right and know how to fix any problem.
Finger-pointing is a behavior demonstrated by people targeting their anger at others rather than owning their own frustrations, because the world isn't the way they think it should be. Those folks control through blame and intimidation. They don't like it when someone speaks up their truth, especially if it's different from theirs.
In reality, anger is a normal reaction to injustices and violations. It is a pure bodily sensation, characterized by the impulse to strike out and destroy physically or verbally. It's a natural emotional expression, but needs to be expressed constructively.
Being berated for spending too much money, not keeping the house clean enough, for the way we drive, or for a decision we made gets old. It takes a toll on our self-worth, health, and well-being. There are other destructive consequences. We become afraid and defensive, waiting for the next strike. Love takes a dive out the window. We can't help but take to heart what the blamer says, and in the process get down on ourselves. fThis leaves us feeling hollow, a bit numb, and sad. We're also, pissed off at being unjustly accused and demeaned.

All black & white cartoons "borrowed" from Cartoonbank.   

4 Things to Do When You're the Target of Finger-Pointing

The good news is you can do something about people in your personal environment who exhibit negative behaviors, such as blaming, criticizing and name-calling. Here are successful strategies when you're the object of someone's obvious or subtle frustration and anger.
1. Don't take the bait and respond. Don't try to defend yourself or strike back with similar tactics. Let their comments roll off your back. Pretend they are speaking a foreign language or reframe their cruel words by reminding yourself that they are feeling the emotion of anger. You are merely the convenient target. The reality is you are fine. They have an awful style of communicating.

2. Excuse yourself and in a safe place identify the comment, criticism, or blame that really bothers you. Deal with your own anger, fear, and/or sadness physically and constructively when you think about the comment. That means express the emotional energy as a pure sensation.
For anger that means pound, stomp, or yell nonsense words. While pounding hard, fast and with abandon, make sounds, oooowww, and keep to the facts, stating, "I just feel so angry. Angry. Angry." While moving out the emotional energy, it's imperative not bad-mouth or focus on the blamer.
Take a tennis racket to your mattress or punch a pillow. Go for it until you are exhausted. Catch your breath and do it again, thinking about the comment but refrain from name calling or swearing.
For fear, shiver and shake, getting in touch with how scary it is being around a loose cannon. Keep shivering until you touch the fear and your body trembles on its own.
It you feel sadness, allow yourself to cry. It hurts to be so misunderstood, negatively viewed, and to not being seen for your true self.

 3. Figure out what's true for you about the comment. What do you want to say about yourself? How does it feel to be targeted? For instance you might want to say, "I'm afraid you're going to be critical no matter what I say. I feel like I can't win. I can't get it right. I feel like I'm being unfairly attacked for minor things. I don't want to be attacked, because it makes me feel like shutting down. I don't like being constantly corrected. Your cruel words can ruin my whole day. I want to feel more love and more connected to you."
4. At a neutral time, speak out your truth. More than likely you will have to lovingly repeat your truth many times to counter their deflections and knee-jerk reactions. Stay strong and deal with specific incidents. Make it clear that it is up to them to change their behavior. Don't get distracted and clearly repeat your truth until you feel it is heard. If necessary set a boundary - say what you will do in the future if the blamer continues his barrage -  such as leave the room, hang up the phone, break down and cry, etc.
End your communication with an appreciation of the blamer, thanking them for listening and acknowledging something you like about them.

If you follow and practice these guidelines, you will feel good about yourself for finally breaking the cycle, and calmly standing your ground to say what you've finally been bold enough to do and say.

Hey Jude,

I enjoy teasing others and diverting attention from myself when I'm in social situations. I think it tells the world how clever and quick I am. Are you suggesting I give up how I relate to friends?

Perhaps it's time to think about the consequences of your retorts? You're having fun at the expense of others. What you call "clever and quick" has an angry edge and hurts other people, causing them to become cautious around you. So while you you're boosting your own self esteem, you are really building a wall. Connection and good feelings flee. Distance increases. What's more important,  loving personal relationships or feeding your ego?
Thanks for readin g this newsletter. May your holiday season be bright and 2020 even brighter.  

If you have any suggestions about a newsletter topic, or general comments, I love to hear from you. It inspires me to formulate my thoughts so I can spread the word of Attitude Reconstruction.

 Feel free to write me at  jude@AttitudeReconstruction.com  
                           With love,