I’ve never dealt well with criticism. Because I grew up with a narcissistic father who could rarely find anything that I did right, I learned to take any criticism of me as a vicious assault.
Even mild criticism — or joking insults — can feel like a painful attack on me as a person. I don’t like reacting this way and I’ve learned not to lash out as I once did, but I haven’t been able to change the part of me inside which feels like a child who’s fighting for his life.
When you write for the public, there are going to be people who don’t like what you write — often because they didn’t understand it — and some of those people are going to write to tell you so. In fact, some are going to say horrible things about you and call you names. It’s impossible not to take it personally. It’s hard not to want to strike out and hurt those people.
I happened to get two nasty messages today about things I’ve written lately. The comments were written poorly enough that I can’t even tell what the people disagreed with me about. The only thing that was clear is that these two people read something which I’d written — and somehow decided they hated me.