How Judging Others Contributes to Harm and Abuse in Relationships

Judgment can be one of the most damaging weapons in a relationship. It tells your partner that it’s not okay to be their authentic self.

Over time, this builds a grudge against them and will eventually destroy even the most intimate relationships. Even if your relationship survives the toxic effect of the judgment, it still suffers.

Judgment truly is the ultimate relationship destroyer.


You Are The Judge 

Judging other people around you might have a lot to do with your self-love. Loving and respecting yourself will bring you a level of understanding that will help you drop the need to judge others around you.

Consider that being judged by the person we love can be a devastating experience because they’re most likely the people we care most about and value their opinions above all else. So,  hearing something nasty that comes from them might feel like a stab in the back.

In every society and family, there are certain expectations of how we are to behave, who we must become when we grow up, and so on. One can lose himself in this world of expectations, and can later turn into triggered judgment.

What triggers judgment? 

Judgment can be triggered by your deep past emotions and trauma. Judgments have profound emotional triggers. Extreme judgment toward others might have different painful scenarios from our past.

Anything that provokes you today to judge is never about what is happening today, but ‌it is connected to something that has happened in the past and created this reaction‌. It can bring back memories of how someone looked at you at some point, and how they neglected, abused, or bullied you.

In the “judgment phase,” we might perceive the world through the mind of a younger version of ourselves, judging what might have hurt us in the past. 

In a romantic relationship, judgment can build gigantic walls between the partners, distancing them from those they love for fear of being judged again and again and again. These “protective walls” are a barrier not just to judgment but to love too, and this is where a relationship might fall apart.

We identify ourselves by choosing what we embrace and what we don’t want to become. As very young children, we learn who we want to be by identifying with ideas, people, and behaviors that we see around us and then strive to embody. 

If you were not supported, or if you were excluded from becoming a part of the group you wanted to identify with, your ability to evaluate your needs and wishes may have become twisted. 

We often project our lack of self-acceptance onto others, and that can take the form of judgment. When someone judges you in a toxic way, it is more of a statement about who they’re afraid they are than about who you are.

When judgment turns mean, it is toxic.


Judgment attaches you deeply to something/someone you don’t like and parts of yourself you don’t see or want while your body creates powerful substances in response to those emotions. Every judgment you make about someone else stems from a fear or insecurity inside yourself.

If you make a judgment about someone’s lack of attractiveness, that can make you aware of a part of you that feels like you’re not attractive. If you judge someone because of the amount of money they have, that can reveal a part of you that has a fear of having too little.

Whatever you judge about someone else reflects how you feel about yourself, usually at a ‌deep level. When you judge, it can be from feeling that your personal boundaries are being violated. 

In which case, if that’s true, you could instead honor yourself instead of judging someone else.

For example, if you can’t stand people who smoke near you, then someone sits right next to you and starts smoking. You get angry and think about how upset you are that someone sat next to you and started smoking.

This type of judgment is more about you feeling as if your personal boundaries are being crossed. It’s the type of judgment I was dealing with. My partner wanted me to stop smoking, and whenever I smoked around him, he perhaps felt as if his own personal boundaries were being violated. It used to upset him. 

The problem with that, however, is that instead of getting out of the situation, he expected me to change to satisfy his personal boundaries.

Expecting someone else to change to satisfy your personal boundaries is possible, but you will often end up disappointed in the end because they will end up not honoring themselves, causing them to resent you.

How to Let Go of The Judgment.

Carl Gustav Jung points out that we must learn to accept our own darkness if we want to overcome our own neurosis (compulsions). Without this self-acceptance, our attempts to help others will be futile, both on an individual and global level.

Whenever we refuse to accept our feelings and thoughts, however disturbing they might be, we experience psychological dissonance. Dissonance happens when our behavior does not match our self-image or the image we think others might have of us. When we project our shadow onto others, we refuse ownership of ourselves, distancing ourselves from ourselves, losing ourselves‌.

Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge. 

Carl Jung

It is only when you have seen and accepted your own capacity for fear, shame, and judgment that you can truly see the other for what she or he is. Without this acceptance, we avoid parts of the other simply because they reminded us of these in ourselves. And thus, no genuine connection, nor compassion, can arise.

What actions can you take now?

If you adopt this into your belief system, you will never depend on others to change who they are or what they do to comply with your standards to be who you want them to be. Because remember, expecting someone to change for you can ‌lead to resentment. They may make the changes, but it may not be because they wanted to. It may be because they felt obligated to.

Whenever you feel the need to judge anything or anyone outside of you, remember that you are the one with the problem, not them.

You’ve got important work to do on yourself. Try to take these steps to let go of self-doubt and avoid being paralyzed by the fear of being judged and judging others:

  • Don’t invite judgment.
  • Stop judging yourself. 
  • Don’t assume.
  • Stop pursuing approval. 
  • Surround yourself with a confident, and self-aware group of people. 

Let go of the need to “be right”, and have a serious talk about it. If you cannot do it yourselves, then you need to seek counsel, help, and a different perspective from a therapist. 

Everybody has the right to be their authentic self and if a specific thing about your significant other deeply upsets you, you can let them know in an environment of love, safety even connection, and together, you can cross the bridge into the world of each other.

Do not give up, do not give in to judgment, learn to talk, and engage in an open and honest dialogue, the most honest you’ve ever had- with Yourself. 


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