TU108: Judgment and Self-Criticism Unchecked – a Great Interpersonal Defense

by | Nov 15, 2019 | Attachment, Episodes, Neuroscience, Personal Growth, Relationships, Trauma

Show Notes

Judgment says more about the judg-er than the judg-ee. It’s not Judgement – Bad. It’s Judgment-Interesting.

Everybody judges and in truth, we unconsciously evaluate good/bad all the time – both positively and negatively. It’s our brains appraisal system. However unchecked it’s also a very handy interpersonal defense. Today we explore one aspect of insecure functioning, unchecked judgment and harsh self-criticism.

It is just one common insecure pattern to think in absolutes and moral righteousness, and before you judge judgers, those of us who’s favorite flavor is self-criticism and self-judgement please be warned that harsh scale extends quickly to those close to us.  Fun times to grow and learn we tell ya!!

In This Episode of Therapist Uncensored,

Co-hosts Ann Kelley and Sue Marriott break down the big picture of attachment and take a deep dive into just one of the habits of insecure attachment – how we use judgment! Turn on your curiosity and notice your judgments as we go – it’s kinda fun, actually.

The Pleasure of Judgement

  • Description of what self-righteous judgment looks like presented in an anecdotal but accurate way.

Quick Review

  • Every human being has a system to manage threat.
  • Blue – you down-regulate
  • Red – you up-regulate

The Role of Judgment

  • Method of self-protection
  • Response to a feeling of threat
  • 2 types: self-righteous or self-critical

Self-Righteous Judgment

  • It’s a great feeling.
  • What’s really going on underneath?
  • Disconnection from threat in our own body
  • Slowing down to experience what we are judging
  • Fortified defense
  • Not pathological, it’s protective
  • Example of Blue Judgment
  • Fear of Vulnerability
  • Judging to keep at a distance
  • Example of Red Judgment
  • Telling others what they are doing wrong
  • Judging to prevent expressing fear of abandonment underneath


  • Inability to create a judgment can be an indication that we can’t have a sense of self and an essence of threat, and that clearly defining ourselves is too vulnerable. (red-side of insecure spectrum, usually)

Judgment Can Be A Healthy Protection

  • Not all judgment is bad
  • Explore it.

Righteousness to Relationality

  • Exploring the movie about Harriet Tubman
  • The moral high road
  • Righteousness as the lazy man’s way
  • Making the move
  • Effecting change while staying in the relationship


  • Also the lazy man’s road
  • Same old negative thoughts
  • No movement and no new neural pathways being built
  • Keeps us stuck
  • Moving from self-loathing to connection
  • Putting our feet to the fire

It’s not that it’s pathological – it’s information. We think it’s information about the other person, but really it can be a window into something more interesting if we open up to exploring it.  Why do you judge THAT in particular? What parts of others make your skin crawl? Check if it’s disowned parts of yourself that you are attempting to distance from or stamp out in others. You see…. now it gets interesting and the door opens rather than slams close on the object of our scrutiny.

Practice Noticing With Compassion

  • Find your version of what it is that you’re judging.
  • Have a little smile of humor when you catch yourself being judgmental
  • Explore what’s underneath



Healing Your Attachment Wounds by Diane Pool Heller

Healing Developmental Trauma Lawrence Heller

Self-Compassion, the Hidden Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

Also check out TU73: Building Grit Through Self-Compassion with Kristin Neff


Who doesn’t love special offers?

Our course is now available for a deeply discounted early release price! While this course is aimed toward clinicians (CE’s available!), all who are highly interested in deepening the security in yourselves and your relationships are welcome to participate. Price increases on October 22, 2019 when it is released to the wider public.


We’re on Patreon! 

Become a Super Neuronerd, a Gold Neuronerd or an Out and Proud PLATINUM NEURONERD today! 🙂 

Join our exclusive community of Therapist Uncensored Neuronerds for just $5 a month!

 Gain access to private community and exclusive content. 

Help us create a ripple of security by sharing the science of relationships around the globe!

NEURONERDS UNITE! Click here to sign up.


Last thing, we talk about a lot of deep stuff and people can begin to come alive and feel things. We can’t take you on as a client but we DO encourage you to get help if you are interested in examining your life or exploring pain in your past. Face to face local therapy recommended where you can, however many people cannot access private individual therapy for any number of reasons, so we found a service that offers online therapy in many countries and many languages that is affordable. Please use our link and you’ll get to try it for free. Let us know your experience of it no matter what but so far we’ve heard only good things – try it out!!!





Recent Episodes

TU158: Are You Cool, or Just Cut Off?  Dismissing/Avoidant Styles of Relating in Adulthood – REPLAY

TU158: Are You Cool, or Just Cut Off? Dismissing/Avoidant Styles of Relating in Adulthood – REPLAY

This is the first in a loosely organized 3 episode series on the basics of modern attachment. New season starts Nov 1. You may think you are calm cool and collected, but ask around. 🙂 This episode pairs with the next 2 in discussing attachment patterns in adulthood and are the core content from which we will pick up again Season 6. We keep learning a lot and updating our model so tune in and see where we go with it over time, okay?

read more

What else do you want to learn today?

Get Your Modern Attachment-Regulation Spectrum (MARS)Bundle

3 videos, 3 handouts, and 7 podcast episodes to get you started on your path toward secure relating.

Success! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and access your starter pack.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This