When a loved one thinks your talent/accomplishment is worthless

Is there any way to ease the pain of having someone you respect and love consider your big accomplishments laughable or worthless?

I used to think I was okay with it, but I’m not.

More info is needed, I think. Is open contempt shown or is more of a " I don’t get why that is so vital to you" sort of thing?
There are things I cannot share with my husband, because the blank stare I get is too hard to see. He doesn’t dismiss it or mock it, but he also doesn’t “get it”.

Am I on the right track?
(and I would say, follow your dream or keep your interest or whatever it is–this is your life, and you need this talent or whatever to feed you–don’t worry about him/her).

The first paper I ever wrote in grad school I got an A+ on. My mother’s comment to my sister (not to me directly, thank god) was “[name of school I was attending] must not be much of a school.”

If I’d gotten a B, it would have been “why didn’t she get an A?” If I’d gotten an A, it was “Why didn’t she get an A+?” Since I got the A+, well, …

How to deal with it? Therapy helped.

I write poetry (I hate saying “I’m a poet”) and my husband will read a poem of mine and shrug and say, “I don’t think much of that.” It doesn’t matter if it wins awards or if I like it, it’s just “I didn’t like it. I don’t think it’s any good.”

I’ve stopped asking if he’ll read something, or give me feedback on something since the answer is always pretty much the same. “That’s not very good, is it.”

I gave our niece a book of my poems for her birthday, and he reported to me (I didn’t see her), “Well, she liked it.” And then he smirked.

For some reason, today, that just hurts.

How can you respect such a person? You can still love them, but respect… he/she dosn’t deserve it.

Could you also explain why you had respected this person in the past? Was it because of their accomplishments, social position, etc.?

That’s just downright mean.

I’m sorry to hear that. That really mean. :mad:

My father used to be like that, constantly putting people down, and it really hurt.

jsgoddes – that’s seriously nasty behavior. Sorry to be negative, but you should probably take a look at your relationship with this man. It’s damaging enough when a parent does crap like that – but we none of us chose our parents. There’s no excuse for abusing a SO like that.

Does your husband appreciate poetry at all? If I were to write poetry, my engineer husband would just have no clue what the whole point was. His comments would be limited to my penmanship, with perhaps a suggestion that it would look better typed.

On the other hand, if your husband is a literary type who reads and writes poetry, maybe he thinks you can handle objective criticism from him and he evaluates your poems like he would any other poet, whom he is entitled to like or not.

In either case, I think you should talk it over with him and maybe stop asking for his feedback. If it is the first scenario, he needs to get on board with the fact that he loves you and this is part of who you are, so his comments should be loving. If it is more like the second scenario, he should still keep in mind the love and respect for you, but you should also be more clear whether you are looking for criticism or affirmation.

Some people either don’t like poetry or don’t like certain styles of poetry. If they are married to people who write poetry, they should at least make an effort to talk about what was written and what it means to the loved one who wrote it. I’m afriad that’s about all you can expect though.

It would be great if you could join a group of people with similar interests who can give honest appreciation and feedback. But that is no substitute for the respect you are not getting from your loved one. Is there a little bit of intellectual jealousy there?

Not that, I’m defending your Husband, far from it, I think his insensitivity and lack of support is deplorable, but it goes with the territory. I am a bit of a poet and I think some of what I do is ok, a lot of it shit, but mostly I’ve been met with derision or ridicule by people who don’t get it, or just don’t like poetry. Frankly, it helped me to write better with an open and honest critique. It hurt and made me defensive because it felt so personal for these people to see the naked words that I pulled from my heart and head, and misunderstand them, or worse yet, actually tell me that it sucked (even laugh at me.) You gotta have a thick skin if you want to write poetry for other people to actually read. Seventy percent of the people are probably just going to hate it by default of it being poetry.

I’m sort of okay with my husband saying something I’ve made isn’t totally amazing, but if he denigrated someting I was proud of, and then smirked, there would be words. You have more than full right to ask him what the hell is up with him putting you down.

Sounds to me like he’s threatened by your talent. Some people are. If he defines himself too much by what you are or do – well, then, you simply couldn’t have an amazing artistic ability, because if you do, why doesn’t he?

Wow, that’s harsh.

Have you told him how much it hurts when he reacts this way? He may well be the type of person who doesn’t understand poetry, but that doesn’t mean he can’t express his lack of understanding in a loving manner.


Well, it’s poetry. It’s about as enviable as… er… the ability to drink through your nose.

Sounds more like his evaluation of the gift, not yours.

If it’s important to you, he shouldn’t be dismissing it. He doesn’t need to understand it, but he needs to stop putting it down.

Becky? Is that you?

My sister in law writes poetry. I enjoy it (though I know nothing about it) as does my father (who knows lots about it). My brother (her husband) can’t get past the fact that it doesn’t always rhyme. His idea of a great poet is his old college buddy who can come up with a dirty limerick for every situation.

She’s stopped asking for his critique of her poems. She’ll still write him something special (with lots of rhymes) for an anniversary or something, and he appreciates the effort and the thought (if he can’t bring himself to appreciate or understand the poem itself).

I’ve always been able to view it as just a personal preference thing. Can’t force someone to like something, or to be patient with it. But today it just felt like too much.

He doesn’t tend to be supportive. I don’t tend to need people to be supportive. Today, I needed it, I guess.

Hey, don’t sell yourself short, my friend. Apparently that’s his job. :wink:

As my mother (see above) used to say [if not do]: “If you can’t say anything pleasant, don’t say anything at all.”