Georgia NeSmith
3 min readMay 28, 2022


Wow. I can't imagine what inspired you to write this response to Darshak Rayna. I can't find anything in this article that suggest he is arguing in a way that even comes close to recommending what you seem to suggest.

Every single item that Darshak lists here were favorites of the ex-husband I had when I was in my early twenties who pushed me to the point of attempting suicide. One item with him not listed here was "I don't do YOU that way" after explaining what I'd done wrong that I needed to correct.

I've never met a person who CONSISTENTLY used the phrases here who was not a narcissistic a-hole. And quite honestly, I can't imagine any of these phrases actually being honest criticism.

"You're too sensitive."

That's an accusation. It is NOT constructive criticism. It doesn't help any person any time any where. It makes it clear that the person saying it hasn't actually heard what you said but is JUDGING what you said as invalid. And most importantly, it serves magically to redirect attention away from awful things they did and said. Which, frankly, is the whole purpose of saying that.

Not a single one of the items here constitutes constructive feedback. Each is pointedly accusatory and overgeneralizing. And frankly, they are sayings more common to men speaking to women than they are of women speaking to men. Not exclusively, of course. But definitely more characteristic of man-talk.

"You're overreacting."

Unhunh. Who gets to decides what is "over" reacting? That is very often spoken by a man to a woman, accompanied by "you're too emotional," or "don't be so irrational." Usually applied to women by men who simply cannot understand actual FEELINGS, assuming that cold rationality is the best way to think and talk.

Bet you're thinking, "wow, she's overreacting to what I said. She's being too sensitive." Yada yada yada.

Every single one of the statements mentioned here is aimed at denying the validity of whatever the person is feeling.

While not all gaslighters are male, generally the objects of that gaslighting are female. Each one of these here plays on gender stereotypes whether gender is mentioned or not.

Except one: "I never said that." Sometimes that IS an honest statement -- but made by the target of gaslighting. Because there's one thing absolutely characteristic of gaslighters, and that is that they have a major tendency to rearrange what their target has actually said into something they never said at all.

Honest criticism -- particularly in interpersonal relationships -- involves the possibility that the speaker may be misunderstanding or misinterpreting what the object of criticism has said or done. Honest criticism involves a respectful interchange of words that DO NOT essentially diminish the person being criticized.

Similarly, honest criticism doesn't make absolutist statements. "You're too sensitive" implies that there is something fundamentally wrong with someone being sensitive.

Honest criticism doesn't use adjectives characterizing a person as fundamentally being a certain kind of person.

Instead, honest criticism takes up the SPECIFIC details of the conflict under discussion and seeks CLARIFICATION rather than insisting upon imposing ACCUSATIONS (no matter how softly spoken).

A useful and positive way of working through potential misperceptions and conflicting feelings on both sides refers to specific and RECENT events rather than using overgeneralized characterizations of the person.

Above all, it does not assume that the person giving the criticism is an authority -- specifically THE authority in the relationship -- on human behavior.

Honest criticism involves a DIALOGUE, not a lecture from someone who assumes authority. It includes the possibility that the criticism could be wrong -- even overwhelmingly wrong -- in their interpretation of what the other person has said or done.

People become BETTER people when they talk about their feelings regarding events and words rather than imposing a generalization about the other person's character.

Honest criticism involves a critic who recognizes they may have misunderstood what was going on.

Every single one of these "gaslighting" statements involves assumption of authority by the critic and criticizes the PERSON rather than the actions.

So I'm guessing you've been a perpetrator of these kinds of statements and assumed from the get go that you could not possibly be wrong in your "honest" assessment of the other person.



Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.