If criticism were an object, some people would think of it as a dagger, a spear, or a two by four aimed at the head. Too few think of it as a gift that can be useful and lead to beneficial long-term change. The difference may have something to do with our relationship to the "criticizer," how criticism-tolerant we are, and how it has been delivered. There are also some people who cannot handle any criticism no matter how mild, well presented, and justified.
Many of us have had positive experience with criticism delivered lovingly and thoughtfully. Often, however, criticism occurs in the heat of an argument and, therefore, feels only hurtful. Criticism used as a weapon in an emotional battle can be damaging to a relationship and not easily withdrawn when the battle is over. Many people deliver criticism with a heavy hand when they are angry or uncomfortable. Some people store resentments for too long and as a result deliver their criticism in the form of an explosive discharge, rather than a thoughtful and gently expressed communication.