If you have lived with Diabetes long enough, you have experienced Diabetes Judgement.
Diabetes Judgement comes from family and friends, total strangers who may comment on a beep from a diabetes technology device, coworkers who comment on food choices, or from school administrators or school staff. Judgement may even come from your Endocrinologist or Diabetes Educator! Judgement might even come from your own view of how you manage your diabetes at times.
What to do about Diabetes Judgement
You have several options when it comes to what you decide to do about Diabetes Judgement. Depending on your mood, energy level, time, patience, your goals in the moment, and personality, you might choose to:
Respond rapidly without thinking and without a filter to Judgey McJudgerson. This is always the most entertaining option to relay back to supportive family or friends later! Note: this option may lead to negative consequences in the long term, so it isn’t usually the best option, especially if you are prone to feel guilty after being unkind.
Decide to refrain from responding at all. This shows who really has the power! Optionally: give them “the look” which can involve one raised eyebrow and a side-eye glance as you walk away, shaking your head to yourself.
Construct a non-emotional and educational response with the goal of enlightening someone who clearly lives in the world of Lack of Knowledge about Life with Diabetes. This option often proves useful when interacting with people whom you determine you will need to interact with several times in the future.
Come up with a few one-liners to shut down the Supreme Judge. This may not be the most helpful response long term and is best reserved for someone who is clearly trying to make you feel bad about yourself with no other motive behind their judgey comments.
Some examples include: “Wow! That was a very judgey comment!” or “Woah! That wasn’t very nice.” Or “Yikes, your ignorance is showing! You might want to put that away before you embarrass yourself!”
Some less sarcastic options could include: “That wasn’t a very helpful statement. Please refrain from saying things like that again to me (or my child).” Or “I really do not appreciate that type of question. It is not helpful and does not feel supportive to my health goals.”
Share your moments of feeling judged with a family, friend, your favorite Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, a mental healthcare specialist, or on your favorite online diabetes support website. Instead of investing your time and energy on the person doing the judging, invest in your mental well-being!
If feeling judged by yourself or by others is something you identify that really bothers you, please contact a mental healthcare specialist. It can be extremely helpful to have a safe space to share negative experiences with a trained, non-biased person who can help you to develop some coping skills and help you to further develop healthy boundaries that support your personality and values.
Diabetes is a disease of imperfection. Our bodies are not robots. There are many variables that can impact the current blood glucose at this one moment in time. Judging is not something you need to simply tolerate or “roll with”. Gaining skills in managing other people’s lack of knowledge, projections of their own fears, or other non-supportive communication styles will be of benefit to you across your lifespan.
Tavia Vital BSN, BA, RN, CDCES
Director of Intensive Diabetes Management
Tavia is a Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Regis University in Denver, Colorado after receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Iowa.
After working as an inpatient nurse, Tavia shifted her career focus to work as an outpatient nurse and diabetes educator. She worked many years as a diabetes educator in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism clinics, a high-risk diabetes and pregnancy clinic, and in family care/primary care provider clinics before joining Integrated Diabetes Services.