Last Friday on Fox’s reality TV series “Kitchen Nightmares,” chef Gordon Ramsay paid a visit to “Amy’s Baking Company,” a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. Just like he does in every episode, Gordon Ramsay offered his constructive criticism with the intention of improving the restaurant’s success. The restoration process, however, was cut short for the first time in the show’s history because the owners of the restaurant, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, showed excessive resistance and defensiveness to Ramsay’s signature not-so-sensitive criticism. The two restaurant owners then became a viral hit over the internet because of their continued over-the-top display of oversensitivity to criticism even after the show.
Sensitivity to criticism comes from not feeling good enough as a person.
Although the feeling of inadequacy is shared by many people, those who struggle with it the most are obsessives (highly anxious highly sensitive people) who had been starved of healthy affirmation during their childhood. This does not necessarily mean that their parents all have directed much of their criticism toward their children while they were growing up. No. Their parents could have very well been good-hearted, loving people who provided frequent words of affirmation. The question is “when?”
Although it makes sense to give positive affirmation at the onset of good results, affirmation linked only to performance is very unhealthy, especially for obsessive children who think in extremes. This kind of affirmation sets up children to define themselves by how well they perform. In the video, it seems pretty clear to me that Amy defines her self-worth by how well she performs as a chef. When anything less than perfection is delivered, performance-oriented obsessive people hear a voice in their head saying “you are fatally flawed!” When others say, “This could have been better,” they hear, “You are a disgusting human being! On the show, one of the servers asked, “Are you sure?” to Amy. Amy took this simple question as a hostile challenge and equated the experience to someone holding a gun to her head. People who have lived the majority of their life listening to this kind of verbal abuse inside their head are very broken inside.
The choice of words that Amy and Samy use to attack their opposers and “haters” is a reflection of what they constantly hear inside their head. In their mind, Amy and Samy are simply mirroring everyone else’s insensitive communication. It feels to them like the entire world is out to attack them.
It is devastating when one’s identity gets crushed. I can see Amy and Samy desperately trying so hard to fight against the idea that they are not good enough as people. It appears that pride has made its way into their lives to help them cope better with their pain. They have convinced themselves that everyone else is wrong and they alone are the only ones who know how good food tastes.
My heart breaks for Amy and Samy Bouzaglo. I hope they get to discover soon that they are good enough just the way they are, regardless of how well they cook or run a restaurant. I am bothered by the online world’s insensitivity towards them. Rather than leaving these two poor broken people alone, so many people are attacking them for fun, just to get a kick out of their reaction.
Welcome to the new world of online bullying :(