Talking to your inner critic, can it be tamed?
Do you have an inner critic ? Have you ever tried to talk to your inner critic. This is what happened when I tried. In my Be yourself thread people asked about how I interviewed my inner critic. So here it is.
This is adapted from a writing exercise to interview your inner critic about one's writing. As my inner critic has an opinion all aspects of my life I decided to broaden the scope of the interview.
Me: I welcome (well I don't really) this opportunity to
find out why you always need to have an opinion that is always negative about
me and my life.
IC: I thought this was going to be a friendly interchange of ideas but there you go with your anger and hostile remarks. I do not see myself as negative but as helping you, because you do need help.
I am here to help you why can't you see that?
Me: So when I am trying to sleep and you tell me about all my mistakes, embarrassing moments, how does that help me?
IC: I thought while you are in bed you would have time to consider some of your past behaviours. This I feel will only help you to improve.
Me: If you are so helpful why do I feel so worthless, so sad, so ignorant when you are around? Do you really know how low I can feel when you are constantly telling me all my faults?
IC: You make yourself feel that way- I am merely pointing out the truth. It is not my problem that you are so weak.
Me: Maybe this was a bad idea you are never going to listen to me or understand me.
IC: Have you ever thought that maybe you shouldn't listen to me if I upset you so much.
Me How can I ignore you when you are so loud at times.
IC: See this is what I mean you are so weak. You have the power to ignore me, to silence me but all you do is whinge and complain.
Me: I am ending this interview. Enough is enough.
What would you say to your inner critic and what do you want to hear from your inner critic? Maybe you can have a go at interviewing your inner critic.
Hi Quirky and a wave to everyone reading and replying too.
I love what Moonstruck wrote. So much so that I let the idea sit with me for a while and then sat down with hubby for a solid talk.
The idea of caring for yourself as you would another struck me quite hard in a positive way.
We get conflicting ideas. On here and from the professionals we are encouraged to address our needs and care for ourselves. It is great in theory... Until you hit the real world.
The arguments my other half has given me lately (about since depression began again)...
- I'm tired of it always being about YOU
- There's always something wrong with you. You're falling apart.
- I haven't changed and now I'm always at fault.
- I'm sick of your mood swings.
After thinking about what Moon wrote (thank you Moonstruck) I quietly gave him my feelings...
- You haven't changed. But I HAVE. I don't want to go back to being last priority. Ignoring my needs.
- I feel like you're saying I'm being selfish. Which goes against what the psych says about managing my depression. I am allowed to be selfish. I have the same right as you and the kids to have my needs met.
- I'm doing the best I can. But I won't ever be the same happy housewife because that would mean putting on a fake face and pretending everything is ok just so everyone else is happy. But I did that and it pushed me to a bad place twice already.
- If you want me to fall apart when you're at work then play happy fake wife so you come home to clean house happy kids and dinner on the table and zero stress for you then maybe you need to leave. Because I don't want to be a martyr for you and end up suicidal again.
- Do I make you miserable? Can you love me even if I expect to be an equal priority to you and our kids? If the answer is no then we're wasting our time.
Saga sorry but my point is the problem I had was all the excellent theoretical ideas that just felt like they weren't wanted offline.
But thinking about what Moon wrote... I deserve the same consideration I give others. This means change and sometimes our loved ones fight it because they like how the old way made them feel even if it made you feel worse.
To answer your question Quirky... How? I'm taking a risk. Demanding the same love and care I give to others. If they don't want that then to be honest they're not healthy for me.
It was a hard discussion. But worthwhile.
Quercus and everyone nodding and reading and saying yes that's me too!
What a great understanding post.You write so well and have so many insights.What was your husband's reaction.?
I have had ugh of what he said to you said to me over the years/Even my children used to say to e, its all about youmum. I felt I was always putting myself last and yes we do have special needs as does everyone. I feel once we have a label people treat us differently and often feel we get special treatment I wish. I think when others get angry with us , we start feeling we maybe a burden and lazy and the inner critic takes over and builds on our insecurities.
Has anyone ever stood up for themselves with a loved one the way Nat did>? If so what happened and how did you feel? If you would never have the courage , why do you think that is so?
How are you going? I'm glad to be understood but sad that you've felt this way too.
Hubby's reaction was both reassuring and hard to hear.
He listened quietly. And then said he thinks I have a point. That he isn't really helping fighting what the psych says I need to do.
He said he loves me and doesn't want to go. But also that he doesn't like me very much some days (yeah that one hurt).
He also took on board what I said about his refusal to manage his anxiety and catastrophising impacting on both of us. I had said it is hard that he is blaming me for mood swings when a lot of the time they are in response to him coming home angry.
The risk somewhat paid off (maybe... We'll see). We're both making more of an effort with eachother.
And best of all he's backed off and letting me make decisions for myself. I have work again tomorrow and next week which he had written off as a "waste of time" because I couldn't earn as much as him.
It could have gone the other way too though I suppose.
I am always interested in new people posting here with ideas and anyone who has a thought.
Nat, has shown how confronting your self doubts and have a conversation with your partner, can clear the air and also can bring up more things to work on.
Rather than listening to her inner critic Nat has challenged the negative thoughts. It makes for very interesting reading. Some times we feel we have no power but explaining to others as to how we feel, it can bring issues to the surface. It is not easy and complex.
Maybe you have had tackled a difficult issue like Nat has. I would be interested in how you coped. Did you manage to tame your inner critic?
My mum used to say that while she always loved us she did not always like what we did. So Nat, I find that reassuring when people say .
So how is your inner critic today?
Thanks Nat & Quirky for your posts. It is really hard to take the risk & speak up particularly when the risk of things going horribly wrong is there. In my case I cheated & asked my psych to help We arranged a joint session with my husband & I. He spoke to my husband first to get his point of view without me present. He explained what was happening with me as well. Obviously I had given him permission the previous week so he wasn't restricted by client confidentiality. Afterwards I joined them & after briefly explaining what they had discussed we then talked about the particular situation which was causing conflict. Having the psych there to support me I was able to explain what was happening & admit that my behaviour was not ideal but was caused by my high level of stress & anxiety. By saying that I realised my behaviour was difficult for my husband I think made it easier for my husband to accept what I wanted. When extremely stressed & not coping I get to a point where I'm ready to explode. Keeping under control takes too much energy & just makes it worse when I explode. When I tried to explain what was happening my husband would take it I was blaming him & react with anger which inflamed the situation or he would keep pressuring me to fit in with his wishes until I exploded leading to both of us being hurt emotionally. With the psych supporting our discussion we decided that I would give a brief warning to remind my husband what was happening. Then I could vocalise my frustrations & feelings. Because my husband knew this Knowing my husband knew this was about how i felt & was not about blaming him he kept quiet & didn't react like he did before. This discussion was difficult at the time as I was very ashamed about my inability to control myself better, The result has been really good as I know I have to make that warning first before ranting about how I feel & my husband understands what is happening & has been really supportive.
I shared this to show how if you struggle to discuss a very difficult issue getting support from a psych that you trust can really help.
What a great suggestion to get some support to explain ho you are really feeling to a loved one. Thanks for your honesty and sharing. This helped me and I am sure will help others.
My partner will not not go to a counsellor with me syasthat is my problem so I have to find another strategy.
Thanks again for explaining so well how the support worked for you.
What makes us only listen to the harsh critic but reject the kind voice?
I read with sadness how so many people here see them selves as having no value, being worthless, never being goof enough but all I see are kind caring smart people ho are willing to help others. So why do we only listen to the negative? Isn't it about time we decide to take a small step and take on one positive thing someone has said about us.
How hard can that be, one positive thing ? Who wants to take the challenge?
That is a great point you have made! So many amazing people on this forum help each other yet inside we may feel like we are useless, worthless and so many other depreciating things.
Maybe part of that is because in "Life" we feel like we have been put down so often there is no point in trying to stand up.
We may consider feeling good about ourselves is being self-centred and incorrect.
We may have gained very little or no praise during our childhood years, so praising oneself is foreign and awkward.
Right. On with the positive!
People have thanked me on this forum for responding to them and offering them a sense of hope and acknowledgement.
So I will positively accept this thanks and realise that I am an okay kind of a person who cares for others and makes the time to connect, hoping I can make a difference in someone else's life.
By connecting with people, I am helping myself by becoming part of this community!
Cheers all from Dools
Thanks for your great contribution. I find your posts are full of common sense and compassion. There you are another positive.
I know people think if they acknowledge a positive then they will be bragging or boasting but they will happily absorb the negatives.
Thanks for your acknowledgement of a positive and hope it helps in some way.