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Talking to your inner critic, can it be tamed?

quirkywords
Community Champion
Community Champion

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.

Quirky


828 Replies 828

ScarlettOHara
Community Member
Hello I just wanted to say since all the lockdowns because of covid my inner voice has been very very negative. For someone who has always been able to be positive most of the time even in shit situations and when anxiety was full on I am no longer able to tune negativity about myself or life into a positive thought I just think about how shit everything is. I really hate myself and I think a friendship has also been ruined because any time I have a different opinion to others I feel people don’t like me anymore. Lockdowns killed a part of me that enjoyed life and even though we are now not in it I still can’t bounce back. I get angry so quickly and it unfortunately effected my physical health. I actually believe my negative thoughts about myself and the world I can’t seem to see them as not fact. I think I’m an awful person because I have so much anger about two years of mine and my sons life wasted in our house. I found working in one room then moving to another in the evening day in day as soul destroying. At the start I understood why we were but as lockdowns stretched out I couldn’t care anymore. Friends and family saw me as selfish because I wanted it to end-what about the vulnerable do you want them to die? Was what I constantly heard. I would like to not believe my negativity anymore but my brain tells me I am a horrible person who can’t control her anger that is just sitting at the top of my throat.

Dear Scarlett,

First of all, let me welcome you to the forum community and express our gratitude that you have chosen to join us! no doubt many will want to talk to you and learn from you, but we hope you will benefit just as much!

The lockdown's really were such a warped time to live through - yes, the we could use the word unprecedented, but that has been done to death I am sure we would all agree. It was just so unplanned for, and some might argue that there was no way TO plan! it was so beyond the realms of the lived existence for so many of us. It really did bring out aspects of ourselves that we might not have otherwise ever realized were there.... and sadly, perhaps some aspects we wish weren't there. 

but regardless, the comments of others are sometimes quite unhelpful - it is VERY possible not want others to be harmed, and still hate the impact the situation is inflicting on us. it sounds in some ways that you are more fearful of whether your anger is having an impact on your relationship with your family? We also want to acknowledge that you mention damage to your physical health?

We want you to know that you are very welcome to reach out, Scarlett - especially about what physical impacts there might be. Please consider giving the team a call on 1300 22 4636, or of course click here to start a chat. Please also consider having a chat to your GP about how you are feeling - they might have some appropriate referrals near to you!

In the meantime, thank you for the courage you have shown in the honesty and openness of your post! We are grateful to have you here and hope you will continue to share with the peer community!

Regards,

Sophie M.

Dear Quirky....

I think we have spoken about this before briefly, when I expressed surprise that family members seem to criticise you and yes, of course that would be upsetting. It would be upsetting to me too...but I think I said back then, and have to say again that I can think of no one in my family, close circle of friends, or even acquaintances who criticise me or point out where they think I am "wrong" or stupid, or whatever....no one at all.

If there was anyone, and they did it constantly, putting me down...they would not be in my life, either phasing out gradually or simply deleted altogether. I realise this is nigh on impossible with family members but I would be keeping those critical ones at arm's length.

So I am sorry but I can't identify with that situation at all....do a lot of people have this problem?

I'm sorry this happens to you Quirky because I can tell you're an A1 person and an important part of my Forum "family". Sending love.....

Hello darling Grandy

You asked if anyone had heard from their "kind, caring, uplifting" type of inner critic, instead of only the other one who constantly puts us down and criticises us? Well yes I have. I have some of her wisest comments written down and stuck on my walls {where no one else can see them).

and I recently had a gruelling challenge I hadn't tackled since before my partner died and I felt very lacking in confidence and unsure of myself, terrified actually. This is when my uplifting inner critic reminded me often, that she was"with me" and would do it all for me; was standing right by my side, in fact she told me to stop struggling so hard and reassured me "Let me do it. I've got you.I'm holding you"......this was my inner critic talking as if she was my closest friend. I had faith in her, I believed her and when the time came to get through the challenge...I flew like a bird!!!

If there is a nasty "inner critic" lurking in there somewhere, they never got a look in...thank goodness!!

It's a very interesting topic I reckon. Next time your nasty one criticises you, say "Yeah yeah I know what you're gonna say..blah blah blah, thanks for your input, but don't need your stupid remarks at the moment, I got this...so shove off!!"..........would that work Grandy?

Scarlett(like the name ) welcome to the forum and thanks for making your first post.

Being as honest as you have can be difficult but by sharing your story others will not feel alone. I can feel your frustration for the last two years. You seem aware how you feel . Once in a negative rut it can seem hard to get out of it.
Sophie M has given you helpful suggestions.

i have written a letter to my inner voice or had conversations challenging the negative statements. I know I have to really challenge my negative thinking and point out the positive things. It is hard and will take time. I am listening if you want to post again or start your own post.

Thanks again.

Ggrand
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Dear Moonstruck,

I like your “kind, caring and uplifting”type of inner critic...I think I do have one...at times it does tell me...you can do this, go on give it a go, and I believe it....until I tried to do this or that...started out with confidence only to not be successful at doing it....then in pops my negative....Told you, you couldn’t do it...should have listened to me first...

I have been thinking of ways to nurture my positive inner critic and let her grow stronger then my negative inner critic....not an easy task...but a task that you have just convinced me can be done...

Thank you Sweet Moonstruck....for your very inspiring words...

Hugs everyone..

Grandy..

quirkywords
Community Champion
Community Champion

How is everyone.

I like the idea of ignoring my harsh critic and finding an understanding patient person to guide me.

How do others feel..?

I think we all could do with a patient 'guide' That voice of reason in our head that encourages us to keep going when we are struggling or to stop doing something which is unhelpful or just helps us to improve step by step and helps us realise we can make those changes. Hopefully we can learn to listen to this 'guide' and let it drown out the harsh critic that tells us we will never improve, we are never good enough etc etc.

For me that is a VERY long process because the harsh critic and the accompanying negative thoughts are far too powerful

i agree elizabeth it is a long process. I was taught as a child to be hard on myself to be aware of my faults and not to be proud of my skills as that was seen as boasting.

Now when I mess up that critical side of me starts berating me and I feel like a helpless child.

I try to be patient and kind but it is hard.

Dear Elizabeth and Quirky...just very recently i find my kind encouraging inner critic is drowning out the harsh one...it feels great too.

Its not as powerful as it pretends to be...tell it..or your protective inner voice will do it for you...to shove off, it's not wanted or needed.

Argue with it, stand up for yourself as you would for a little child or your best friend.

I was a bit overwhelmed and teary tonight and kind inner critic came straight to my defence with praise, encouragement and love. Harsh critic was nowhere to be seen. Love...xx