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.
I didn't see this thread of yours before. What a wonderful approach to have a chat with your inner critic.
When I was with a writers' group, we simply had a rule that the inner critic was not allowed into the meetings, during our first drafts & initial comments on others' work.
& yes, like you & many others around here, I had an inner critic of me & my life, who sounded like my (ex-)step-mother. During my childhood, she did that pointless, unhelpful nit-picking critiquing of every aspect of myself & whatever I said or did.
Over the years, I had begun to talk to myself just as she had done, being as critical & nasty about it as she had ever been. There seemed no sense talking to this inner critic version of her,
As you have realised, this sort of critiquing is useless. It's unproductive, uncreative, & causes us pain & distress.
That is partly how I deal with it. I don't see any value in putting myself down & ever complaining about what I didn't do, the mistakes I make, when I choose to do things I've been trying not to do, (like eating something full of sugar, for example), & realising I've been avoiding & procrastinating, brooding over having to do something I don't want to, & not feeling kindly towards myself ... much better to give myself the kindness & consideration I didn't get before. Much better to encourage myself to try again, to not be discouraged by set-backs.
Nowadays, I would much rather hear from an inner coach, who will support & envourage me, point out where I have achieved things, from the smallest to largest goals, someone who reminds me that I don't have to be an expert first time, every time to do well. So much more, it's hard to put it all here.
If that old inner critic turns up again, all I say is "shut the f**** up" & repeat as necessary.
Hi Quirky & everyone,
I have been thinking about when others are, as they say, "just trying to be helpful" when saying things which are critical & sometimes downright insulting thinking such will motivate you to change - that seems to be the main scenario ... it's like a bully saying it's for your own good.
These days, I hope to get my back up & let them know that what they are " ... saying is not only unhelpful, but hurtful, too, so, please stop saying such things to me".
Or maybe ask them to focus their comments to the positives, because that would be more helpful.
If they can't do that then these are not people who can help with giving you support or encouragement while you strive to reach your goals.
Just because someone may be a member of your family does not giv them licence to be hurtful & insulting, & then blame you for being 'too sensitive' to boot.
Of-course, if they have been insensitive themselves for many years, it may take quite a while for them to hear your message. Some people may never understand. I'm thinking of my (ex-)step-mother. I doubt she will, or even wants to.
Maybe they do not realise they are being hurtful? (As in their eyes they are being helpfull and supportive)
Have you told them that what they are saying ISN'T actually helping you? If they are a good friend/someone close that geniually cares about you they will take that on board, learn from it, and deliver "advice" to you in a much more supportive tone next time. If they get their back up and take it as a rebuff, then maybe they are not someone you need in your life - at least not for "support"?
It's a tricky one! I think for the most part people DO want to help, but sadly they way they go about it isn't actually helpful at all! Hopefully once they know HOW to be helpful they will choose that behaviour instead?
Good luck! 🙂