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 saw your post on another thread about self worth and the inner critic, so I thought I'd jump over here to interact with you on the topic.....
I had a conversation with my inner critic yesterday, actually. It wasn't an interview, as such. But this is what I did. I wrote down all the things my inner critic says to me when I get sick:
why are you sick?
what is wrong with you?
what did you do wrong - so it can be corrected?
you shouldn't have eaten that food or drunken that drink
you did too much - you overdid it bike riding
you should be able to avoid getting sick
etc etc etc......
And then the behaviours that follow are:
checking and re-checking symptoms
googling symptoms to try and work out what is wrong
frequently going to the doctor
adjusting what supplements I take, restricting certain foods, trying to "fix" it
it's like "micro-managing" myself [it is EXHAUSTING!!]
And the result is I am left feeling a sense of helplessness. My core belief becomes: "I do all these things [to look after myself], but I still get sick". I blame myself. And I feel ashamed.
And then, I wrote a little note to my inner critic, in my journal.
"Thank you Inner Critic for looking out for me. WOW! You have done an amazing job to get me to here. You have worked hard. You can take a break and rest now."
And then I wrote down "opposite" thoughts:
my body knows what to do to heal
I look after myself REALLY WELL
there are a lot of viruses going around
everybody gets sick
I am recovering well, it's just a cold
there are parts of me that feel really good, for example my strong legs
I can rest and TRUST that my body has got this!
My body is doing a SUPERB job.
What a difference, hey! I feel more relaxed now. And a more gentler, kinder part of myself is more prominent now. That doesn't mean that the Inner Critic is gong for good, though!! That would be naïve to think that one process would solve it all. But, at least it has loosened it's grip on me for now and has taken a back seat. Maybe I will get over my cold more easily now!
Anyway, that's my share...
We have met before in other threads....
I had an experience a few months ago where a cousin, who is one of my support people, said some things that really upset me. Basically, she was criticising something that I done, which was an important step in my recovery process. She said I was 'torturing myself'.
I stewed on it for ages, then sent her a message explain that her comment had really upset me and was not helpful. Anyway, my comment then triggered her some more.... she said, in amongst other things, 'I was just trying to help'... it all went a bit pear-shaped. Anyway, I do love her and value her support.
So I messaged again and suggested that next time we catch up we just chat about every-day things and not the heavy stuff, and just be cousins. She appreciated that, and that's what we did in our next chat. She also said that sometimes she has her own stuff going on and she does not have the capacity to support me, and that in future she will let me know if she can't offer support. So she was able to take some responsibility for her part. So, we managed to muddle our way through it and preserve the relationship. I think taking the pressure off her to always be there for me, helped a lot. And I learned to only share bits with her - not the really heavy stuff. I have other people that can support with that.
I can see that she was judging me, in that moment. I tried to point that out to her and she couldn't see it as judgement/criticism [because she thought she was helping]. But, that's okay. We were still able to repair the situation. She can still be a support person for me. I suppose if that behaviour of criticising/judging me continues, I may need to take a different course of action. I am glad I stood up for myself and told her how it made me feel. That was a big step for me 🙂
Your post is extremely interesting for me.
I am always spouting on about talking to people.
Listening to people.
If someone upsets you tell them diplomatically and come up with some suggestions.
Let them know that you want suggestions from them to.
I think that you both covered the whole situation brilliantly.
Most people do not do this or one does and the other is not open to the concept at all.
Hence so many people not speaking to one another.
More so in families.
I spent years mediating with my sister mostly; occasionally my mum.
We never know how the other person is feeling in that moment and vice versa.
Another aspect is she might have been tired and being very careful not to upset you ending up coming out with something which did.
I know all about get my foot out of my mouth.
I am too honest that is my problem.
The world is just still not ready for me yet.
I was born on the wrong star.
A very valuable post for others to find.
Love your name
I think that our paths have already crossed somewhere. I am still lost on the website. Then I am lost in the real world as have a shocking sense of direction. No sense really with a compass.
I might have just read your posts even.
No matter I read this one.
I actually laughed. Not at you. At myself.
I think this questioning my inner critic is far far better than chatting to that part of me.
I loved your conversation scenario. I could not have written it better myself.
I actually found this just before attempting to go to sleep.
Off went the mind chatting away. Inner Critic joined by so many other unhelpful memories.
So during the day I am going to attempt to tame at least this overbearing, inner critic.
Again this is a wonderful topic for a thread.
These seem to be lost and not easy to find for my foggy mind.
I know that I can follow posts and reply to you
Can we tag people? I might be writing elsewhere and want to invite someone. Or is that not possible or not allowed? have read the guidelines. Just cannot remember them all.
Thank you for writing this
Hello Em, just a reply to your question about tagging people. It's not possible at this time, but I think that could be a very welcome feature of BB - maybe send a message, to email@example.com
There are also a few threads about suggestions & feedback. I think they are in Introduce yourself, & below, a catagory called: Forums feedback and updates.
However you contact modsupport, I'm sure they will welcome your suggestion.
I 'Follow' some discussions, & have the list of these on my profile page, so I can see if anyone has posted recently, but that list is limited (not sure how many - haven't counted), but it helps.
I like the little blue heart 'support' I can click & then, on your Notifications you'll see that I've supported your post, as I can see when you have supported mine.
I also use the All discussions link at the top of the page, & look to see which threads are being posted on. The list is short on each page, so I have to go to page 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. Little time consuming, because if I look into a thread, then return to All discussions I am back at page 1.
Hello Quirky - I like your name, too.
My inner critic has been badgering me lately, for things I'm not getting done, for mistakes I've made, some pretty trivial, a couple may be more major, but the thing is, no matter what the thing the inner critic is blabbing on about, that blabbing does not help. If the mistake can be remedied, it does not solve the problem. In fact, it makes it harder for me to think of what I can do.
In my head, I sound really defensive when I say to my inner critic, "It isn't my fault if people don't do the work they get paid to do & I'm struggling to find people who will, or people who can help me with this problem."
Since it is so like taking a gamble with each person or company I have agreed to do support work for me & to do the support co-ordingation, too, & the gamble doesn't always pay off, why is my inner critic piping up as if I am to blame?
so, I feel exhausted trying to figure out what to do, who to talk to,etc, even to find out about invoices which weren't fully paid, (Oh my wiskers!) because my support co-ordinateor may be sick, or just isn't doing their job ... so I'm not able to do the things I need to do, because one support worker has now got health issues, which may continue ... lately it's too much, & my inner critic hassles me because I feel I'm not up to the task, & not doing as much as I need to look after myself - because I'm not able to get a support worker to take over her job while she is ill.... maybe I made a mistake joining the private gym she is a member of, so we could be working out together. If I take someone who is not a member, it may cost a 'guest' fee for them to work with me.... so it upsets me when my inner critic keeps telling me I've made a mess of things.
Sorry, for the long-winded vent ... but, yeah, I think I needed that.
Hello dig,emotions26, mmMekitty
thanks for your great comments.I
I think only you know how to tame your inner critic.
It is an individual thing.
After my 2nd bout of covid in 12 months I sm rundown snd my inner critic tells me Iam weak and I should be more resilient. I agree but would like some sympathy or support.
Hello mm me
These providers seem to be struggling with workers. There are so many government changes. Hard on the workers.At the end of the day it is the clients who are affected the most. I hope that you still have some help in place.
Sometimes I tell the character in my head chattering the loudest to just go. Enough! Has worked occasionally.
Write to your friends and let them know that you just need to be heard. You have listened to me and I am listening to you. I will check on you when I can. I know that others will too.