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.
Thanks so much for both your responses. (Quirky and Mrs D) Especially for validating me so I don't have to feel silly and giving me positive feedback. It's a relief and was very helpful.
In the last sentence of my post, I wrote what I was feeling/thinking instead of keeping it in my head to dwell over later. I walked away knowing I'd expressed my doubts. Looking back at them today, I interpret it as still having issues with fitting in or being seen as a 'know-it-all'.
Is this the way your inner critic works?
I have to be honest and say I don't really agree with calling that part of myself a 'critic'. I feel it's setting me up for failure. The term 'criticise' is too close to being berated or more specifically, judged.
I've learned to 'assess' myself without harsh words. I used to feel guilt, shame, worry, self blame etc, and frankly, I've sort of forgotten how that feels. I'm smiling to myself; isn't recovery bloody amazing?!
I suppose this reflects those 'pathways' we always refer to when talking of 'change'. My behaviour's altered so dramatically in some aspects, I can't remember what it feels like to curl up in bed crying over regretting something I said.
I wish this for everyone you know; I really do.
Thanks for your insights.
I suppose the reason I started this thread was I wanted to come to terms with my inner critic that voice that tells me all the mistakes I have made and that is always negative .
It is very critical but I am learning to challenge it and not to believe it when it undermines me.
I like that you have learnt to assess your self with out harsh words.
I am learning to challenge the negative and to accept who I am. It is a long process.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
I was really good at bashing myself up, which didn't help in dealing with my depressive episodes.
DESIDERATA had been hanging on my wall for decades but I always thought the line:
" Beyond a whole some discipline, be gentle with yourself ".. it's only weakness.
I had been brought up to be strong, bold and never-give-in.To be proud, hold my head high and shoulders back. To face adversity full-on and never show signs of hesitance or doubt.
Then one day, those four words " be gentle with yourself "took on new meaning.
It gave me a new perspective on myself.
Hi Sez and All,
Quite often I come across words/terms/explanations I don't really understand or comprehend. The main thing for me is to gain the wisdom from these notions and put them into practise.
I personally have trouble understanding all the different aspects of the mind like WISE mind and so on. To me it is all the same mind.
Quite obviously for some people, considering the role of the inner critic is very valuable. For Quirky it works extremely well, and that is excellent. For me, I do recognise that I judge and criticise myself often, I am just not good at having a conversation with myself in the way Quirky manages to do it.
It is wonderful we can share our experiences and understanding here!
Cheers all from Mrs. Dools
elcome Sonno and thanks for your contribution ot this thread.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I think be kind to yourselfis helpful but sometimes hard to practice.
Hi Mrs Dool.
Thanks for explaining things so well. This was meant as a discussion and I know people deal with things differently and I learn so much from other posts.
Welcome to this thread. Feel free to comment at any time.
Quirky, sometimes it takes me a while to understand something. I am better with practical than theory at times. We all learn differently. It takes my psych a while to explain the logic behind some theories in a way that my mind comprehends it.
Startingnew, Welcome. Hope you gain some insight form all the wonderful sharing, advice, information, ideas and suggestions here. Reading of people's experiences with different techniques helps me.
Just Sara and Sonno, Hi!
My inner critic/conscience was telling me this morning it was a waste of time going for a wlak to day as it would only cause me more pain.
I have been for a walk, yes I do have more aches and pains in some regions of my body but other pains were minimalized by walking. I had a brief chat with a couple of road workings holding their stop/go signs, saw some beautiful birds and now feel like I have achieved something.
Talking to myself and reasoning things out has helped me get my day started!
Cheers all from Dools
thank you for starting this interesting topic and thank you to all contributors, ive read most of it
but I have a short attention span atm so will continue to read when I
can but will post my thoughts and see what happens...
My own inner critic always makes me question and self doubt what I do,and the decisions I make. It takes me a long time to be comfortable with a decision and in my mind I need to explore all options before deciding then I doubt it and the cycle starts all over again. I am always hesitating when I do things and often have a talk with myself over things e.g me- 'this is what I want to do' then the IC will kick in and start saying things like- are you sure, is that the right choice, your not good enough for that, youll look like a fool' or ill start to tell myself 'ive got this' and then IC will go no you dont and my response is your right I dont and will often shut down after that.
I find it really hard to ignore those IC thoughts and because I am so use to it through low self esteem, worrying about what others think, and through other people (emotional abuse) I believe those thoughts of not being good enough, not worthy etc and find it challanging to question or pull up and go against the grain of those thoughts
does anyone find others comments feed your own inner critic? For example if someone asks me a question and I answer it and I get a funny look, a response that seems like they are questioning my response to them, or if they repeat back my response to me to clarify, I start to panic bringing on that self doubt, I start to stutter, try to explain myself when a lot of the time it is unnessecary.
Mine tells me ive always got to be hypervigilant otherwise something bad will happen or when I start to achieve something, or im going well or enjoying something I get the thoughts and feelings of its wrong or somethings not right or I dont deserve to be happy. I know a lot of that is because of my past traumas so over time im hoping that thatll ease too.
Some other things to consider...
Similar to some previous posts, based a book I am reading (recommended by my psych) it said that whenever you had a negative thought, say "thank you" to your mind, and then move on. Basically acknowledge the thought as a method of stopping that idea from crippling you. That may or may not work for you.
Another idea was the say/sing the negative thought using a silly voice or voice of cartoon character. I did try this one, but I also tend to concentrate on words in songs, and regardless of the voice I selected (even Homer Simpson) there was still meaning and weight in those words.
Which brings me to the final matter.... different things will work for different people - what works for me might not work for you or vice versa. The singing idea did not work, and some other ideas that are in this book don't work for me, but and don't ask me why, just thanking my mind gets me through. And I (or we) need to have to courage to try out different ideas regardless of how crazy they might sound.