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.
My inner critic is very loud and annoying. Since I started getting treatment for my mental health issues it's become even worse, responding to social prejudices and stigmas. In short, I tell myself I'm a failure because I need help. Today I told someone I am feeling really sick (nauseous and tired from antidepressants) and she said I am "brave"...no, no, no!
Regarding language, I attended a course a while back on compassionate conversation which put a lot into perspective for me. The way that we talk to others and give feedback can be very damaging. For example, I might feel myself getting nervous when someone talks to me in a certain way. A compassionate response would be saying "When you talk to me like this, I feel nervous", rather than "You make me nervous". The first one is focusing on the behaviour and its direct affect on you, the second targets the person. I have become very sensitive to this through my experiences with bullying and emotional abuse, as the person who did the abusing would almost always speak to me the second way.People will not always respond positively even when speaking to them using the first method, but I think it is a more respectful and appropriate way of broaching something difficult.
Sparrowhawk thanks for sharing what you learnt at your course. I was taught to say I statements which is similar to what you learnt.
s it hard to see yourself as brave but you will take on negative comments.
You are not a failure strong ,people admit they need help.
People who don't seek hip will not own up to saying there is something wrong.
Do not listen to your inner critic as it does not know how much work you are doing by posting on the forum and helping others.
Sometimes you can write a letter to your inner critic or try and have a conversation with inner critic and challenge what it says.
Thanks Quirky. I find them to be helpful in that they allow me to focus on my behaviour and responses rather than on the behaviour of the other person. I think the fact I often received personal criticism has helped me to prioritise gentle and compassionate conversation.
I wish I could see myself as brave and as doing something right but I think I've just internalised "being a failure" for so long that it seems real and true to me. I'm always conscious of letting people down or disappointing them. I worry that people will reject me or look down on me for seeking help. But if I don't seek help I will not get better.
I will try talking to my inner critic and hopefully try to understand myself more.
I see you as a person who is trying very hard to work on herself and is willing to listen to what others have to say. Your posts on this forum have helped others and your willingness and openness to discuss your emotions helps those who are reading your posts but not posting.
this thread is mentioned at end of the article on imposter syndrome.
Have a look if you like and see the connection with the syndrome and this thread.
I think the feeling like I am a fraud is how my inner critic makes me feel, I am an imposter, I am fooling everyone, I am not worthy of having a job, a partner , being a mother, doing voluntary work.
I am interested what people think of the article and if they can relate.
I suppose the positives about having an inner critic is that it helps us in many ways:
- gives us an opportunity to consider what is true or false
- allows us to take opportunities to change what we don't like
- may make us bolder as we stand up to it
- learn creative ways to overcome the negative and create a stronger self
- allows us to share our vulnerability with others.
I'm sure there are many positives and negatives to our inner critic. Same as negative thoughts in general, a lot of us experience these things to a detrimental level at times, so finding ways to cope and move on is beneficial.
Cheers to you Quirky and to all, from Dools
Thanks so much for reminding us of the positives of having an inner critic. I have never thought of that utbhave only concentrated on the negative.
This point you make:
“ learn creative ways to overcome the negative and create a stronger self”
I find interesting but personally I have found at times rather than make me stronger it weaken some me or I suppose Imlet it weaken me by adding to my self doubt and lower self esteem.
I find this point something Inhad not considered:
” - allows us to share our vulnerability with others.“
I suppose through this thread we are all share our honesty and vulnerability to others.
Thanks Dools for making these points and making me see things from a different perspective.
I am wondering what everyone feels about Mrs Dools list of positives about having aninner critic and if they can add to the list.
I am going to work through the list when My inner critic is talking and look at things from a positive view.
Does thinking of the positives of having an inner critic help you to cope?