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Forums / Staying well / Talking to your inner critic, can it be tamed?

Topic: Talking to your inner critic, can it be tamed?

  1. quirkywords
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    29 April 2018 in reply to Music_Freak

    Hello all,

    I agree with the physical exertion thing.

    One day my partner needed helped putting something in a wheelbarrow and putting it somewhere else- you can tell I know a lot about gardening etc!! I said I was too tired too low etc and thought I would be a hindrance.

    He managed to get me out there and I found muscles I never knew I had. I got confidence and was pleased I had helped.

    Of course it does not always work but it is worth a try. Of course if one gets too physically exhausted it can affect one's mental health- or it does for me.

    Quirky

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  2. startingnew
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    1 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    HI Quirky how is your IC diary going? id forgotten to actually write anything down though ive already noticed a pattern after thinking about it.

    hello to everyone else, hope your all well and your IC is behaving itself

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  3. quirkywords
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    1 May 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Hello everyone,

    SN like you I have been thinking about how I react to things while not writing it all down.

    I will share one thing with everyone.

    I posted a reply on a thread and then later saw the great replies other posted and I could hear my critic putting me down, I won't go into details.

    I was about to start getting upset but then I remembered that it is silly to compare and we all have strengths and weaknesses. I was pleased I could be aware before I let my critic bring me down.

    Maybe being aware of how we view things is a start to taking control of our critic.

    Quirky 1- Critic 0.

    Quirky

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  4. startingnew
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    1 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    thats great! Quirky well done! :-) thats a really great step forward.

    maybe catching it early is part of the key here...

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  5. smallwolf
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    1 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Quirky,

    Do you have (unrealistic) high expectations of yourself?

    I do. And that is when my inner critic kicks in. That I should do better. If they can do it, why can't I? And every other question or thought under the sun.

    I think that what we (I) forget is the length of time, experience, background, or practice the other has that we compare ourselves with. Last year I was watching a video on YouTube. Part way through the video the guy said don't worry if you don't get it right the first time, it took me 10 goes. When we watch or read something, we only see the finished product. Not the effort to get there. So it is probably unfair to compare ourselves with a finished product. And yet I will still do it.

    Hope that helps

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  6. quirkywords
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    1 May 2018 in reply to smallwolf

    Hello to all,

    SN thanks for the encouragement. I think yes catching the critic early, and being self aware like smallwolf mentioned.

    Smallwolf, that is an interesting question and normally I would say I do not have high expectations and I am not a perfectionist, but maybe I am competitive in some ways and want to compare myself with others.

    I suppose I am not good at sports, am tone deaf , am untidy etc , so writing words is one think I can do okish (but all around me online and offline I see people who can write much better than me) and when I feel I am losing that skill , my inner critic comes out loud and clear and makes my self esteem plummet even more.

    That was a surprise that I wrote that, I suppose now I have to work out what to do with that information.

    That was a great question and maybe what I write may help me. thanks smallwolf.

    Hopefully this can help others who are struggling with an inner critic. Asking questions to find out why we behave as we do.

    Feeling a bit vulnerable but ok.

    Quirky

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  7. Chloe_M
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    1 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Quirky just be careful when feeling vulnerable make sure to tell yourself how wonderful you are I find my critic is loudest when I am vulnerable

    eg me now I’ve just come home from a long exhausting first day back but was proud I made It through without having a panic attack or Something so I bought myself a mini cheesecake from the bakery as a little reward so to speak

    as soon as I bought it my critic said to me

    you’ll get fat eating those

    I ignored it but soon after it said

    well fatter I mean

    in times like these when your guard is down the critic will strike you need to be kind to yourself 🙂

    chloe

    also sorry I have no punctuation on my phone it’s dodgy

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  8. startingnew
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    1 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    HI Quirky yes i agree Smallwolf has definently brought up an important point there!

    Hi Chloe- be kind to yourself. you deserve a treat. nothing wrong with having a few rewards set in place for the harder days

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  9. Chloe_M
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    1 May 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Yes I suppose so...

    Well I'm waiting for Thursday... am so tempted to text my best friend (who is on that hike) even though he won't get it because he has no service, but my inner critic is saying "don't want to seem clinging Chloe... don't be clingy no one likes a clingy person" when I know perfectly well that I wouldn't seem clingy he'd be concerned, but I can't get those thoughts from my head!! So frustrating *angry face emoji*

    Well, tomorrow's another day.

    Chloe

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  10. startingnew
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    1 May 2018 in reply to Chloe_M

    HI Chloe when we are close to people and are missing them it can exagerate those feelings too. if he doesnt have service then just remind yourself of that and that youll catch up with him when hes back. say it out loud if it helps. might quiet down the 'clingy' thoughts. a good way too is to distract yourself, go outside and dance to music, read, draw, watch a movie, (i remember you saying you have homework ;-) )

    tomorrow is indeed a new day

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  11. quirkywords
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    1 May 2018 in reply to Chloe_M

    Hello everyone,

    Chloe thanks for your concern but being vulnerable is positive for me like being honest.

    Chloe like many people you are so caring to others yet you give yourself a hard time.

    If your friend was telling you about texting your best friend you would say what a thoughtful thing to do, you wouldn't say how clingy!

    Thanks SN thanks for your continued support.

    Quirky

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  12. Peppermintbach
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    1 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and all,

    Um, I feel as though I’m actually okay with my inner critic. I have no major issues with her...maybe it’s because mine is more of a “voice or reason” (VOR) than inner critic because I feel my “other voice” is usually quite reasonable?

    Personally, my VOR/IC responds best to action...

    She tends to believe more actions and less so, words or intent. For example, saying or thinking or claiming I’m “caring” means little if my actions don’t follow suit and my VOR/IC will quickly pick up on this...

    She will swiftly counter with something along the lines of “anyone can say they care but it’s your actions that are the true measure. There’s no point saying you care about someone if you are regularly unresponsive or rarely show you care.”

    So I actually don’t think that’s unreasonable, which is also why I think my IC is more of a “voice of reason” than an actual critic.

    For this reason I’m okay with my VOR/IC because I feel she often has a valid point. The best way to get her off my case is to act. Words have minimal effect on her...yes, she can be harsh sometimes but not completely invalid (in my case...not speaking for anyone else but me).

    That is just me though. I understand everyone is different and different approaches are needed for each of us :)

    Pepper xoxo

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  13. Peppermintbach
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    1 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi,

    Sorry, I meant to write “voice of reason” (VOR)

    Pepper xoxo

  14. Chloe_M
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    2 May 2018 in reply to Peppermintbach

    Hi Pepper,

    This VOR is very interesting. I know that I have an IC but I'm thinking, could you have both? I think I might. You're right in saying actions speak louder than words. I saw this quote that kind of backs that up:

    "people won't remember what you said, they won't remember what you did, but they'll never forget the way you made them feel."

    So for everyone else, do you have an IC or a VOR? Or do you have both? In the case if both, which is stronger?

    thanks again peps xx

    chloe

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  15. Peppermintbach
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    2 May 2018 in reply to Chloe_M

    Hi Chloe (plus Quirky and all),

    Um, great question :)

    Sure, I feel what you’re suggesing is possible. Although I tend to think of the “voice of reason” (VOR) as maybe a more evolved version of the inner critic (IC)? Just a thought...

    I agree with you about actions. I feel words are beautiful and wonderful but I feel they can be empty if there is little follow through e.g. if I claim to be a supportive friend, it holds little weight if I’m not actually there for my friends in their time of need. I don’t mean that I need to always be there but I feel overall, there needs to be a degree of consistent effort most of the time on my part. Again, I’m only speaking for myself and not anyone else here.

    Personally, I think my VOR is stronger than my IC. But like I said, I feel my VOR is just a more evolved version of the IC :)

    Thanks Chloe and congratulations on become a VC. Very well deserved ❤️

    Pepper xoxo

  16. Chloe_M
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    2 May 2018 in reply to Peppermintbach

    Hi Pepper,

    Thank you :D

    I think my IC and VOR are like two sides of the same person. Its like my inner devil and inner angel. It really depends on the situation to determine who is stronger and the bigger influence.

    x Chloe

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  17. quirkywords
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    2 May 2018 in reply to Peppermintbach

    hello everyone

    Pepper,

    Thanks for your post.

    VOR, voice of reason, someone earlier suggest a kind critic who would contradict the inner critic, I wonder if your voice of reason is like that.

    For me if I had a VOR I would not have an inner critic. The reason I listen to my inner critic is at times I do not have reason, confidence and self esteem and I doubt everything I do.

    Thanks for mentioning the VOR and making us think.

    Chloe, That is interesting for you that IC and VOR are two sides of the same person.

    Quirky

    Do thers feel they have both a VOR and IC, or just one at a time?

    What does your Voice of reason sound like to you?

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  18. smallwolf
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    2 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I know this is an extremely short answer. Yes to both.

    At the same time the inner critic says something, voice of reason says that thought is irrational. Then the battle starts.

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  19. Quercus
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    3 May 2018 in reply to smallwolf

    Hi everyone,

    Tim I could not agree more. I have both. And my goodness do they fight.

    My recent argument has been about friendships. I am realising I'm not a very good friend to have. Not looking for validation or praise either I just have been seeing a lot of my limitations.

    Though... I am so glad I didn't read your post earlier Pepper my inner critic would have taken it as proof of me being uselessm regardless of your warning it relates only to you.

    My VOR says I am human. To forgive. To cut myself some slack. To ask if I expect from others what I expect from myself (no). IC is seeing the worst in me as usual. The debate has raged.

    I told them both to take a hike. I'm not happy with how I am. But I do accept I have limits and am far from perfect. I may not feel good about it. But that doesn't make me worthless or cruel.

    Also another thing my VOR keeps harping on about is expectations. How would I feel if....what would I feel if if someone did...

    What I realised is I do make excuses for others. I try to expect the best of people I care for. And yet I don't allow for that people may make allowances for me too.

    We're human. We all are great and crap in equal measures. That's just how it works. So today I seem to have said ah stuff it. I'll just be me warts and all. And if noone sticks around... Meh... Tough luck. I'll just try again.

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  20. Peppermintbach
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    3 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and all posters & readers;

    Chloe:

    You said:

    I think my IC and VOR are like two sides of the same person. Its like my inner devil and inner angel. It really depends on the situation to determine who is stronger and the bigger influence.

    Thank you for your wonderful insight :) Personally, I feel mine is similar. My inner critic (IC) and voice of reason (VOR) are one and the same too.

    I understand the 2 are separate for others though...

    Quirky: Your IC sounds very harsh and sure seems to get you down about yourself. That must be hard on you. I feel maybe all those negative comments that you mentioned (above) about yourself is your IC getting under your skin...

    As I said to Chloe, my VOR and IC are one and the same. My VOR is my “call to action” so to speak, which is why she tends to be respond best to action rather than a “promise” to act.

    If I say or think I’ll do something but don’t follow through, my VOR will be on my case very quickly, which is fair enough in my opinion.

    My VOR is like a tough minded but well meaning ally who can be harsh to me at times but is generally fair. If I take steps to make changes or address issues proactively then my VOR backs off and accepts it. She isn’t necessarily “kind” but I feel she is fair to me.

    I was actually thinking, and sorry if this has been mentioned before. But I was wondering if you’ve considered maybe cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) with a therapist to help you practise challenging your IC?

    Perhaps this is something you might like to consider...just a gentle idea. It might be helpful...

    Tim: your VOR clearly operates in a fairly different fashion to mine. I feel it’s interesting how we are all different e.g. your VOR and IC are separate whereas for me, my VOR and IC are one and the same. Everyone is different indeed :)

    Nat: it seems like your IC and VOR are 2 separate “voices” too (so to speak) unlike me.

    I’m glad you didn’t read my post earlier then. As I said, I was only talking about myself. Yes, my VOR is my VOR alone so try not to take “her” (me) too much to heart. She talks to me and me alone.

    Your inner debate sounds exhausting and painful for you. I’m glad you had a rest day yesterday as it sounds like you needed to just be gentle on yourself. As you said, you can try again tomorrow...one day at a time.

    Pepper xoxo

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  21. quirkywords
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    3 May 2018 in reply to Peppermintbach

    Hello everyone,

    Thanks Pepper for making us think in a different way about this topic.

    My VOR, thanks you for your detailed post and analysis of other people's posts, it was very well done. Luckily my inner critic is locked away or it would have viewed things differently.

    I am not sure which negative comments you were referring to, but I actually thought I was being realistic. Maybe it was wen I was writing about my lack of skills, and like Nat I was just stating my limitations not being negative.

    Sometimes in mywriting I may exaggerate a point for emphasis but on the whole I dont see myself as being negative.

    It is interesting to know how others view us.

    I have tried CBT and I use a version of my own some times but I did find it very rigid and not that helpful. As I said I am probably not as needy as my writing my appear!

    I think it is kind that you are concerned.

    Tim I can relate to your battle.

    Nat, The way you described your VOR and IC is very much how I see mine.

    Thanks everyone for this healthy discussion and thanks again pepper, for sharing your personal insights about your VOR.

    I appreciate more thoughts on this topic as I feel it is worthwhile to see how other people cope and learn different strategies.

    Quirky

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  22. Peppermintbach
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    6 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and all,

    Thanks so much for explaining :)

    If if helps, I can reassure you that I don’t think you’re “needy” as you worded it. I just opted for a softer approach...just in case.

    I’m glad to hear you’re doing okay. Fair enough, CBT isn’t for everyone as is the case with any other therapy. I thought that I would just mention it in case it might help.

    I’m glad you have strategies in place to manage your inner critic (IC). That’s fantastic to hear. Keep up the great work.

    Pepper xoxo

  23. quirkywords
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    6 May 2018 in reply to Peppermintbach

    Thanks everyone for your reading this thread and your great posts.

    It all helps us to understand our inner critic.

    I am wondering if the inner critic is more vocal on a particular day of the week, at a certain time of day, or in hotter months or colder months. Another external physical factor is if e we are rundown and physically sick is our critic kinder or louder then.

    I think this differs from individual so would like to find out your experience.

    For me I am not a morning person so am very fragile then. Extremes of weather can make be vulnerable to my inner critic. Also being hungry makes me irritable and easily upset.

    Quirky

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  24. startingnew
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    6 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky

    usually late afternoon is when i start to go down quite alot. i notice it happening more often than not but im not really sure of the reasoning. i use to be a morning person but since my sleep (or lack of) has gotten alot worse with most nights not sleeping more than 2 hrs its often hard to get up and my ic likes to take advantage of that. physical pain and illness is another one. also if i have an argument (no matter how small) my ic usually gets louder too.

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  25. Ggrand
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    6 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky and everyone,

    Since Ive been unwell, my inner critic is so loud, so relentless..I want, need rest. My inner critic is calling me lazy, telling me to do things that I don't even do when I'm well...I/C has been pestering me to get out of bed, clean house..ok I got out of bed. Then sat in the sun...I/c can wait for a clean house..

    Can I trade my inner critic in for a new one? I just don't like or want the one I have now... I want to trade it in for a kind nurturing inner critic who understands me. In sickness or health..

    Grandy..

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  26. quirkywords
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    6 May 2018 in reply to Ggrand

    Grandy

    What a great question, Why don't we trade our loud critical inner critic for a kinder one. It is up to us we can do that.

    So way do we keep beating up on ourselves. Why dont we give ourselves a break.?

    You mentioned in another thread you were being kind to yourself and looking after yourself and making yourself special food. How come that did not last?

    Thanks Grandy for your contribution.

    Quirky

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  27. Ggrand
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    6 May 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    I think our inner critic has layers..I am still being kind to myself, eating properly etc...I'm not listening to my inner critic that much.. I/c has called me lazy etc. told me I should clean house, I went against inner critic and sat outside and relaxed instead... Sometimes we can win...

    At times we can ignore our inner critic but at other times, I/c wins...

    Grandy

  28. Elizabeth CP
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    6 May 2018 in reply to Ggrand
    I think my inner critic is having a rest probably getting redy for another onslaught. At the moment I feel so low the inner critic can't make things worse. I'm too tired to be able to hear the inner critic through the fog.
  29. Moonstruck
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    9 May 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    I am sure some of my earlier posts on this subject were mentioning my inner critic..what she said..how awful she was to me with her criticisms etc.....but really, I have to honestly say my IC has been very very quiet of late. Is that a good thing? I realise I haven't been taking extra good care of myself....but inner critic hasn't had anything to do with that! My inner "gentle voice" has been the only thing getting me through a very low period actually.......If IC had a go...it would just about finish me off!

    No, my IC seems to shut up....(thank god)...........ps. I think I'm incredible...one of the best people I know!

    1 person found this helpful
  30. quirkywords
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    9 May 2018 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hello all,

    Moon,

    I like your confidence you go girl.

    Quirky

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