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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. Music_Freak
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    3268 posts
    22 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    My inner critic is loud...always at me about failing at upcoming uni and not being able to establish a good routine beforehand...

    It doesn't want to stop. I've set my alarm for tomorrow, maybe that will shut it up for a little while...

  2. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    22 June 2018 in reply to Music_Freak

    Hello all,

    Thanks for your post Music. I am pleased you are going to university.

    I would shout at your critic and say how much you have achieved. tell critic you are making a plan for a good routine. just keep taking one step at a time and try ignoring or sing. I sometimes sing loudly to drown out negative thoughts.

    All the best

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Music_Freak
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    23 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Thanks Quirky,

    I will put music on and do that in the morning when my alarm goes off. I have told it to get lost using an f word before...maybe I need to keep that up too!

  4. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    23 June 2018 in reply to Music_Freak

    Hello all,

    Thats great Music , let us know how you go. I hardly ever swear so if I do it has a strong effect. I think I only swear at my critic in frustration and we are both stunned!! So if the f word works , do it.

    Quirky

  5. Music_Freak
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    23 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I've got a bit of a potty mouth, always have had. I was always getting caught swearing at my catholic all girls high school and told it wasn't lady like - pfft! I don't drink, smoke, gamble etc. so if swearing is it, so be it.

    I'm currently fighting the urge to crawl back into bed and hiding...we'll see if I win...

  6. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    23 June 2018 in reply to Music_Freak

    hello everyone,

    Music, when it is cold, I want to stay in bed but I get up later and later in winter, so I can relate to that.

    The only time I really swore was when I was manic so it was easy to see when I was high.

    Quirky

  7. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
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    23 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky (and hello to MF and anyone reading along),

    Ah criticism. Do you find that seeing as you're your own worst critic when someone criticises you it becomes this enormous snowball of self doubt and loathing? Or maybe that's just me.

    Quirky is it because you care what they think that it's cut deep?can we help?

    I thought my inner critic was asleep this morning after taking the new meds. Even put on makeup. While the kids were in Polish school I decided to go to the op shop nearby and actually bought a few things. Felt good. Was chatting to people. I could look in the mirror and the critic was quiet. Unheard of.

    Normally I wouldn't make eye contact with anyone. Asking a question at a counter is something I don't do. Today I did. The centre opposite the school is having a mental health seminar this week I have been looking at the listing in blueVoices for ages. I went and asked. Then sent an email to check if there are spaces left. Walking out I wondered why that was difficult usually. The critic inside told me you are not worthy of their time. It stopped me. But today I am? Nothing has changed. I'm still me. Just less nervous. She was quiet again.

    Then as the day went on hubby asked me if I would like to buy a jacket for a trip coming up. I saw one immediately. Red. Lovely. I had tried one identical at the op shop but it was a little small. And then I looked in the mirror. Where had she gone? Disgusting. Welcome back critic. I didn't bother looking again. I bought the damn jacket because earlier I had been happy with it. A little stuff you to the critic.

    I think our critics are always there Quirky. They just wait until we are vulnerable.

    That's what made me ask if we can help. What upset you? Is it something we have enough understanding to act as neutral third party who can give you another point of view.

    When I walked outside I put on my jacket and spun around slowly. Hubby said he likes it just not with my busted up old sneakers. That's enough confirmation for me.

    ❤nat

  8. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    24 June 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello everyone,

    Thanks Nat for your kind and thoughtful response.

    The inner critic maybe there all the time but does it pounce when we are vulnerable or we allow it to be heard when we feel fragile?

    I think you will look great in the red jacket. I always wanted a red pair of shoes but always talked myself out of them!

    My problem is I instantly react when people say something I prerceive as less than positive. However if I analyse the words and the intention I know sometimes it was said with good intentions. the person this time has a heraing impairment and I this affects her tone of voice so sometimes it comes across as critical when it is really meant as friendly.

    I need to learn to not fall apart when people make comments to me as I immediately see it is a critical and then that fat feeds the inner critic who says I told you so, you are hopeless.

    Does that make sense, see what I mean about rambling.

    When people are really critical of course that upsets me too and I apologise profusely as I always think things are my fault. the inner critic stays silent as it knows I am doing its work all by myself!!

    I think handling negative feedback maybe a topic in itself.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Moonstruck
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    24 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I just wanted to throw in here, for what its worth...that I honestly don't have people saying critical or hurtful things to me much...if ever...at all.

    99% of the time the people I know, the ones I interact with say positive good things to me....(of course I don't know what they say behind my back, as none of us really do after all, do we?) but I don't find others saying negative stuff to me. just sayin'

  10. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    24 June 2018 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hello all,

    Moon I recall you saying this before and that is great . Maybe some families are more prone to being criticl than others. My family is loving but can be critical. Of course people say I am too sensitives so I do examine what people say to see if it was meant with good intentions or not.

    I don't mean people are critical or I see them as being critical a lot maybe not that often but when it happens it does hurt or I let it hurt me.

    Moon, can you think why yo don't get any criticism form your friends and family? It would be interesting to find out.

    To be fair many people would see themselves as being negative to me but that I was over reacting.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Elizabeth CP
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    27 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I think some people have high self esteem so they put a positive spin on things. I remember driving my son around looking for work. He had a folder with photos of work he'd done & copies of his resume. He would walk into any factory he thought might have work. I asked him how he was coping with all the knock backs. He replied' Its OK they don't need me.' If it had been me I would take the knock backs personally as proof I was useless. He found a job which really suited him. I am like Quirky so am an expert at twisting anything someone says as proof that I'm useless. My family weren't overly critical but my experience with bullying as a child seem to prime me to see myself negatively.

    My negative self critic has been working overtime lately.

    1 person found this helpful
  12. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    27 June 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello all

    Elizabeth thanks for your comment .Your replies give me things to think about.

    people like your son can turn things around and I wonder if that comes naturally or you helped him to be that way.

    I am sorry your negative self critic is working overtime. I s there a reason for that.

    I have tried too see things in a positive light like your son did, it I find that hard and there is a voice at the back saying, no one likes your blogs etc and that is why you were rejected.

    I see all my typos even though I try to proof read and my inner critic says I am so lazy and ignorant not to notice them. I try to ignore those comments but I do feel embarrassed at all of my typos!!

    Quirky

  13. Elizabeth CP
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    27 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I sometimes wonder what I would be like if I hadn't been bullied. My oldest son is like me in many ways although he is more intelligent & talented in many areas. His values & interests are similar. In England as a young child I think I acted like he did as a young child. I felt loved by my family & had plenty of friends to play with. After coming to Australia I was bullied & felt inferior to everyone whereas my son never experienced that. I wonder if I would have had the confidence my son has if I wasn't bullied. My son was born with many talents & an innate determination to succeed. Obviously he was loved at home & I tried to give him opportunities to develop his talents (not just academic ones) This meant he is well rounded & seen as fun to be around while still being well behaved.

    I wish I could change to become confident & less negative but I don't know how.

    My sister is visiting from OS & trying to plan this with my brother & sister has brought up lots of negative thoughts. I feel inferior. I'm not good in large groups as I feel unwanted & my brother has a large family with many grandkids so just his immediate family is huge without adding my family & my sister & her husband & 2 kids who will be visiting. My negative thoughts seem to be out of proportion but that makes me feel worse.

  14. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    27 June 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    hello all,

    Elizabeth it is sad that you were bullied and it still affects you. I see you as a very compassionate strong person who likes to help others on the forum.

    Have you tried trying to question those negative thoughts. ?

    You say your not good in large groups but maybe you could see your family reunion as a just a few small groups and concentrate talking to one small group at a time.

    Why do you feel inferior? I know yo have a lot on your plate but you take time to help others. That to me is a competent person.

    Is there something you are look forward to with your sister and her family coming and also meeting with your brother and other sister?

    I too find large groups hard which people don't understand as I am seen as talkative, but that is just with a few people.

    Thanks again for your honesty. I don't think I have been much help as I am struggling with this myself.

    Quirky

  15. Elizabeth CP
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    27 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Thanks Quirky. It is helpful to feel someone understands or relates to what I'm going through.

    In large groups I see everyone else fitting in & wanting to spend time with each other. I either stay alone probably giving the impression I'm stuck up!!! when I I am worried about forcing myself on people who want to spend time with others. If I try to speak to people I'm too often feeling they are just too polite to leave me.

    My sister & her family will be staying with my brother as I don't have room. I thought he would want this as he insisted on this in the past My SIL was upset with me saying that I wanted my sister to stay with me. I was being selfish. This time they are complaining about me not having her stay. We had to downsize when my husband became blind. I now feel guilty. I want to have time on my own to talk with my sister but I don't know if that will happen as everyone else will want time with her.

  16. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    29 June 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone

    Elizabeth,

    my inner critic has a field day with family. it seems no matter what we do we feel guilty.

    I hope you get time with your sister alone and maybe lock up your inner critic while she is here so you can enjoy her company with out guilt.

    I am sure your family can understand why you can’t have your sister stay.

    I am wondering does anyone have a way to top their inner critic from making us feel guilty?

    Quirky

  17. Elizabeth CP
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    29 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I was thinking about why some of us really struggle with inner critic & others don't.

    I will share an analogy. Years ago I injured my knee. Initially the pain was so bad l was constantly reminded to be careful. Later the pain died down provided I didn't move it the wrong ways. I kept forgetting & would attempt to step down from kerbs the way I normally did. My brain was so used to doing it that way it wouldn't change. I would almost collapse onto the road & would scream in pain because my knee couldn't bend normally. Eventually my knee healed & I could walk normally.

    I think this is the same with our thoughts. When you have been told you are bad as a child by family or school bullies & you are given evidence to back this up (I had no friends so I must be a terrible person). This idea becomes part of you and is extremely hard to change.

    I wonder what others think. Does anyone have ideas to change these long term thought patterns

  18. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    29 June 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone,

    Thanks for your thoughts Elizabeth.

    I came from a loving family and was not bullied at home or at school.

    I just always felt different and did not fit in as I was big, clumsy, untody, messy and was hopeless at all sports.

    None told me I was hopeless but I knew because I was never picked for any teams and I kept dropping the ball or missing the ball and I was slowest runner by a mile.

    I can see that others who were made to feel worthless, they would then develop negative thought patterns.

    The only main thing negative in my life was having bipolar . Now as well as negative thoughts I also feel guilty that I have no reason to have them compared to the suffering I read on the forums by others.

    Changing long term patterns is hard. I know people who try and isolate a thought and challenge it.

    I am interested in what others think.

    Quirky

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  19. Elizabeth CP
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    29 June 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I am saddened by your statement The only main thing negative in my life was having bipolar . Now as well as negative thoughts I also feel guilty that I have no reason to have them. You would never tell my husband he has no excuse for not feeling he's coping well because no one has said anything negative to him. You would be quick to remind him that he is blind & that affects how he does things & how he feels. In your case you have bipolar & I imagine it was there long before the more obvious symptoms showed. That is bound to affect how you think & feel about yourself.

    There are some aspects of my husband's condition that really affect me but I deal with it as best as I can because I know it is not his fault it is the illness. In your case there are things you look back with regret but most of that is due to your illness not you as a person.

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  20. quirkywords
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    29 June 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello all

    Elizabeth, thanks for your kind words. I suppose I just read of many people who had abusive childhoods, trauma. and PSTD but I never had this just loving parents.

    Rationally I know feeling guilty is silly but it’s how I used to feel. I wondered why I got it when I many peoples illness was due to trauma.

    I was diagnosed at 16 and had symptoms for maybe 2 years earlier and then I was in denial for 16 years but that’s another story.

    There are so many stories on the forum of childhood abuse that I feel so lucky to have had a great childhood.

    Quirky

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  21. Lalaleelu
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    1 July 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi all,

    I just wanted to share something because I was talking to my psychologist about the inner critic a few weeks back. She said that we have 2 inner critics; the demanding self - who expects you to achieve certain things - and the punitive self - who puts you down. She said it is useful to consider what the demanding and punitive selves are saying to you and then make a list of things about yourself that could argue against them.

    For example, my punitive self is always telling me that I am lazy and not good enough. But in my list I have written that I always try my best and strive to be a good person. It can be really nice to have a list of all of these things to look at when your inner critic rears its head. It reminds you that you have some wonderful traits :)

    Cheerio,

    Alice

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  22. quirkywords
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    2 July 2018 in reply to Lalaleelu

    Hello everyone,

    Welcome Alice to this thread and thanks for a most helpful and informative post.

    I have heard of 2innet critics but usually a critic and a positive so I am interested in the idea of a demanding and punitive one.

    A few of us have had conversations written letters to our critic and is is helpful like you have said to challenge what the critic says by making a list.

    Sometimes we feel so down that we agree with our critic butnis good to have a list to use when we are not up to challenging.

    I am thinking about my demanding critic is that the one who says I am not good enough that I could have tried harder or is it demanding in other ways, demanding to have my attention and make me question things that go right.?

    Thanks Alice, really enjoyed your thoughts feel free to add posts any time.

    .I am thinking what do people feel their demanding critic does and how does it differ from the punitive one?

    Quirky

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  23. quirkywords
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    10 July 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello everyone,

    Are you critics quiet or loud and annoying?

    I was thinking about what Alice mentioned about having two inner critics, one that is demanding and one that is punitive.

    Someone else mentioned having a kind critic that was helpful.

    I wonder do you have several critics, or just one , or one who can be helpful as well as negative as well questioning.

    I am interested to hear about your critics and their personalities.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  24. startingnew
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    25 July 2018

    Hi Quirky

    Thats an interesting question, my mind is thinking straight at all so cant quite give an answer, but would be good to hear others views..

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  25. quirkywords
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    25 July 2018 in reply to startingnew

    hello everyone I hope your critics are sleeping.

    Starting New, Thanks for your post. I hope you get your mind back on track soon.


    I wonder do you have several critics, or just one , or one who can be helpful as well as negative as well questioning.
    I am interested to hear about your critics and their personalities
    .

    Quirky

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  26. GoodWitch
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    25 July 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    hello again quirky

    I used to be very self-critical, like all the time you're so fat, you're lazy, you laugh too loud, that person hates you etc. Now it's not so bad as I've learned (taught myself I guess) to be as accepting of myself as I would be of anyone else. Would I reject another person as a friend for saying one thing I didn't agree with? No, so I can't reject the same thing in myself. Do I think people are useless if they are overweight? Of course not. So that must mean I'm not useless just because I'm not thin.

    So I guess now I like to think my punitive critic gets short shrift when she shows up. I dropped my husband's electric razor this morning while moving it. I think it's broken and once upon a time I would have berated myself all day about how clumsy I was until I was reassured by him that it was just an accident. Now I tell myself it was an accident, that it doesn't make me a bad person to have dropped something. It's very liberating to be free of the constant self-flagellation I used to do.

    There are still things about myself I don't like of course, some I can change some I can't (hate my nose, always have lol). When I do something I wish I hadn't I apologise where necessary, or clean up as best I can and move on from it, rather than get stuck in that one mistake. So I guess my inner critic is much more chill than she used to be.

    As for a demanding critic...I guess this means the voice that makes you get up and go to work when you don't want to and stuff like that. I like to think of her as the 'motivator' rather than the critic. She says 'you've done this before, you can do it again!' & 'You're doing this for your family because you love them', which to me tend to be more positive thoughts.

    Not sure I've made sense I may be rambling, sorry lol. I forgive myself though, as I would forgive anyone else for rambling at 4pm when the work day has killed the brain cells.

    GW

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  27. quirkywords
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    25 July 2018 in reply to GoodWitch

    GW

    what a well thought out answer describing your critics.

    i often drop things and then start telling myself how clumsy I am. I do know that my medication makes me drop things so I often try to use non breakable objects.

    i feel our critics are on autopilot and they say things before we can even think if it is logical.

    i like the way you rationalise your feelings and think how you would treat a friend.

    Thanks for your answer it has helped me.

    Quirky

    2 people found this helpful
  28. Moonstruck
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    26 July 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Dear Quirky..can I share this with you if you're interested?

    recently my Gentle Critic decided to speak up for me and as she spoke her message so clearly I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it..I have it stuck on the inside of my wardrobe door to read when the other critics get too unkind.....this is what she said

    " I will look after you now. I've got you now. You are taken care of now.

    Let me do it. I'm here, I've got you...I'm holding you.

    You are in safe hands now. I love you and will never...ever...leave you"

    4 people found this helpful
  29. quirkywords
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    26 July 2018 in reply to Moonstruck

    Moon

    That is so moving.

    I will cut and paste it and put it on my fridge if that’s ok,

    I am so touched I am speechless.

    Quirky

    2 people found this helpful
  30. CMF
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    28 July 2018 in reply to GoodWitch

    Hi all,

    My IC is taking over a bit. GW, i like your post, Moon, yours is so lovely.

    I too have noticed that when my IC tells me that people are saying/thinking negative things about me that it is actually me thinking these things about myself. It is me judging myself.

    2 people found this helpful

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