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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. Ggrand
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    23 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirkey, MF and all,

    Quirky it sounds like your beginning to tame you inner critic, Keep doing what your doing...

    My inner critic I have names for mine...Jessica my harsh and most frequent visitor to me....Jessy....my soft caring inner critic, an extremely scarce visitor to me...

    Jessica is a constant companion with me throughout my life, Telling me all sorts of things I’m not capable of doing...and Jessie will pop her head in occasionally and say yes you can....

    The inner battle that goes on between these two can at times take days for a winner to emerge..Usually Jessica, strong, persistent, and stubborn wins the long battle and poor Jessie retreats hides back inside me too tired to be bothered to fight Jessica for a long while and takes a really long holiday.... Being the winner and with Jessie being to tired and deflated to fight another battle for a while...Jessica is getting more stronger and more louder and is usually just sitting right next to my ear ready to pounce and let me know in no uncertain terms that she is Jessica the know it all, the boss.... and she isn’t shy about letting me know about it..

    Grandy..

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  2. quirkywords
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    23 November 2018 in reply to Ggrand

    Grandy and everyone,

    I must admit was quite upset by the way Jessica treats you and I can relate to that.

    On the forum you always appear so confident when advising and caring others. Does Jessica know much we all value your competency here and many help have really learnt from your wisdom and been helped by your compassion and patience.

    I had a lightbulb moment when earlier in this year someone close to me really upset by a comment and it took me a while recover. Then I thought , I say worse things to myself every day through my critic, so how can I complain about some one else saying something not as mean.!!

    Does that make sense?

    I get upset when others say negative comments to me that are not as bad as ones I use on myself.

    It made me think and I try to remember how bad I feel when others are mean when I am mean to myself.

    Quirky

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  3. Quercus
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    24 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi everyone,

    Quirky you mentioned how we feel hurt when someone gives us negative comments and yet we accept the cruel comments we give to ourselves.

    I think external feedback hurts badly because my critic uses it as proof. Proof I am as useless/awful as she says I am.

    I'm trying to build my ability to validate myself and my worth rather than rely on others to show I matter. It is too much of a risk to let feedback in. The critic takes it and runs amok.

  4. quirkywords
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    24 November 2018 in reply to Quercus

    hello everyone

    Nat exactly external feedback that is negative just gives our critic more excuses to criticise us.

    i too try to validate myself and build myself up but I still find it hard when I get external, harsh unwanted comments.

    I think it depends on my moods to if I can cope with external feedback or not.

    I think I have said this before but I was brought up not to brag or boast so saying positive things about myself which we now call self esteem seems like I am full of myself. old habits are hard to break.

    nat thanks for your insights, I feel the more we talk about these issues the more we thinks about the. It helps us wori out why we do what we do.

    Quirky

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  5. Quercus
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    24 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    Ah now that is an interesting topic too... Self esteem vs arrogance.

    I agree totally about being raised not to boast. Accepting compliments was (and is at times) a work in progress.

    And yet I wonder is arrogance a bad thing?

    My husband is confident and at peace within himself. People often see him as arrogant and standoffish and at times rude. But his confidence in his self worth and right to respect himself has always been so attractive to me.

    It feels good to know he does not NEED my validation but wants my respect and love. And curiously enough I've noticed a pattern...

    When my critic is wearing me down and I try to appease others and keep the peace he gets endlessly annoyed. Yet when I am feeling well and demanding to be myself and at times arguing and disagreeing with him he is happier.

    It makes me wonder... Is it always a bad thing to be arrogant if it helps keep the critic at bay?

  6. White Rose
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    25 November 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello Natalie and everyone

    It's good to have an inner critic at times because this can help us evaluate what we are doing. It's when the IC gets out of line that we are in trouble. It's a hard thing to do, separate the necessary critic from the abusive one. Grandy I love your Jessica/Jessy. That's exactly what I mean.

    On the wall in my kitchen I have various poems/quotes/songs which I can read every time I come and go from the kitchen. I have put up comments written to me from people on BB. Not a huge amount. My criterion for putting anything on the wall is that it helped me at the time. These bits of paper remind me when I walk past that I have done some things well, or that life will be a series of ups and downs, or a reminder of how I have coped in the past and some reassurance that not being perfect is OK.

    Nat, it's not arrogance at work, it's the real you wanting to live a good life free from as much trouble as possible. I think when we accuse ourselves of being arrogant or any other similar words it's like running the same rat run through the maze. Even the word gives me shivers as I do not want to become arrogant.

    I believe that we are taught in our various childhoods to be modest etc as you and Quirky have identified. So to call yourself arrogant is another way of putting ourselves down. When you argue with your husband it is healthy and comes from your own self esteem, a self-recognition that you have opinions and have the right to voice them. Discussion and different viewpoints is what leads to respect and on a larger scale changes the world.

    State your case clearly and listen to the reply. Not a jot of arrogance there, simply a good and strong relationship. It will do more towards getting rid of your Jessica than trying to push the thoughts away which is an exhausting process regardless of the success or not of getting it out of our heads.

    Work on all the good parts of you and make them stronger however small or even unrecognised. More constructive and less hard work than arguing with your brain. The brain is a lazy organ in many ways, always wanting to take the easy path, not to change the status quo no matter that it and you will feel better.

    Good to see you writing Nat.

    Mary

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  7. quirkywords
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    25 November 2018 in reply to White Rose

    hello everyone,

    Nat,

    Thanks for your thoughts. it is funny I have ne er used the word arrogance as I associate that with something else I suppose it was more bragging and being boastful, sounding one’s own trumpet that I was brought up to avoid.

    I think it is interesting that when you are standing up for yourself that your husband likes that part of you.

    Mary,

    i always find your comments give me a lot to think about. I sometimes think about cutting and pasting when people have said nice things to me online but never get around to it, yet I do recall negative things people say to me all the time!

    I don’t think I could have notes where other people can see them but I have thought mod putting them in a book. It is funny how I have no problem in endlessly repeating negative comments some from decades ago but thought of putting up kind words up where I can se them seems so difficult.

    I still have a lot to work on.

    thanks everyone for your input into this discussion.

    I wonder if anyone can remember a time when their inner critic was not around or has it been there since as long as you can remember?

    Quirky b

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  8. Elizabeth CP
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    25 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    To me there is a huge difference between arrogance & confidence.

    Arrogance is pushing yourself forward or your opinions forward in a way that puts others down. An arrogant person puts out the image they are better than anyone else. Not a nice characteristic.

    Confidence & self-esteem come from believing we are worthwhile & we have a strong belief in our opinions. A confident person believes they have something valuable to contribute to society & they will do their best to follow this through so they are good to be around because we can trust them. They also accept that other people are different to them & may have different opinions but they are able to accept differences without any negative feelings.

    When we lack confidence (I'm guilty of this) we tend to try to fit into other peoples expectations but that means other people have difficulty knowing what we really want which has a negative impact on relationships.

    I too wish I could control my harsh critic which has been around since I was a child. I don't think it was present in England but since moving here & being bullied it has been present. Sometimes it is stronger than others.

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  9. quirkywords
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    25 November 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone,

    Thanks Elizabath. I agree about the difference between confidence and arrogance. I was thinking about how was brought up to believe that if one said I am good at this or that that would not be confidence but would mean they were bragging or boastful. That is how people saw self esteem and confidence back then. Confidence, self esteem and arrogance were seen as interchangeable.

    Times have changed but my brain is stuck back in those days.

    So what made your inner critic be silent while you were in England?

    Quirky

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  10. Elizabeth CP
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    25 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I lived in England until I was 5 1/2. My memories are of loving parents, having fun with my friends & feeling I was accepted by everyone around me. While living in the migrant hostel in Australia I was bullied by my peers. At home with my family I felt safe & loved but outside I knew no-one liked me so I must be unlikeable & felt scared. I remember hiding in the classroom at lunch time because I was so scared of the other students. I was often bashed on my way to & from school. I never told my parents probably because I didn't want them to realise what a terrible person I was!!!

    These feelings have plagued me the rest of my life. Sometimes worse than others.

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  11. quirkywords
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    25 November 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone,

    Elizabeth I was moved by your post.mIt is so sad what people endure and how it affects their lives forever. Maybe some of the students who bullied you would feel very bad if they knew how badly it affected you.

    You May say that it is too little too late but I do know that often bullies were bullied by someone at home or by older children at school .

    Meanwhile I have no excuse for having an inner critic I just have always thought I had no confidence e and never felt good enough.

    Thanks Elizabeth for sharing you personal painful memories.

    Quirky

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  12. Elizabeth CP
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    26 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords
    Quirky said 'I have no excuse for having an inner critic' I think we need to be careful of comparing ourselves. For some family background creates problems, others experience problems with others outside the family. In others genetic makeup makes them prone to certain mental health issues. The last thing any of us need is to beat ourselves up for not have a good reason for feeling the way we do.
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  13. quirkywords
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    26 November 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone

    Elizabeth in my head I know I should not beat myself up for not having a good reason for feeling the way I do, but in my heart I still feel and my inner critic makes me feel guilty for the good upbringing I had .

    I read lots of posts here with the terrible suffering people have experienced and I am so grateful for my life .

    It is something I am aware of and so is my critic.

    thanks again Elizabeth.

    Quirky

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  14. White Rose
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    26 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Everyone

    This has turned into a great discussion and one that is extremely important for all of us.

    Quirky, thanks for your comments. Should I put them on my wall? 😊

    The eternal battle between head and heart. I find when I really look at a situation that my heart is often right and the brain is taking the easy way out by switching to the default mode. This is where neuroplasticity comes in.

    Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form new connections and pathways and change how its circuits are wired; neurogenesis is the even more amazing ability of the brain to grow new neurons. I had a quick search and Mr Google came up with this. It's often something we can do ourselves. Instead of turning left at the pub turn right. It needs lots of repetition, repetition, repetition. Whoops, needle stuck.

    It's that constant conversation we have with ourselves about our failures in life. Rather than try to push the thoughts away, which is hard work, we must think of something different to say. Even the situation you are in can be a lesson. You may not want to brag about it but you can allow a feeling of satisfaction to thread through your body and remember that. So next time you slip into default mode, make yourself remember this feeling or any other accomplishment.

    The default path is a well-worn track while the path to reasonableness is overgrown and we cannot see the path. By constantly changing direction and walking on the new path, which will be well worn eventually, the old path becomes overgrown. That's my description of the brain. No doubt anyone with more knowledge will roll round the floor laughing. Whoops, that thought is unkind, what can I put in its place. Ah yes, Quirky's comment.

    Apart from my flippancy I think this is what we must and do it frequently, preferably every time Jessica pops up her head. Grandy, do you mind if I use your idea? It will take time and I know from my own experience that getting tired of the constant rebuttals can make us stop for a while. When you have had a rest you can start again. The beauty of this is being more accomplished each time we pick ourselves up and start from where we left off. Yeeeaay!

    Mary

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  15. quirkywords
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    26 November 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Hello everyone,

    Yes this discussion is interesting and a bit complicated for me but I just need more time to absorb people's comments.

    Thanks Mary, for your comments and a sensible suggestion to try. I do find change hard so I need to read your post several times and work out how I can apply it to me.

    I am going to try your suggestion and hope others do to and then let us know how you went.

    I am game is anyone else?

    Quirky

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  16. Elizabeth CP
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    28 November 2018 in reply to White Rose
    I studied neurology at university as part of my course. Far from rolling around laughing I think your explanation puts things in a way everyone can understand. For me it is a good reminder of what I can do to improve my life. Thanks for the reminder.
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  17. quirkywords
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    28 November 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone,

    Elizabeth , I agree simple explanations and reminders are very helpful.

    For me I need to keep practising when I am trying to change an old habits because I find it hard and I go one step forward and two steps back and my inner critic is there saying told you so, you can't change.

    I keep trying and plodding on the new path and ignoring the old path.

    Quirky

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  18. asdff
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    28 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords
    Quirky I have a horrible inner critic. I speak to myself in a terrible manner. I do not speak to others in that way. Nor would I ever. I do not know how the inner self speak turned so nasty. I know what you eman about arrogance/self worth. Being bi polar I do swing between thinking I am an okay person. To being the worst at everything, wanting to die etc. My pyschologist has told me I need to speak to myself like I would a dear/close friend.
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  19. quirkywords
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    28 November 2018 in reply to asdff

    Hello everyone

    asdff, welcome to this thread..

    If you scroll back and read white rose/Marys post about retraining the brain to quieten our inner critic. she has very good suggestions that I will try to follow.

    i know I should treat myself like a close friend and I can at time but sometimes I fall into old bad habits and that inner critic is on full volume and on automatic replay list I g all my faults do which there are many.

    If you read other posts you can see many have a loud inner critic and some have tried ways that work at times.

    Thanks agin for your contribution .

    Quirky

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  20. Ggrand
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    29 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords
    Hello Everyone,


    Quirky, I have a few books that I started when Tony wk wrote a few poems for me..I started hand writing them into my book of “caring for me”...I have also hand written some very caring and encouraging posts that I go to when I’m not doing really to good..and it does help having these handy and easy to get to...I don’t have a printer and hand writing them out is a good distraction..I change my style of writing to make my book look different for each page...

    Mary you have some really good information that you have shared with us..I want to thank you....You always give wonderful and caring advise to those you speak with...Your suggestion is something that I will certainly try,I need to get Jessica to be more accommodating to me and Jessie.....I’m starting an 8 week course with Mindspot on Monday.and already Jessica is telling me that I’m not capable of completing it, that I’ll fail, I’m wasting their time, I’m not worth it...I’m trying hard to listen to Jessie, but she is sleeping or on holiday somewhere atm...So who’s going to win this battle....I think to start with Jessica will be full on, then as I progress and hope to start healing, and gain more confidence in the course and me , Then I’m hoping and then expecting that Jessie will start popping herself into my thoughts and overpower Jessica and in the end Jessie and I will triumph over Jessica....

    A bit of a mixed up post...but taming that inner mean and nasty critic of mine is putting a mixture of thoughts into my mixed up brain....Let the battle begin...

    Grandy..

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  21. quirkywords
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    29 November 2018 in reply to Ggrand

    Hello everyone

    Grandy I am just going to talk to your inner critics J as I will call her as I don't want to upset any people with same name!

    J,

    Grandy is one of most caring competent hard working persons I know.

    She will complete the Mindspot course with her usual diligence and you can shout and be angry all you like but Grandy will not listen to you . She is strong and confident and she will blossom.

    Quirky

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  22. White Rose
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    29 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Everyone

    I thought I had posted a reply to everyone but maybe I neglected to press Post. Second try.

    I thank you all for your wonderful comments and especially those addressed to me. I have just been dealt a devastating blow and my IC is telling me it's what I deserve. I am finding comfort in your words, thank you.

    Not able to talk what has happened but please don't worry. My IC has me by the throat and I cannot break free because I know she is telling the truth. I will remind myself that I am not a complete loser when I read your words and hope they count for as much as the bad words I am hearing.

    Heartfelt thanks.

    Mary

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  23. quirkywords
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    29 November 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Mary,

    I am so sorry and to be blunt your Ic knows nothing of the wise kind thoughtful person you are. you give so much caring suggestions and ,isten carefull tomposters who are struggling.

    Will those kind words of. Your fridge help soften the voice of your noisy IC,

    Sending kind thoughts

    Quirky

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  24. White Rose
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    30 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Thank you for your kind words.Had another blow this morning. I do need to read the words on my kitchen wall. They would not fit on on my fridge. 😊

    I feel so alone even though there are people on BB who help me. I guess that's the downside of living alone. Sometimes we need the physical presence of someone.

    Thanks

    Mary

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  25. quirkywords
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    30 November 2018 in reply to White Rose

    hello all

    Thanks Mary, I am visualising looking at the whole wall of comments.

    Your post made me think that if you live alone does your inner critic shout louder and more aggressively.?

    Then again once In a time very long ago I lived with a person who preferred to go out to the bar alone at night and when home would be meaner than my inner critic so much my IC just retired for the duration of the relationship.

    I sometimes feel my IC is opportunistic and makes the most of any situation and if things are going well, IC points out it is a fluke and will not last forever as I am bound to mess things up sooner or later.

    Quirky

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  26. Jen27
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    30 November 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new here, hope it's ok to join in the thread.

    I found it really interesting to think of interviewing your IC, I'd never thought of it before.

    When I tried, I found I got really angry at my IC instead of the intention of being an impartial interviewer. Words to the effect

    "this is my mind and body and you are merely a guest here and if you don't start having some manners, showing some respect and being kinder - you're out!"

    Only early days, but it seemed to help. IC still has outbursts but I remind " manners please or that is unkind etc."

    Might sound weird but I felt like I took back some control.

    As I said early days, I'll see if it lasts.

    Thanks for listening/reading.

    Jen

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  27. Quercus
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    1 December 2018 in reply to Jen27

    Hi Jen 😊

    Welcome to Quirky's thread. The more the merrier. I like the idea of telling your IC they are a guest and to play nice or get out.

    Does that work when you are very low or just when feeling ok?

    Hi Mary ❤

    What on earth has happened to give your IC so much power? Whatever these dreadful blows are please know you deserve better. Your IC is wrong. You are a kind and wonderful person. I value you just as you are so tell the IC to shove a sock in it. If you need a place to vent my thread is yours ok. Xx

    And Quirky ... you said about your IC saying you'll mess up good things. YES! That's what mine does too. Everything can be fine and yet IC has to remind me that I will flake on people and go awol soon so don't get too close to people. Even hubby. Most days there is a thought planted by the IC that reminds me "he will leave/give up/have enough of you eventually". It is those quiet put downs I find hardest to shake.

    Nat

  28. White Rose
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    1 December 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello Nat

    Thanks for your kind words. My support person arrived at my door quite unexpectedly yesterday but oh so welcome. We talked about our IC a little and I told her about the support I had from the forum in the past couple of days. She is a pretty straight talker which I like (well mostly), and she gave me lots of reassurance. What is interesting about your post above is this comment. Everything can be fine and yet IC has to remind me that I will flake on people and go awol soon so don't get too close to people. This is exactly what I have been doing/thinking and it's devastating. Also the thought that people will get fed up with me and leave because I am such a bother.

    My visitor asked why I did not have a my own thread, after all this is what beyond blue is all about, helping others. People write in here with their difficulties and ask for help and support and yet I do not do this. I was so surprised and could not think of a reason. It really never occurred to me. I know I write about my own experiences in posts to others which I suppose is enough for me. Weird. It is those quiet put downs I find hardest to shake. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    Jen, I too love the idea of telling the IC she is a guest, not a member of the family. I join Nat in welcoming you to the forum and hope you will continue to post here and in other threads. Please feel free to start your own thread if you have something you want to talk about. We all benefit from different points of view.

    Mary


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  29. quirkywords
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    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    14669 posts
    1 December 2018 in reply to Jen27

    Thanks everyone for your input. Everyone is free to write, vent ask questions and would be great if it was an IC free zone .

    Jen I join with Nat and Mary to welcome you. it is great getting new perspectives here and everyone is most welcome.

    I have never thought of the guest idea but my IC is a the uninvited unwanted guest that stays too long and I wish I could be as assertive as you were with yours. I will work on it.

    Nat and Mary was interested that you both could relate to the IC being around she thinks are fine . I have mentioned this to others and they felt it was silly but I think self doubt never leaves you.

    I also thought it was left over from my extreme moods because in the past when I thought things were great but found out later they were chaotic , I realised I could not trust the good times.

    Now I see others experience the IC undermining the good times.

    Mary I am glad your support person came at the right time.

    I can see from your honesty that no matter how much we can support and help others our IC can still infiltrate our rational thoughts are make us feel like a nuisance .

    We must be vigilant in keeping our IC under control at all times.

    I really appreciate everyone’s thoughts and look forward to more. All contributions greatfull appreciated .

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  30. Moonstruck
    Moonstruck avatar
    3874 posts
    2 December 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky.....I've explained on my own thread about how I feel this "someone" is checking up on me, standing over my shoulder to see if I'm doing it right...getting it right...whether I am good enough, whether what I am doing is perfect enough...this "someone" is so real, I am afraid of displeasing him/her.....of course someone doesn't exist!

    It just dawned on me it is probably the IC you talk about..what do you reckon? I have a note in bold letters on my fridge now....it says.."Moonstruck...(I didn't write "Moonstruck"of course, I wrote my own name)......

    "Moonstruck...WHO'S LOOKING???"..........to remind myself I AM the ONLY person I have to please....I am hoping this note at least helps a little when i feel "someone"is checking every move I make!! do you think it will work?

    2 people found this helpful

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