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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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    quirkywords avatar
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    25 June 2019 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello all

    Elizabeth, thanks for your posts.

    Words are personal; but I find no good comes from calling ourselves failures or saying we are helpless or hopeless.

    Quirky

  2. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
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    25 June 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Everyone

    I would like to jump into this discussion. Some good ideas already.

    Using 'not' in a sentence such as 'I am not stupid' sounds as though we are being good to ourselves. Unfortunately the brain does not hear/recognise 'not' and registers that I am stupid. So if you are having and argument with someone who calls you stupid and you respond with 'I'm not stupid' your brain thinks yopu are agreeing with the other person.

    Quirky, I know you have mentioned saying what you can do and this is the way to go. I remember standing in my kitchen and saying 'I am not useless' and feeling terrible. Then I remembered to change my words. I said I was clever, or something of that sort. It felt like a bolt going through me. The positive words triggered a chemical reaction and wow.

    For me this means I can accept I am unable to do certain things but that I am competent in many other areas, as you were saying Quirky. Apart from the futility of two people having a conversation of "You're silly" "I'm not silly" which gets nowhere and encourages anger, the second person is slowly being convinced of their silliness. Such is the power of words.

    We parade our faults to ourselves and others and believe this encompases all that we are. Positive statements such as I can drive well, I can knit and sew, I am a good mother etc, start to reverse the brainwashing we do to ourselves as well as allowing others to define us. We can get so far down this road that many people give up and accept their inferiority.

    So think about what you want to say and how you phrase it. If someone has to wait a couple of seconds for you to answer, so what. You can answer in a positive manner and start your journey back to wholeness.

    Language can mess up even the best intentions.

    This is a poem written by Les Murray.

    The Meaning of Existence
    Everything except language
    knows the meaning of existence.
    Trees, planets,rivers, time
    knows nothing else. They express it
    moment by moment as the universe.

    Even this fool of a body
    lives it in part, and would
    have full dignity within it
    but for the ignorant freedom
    of my talking mind

    From Poems the Size of Photographs 2002

    So girls and boys, let's move forward with a faster pace now we know how to combat some of our stumbling blocks.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  3. quirkywords
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    25 June 2019 in reply to White Rose

    Mary

    i do love les Murrays poetry and miss him.

    I have a tendency to talk too fast when nervous or stressed soI try to take a deep breath and take pauses so I dont babble on and fall into the trap of trying to compete with my inner critic to see who can be the most negative.

    I can try and keep on trying.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  4. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    28 June 2019 in reply to White Rose

    Hello all those people trying to be kind to themselves.

    When you hear your inner critic say

    You cant do that?

    You can say
    Why not .Are You telling me I can’t? I won’t? I am ignoring you.

    When the inner critic says

    You are so , strange, weird etc

    You say, so what? I like people who are different.

    Share any examples that work for you.

    Quirky

    3 people found this helpful
  5. Ggrand
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    28 June 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky and all🤗..

    When my inner critic says I can’t do that...if it’s something I’m trying to do at home..my inner critic turns my thoughts from parents and hubby who constantly said that to me..I will attempt to do it with a positive mind..but like 99% of the time I can’t do it properly...I then start downing myself...and won’t attempt it again....

    To answer your other question....You are so strange, weird etc....I am who I am and I know I’m strange, weird etc. and that really doesn’t bother at all...it’s me..I don’t mind being those things...I’m unique..so are you..the others here..and if I sound or look weird that’s me and I can’t change me or my personality...maybe..well hopefully one day I can change my mental health....will that change my personality..I’m not sure...but I don’t think so....am I my my right personality with mh...or will that change?....hmmm something to ponder on later...

    Grandy...xx..🤗🤗.

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  6. quirkywords
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    28 June 2019 in reply to Ggrand

    Hello all,

    I would say don't listen to your inner critic and your parents and hubby but listen to all the people on the forum who recognise what a wonderful human you are . You can do it. You have done it before.

    I think we need to listen to those who are important in our lives and not those who are critical of us.

    Quirky

    4 people found this helpful
  7. quirkywords
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    11 July 2019 in reply to Ggrand

    Hello everyone,

    may have used this quotation before but it is one that I can agree and disagree with at same time.

    Eleanor Roosevelt said: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

    his idea we allow people to make us feel inferior means we have a will but sometimes one might have been brought up to think that one is never and will never be never be good enough.

    If you are strong enough to believe and know that no one can ever make you feel inferior , I feel you would have those skills and would not need the quotation.

    Have I confused everyone?

    Basically let me know what you think of Eleanore's quotation.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Ggrand
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    13 July 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky and all...

    I also can agree with the quote..then again I disagree...

    I think that if you have a lot of confidence and a good self esteem of yourself then that quote can be true....if your struggling with your mh..and your lacking confidence in yourself and people with mh..usually have a low self esteem of themselves...that the smallest negative comment spoken to them can really hurt deeply...and that brings on feeling of being inferior to that person...then I don’t really agree with the quote.....Just my thoughts...

    Grandy..

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  9. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    15 July 2019 in reply to Ggrand

    Hi Quirky and All,

    This is an interesting quote Quirky. I tend to agree with what Grandy wrote. Sometimes we can feel so powerless and not in control in so many situations. Throw in Mental Health issues and just a glance can send you into a spiral even if the person sending it didn't mean you any offense.

    Maybe we need to concentrate on finding ways to build up our self esteem, self confidence and inner strength so when an issue comes along, we may still feel hurt, but can find ways to deal with it.

    Not always easy to do!

    Cheers all from Dools

  10. quirkywords
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    15 July 2019 in reply to Doolhof

    Hello all,

    Thanks Grandy and Mrs Dools. I agree with your points that the quotation can make sense if you are very confident but if one is struggling it is very difficult to ignore the insults of others.

    Mrs Dools, wrote:

    ”Maybe we need to concentrate on finding ways to build up our self esteem, self confidence and inner strength so when an issue comes along, we may still feel hurt, but can find ways to deal with it.”

    That is so true , and it is so hard as no matter how prepared I am , I am often ambushed by the intensity of my emotions when someone especially a loved ones puts me down.

    Mary wrote “ Please don't give up folks. Keep plugging away because I am convinced we can do this when we support each other.“

    They are strong words to remember and I too feel the key in supporting each other.

    Quirky

  11. Elizabeth CP
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    15 July 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Quirky asked what we think of the quote No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

    I think rather than asking whether or not it is true we need to ask what the purpose of the quote As others have pointed out there is truth in it but our background including MI & previous experience can make us very vulnerable to what others say or do but we are the ones who listen or believe what others say.

    The purpose of quotes like this is to empower us to make us stop & think & remember we can't change what others think say & do but we can & should control how we react to it.

    Perhaps the message from this quote for us is that we have the right to feel good about ourselves & we need to do whatever we can to treat negative comments more appropriately. Threads like this are an example by providing support & encouragement to tame that negative critic that feeds on the negative comments from others.

    Let us all keep encouraging each other to tame those rotten ICs & learn to stop giving consent to others to make us feel inferior.

  12. quirkywords
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    15 July 2019 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    hello all,

    Elizabeth wrote,

    “ Perhaps the message from this quote for us is that we have the right to feel good about ourselves & we need to do whatever we can to treat negative comments more appropriately. Threads like this are an example by providing support & encouragement to tame that negative critic that feeds on the negative comments from others.

    Thanks Elizabeth for your comments, and reminding us to treat negative comments appropriately. Encouragement and support for each other is very important.

    Quirky

  13. quirkywords
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    20 August 2019 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello all,

    I have just been thinking how weceither treat ourselves or let the voice of our inner critic treat us fra worse than we would allow anyone else to treat us.

    Why is that?

    Do we lack confidence, so we get into a rut and believe the lies of our inner critic that we are worthless. If a friend was being bullied we would jump in without hesitation and stick up for our friend.

    Yet we allow ourselves to be bullied by our negative thoughts 2

    How can we stop this vicious circle?

    Quirky

    2 people found this helpful
  14. Quercus
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    21 August 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    It feels like forever since I've caught up with you (am so sick of colds and being unwell physically as well). Your post came at a curious time (my mind is in a strange, 'im too exhausted to give a crap what my critic has to say' moment) so I figured maybe it would be helpful to share this...

    I'm sure you're no stranger to reading about unhelpful thinking styles either. Being able to recognise that the thoughts from my critic are unhelpful and biased doesn't help me stop being hurt/influenced by the thoughts usually though.

    But today is different. I'm on prioritise mode. Am drained and even getting out of bed has been too much. Feels like a flu arrgh. The point is it has made me realise I CAN choose not to care if I need to.

    Which makes me wonder... Physical illnesses are no less exhausting than mental ones. So why don't I go into priority mode when I'm unwell mentally?

    It made me laugh just now imagining cutting off my critic mid rant with "I'm too busy to deal with your crap right now".

    Curiously, in a self help class I went to ages ago the teacher told us changing unhelpful thought patterns takes time and constant effort. She explained it like a well worn bush track. Once the track is there it becomes the easiest path for our minds to take. Establishing a new path is hard work but eventually it will become well worn and the easiest path in our mind.

    Would love to hear what you think.

    Right. I'm drained again. Back to bed.

    ❤ Nat

    1 person found this helpful
  15. quirkywords
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    21 August 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hello everyone,

    Nat,

    Wow, thanks so much for your very honest and thought full reply. As I was reading your words carefully, I was nodding and saying to myself , yes that’s what have I thought before.

    I too have a cold and feel exhausted and have a bit of vertigo .

    in answer to your question I feel the reason we don’t prioritise ourselves when mentally ill is obvious to me. It is because in our society people give us time and sympathy and care when physically ill but often others as they do not we our mental illness they expect us to keep going regardless.

    So I find it hard to see that others do not take my physical tiredness seriously because everyone around me seems to be sicker and I am not seen as sick enough.

    What I know if I get run down it affects my mental health so I try ignore others who are ignorant about my needs.

    Quirky

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  16. quirkywords
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    31 August 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hello everyone,

    I was reading an article about how people who don’t like themselves and have an inner critic had critical parents and a difficult childhood.

    I was wondering what others think about this and whether they can relate to them

    Quirky

  17. quirkywords
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    5 September 2019 in reply to Quercus

    Hello everyone,

    I wonder how people cope with a loud persistent critic.

    How do you try to whiten the voice.

    I have tried writing down the negative voice of my critic and the context so iI can see a pattern.

    .If I am not feeling well I listen to my critic more.

    Do you find exercising helps the critic go away. I find If I walk very fast and get puffed th e ridiculous is too tired to talk!!

    Does that make sense?

    Quirky w

  18. Elizabeth CP
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    6 September 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    I think people who have critical parents & a difficult childhood are more likely to have a negative critic BUT this is not always the case. I had very loving supportive parents but I think being bullied as a child left me with poor self esteem & a nasty self critic. Some people develop MH issues even though they had no trauma & had good upbringing.Blame our genes.

    It is useful to recognize what helps us to maximize our mental health in the same way we do what we can to maximize our physical health but we shouldn't blame ourselves for our MH issues. .

  19. quirkywords
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    7 September 2019 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Greetings to all.

    Elizabeth,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

    I too had loving parents but as was common at the time , saying positive things about yourself was seen as being boastful and even arrogant. Sayiing things that were negative was seen as being realistic and helpful in developing one’s character.

    I agree that having insights into our MH and working out what helps us to cope is important but blaming ourselves is very destructive and futile.

    Quirky

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  20. quirkywords
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    15 September 2019 in reply to White Rose

    Hello everyone and ignoring inner critics,

    Mary wrote a while back

    Language can mess up even the best intentions.

    I have been thinking about tha nadvyhe more I think about itbtne truer it feels.

    The question how can I put that into Practice?

    i am often in trouble for my words being misinterpreted no matter how much Inhave edotted the. In speech and written word.

    So what do we do to make sure our language matches our best intentions?

    Any ideas appreciated?

    I thought keep words positive but even they can be understood in a another way.

    Quirkyb

  21. sparrowhawk
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    19 September 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    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.
  22. quirkywords
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    19 September 2019 in reply to sparrowhawk

    Hello all,

    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.

    Quirky

  23. sparrowhawk
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    20 September 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    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.

    Thank you!

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  24. quirkywords
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    20 September 2019 in reply to sparrowhawk

    Hello all

    Sparrowhawk,

    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.

    Quirky

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  25. sparrowhawk
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    20 September 2019 in reply to quirkywords
    Thanks Quirky. All I can do is try!
  26. quirkywords
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    20 September 2019 in reply to sparrowhawk

    Sparrow trying is a very good talent to have as when we give up we cant move forward.

    Quirky

  27. quirkywords
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    5 October 2019 in reply to sparrowhawk

    Hello everyone.

    this thread is mentioned at end of the article on imposter syndrome.

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/personal-best/pillar/in-focus/am-i-normal-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.

    Quirky

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  28. quirkywords
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    28 October 2019 in reply to sparrowhawk

    Hello everyone,

    just checking how everyone’s inner critic is behaving.

    My inner critic has been calm for a while but every so often I hear it guess my ability to express myself .

    All I can do is struggle to challenge these thoughts.

    Quirky

  29. Doolhof
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    30 October 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    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

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  30. quirkywords
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    30 October 2019 in reply to Doolhof

    Hello all,

    Mrs 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?

    Quirky

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