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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. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8239 posts
    30 October 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    As you and some others on the forum may be aware, I have been in a very dark place for a while. I will admit I have not enjoyed it all that much to say the least.

    In the darkness I have been able to consider what is not working for me and what I need to change, what I can change and how I might go about that.

    Our inner critic, negative thoughts or what ever you want to call it can dominate if we allow it to.

    I don't want to go back to that dark place, so if I can glean even a glimmer of hope each day, I will strive for that. That is part of the "learn creative ways to overcome the negative and create a stronger self".

    There will be moments when I do not cope at all well, that is okay. Not every day is sunshine without clouds. The best we can do is to try, to consider our thoughts in a different perspective and see if we can find any good and a bit of hope each day.

    If you can't find any positives, I believe that is okay as well. Don't give up, try again later or the next day and see what you come up with.

    Cheers all from Mrs. Dools

    1 person found this helpful
  2. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    31 October 2019 in reply to Doolhof

    Mrs Dools,

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences.

    I found this sentence so moving and helpful.

    In the darkness I have been able to consider what is not working for me and what I need to change, what I can change and how I might go about that.

    I found that so helpful as often in the darkness we can feel there is little hope and chance to change,

    You wrote

    I don't want to go back to that dark place, so if I can glean even a glimmer of hope each day, I will strive for that.

    I wonder what people reading this have found is a glimmer of hope they can use against the inner critic and negative thoughts.

    sometimes it can be something so small .

    I know I find Dools 3 things to be thankful for thread to be helpful . Sometimes I have trouble finding three because I am thinking too big.

    Thanks again Mrs Dool for sharing your thoughts.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  3. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    12 November 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello everyone,

    Last year I was talking to a neighbour about my inner critic and he could not understand the concept of an inner critic.

    I tried to explain how there is this inner voice and he kept saying but that is your voice, so why do you say things like that. It is hard to explain and I know it sounds ridiculous.

    The trouble is that self doubt is very real for me and others at times. It is hard to tell someone who has never had an inner critic or suffered from self doubt.

    So how do you explain your inner critic to people who don't understand or do you keep it a secret?.

    Quirky

  4. asdff
    asdff avatar
    698 posts
    13 November 2019 in reply to quirkywords
    I need to spend some time reading this thread.
  5. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    13 November 2019 in reply to asdff

    Hi asdff,

    Welcome to this thread. If you have not read anything here before, you will come across a lot of information and thoughts people have expressed about their inner critic, their self or what ever you want to call that voice that is inside of us.

    Please know you and all people dropping by are welcome to make comment, contribute, participate or just read.

    Cheers to you from Dools

  6. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    13 November 2019 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and All,

    In regard to your question, maybe an explanation might work for some people and others may never be able to comprehend what it is like to have an inner voice, especially a negative one.

    I find that is a bit like mental health in general, some people just don't get it even if they have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.

    I also think in conversation we know who we can share with and who is just not into trying to understand what we are saying.

    It can be rewarding almost when a person with no concept of mental health issues is willing to listen and learn.

    In saying that, I think we can always learn how to manage, improve, deal with, accept and live with our mental health issues.

    Cheers from Dools

  7. Georgie7
    Georgie7 avatar
    10 posts
    13 November 2019 in reply to quirkywords
    I often refer to my inner critic as Nancy, as in Negative Nancy. My counsellor asked me how I speak to her and I said I often tell her to shut up and we agreed that doesn’t work. Now when I have the energy I say thank you for your concern Nancy, but I’ve got this and you aren’t needed here. When I don’t have the energy I give in and agree with her and I’m in a worse position. Nancy tells me I have no friends, that everyone thinks I’m a failure, that everyone is laughing at me etc etc etc. She’s who tells me no one cares about me and I’m worthless. I need to work on my mental strength in the same way I work on my physical strength. Like I don’t know... I have grit and determination, but not the energy to fight Nancy.
    4 people found this helpful
  8. Moonstruck
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    14 November 2019 in reply to Georgie7

    That's one of the best things I've read on this subject Georgie7......I saw something similar about talking to our "inner critic" or when "anxiety is talking"...instead of "fighting" Nancy...say instead. "thanks for dropping by but I've got this...no lions or tigers chasing me just now...so I'll manage without you".....I think the person I saw interviewed called her critic "Frank"...

    .

    1 person found this helpful
  9. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    14 November 2019 in reply to Georgie7

    Thanks Mrs Dools and Georgie,

    I found your posts to be very understanding and informative and helpful.

    I have never labelled my critic but I like the idea. Georgie I am so sorry that at times you have little energy to argue and confront negative Nancy with.

    Quercus wrote an early post on here about how she challenges her inner critic .

    I think if you can take one statement, like that you are failure, ask what does failure mean, you are writing posts to this forum, that is a big deal, you are honest and you have insights.

    I don't like the word failure and I try to remove it from my language. You are strong , and you can beat these thoughts.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  10. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    29 November 2019 in reply to Moonstruck

    Has anyone seen the video on you tube called the passengers on the bus.

    It is about the passengers we have and they can be be critics or peacemakers or something in between.

    .Instead of kicking these passengers of the bus , we are the driver of the bus so we decide where we go and we are in control.

    Thats the metaphor. So instead of getting rid of our critics they are here for the ride but we are driving and in control.

    I am wondering what others feel about this metaphor.

    Quirky

    2 people found this helpful
  11. Katyonthehamsterwheel
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    30 November 2019 in reply to quirkywords
    I think it makes sense in terms of what Moonstruck has said. So our inner critic can be a passenger, but we just gotta remember to tell them we're in charge and they're just along for the ride. I recently asked my support friend to help me name my inner critic and she came up with Eugene, which I quite like lol. So now when I recognise that my thoughts are taking me over instead of me being in charge (which I don't always recognise), I say "hey, Eugene, thanks, but I've got this". Then he can take a seat and let me drive :)
    2 people found this helpful
  12. asdff
    asdff avatar
    698 posts
    30 November 2019 in reply to Katyonthehamsterwheel
    Katy, I will have to have a think of name for mine.
    1 person found this helpful
  13. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    30 November 2019 in reply to Katyonthehamsterwheel

    Katy,

    I have never named mine but will think of a name . Maybe Zeus.

    Quirky

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  14. 4Cats
    4Cats avatar
    11 posts
    16 December 2019

    Very timely email directing me to this article. Spooky really.

    I've been on antidepressants for years, but the last few have been horrid. Death of mum, family disputes, friends who just don't understand/have their own issues, loss of job 2 weeks prior to mum's death. All compounded by alcohol use which (unfortunately) I still turn to as a short term solution to stop those negative loops which go round & round in the head.

    It's just so exhausting to keep fighting these things. And to top it all off my alcohol counsellor left the practice and when I tried to reschedule with the person he recommended I was told they too had left and my new referral was null & void. It was just too hard to continue to seek treatment. "Even the universe hates me" you tell yourself. The last straw, almost. If I wasn't so scared of there being a possibility of hell or reincarnation into a worse world than I'm in now I would consider the longest sleep perfect peace.

    And I totally agree with the article in regards to where these inner voices come from. I've been dealing with rejection since primary school and still feel that I don't fit in anywhere. I think that brought on the depression and not the other way around. I'm not normal. I feel so isolated to those closest to me because they just don't understand. I feel like I'm living in my own little bubble and will never connect with anyone on a close level.

    But before I even saw this article I actually did give myself some kindness today. Instead of forcing myself to get up and about like I had planned to, I relaxed in a bath and went back to bed. Just to give me some space and some relaxation time so I can recoup my energy and start again tomorrow. And that was pretty much a first, believe me.

    I'm into true crime, so I will keep in mind to take my thoughts to court as suggested - when it's so engrained in you it's hard to win though.

  15. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    16 December 2019 in reply to 4Cats

    4cats, thanks fir sharing your story,

    i am glad you found the article helpful.

    I agree that when we are physically ill we get lots of tea and sympathy yet when mentally ill we are often ignore or golf to get over it.

    I think we need to be kinder to ourselves as you have mentioned so we don’t out too much pressure on ourselves.

    Inner critic may come from a place of rejection or insecurity or low self esteem but we need to challenge that negative voice.

    Someone told me that you should treat yourself as you would your best friend so instead of bullying yourself you try to look after and care for yourself .

    I think the fact yiu are aware of what you think and how you behave this will help.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  16. Srfr
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    23 posts
    17 December 2019
    My inner critic is so tedious but sometimes I’m in “the loop” - meaning - feelings are involved & then I catch it. It doesn’t deserve a name, however, if I breathe & remind myself even one good thing that occurred today, then I’m on track. Hard though, because I have to catch it b4 I externalise it 😮
  17. quirkywords
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    18 December 2019 in reply to Srfr

    Srfr

    Thanks so much for your reply. I agree being aware when your inner critic is talking is the key to being able to control it.

    Thinking about something good that has happened or saying something we like about ourselves is one way of silencing the inner critic.

    quirky

  18. quirkywords
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    9 March 2020 in reply to Srfr

    Hello everyyone,

    I have no written here for 3 months and so much has happened in m life since then.

    Funnily enough my life is hard enough that my critic is quiet. I have self doubt and little confidence

    How is your inner critic, soft or loud?

    Quirky

  19. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    12 March 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    Thinking of you. The forum and the community is always here when you are ready or comfortable to post.

    A counsellor asked me to fill out a "Strengths Survey" a couple of days ago on the computer. It was interesting while I was doing it, noticing just how much I put myself down!

    My answers could have been so different if I had more self respect and self appreciation! That inner critic can be tough on those not so good days hey!

    Huge cheers to you Quirky! From Dools

  20. quirkywords
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    12 March 2020 in reply to Doolhof

    hello everyone

    Mrs dools, I read on many threads how people put themselves down yet if another person did this they would complain they were bullied.

    as I have said before I was brought up at a time that pointing out ones strengths was called being boastful.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  21. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
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    13 March 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    I understand your comment about boastfulness. I was brought up with the same principles.

    It can make it very hard to accept praise and even criticism when we have an unbalanced view of what is acceptable.

    Today I decided to go on a walk I have been meaning to do for years but put it off because I felt like I needed to take someone else with me. Maybe that was a good idea for safety in-case of an accident like a sprained ankle.

    Part of me also tells myself I don't deserve to do anything that I will find enjoyable! How crazy our inner critic can be at times.

    I went for my walk. I did leave my husband a note to tell him where I was in-case I didn't return before he came home from work.

    I congratulated myself for going on this walk.

    Cheers all from Doolhof

  22. quirkywords
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    13 March 2020 in reply to Doolhof

    I think the more we are aware of our inner critic the more we can fight it or be logical.

    walk sounds good.

    Quirky

    1 person found this helpful
  23. Sleepy21
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    28 May 2020

    hi quirky, i 100 percent agree. Awareness takes a lot of "oomph" out of our inner critic. If we are aware of the kinds of critical thoughts we have, they become ridiculous.

    I often have thoughts that people will dislike me if I stand up for myself.
    Now that I know that, I'm okay with it - i can let them dislike me and in the end it rarely happens.

  24. Gambit87
    Gambit87 avatar
    622 posts
    29 May 2020

    My inner critic can be quite loud and brutal! But im learning to restructure those thoughts and soften my inner critics voice to just background noise.

    As quirky perfectly put it -

    I think the more we are aware of our inner critic the more we can fight it or be logical.

  25. quirkywords
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    29 May 2020 in reply to Gambit87

    Hello everyone

    how is everyone going with covid being isolated and ones inner critic.

    sleepy, you are so right, when we face a fear it may not happen and if it does we are ok.

    Gambit You say so well that im learning to restructure those thoughts and soften my inner critics voice to just background noise.

    Has any one any other advice to quieten our inner critic.

  26. Catie 08
    Catie 08 avatar
    433 posts
    31 May 2020
    Hi,
    I've has a pretty rough 6 months and have been doing therapy which has helped a lot but it was pointed out to me during these sessions how critical I am of myself. Ive never really noticed it until it was pointed out to me. I have always been like that, nothing ever good enough, impossible standards etc. Ive been trying hard to be more aware of this and trying to catch myself when I do it but it can be hard when it's been so well practiced.
    The other day at work I had to complete a task but I didn't do it correctly, instead of going, I'm I can see my error and trying again, my first instinct was to send my boss a message telling her that I failed and that I should receive "dumbass of the week award" - yep, I actually used those words 🤦‍♀️, thankfully she knows me well. It wasn't until I sat down at the end of the day with a cuppa and had time to reflect that I realised how hard i was on myself and that I completely missed it at the time. Defiantly a work in progress.
    C.
  27. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    31 May 2020 in reply to Catie 08

    Hello all

    Catie thanks for sharing your experience honestly,

    I can relate and its not till later we think why were we so harsh on our selves. You now realise what you did, The next step when you hear critical words coming say ok realty check.

    I made a mistake but I am not worthless, I can learn from this mistake,

    The earlier we catch the negativity the better we feel.

    Thanks for being so honest and I hope next time you can catch those thoughts earlier.

  28. quirkywords
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    5 July 2020 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello all

    i wonder wha5 your inner critic sounds like, Is it shouting or calm, honest or sarcastic,

  29. Gambit87
    Gambit87 avatar
    622 posts
    6 July 2020 in reply to quirkywords
    My inner critic is a shouty negative nancy, not as shouty and negative as it once was though.
  30. Ggrand
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    6 July 2020 in reply to Gambit87

    Hi Quirky and all.....🤗..

    My inner critic can be very argumentative when it wants to be listened to...

    Strange isn’t it that when we do something nice for someone, or do a good job at doing something our gentle caring inner critic hides..The moment something goes wrong, our.... well I know my over controlling inner critic pushes itself to the front of my confused brain and starts arguing with me...

    Grandy..

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