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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. Elizabeth CP
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    7 January 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Dools I instituted HC (Harsh Critic) to remind me that it is the harsh inner critic that is like a bully trying to put me down. As I said before It has no useful purpose in contrast to KC (kind Critic) which is the voice in your head we need to encourage which tells the truth at all times but in a way that helps us identify what we can improve & encourages us to do so as well as reminding us of all the good things we do. I need to encourage & listen to KC until it totally dominates that bullying HC & it gives up slinking into oblivion.

    NAT & Quirky, Thank you both for your lovely kind words. While we can't only rely on other's kind words they certainly help feed the KC to strengthen it. I really appreciate both of you.

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  2. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    7 January 2018 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hello everyone,

    Mrs Dool I am sorry there was a confusion over HC-harsh critic. I usually avoid abbreviations but I sometimes get lazy.

    Moon, I am so pleased your gentle critic has taken control- about time.

    Mandy, I am sorry you are still struggling , I have not yet learnt to silence my Harsh critic but I am trying as Elizabeth suggest to let my Kind critic have a louder voice. It is not always easy . It is slow in my shop as it is hot when it should be busy for this time of year. this gets me down and I start hearing that I am no good at selling at attracting customer s and my harsh critic says it l knew I would not succeed. I then thought the other shop are the same so I thought you never what will happen tomorrow or later in the day. My kind critic reminded of good days I had last week. My harsh critic is still telling me how hopeless I am but I am listening to my kind critic telling me think about tomorrow.

    Quirky

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  3. quirkywords
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    7 January 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    hello to all.

    Elizabeth

    The great thing about this forum we get to learn from other people who have different ideas. I know I sometimes get stuck and I get an idea like Kind Critic and decide to try it. So thanks.

    The thing about friends they will tell your Harsh Critic off but hen listen to their own Harsh critic!

    Why wont we believe all the kind things others say to us and ignore Harsh critic.

    Quirky

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  4. Just Sara
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    7 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hey Quirky;

    Ah yes, the ole (IC) inner critic - be it good or bad, it's just that...judgemental. (Btw..IC also stands for Inner Child and In Charge!) Hmm...a child in charge; food for thought.

    For me it's hearing my mothers voice; opinions about all and sundry, whether it has anything to do with her or not. I identified her voice during therapy years ago and have made considerable effort to rid myself of her unsolicited views in my head.

    I try hard to identify when the inner critic has power, though I do have to assess myself from time to time, I'm learning to tell the difference.

    Decision making and problem solving are difficult for me since my breakdown. That's when doubt and lack of confidence creep in.

    Quirky.. your description of the day's lack of shoppers is so indicative of self blame. The IC thrives on it. But you caught yourself and this is progress. How great!

    A great topic Q..

    Sez

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  5. quirkywords
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    7 January 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    I do try to use the long word instead of Initials.

    Sez, I am thinking that the inner child in control is when I throw tantrums(imagine that) and act very needy etc. That is the negative side but also my inner child encourages me to be creative, to do silly things, to give lots of hugs, to enjoy the simple things of life and share the wonderment of life in a way only a child can.

    You have given me a great idea What if my inner child fights and yells louder than my harsh critic?

    MY inner child would blow raspberries at my harsh critic. It would blow bubbles at harsh critic then out fingers in its ears and totally ignore inner critic.

    I like that Sez.

    What do others think.

    Put your inner child in charge of your harsh critic? What do you think will happen? Try it and see what happens?

    Quirky

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  6. Quercus
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    7 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    Well my inner child is in charge today. Thrown a wobbly and said no bloody way am I watching everyone else eat birthday cake for the rest of my life and being sugar free and miserable.

    Critic went beserk.

    The side effects will come back.

    You'll have to admit to everyone after a year sugar free you gave in.

    Failure! Useless.

    Hubby will be angry at having to deal with you moods when you go through sugar withdrawal all over again.

    You'll gain even more weight. Look awful enough as it is. Hubby will be revolted and leave.

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

    Yep. Inner child stuck her fingers in her ears and showed critic the finger. And ate more chocolate.

    Far. Out. Chocolate is AMAZING! I have such a headache. But chocolate is sooooo yummy. So is birthday cake.

    Inner child and I are chilling headache and all. Embracing LAZY! Oh dear it is almost 4pm and I'm still in my pjs. Ah well.

    Watched "trolls" with my kids and loved the music and the feel good kids movie storyline.

    Feel pretty mellow. This is nuts. I feel like I've drunk a few glasses of tequila. I don't drink anymore. Inner child says who cares the lids are happy. It's miss 3's birthday and the doc thinks they have chickenpox so we're stuck at home anyway. And the kids are having fun too. Isn't that better than feeling crap and angry?

    Critic is panicking. Hubby will be home soon. Go get dressed! Fake it. Lie.

    Inner child and I don't really give a crap. So what. I'm human. So once a year you eat chocolate and get all good funny. Least it's legal.

    Maybe hubby will say far out woman if this is you with a sugar fix EAT THE BLOODY STUFF consequences be damned.

    As for pjs so what I painted the grout in the shower finally. So can't have a shower till later anyway. Too bad. The kids are happy. The house is less trashed than usual. So what's the big deal?

    I'll try again tomorrow. That's ok. Oh shut up critic! You are such a killjoy. Yes I am weird. That's generally what happens when you introduce a new drug to your system. Yes. Sugar is a drug. Crack for Nat. Hehe. Oh put a sock in it critic. Go bother someone else. You're stuck here? Huh sucks to be you. Payback is a b....

    Ooookay. I'm going to crash at some point but for now I'll get offline and go be sugary elsewhere.

    By the way Quirky enjoy being silly and childlike. My inner critic HATES it mwhahahahaha (yes... That is an evil laugh).

    Bye for now.

    ❤ Nat

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  7. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
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    7 January 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello everyone,

    Nat, my inner child wants to join your inner child and have chocolate and cake now!!

    I think Tony said 90% of time do the right thing unless you are allergic to foods etc.

    You did make me nod and mile and cheer!

    Quirky

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  8. Elizabeth CP
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    7 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    MY inner child would blow raspberries at my harsh critic. It would blow bubbles at harsh critic then out fingers in its ears and totally ignore inner critic.

    Go for it if it works for you. I won't because it is too much like kids picking on me & making fun of me so it would backfire for me. Just illustrates we are all different & need to use what helps us not others.

    Thought I would share a memory of when kind critic won.

    After a very difficult final year at uni including injuries of self & husband, MI son & less than ideal final placement it was time to look for work. HC(Harsh Critic) had a ball. You'll never get a job. Who'll want you? He reminded me of every negative thing possible. There was no point trying.

    Fortunately KC Kind Critic decided to fight back. She reminded me that I'd prayed about the course & I felt good about it so didn't make sense to not get work now. While she agreed with HC that I hadn't done as well as I'd liked in my final placement she said You did well in every other placement so focus on jobs like those that suit you rather than work like final placement. She also agreed with HC that I wasn't confident & had little experience job seeking but rather than giving up like HC wanted her solution was Seek help Fortunately I listened & asked people to proofread my applications. I applied for jobs that suited my talents & interests & I arranged for an interview with the career people at uni who helped me with a mock interview to hone my skills & build confidence. KC won I landed my dream job. Unfortunately it was temporary but it gave me needed experience which led to other work.
    I'm sharing this to encourage everyone to use their KC (kind critic) to help them defeat the rotten HC (harsh critic) so that you can succeed in whatever you are trying no matter how small or large. Hopefully writing this will help me get my KC back in control as well.!!!

  9. quirkywords
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    7 January 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Greetings all,

    Thanks Elizabeth for sharing your story about kind critic winning over harsh critic.

    I think when we are low we tend to focus on th negative and forget the positives and seeing things in a different way.

    Quirky

  10. quirkywords
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    9 January 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone but I am ignoring all Inner Critics and Harsh Critics.

    I wonder if anyone has any ideas on how to encourage the Kind Critic to help with worrying. I worry about everything and I try to make lists and to see what I need to do.

    My inner critic just says I won't cope with what I am worrying about and that I will mess things up as I don't plan well. Meanwhile my kind critic just remains silent. Any suggestions?

    Quirky

  11. Elizabeth CP
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    9 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords
    I just read an article in a magazine & thought I would share a suggestion. When deciding if our self talk is OK use the 'friend-o-meter'. Ask if you would say this to a good friend. If the answer is no you have no right to say it to yourself!!!
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  12. quirkywords
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    11 January 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello all.

    Thanks Elizabeth,

    Yes thanks for mentioning that.

    There was an ad for Dove I think with women talking and really being mean to each other- and the tag was you wouldn't talk to your friend like that so don't talk to yourself.

    Thanks so much for reminding us because it is easy to forget and it gives us perspective.

    I often say to people if it was your friend going through a similar experience would you say mean and hurtful words or would you be supportive?

    Elizabeth I appreciate your support and helpful comments.

    Quirky

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  13. Moonstruck
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    11 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky...there is one particular track on a great CD (from ABC shop) titled Reassurance which I find enormously soothing and helpful.

    the CD is called Worry Free and recited by Carmen Warrington with music by David Jones...easily obtained here....from the ABC. love, me x

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  14. Sad_Mushroom
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    11 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    HI all,

    The positive affirmations that I listen to most nights when I go to bed is good. It's on youtube and has a strong but calm soothing voice repeating all variations of how good I am and how everyone likes me.

    At first, I thought it was silly but then my sons began saying "you've been listening to that thing again, haven't you?" so even though I hadn't noticed any real change my sons were able to see it.

    SM

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  15. quirkywords
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    11 January 2018 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hi Moon and Sad Mushroom

    Thanks for your recommendations. I have not had much luck before with cds but will try again and let you know. I am sure many others will appreciate the recommendations.

    Quirky

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  16. Quercus
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    11 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and everyone,

    I'm taking the day off from the forums. But I wanted to come here first and thank you for the discussion on this thread. It has been very important and helpful to me recently.

    Today I am being selfish and am not going to apologise for it even to my inner critic. Therapy yesterday was hard. Writing today was harder.

    But my critic is funnily enough scared into submission. It is odd.

    I am angry. And refusing to listen to the inner critic. I'm sure she'll be back but today I put my foot down (inside me head?) and said no. Told her to just shut up. Told her if I listen to her I eventually will end up in hospital. That she can bit... and whinge all she wants but at the end of the day she is ME. And I have had enough today.

    I may not be able to get my kids to shut up. Or to clean up a single toy. Or to stop going from room to room just trashing things for thensole purpose of piss... me off. But I don't have to listen to her crap. So I'm not. That simple. I am angry. Fuming angry. Hurt. Had an absolute gutful. And completely safe.

    Because this is my mind. My life. And I have had enough. I'm going back to bed. And my kids can just raid the fridge and eat chocolate for all I care today. And trash the house and draw everywhere. I'll try again tomorrow. But today... I'm done.

    Who knew when I thrown wobbly the critic is too scared to say a word. Sweet.

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  17. Ggrand
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    11 January 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hi everyone,

    Quirky, just popping in to read Elizabeth's post you mentioned to me, also the other posts as well.

    Trying to learn hopefully to get my increasingly growing hard critic to surrender to my kind critic, even a little. A hard task to control HC.

    Karen.

  18. quirkywords
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    11 January 2018 in reply to Ggrand

    Hello everyone

    Quercus 1 - Inner critic 0 ( still scared to speak!!)

    3 cheers for Quercus.

    Karen, thanks for popping in. I started this thread as I have problems so I am learning and struggling at times but people have given me good ideas. If you read Quercus's post above yours, she has had a win by putting her foot down or in her words throwing a wobbly!!

    Karen, let me know what you think.

    Quirky.

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  19. Sad_Mushroom
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    11 January 2018 in reply to Quercus

    oh Quercus,

    I feel for you and want to provide some information that might help.

    When my 5 kids were younger my house always seemed a mess and I found I was always fighting to get them to pack up. Once I started yelling I found I could not stop, so I ended up being a screaming mess and cranky. It only took a few steps to help me sort this.

    I began hiding small treats under certain toys. The child that picked that toy up, to put back in the toy box etc would find that treat. Kids are so much keener to pick up mess if they may find a treat. Kids do not even care what the treat is, for kids it is about finding a treat,,,,like a treasure hunt. Sometimes treat would be a raisin and all the kids would laugh, other times it would be a small toy or a skittle. It's not about the treat it is about finding a treat.

    It can take 5 minutes to hide treats under various toys but it can save parents hours of battling and arguing with kids to pick up their toys. Once I called "pack up time" my kids would race in to pack up the toys, all trying to outdo each other and find the treats.

    My kids had that coloured hand soap in the bath (like crayons). The could draw all amounts of pictures in the bath and on the tiles, then use the cloth (a loofer) to erase them before they got out. All I had to do was rinse and my bath was clean.

    For older kids....I did not have chores for each kid. I put up a list of jobs I wanted help with and a price I would pay for that job. Having 5 kids I left it up to the kids which job they wanted to do and how much money they wanted that week.

    EG: My list would list everyday jobs I needed doing and how much I was willing to pay for those jobs. So If Chris wanted money, Chris would sweep the kitchen floor for 50cents each day and mark it off the list. At the end of the week, we went through the list and paid each child for the jobs they have done.

    My list also listed things such as making your own bed was 50cents. Putting your clothes in the washing basket 20cents. Mopping the kitchen floor was $1.

    That way I was not arguing with my kids about doing their jobs. The kid that wanted or needed money would do as many jobs as they could to get that money.

    Then I told them that whatever they banked I would equal. So if Chris earnt $5 for the week and banked $2 I would also put $2 in his bank account. Nothing like teaching them to bank and save while they are young.

    SM

    I could go on but I guess that should be on my own thread.

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  20. quirkywords
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    11 January 2018 in reply to Sad_Mushroom

    SM

    What wonderful advice . Pity my children are grown up. Thanks for sharing. I wonder what the inner critic would say.

    Quirky.

  21. Ggrand
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    12 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky, Sad Mushroom, Quercus.

    What a great idea Sad Mushroom, simple but very effective.

    I really enjoyed learning about Quercus 's day today, way to go girl. Loving your fire.

    Karen

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  22. quirkywords
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    12 January 2018 in reply to Ggrand

    Hello everyone

    Karen, yes I agree Quercus continues to amaze me, I wish I had her strength. Sad mushroom is full of good advice.

    My Inner critic is doubting every decision I make and trying to convince me I can't cope with my full plate at the moment so I am procrastinating and that is not helpful.

    not sure I can throw a wobbly and summon my inner child and I am too tired to have an argument. Any ideas most welcome?

    Quirky

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  23. Doolhof
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    12 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for the information regarding the different parts of our inner critic. Too much information for my brain! Ha. Ha. I don't do multiple "anythings" well these days with my cooked brain!

    My psychologist tried talking about "wise" mind, "depressed" mind and other bits of my mind. My brain shut down!

    How do you know if it is your inner critic and not just your depression talking? Is there a difference? What ever it is, it is starting to attack me and I don't like it very much!

    I'm seeing my Dr today to update my mental health care plan, maybe that has something to do with how I am feeling!

    Hey Quirky, have you come up with any ideas yet? I might sit down with pen and paper later and try to write down what I think is bugging me and how I can change how I am feeling.

    Cheers all from Dools

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  24. quirkywords
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    12 January 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Hello everyone

    Mrs Dool once again a fascinating reply. I too get a headache for many different terms.

    I know people who are not depressed who have the inner critic and vice versa so am not sure.

    I have tried writing things down but then the list becomes unmanageable and gets me down when I see the length!!

    I will try like you to write down maybe 3 things that worry me and see how to change my feelings. Then we can discuss how went if you like. I need to do something.

    Thanks again

    Quirky

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  25. Doolhof
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    12 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hey Quirky,

    Yes, limiting your list to just 3 or 5 things might be best. Then write down the opposite of the rotten and negative stuff and see if there are ways you could change some of it to the better.

    I get your point now about inner critics and depression, there can be a difference. Maybe my IC just gets carried away when the depression is worse.

    I'm going to work on my writing when I get back from the Drs.

    Quirky, what is the weather like in your neck of the woods? Would a walk be in order to help clear the mind? Read a book for a while, try to write a funny poem, draw a picture, do a Sudoku puzzle (my brain can't do one of those puzzles and fill me with negative thoughts at the same time) clean out a cupboard, phone a friend, do some gardening, bake a cake, yell, scream into your pillow, rip up paper, jump up and down...

    Hope something helps!

    Cheers from Dools

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  26. Elizabeth CP
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    12 January 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Dools said My psychologist tried talking about "wise" mind, "depressed" mind and other bits of my mind. My brain shut down!
    How do you know if it is your inner critic and not just your depression talking?

    I think we all have an inner critic which helps us identify what we should be doing or not doing. When we are mentally healthy it acts like a wise mind or kind critic. For example you are feeling tired or unwell a wise internal voice reminds us to rest & reminds us we are not being lazy but sensible. When we are depressed stressed or anxious or have a history of abuse or other negative experiences this inner critic changes into a 'harsh critic 'where all the negative thoughts & feelings from the depression or past experiences take over. Instead of accepting that you need time to rest this voice screams out that you are lazy. When you forget something it yells out how stupid you are & tells you you'll never be able to do anything instead of saying you are human everyone forgets things at times we just need to write down important things to remember.

    The way to tell the difference in my opinion is how you feel. If you feel encouraged or motivated to keep trying or to improve then the wise mind or the kind critic is speaking & with listening to.

    When the voice in your head makes you feel like giving up or makes you feel even more worthless that is the harsh critic (or depressed or anxious mind) talking. That voice is a bully & we need to do whatever we can to stop listening to it.

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  27. quirkywords
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    12 January 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Mrs Dool and everyone,

    I go for a walk every morning in the bush.

    I open my shop 7 days and I have not had a break for about 5 weeks.

    So I am quite tired.

    quirky

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  28. quirkywords
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    13 January 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    hello everyone

    Elizabeth these words are so true.

    When the voice in your head makes you feel like giving up or makes you feel even more worthless that is the harsh critic (or depressed or anxious mind) talking. That voice is a bully & we need to do whatever we can to stop listening to it.

    Knowing what we need to do is one thing actually having a plan and implementing it , is another thing. At least knowing is the first step.

    Quirky

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  29. quirkywords
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    17 January 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone reading,

    People have mentioned that our inner critic is our own personal bully.

    So has anyone have ideas of how to stand up to it besides ignoring it or throwing a tantrum.I have tried both.!! Especially when the bully is relentless every day and you feel exhausted by te constant put downs.

    Take Care

    Quirky

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  30. Elizabeth CP
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    Elizabeth CP avatar
    2486 posts
    17 January 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky, I agree yelling at a bully just spurs them to be louder & meaner. Ignoring a bully just spurs them on to keep taunting until you give in. Neither technique work with bullies or the harsh critic.

    The only way to tackle bullies is to avoid them or gather supports around you so they slink off too scared to tackle you as they are cowards. Using this analogy I think developing the 'Voice of Reason or'"kind critic"is the only effective way. You can't do this in the heat of the moment I don't think. Thinking ahead to potential problems or situations & then working out a strategy to deal with the problem & working out a clear dialogue in your mind explaining why you are doing this. This reduces the risk of being in a situation where the harsh critic can take hold & by having your reasoned response gives you words to fill your mind to counteract the harsh critic if he starts.

    For example recently I've been doing some renovation leading me to be extremely tired & my house has been a mess. By deciding ahead of time that I will stick with very easy meals including take away took some pressure off. My reasoned voice reminded me this allows me to focus on what I need to do to avoid getting tireder than needed. Accepting ahead of time that regular rest were needed to remain effective was important. Similarly every time I looked at the mess I reminded myself that I needed to focus on the essential tasks once they were finished the house could be put back in order.

    Obviously the harsh critic did his best to drag me down. Being tired & finding everything took longer than expected meant I was very vulnerable but without having that voice of reason reminding me what was important & why I'd made the choices I had I would never have coped.

    I believe developing this 'Voice of reason'or encourager is a long term project. Maybe listening to counsellors or good friends who have our best interests at heart can help us to develop this voice.

    Some time ago while speaking with my psych about some very negative feelings based on experiences from the past he asked me to write a letter from my adult self to that child I'd been providing advice & encouragement to the child. The idea was to add a voice of reason to counteract the bullying inner critic. None of this is easy. We have had years of listening to the bullies

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