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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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    6 February 2018 in reply to Moonstruck

    Hello all

    That is what I believe but I don't practice because I care about others more than myself. If anyone can do this let me know the secret.

    Quirky

  2. Quercus
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    8 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and a wave to everyone reading and replying too.

    I love what Moonstruck wrote. So much so that I let the idea sit with me for a while and then sat down with hubby for a solid talk.

    The idea of caring for yourself as you would another struck me quite hard in a positive way.

    We get conflicting ideas. On here and from the professionals we are encouraged to address our needs and care for ourselves. It is great in theory... Until you hit the real world.

    The arguments my other half has given me lately (about since depression began again)...

    • I'm tired of it always being about YOU
    • There's always something wrong with you. You're falling apart.
    • I haven't changed and now I'm always at fault.
    • I'm sick of your mood swings.

    After thinking about what Moon wrote (thank you Moonstruck) I quietly gave him my feelings...

    • You haven't changed. But I HAVE. I don't want to go back to being last priority. Ignoring my needs.
    • I feel like you're saying I'm being selfish. Which goes against what the psych says about managing my depression. I am allowed to be selfish. I have the same right as you and the kids to have my needs met.
    • I'm doing the best I can. But I won't ever be the same happy housewife because that would mean putting on a fake face and pretending everything is ok just so everyone else is happy. But I did that and it pushed me to a bad place twice already.
    • If you want me to fall apart when you're at work then play happy fake wife so you come home to clean house happy kids and dinner on the table and zero stress for you then maybe you need to leave. Because I don't want to be a martyr for you and end up suicidal again.
    • Do I make you miserable? Can you love me even if I expect to be an equal priority to you and our kids? If the answer is no then we're wasting our time.

    Saga sorry but my point is the problem I had was all the excellent theoretical ideas that just felt like they weren't wanted offline.

    But thinking about what Moon wrote... I deserve the same consideration I give others. This means change and sometimes our loved ones fight it because they like how the old way made them feel even if it made you feel worse.

    To answer your question Quirky... How? I'm taking a risk. Demanding the same love and care I give to others. If they don't want that then to be honest they're not healthy for me.

    It was a hard discussion. But worthwhile.

    ❤ Nat

    1 person found this helpful
  3. quirkywords
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    8 February 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Quercus and everyone nodding and reading and saying yes that's me too!

    What a great understanding post.You write so well and have so many insights.What was your husband's reaction.?

    I have had ugh of what he said to you said to me over the years/Even my children used to say to e, its all about youmum. I felt I was always putting myself last and yes we do have special needs as does everyone. I feel once we have a label people treat us differently and often feel we get special treatment I wish. I think when others get angry with us , we start feeling we maybe a burden and lazy and the inner critic takes over and builds on our insecurities.

    Has anyone ever stood up for themselves with a loved one the way Nat did>? If so what happened and how did you feel? If you would never have the courage , why do you think that is so?

    Quirky

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  4. Quercus
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    8 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    How are you going? I'm glad to be understood but sad that you've felt this way too.

    Hubby's reaction was both reassuring and hard to hear.

    He listened quietly. And then said he thinks I have a point. That he isn't really helping fighting what the psych says I need to do.

    He said he loves me and doesn't want to go. But also that he doesn't like me very much some days (yeah that one hurt).

    He also took on board what I said about his refusal to manage his anxiety and catastrophising impacting on both of us. I had said it is hard that he is blaming me for mood swings when a lot of the time they are in response to him coming home angry.

    The risk somewhat paid off (maybe... We'll see). We're both making more of an effort with eachother.

    And best of all he's backed off and letting me make decisions for myself. I have work again tomorrow and next week which he had written off as a "waste of time" because I couldn't earn as much as him.

    It could have gone the other way too though I suppose.

    ❤ Nat

  5. quirkywords
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    8 February 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello everyone,

    I am always interested in new people posting here with ideas and anyone who has a thought.

    Nat, has shown how confronting your self doubts and have a conversation with your partner, can clear the air and also can bring up more things to work on.

    Rather than listening to her inner critic Nat has challenged the negative thoughts. It makes for very interesting reading. Some times we feel we have no power but explaining to others as to how we feel, it can bring issues to the surface. It is not easy and complex.

    Maybe you have had tackled a difficult issue like Nat has. I would be interested in how you coped. Did you manage to tame your inner critic?

    My mum used to say that while she always loved us she did not always like what we did. So Nat, I find that reassuring when people say .

    So how is your inner critic today?

    Quirky

  6. Elizabeth CP
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    10 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Thanks Nat & Quirky for your posts. It is really hard to take the risk & speak up particularly when the risk of things going horribly wrong is there. In my case I cheated & asked my psych to help We arranged a joint session with my husband & I. He spoke to my husband first to get his point of view without me present. He explained what was happening with me as well. Obviously I had given him permission the previous week so he wasn't restricted by client confidentiality. Afterwards I joined them & after briefly explaining what they had discussed we then talked about the particular situation which was causing conflict. Having the psych there to support me I was able to explain what was happening & admit that my behaviour was not ideal but was caused by my high level of stress & anxiety. By saying that I realised my behaviour was difficult for my husband I think made it easier for my husband to accept what I wanted. When extremely stressed & not coping I get to a point where I'm ready to explode. Keeping under control takes too much energy & just makes it worse when I explode. When I tried to explain what was happening my husband would take it I was blaming him & react with anger which inflamed the situation or he would keep pressuring me to fit in with his wishes until I exploded leading to both of us being hurt emotionally. With the psych supporting our discussion we decided that I would give a brief warning to remind my husband what was happening. Then I could vocalise my frustrations & feelings. Because my husband knew this Knowing my husband knew this was about how i felt & was not about blaming him he kept quiet & didn't react like he did before. This discussion was difficult at the time as I was very ashamed about my inability to control myself better, The result has been really good as I know I have to make that warning first before ranting about how I feel & my husband understands what is happening & has been really supportive.

    I shared this to show how if you struggle to discuss a very difficult issue getting support from a psych that you trust can really help.

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  7. quirkywords
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    10 February 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello all

    Elizabeth,

    What a great suggestion to get some support to explain ho you are really feeling to a loved one. Thanks for your honesty and sharing. This helped me and I am sure will help others.

    My partner will not not go to a counsellor with me syasthat is my problem so I have to find another strategy.

    Thanks again for explaining so well how the support worked for you.

    Quirky

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  8. quirkywords
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    14 February 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello all

    What makes us only listen to the harsh critic but reject the kind voice?

    I read with sadness how so many people here see them selves as having no value, being worthless, never being goof enough but all I see are kind caring smart people ho are willing to help others. So why do we only listen to the negative? Isn't it about time we decide to take a small step and take on one positive thing someone has said about us.

    How hard can that be, one positive thing ? Who wants to take the challenge?

    Quirky

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  9. Doolhof
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    14 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    That is a great point you have made! So many amazing people on this forum help each other yet inside we may feel like we are useless, worthless and so many other depreciating things.

    Maybe part of that is because in "Life" we feel like we have been put down so often there is no point in trying to stand up.

    We may consider feeling good about ourselves is being self-centred and incorrect.

    We may have gained very little or no praise during our childhood years, so praising oneself is foreign and awkward.

    Right. On with the positive!

    People have thanked me on this forum for responding to them and offering them a sense of hope and acknowledgement.

    So I will positively accept this thanks and realise that I am an okay kind of a person who cares for others and makes the time to connect, hoping I can make a difference in someone else's life.

    By connecting with people, I am helping myself by becoming part of this community!

    Cheers all from Dools

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  10. quirkywords
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    14 February 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Hello all

    Mrs Dool

    Thanks for your great contribution. I find your posts are full of common sense and compassion. There you are another positive.

    I know people think if they acknowledge a positive then they will be bragging or boasting but they will happily absorb the negatives.

    Thanks for your acknowledgement of a positive and hope it helps in some way.

    Quirky

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  11. Quercus
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    14 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and everyone,

    Mrs D you picked a good positive for yourself in hope. I think you have a gift for encouraging others to find and see hope where they may not have before.

    Once I called myself a tough old boot and someone gave me the gift of correcting me. Called me a vibrant young slipper. I loved this compliment. Often I feel very very old and tired thanks to my autoimmune arthritis and it gets me down further to feel so run down at 32. Combine that with people thinking I'm older than I am and it isn't a nice feeling. So for someone to see me as young and alive felt really lovely. Noone had ever told me that before.

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  12. quirkywords
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    15 February 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello all

    I thinkseeing in ourselves what others see which is hat a positive is , instead of always focusing on the negative others see or we ourselves see in us.

    Quercus taking on a positive is a gift. Thanks for sharing that.

    Quirky

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  13. Doolhof
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    16 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Everyone,

    For some of us, it seems only natural to think no one can see any good in us, while it may well be us ourselves telling lies in our minds that we are not good enough.

    It can be hard to accept a compliment as being reality, so it is wonderful when we can recognise truth in another person's words and take them on-board as affirmation, confirmation and validation that we are actually okay and worth while.

    In encouraging others, I am also encouraging myself and reminding myself that I can keep working at being the person I desire to be. I do not need to allow my depression and mental illness issues take over who I am and who I want to be.

    Our inner critics can be so very harsh! We need to be aware that our minds don't always tell us the truth!

    Wishing you all the strength to conquer your minds and realise how very special you are!

    Cheers from Dools

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  14. quirkywords
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    17 February 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Hello all

    Mrs Dool,

    I like your comment that by encouraging others you are encouraging yourself and that you can keep trying to be the person you want to be.

    That is so helpful and positive. I will try to remember that instead of putting myself down for helping others and not myself.

    Quirky

  15. Quercus
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    18 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky and Mrs D and everyone contributing and reading.

    Hmm ok Mrs D you have sound advice so as my inner critic is on a rampage I am going to try use your advice on encouraging others in a slightly different way....

    Dear critic,

    If I was writing to another member the things you are telling me I would discredit as wrong.

    I would tell them the following...

    My critic says I am stupid.

    You're not. You are committed to your children's education. That is a smart choice.

    My critic says I am only worth the jobs noone else is willing to do.

    You work hard. How is that not an admirable thing? You're flexible and resilient. You felt upset at the school because you don't speak the language and then came back later with a new approach (to do the jobs that don't need language) and kept trying. Good for you. Tell the critic to stick it. Keep doing what you're doing.

    My critic says my kids are ashamed and embarrassed of me.

    Kids are and always will be embarressed by their parents. And then one day they are adults themselves and they see how much it sucks to have to swallow your pride and do what you can to help your kids. One day they will see you gave your time for them. Until then just do what you do with a smile and look forward to their 21st birthdays and all the embarressing things you get to do on purpose out of love.

    Huh. Well no surprise Mrs D. That helped. Thank you.

    Nat 1.... Inner Critic Zero!

  16. quirkywords
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    18 February 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello everyone,

    Nat, I like your talk with your critic and thank to Mrs Dool for your sound advice.

    It is encouraging to see you seeing the reality behind your critic's criticism.

    Quirky

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  17. Just Sara
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    18 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hey Quirky and those reading;

    I haven't read the past 166 posts so I don't know if I'm reiterating what's already been said. Please forgive me if this is the case ok.

    I don't know if this comes under the 'inner critic' category, but there's a difference in my body and mind when I catch myself having a conversation with someone in my head, as opposed to using 'first person' words.

    For example; I'll be talking to my ex in my head with a vision of him in my mind's eye. I can get really carried away doing this, and in fact, it contributed to my breakdown. I might say to him; "You're a bastard and should've been more sensitive"

    I've taught myself to say "Stop!" out loud, open my eyes or shake my head as if to say, "Nope, not going there anymore" when it occurs. If I'm right into the topic, I'll say instead, "I think he's an insensitive bastard and isn't worth my time."

    What this does, is change focus from him to me, and keeps words in the present moment. My brain responds in kind; no pressure from the 'argumentative' type of thinking.

    I hope this makes sense, as it's eased some of the adrenaline output from what it used to be. Getting into arguments about upsetting issues with imaginary people/situations really got my guts stirring. (A type of ruminating)

    I'm more calm and don't have to dwell on the past. It's over and my word is the only thing that counts anymore.

    Geez, I really hope others can identify with this as I'm going to feel really stupid if they don't. lol

    Sez xo

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  18. Doolhof
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    18 February 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Nat and Everyone,

    Hey Nat. That is great! A very good use of a technique you/we can use to turn things around for the positive!

    Sometimes I surprise myself with the information and ideas I have in my mind! Ha. Ha. I too need to implement them!

    Yesterday I had a wave of depression come over me for no apparent reason. I literally stood still to consider which way I wanted my mood and my thoughts to travel! With some hard work I was able to stop my mind from telling me all kinds of lies once it had my attention.

    I even tried to think of a song to sing and could only come up with Old McDonalds Farm!

    During the day I needed to remind myself I could change my thoughts before they started to really spiral.

    We all need to know what works for us!

    By the way, I think it is amazing what most parents do for their children! Good on you for stepping out of your comfort zone to help your children make the most of their lives. I know that as a child, I had no idea of the sacrifices my parents were making for me!

    Those jobs you do while thinking that is all you are good for, good on you for doing them and for working to help make the rest of the world run better!

    Where would we be if no one cleaned the public toilets? If no-one collected the garbage? If people didn't clean up after us in cafes and restaurants? (I'm not saying these are lowly jobs, they are jobs that need to be done by someone, we can't all be rocket scientists)

    Huge cheers to you Nat from Mrs. D

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  19. Doolhof
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    18 February 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Hi Quirky, Sez and All,

    It is wonderful when something finally clicks in our minds and is helpful!

    Sez, I liked your example of how you tame your mind and control your thinking, changing what can be a hurtful negative into something more realistic and manageable.

    No one here ever has to feel stupid about anything they suggest as an idea, we never know how much our suggestions can help someone else. Your words and explanation make perfect sense to me.

    I just need to put all of these tools into practise! Thanks for sharing Sez!

    Cheers to you all from Dools

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  20. quirkywords
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    18 February 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Hello everyone reading this thread,

    Sez,

    welcome. Your ideas are always thought provoking and reveal many insights fro your won life I can use in my life.

    I can really relate to the distinction between conversations in one's head and using the first person.

    That was a useful example.

    I find it my inner critic, it tells me I have messed up and am upsetting people etc. Through this thread I have started to question my inner critic and reply to it as if it was attacking my friend. I would not let a friend be spoken to like that.

    I find your technique useful too and will try it.

    Mrs Dool,

    your words always help me. I get waves of depression and find it hard to stop but I try and sometimes can move on. Thanks for sharing that.

    Quirky

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  21. Just Sara
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    18 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Thanks so much for both your responses. (Quirky and Mrs D) Especially for validating me so I don't have to feel silly and giving me positive feedback. It's a relief and was very helpful.

    In the last sentence of my post, I wrote what I was feeling/thinking instead of keeping it in my head to dwell over later. I walked away knowing I'd expressed my doubts. Looking back at them today, I interpret it as still having issues with fitting in or being seen as a 'know-it-all'.

    Is this the way your inner critic works?

    I have to be honest and say I don't really agree with calling that part of myself a 'critic'. I feel it's setting me up for failure. The term 'criticise' is too close to being berated or more specifically, judged.

    I've learned to 'assess' myself without harsh words. I used to feel guilt, shame, worry, self blame etc, and frankly, I've sort of forgotten how that feels. I'm smiling to myself; isn't recovery bloody amazing?!

    I suppose this reflects those 'pathways' we always refer to when talking of 'change'. My behaviour's altered so dramatically in some aspects, I can't remember what it feels like to curl up in bed crying over regretting something I said.

    I wish this for everyone you know; I really do.

    Sez xo

  22. quirkywords
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    19 February 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Sez,

    Thanks for your insights.

    I suppose the reason I started this thread was I wanted to come to terms with my inner critic that voice that tells me all the mistakes I have made and that is always negative .

    It is very critical but I am learning to challenge it and not to believe it when it undermines me.

    I like that you have learnt to assess your self with out harsh words.

    I am learning to challenge the negative and to accept who I am. It is a long process.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Quirky

    3 people found this helpful
  23. Sonno
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    19 February 2018

    I was really good at bashing myself up, which didn't help in dealing with my depressive episodes.

    DESIDERATA had been hanging on my wall for decades but I always thought the line:

    " Beyond a whole some discipline, be gentle with yourself ".. it's only weakness.

    I had been brought up to be strong, bold and never-give-in.To be proud, hold my head high and shoulders back. To face adversity full-on and never show signs of hesitance or doubt.

    Then one day, those four words " be gentle with yourself "took on new meaning.

    It gave me a new perspective on myself.

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  24. Doolhof
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    19 February 2018 in reply to Just Sara

    Hi Sez and All,

    Quite often I come across words/terms/explanations I don't really understand or comprehend. The main thing for me is to gain the wisdom from these notions and put them into practise.

    I personally have trouble understanding all the different aspects of the mind like WISE mind and so on. To me it is all the same mind.

    Quite obviously for some people, considering the role of the inner critic is very valuable. For Quirky it works extremely well, and that is excellent. For me, I do recognise that I judge and criticise myself often, I am just not good at having a conversation with myself in the way Quirky manages to do it.

    It is wonderful we can share our experiences and understanding here!

    Cheers all from Mrs. Dools

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  25. Doolhof
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    19 February 2018 in reply to Sonno

    Hi Sonno,

    Thanks for your words and insight into your own life's circumstances.

    No matter which way we are brought up, there are always some changes, insights, understanding that comes along and allows us to grow!

    Cheers to you Sonno! from Dools

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  26. startingnew
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    19 February 2018

    Hey all :)

    It was suggeated i take a read of here, i wanted to comment so i can follow along until i can read the entire thread

    ❤🌺🌼

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  27. quirkywords
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    20 February 2018 in reply to Sonno

    Hello everyone.

    elcome Sonno and thanks for your contribution ot this thread.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I think be kind to yourselfis helpful but sometimes hard to practice.

    Hi Mrs Dool.

    Thanks for explaining things so well. This was meant as a discussion and I know people deal with things differently and I learn so much from other posts.

    Startingnew,

    Welcome to this thread. Feel free to comment at any time.

    Quirky

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  28. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8854 posts
    20 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Everyone,

    Quirky, sometimes it takes me a while to understand something. I am better with practical than theory at times. We all learn differently. It takes my psych a while to explain the logic behind some theories in a way that my mind comprehends it.

    Startingnew, Welcome. Hope you gain some insight form all the wonderful sharing, advice, information, ideas and suggestions here. Reading of people's experiences with different techniques helps me.

    Just Sara and Sonno, Hi!

    My inner critic/conscience was telling me this morning it was a waste of time going for a wlak to day as it would only cause me more pain.

    I have been for a walk, yes I do have more aches and pains in some regions of my body but other pains were minimalized by walking. I had a brief chat with a couple of road workings holding their stop/go signs, saw some beautiful birds and now feel like I have achieved something.

    Talking to myself and reasoning things out has helped me get my day started!

    Cheers all from Dools

    1 person found this helpful
  29. startingnew
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    startingnew avatar
    5861 posts
    20 February 2018

    Hi everyone

    Quirky thank you for starting this interesting topic and thank you to all contributors, ive read most of it but I have a short attention span atm so will continue to read when I can but will post my thoughts and see what happens...


    My own inner critic always makes me question and self doubt what I do,and the decisions I make. It takes me a long time to be comfortable with a decision and in my mind I need to explore all options before deciding then I doubt it and the cycle starts all over again. I am always hesitating when I do things and often have a talk with myself over things e.g me- 'this is what I want to do' then the IC will kick in and start saying things like- are you sure, is that the right choice, your not good enough for that, youll look like a fool' or ill start to tell myself 'ive got this' and then IC will go no you dont and my response is your right I dont and will often shut down after that.
    I find it really hard to ignore those IC thoughts and because I am so use to it through low self esteem, worrying about what others think, and through other people (emotional abuse) I believe those thoughts of not being good enough, not worthy etc and find it challanging to question or pull up and go against the grain of those thoughts


    does anyone find others comments feed your own inner critic? For example if someone asks me a question and I answer it and I get a funny look, a response that seems like they are questioning my response to them, or if they repeat back my response to me to clarify, I start to panic bringing on that self doubt, I start to stutter, try to explain myself when a lot of the time it is unnessecary.


    Mine tells me ive always got to be hypervigilant otherwise something bad will happen or when I start to achieve something, or im going well or enjoying something I get the thoughts and feelings of its wrong or somethings not right or I dont deserve to be happy. I know a lot of that is because of my past traumas so over time im hoping that thatll ease too.

  30. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    6286 posts
    20 February 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Some other things to consider...

    Similar to some previous posts, based a book I am reading (recommended by my psych) it said that whenever you had a negative thought, say "thank you" to your mind, and then move on. Basically acknowledge the thought as a method of stopping that idea from crippling you. That may or may not work for you.

    Another idea was the say/sing the negative thought using a silly voice or voice of cartoon character. I did try this one, but I also tend to concentrate on words in songs, and regardless of the voice I selected (even Homer Simpson) there was still meaning and weight in those words.

    Which brings me to the final matter.... different things will work for different people - what works for me might not work for you or vice versa. The singing idea did not work, and some other ideas that are in this book don't work for me, but and don't ask me why, just thanking my mind gets me through. And I (or we) need to have to courage to try out different ideas regardless of how crazy they might sound.

    SM

    3 people found this helpful

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