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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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    21 February 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Welcome everyone.

    I really appreciate the sharing of your thoughts and experiences.

    Mrs Dool,

    I also see a discussion with my inner critic can stop me from going low hen it was something trivial.I find standing up for myself helps.

    Starting new,

    Thanks for your detailed comment. Many here and reading will relate to you.

    I find when others comment negatively or I see the comments as negative, I am trying to see what I would say to myself if I was my best friend. Would I let someone put my friend down no I would go in and support my friend. So I feel we need to support ourselves.

    I hope you can keep reading and sharing. Nat and I have written don out discussions with our inner critic and theses are quite revealing.

    Smallwolf.

    Thanks for your comment. Yes I agree as I have said before the mere concept of an inner critic will not irk for some people and all ideas are a matter of trying to see what works.

    I see this thread as a spring board for ideas so please feel free to share anything that works or does not for you. Everyone is welcome to contribute.

    Quirky

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  2. quirkywords
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    24 February 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Hello everyone reading ,

    I am wondering if my inner critic is lud sometimesbeacuse like I lake confidence or high self esteem. Do you think people who are self confident do not listen to or even hear their inner critic.

    So instead of arguing with my inner critic do I need to build up my self confidence?

    What doeseveryone think?

    Your thoughts greatly appreciated?

    Quirky

  3. Elizabeth CP
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    24 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Waiting to pick up my grandson from school yesterday I saw a couple of posters with interesting sayings.

    We are all geniuses but if a fish spends his life trying to climb a tree He will spend his life thinking he is a failure.

    When we spend our life focusing on our weaknesses we give our inner critic too much ammunition. If like the fish we spent our time trying to swim in other words working on our strengths our confidence will automatically improve.

    Mistakes are just proof that we are trying

    Much better than thinking they prove we are useless

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  4. quirkywords
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    24 February 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello everyone,

    that quote about the fish climbing a tree is one I really like. When I first read it, I could relate to the fish.

    Thanks Elizabeth for sharing quotes they are helpful reminders. I have mentioned before about looking at our strengths but when we feel defeated it is hard to find them.

    Quirky

  5. Croix
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    24 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Dear Quirky and all~

    I think this relates.

    I'm a perfectionist and am not happy, or my inner critic is not, if I do any sort of job in a slapdash manner. While there are a couple of reasons for this way of life I'd say fear of criticism is one, and that fear most probably comes from a lack of self-confidence.

    Obviously there is satisfaction in doing things well, and confidence if I build something it will not fall apart, so you would think after this length of time the self-confidence would have learned - um

    Croix

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  6. quirkywords
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    25 February 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hello all

    Croix great to read your post.

    I am the opposite I have a go at things even if I am not skilled at them. I suppose I knowI have no agent but am trying so dont worry about the criticism. If i do my best but hear criticism from others I feel deflated.

    I think confidence can deceive us at times.

    Quirky

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  7. quirkywords
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    27 February 2018 in reply to Croix

    I am wondering if anyone feels the self critical nature or inner critic comes from aneed to be perfecto perfectionist.

    For me that is not true as I have never been or will never be a perfectionist. Iknowothers who are always crtical of themselves as they can't live up to the standards they set.

    Just a thought,so am interested in what you think. Wether this is you first post here or you have posted before everyone welcome.

    Quirky

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  8. Ggrand
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    28 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hello Quirky and all.

    When I do things around the house I'm slap happy, I don't care if it's done perfect or not as long as things are clean and everything looks neat I'm okay with that, so no inner critic here.

    Talking to people, I like to be able to speak perfectly and make sense, I never do so now my inner critic is huge, like dinosaur size, I won't speak until I think what I want to say is correct, because when I talk I suppose you can say I always put my foot in my mouth, I think that's the saying.

    I beat myself up quite a lot because when I talk I'm either uninteresting, don't know what I'm talking about or make a fool out of myself. My inner critic is like, What did you say that for? Why would you say that? What the hell did I just say? It just goes on and on... where talking or conversation is concerned definition I never live up to the standards I set for myself.

    Karen.

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  9. Quercus
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    28 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    Thanks. That is the exact question I needed right now.

    I'm far from perfect. But as my psychiatrist seems to tell me all the time in my head it is either perfect or it is a catastrophe.

    Learning to allow myself shades of grey gives the critic a field day.

    I'm a bad worthless person

    I'm selfish and cruel and unkind

    I should forgive more, give more, try harder.

    But the thing is I'm allowed to let myself be human too. I don't have to be perfect. Logically I can see this but it doesn't make my critic be quiet!

    So I have to remind myself of the shades of grey...

    Let the critic say as she will. Smile and nod and say thanks for that opinion. Then throw the hurt in the bin and just keep trying.

    It was your thread that asked us to remember a compliment. I choose to remember the opinion of my 3 year old. She's honest. She told me...

    Sometimes I don't like you Mummy but most of the time I like you. But guess what? I love you.

    Take that critic perfectionist and smoke it 😂

    How are you doing Quirky?

    ❤ Nat

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  10. quirkywords
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    28 February 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Nat, my mum used to say I may not like what you do ut I will always love you- distinguishing the person from the behaviour.

    Thanks for your comment.

    I want to ban words like

    hopeless, stupid, failure and worthless.

    To me they are more damaging than any swear words.

    Not a failure, I may have messed up today, or spilled the coffee, or forgotten an appointment, but that just makes me human.

    Even when low I challenge my absolute words- totally, always, , disaster , and substitute them with other more realisitic,

    Inner critic can sulk in the corner with no dessert!

    Quirky

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  11. smallwolf
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    28 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I like that last line of yours Quirky! LOL

    As for me... Yes I am a perfectionist. It is an all or nothing attitude in all things I do. Do it perfect or don't do it at all. OR, if a flaw is found, it is imperfect and I may beat myself over the head (metaphorically) for my stupidity (labelling).

    But the perfectionism exists because I (or we) try to reach unobtainable goals?

    And I guess for me it would have started in high school when I would pulled up in class for saying a word incorrectly and then having to say the word over and over in front class til I said it correctly, or asking an entire class of students why they couldn't get it when (insert my name here) got it right, and he did remedial reading". A seeming constant battle to "keep up" leads to a thought process of its either right or wrong and no in between - black or white.

    Perfectionists strain compulsively and unceasingly toward unobtainable goals, and measure their self-worth by productivity and accomplishment. So I pressure myself to achieve unrealistic goals which then obviously become a perfect set up for disappointment and the harsh critics in my head jump into action when I fail to meet standards.

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  12. quirkywords
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    28 February 2018 in reply to Ggrand

    Hello all,

    Karen sorry I missed your reply- I am on ipad and I am not good at scrolling!!

    Thanks for your comment. If you talk as well as you write I outdoors find you fascinating.

    It is funny how we view ourselves and how we put pressure on ourselves.

    My approach to housework is similar to yours.

    Quirky

  13. quirkywords
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    28 February 2018 in reply to smallwolf

    Hello all

    Smallwolf,

    thanks for your comment and explaining yourself so well.

    Some teachers have a lot to answer for in my opinion.

    Your last sentence exhausts me and I am sure must exhaust you. Have you ever tried to stop the cycle?

    Quirky

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  14. startingnew
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    28 February 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky and all

    Thank you Quirky for your response and how you manage those sorts of thought. i find that really hard to do- to ask myself what i would say to someone else but like anything it takes practice.

    ive been reading along and catching up and its interesting to read what others have said. in regards to your question about perfectionism- i agree with you there but i also think it come from the expectations we have placed upon us and the expectations we have of ourselves both realistic or unrealistic.

    I tried to expand on that but i cant seem to get any words out the way i want them to- again my own expectations of how my post should sound but the more i think about how to word what i want to say and cant the more anxious i feel myself get so will leave it there for now.

  15. quirkywords
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    1 March 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Starting new

    your posts are always welcome and like the way you are finding something useful from the wonderful posts on the thread.

    I get frustrated with my posts and wish I could writelike others who sound so wise but then I try and this is me and we all have our way of writing.

    Quirky

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  16. startingnew
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    1 March 2018

    HI Quirky and everyone
    im hoping this makes sense......

    I try to be a perfectionist but I think its from the expectations and pressures I have from everyone around me as well as the expectations (realistic or unrealistic) that has made me feeling like a perfectionist. Without the constant expectations and pressures I dont think I would be a perfectionist or controlling (try to but have been able to stop myself a lot more now)
    Smallwolf has used school as an example- I can relate really well with that one too. Not only did I have the family pressures of needing to be that perfect daughter, student, carer, Agrade student, and someone who isnt allowed to do the wrong thing and the hardest part I am always needing to be OK (still have that expectation) I also had them from my teachers. I went well and did my best,often meeting them with being a good kid, and having the good grades until around yr 10/11/12. those yrs got a lot harder for me with being helping my nan who had cancer (was a part carer for her then) her death, and a few other incidents. My grades started to slip even though I would be studying at every waking hr but I couldnt keep up those grades- 2 teachers on separate occasions had said to me 'your wasting your time at home when you should be studying, you want to pass the hsc trials and exams dont you' so I felt the pressures from everyone in my life and still continue to do as I still have those expectations placed upon me from family members. I can say however I had 2 very good teachers who helped me a huge deal and without them I probably wouldnt have made it through yr 11 and 12 as well as I did.
    So thats where my perfection actually comes from and has made my expectations of myself very unrealistic, working 2 jobs inc being a carer, was studying, a lot of family roles and duties and trying to find 'myself', it really affects my IC all the time. My IC is forever telling me 'im not good enough, im not doing well enough, im a dissapointment, your worthless, your not trying hard enough' it takes me a long time to actually speak and can relate to Grandy a lot on that part.
    So while im far from perfect and well aware of that I find it hard to stop that cycle and tell myself im doing my best and thats all I can do'
    I often wonder why it is only me that has these expectations placed upon them but when others do wrong including my sisters its fine and its just a mistake or its just a grade, and and get encouraged but not for me....

  17. quirkywords
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    1 March 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Hello all

    Starting ne,

    Thanks for your well thought out and helpful comment.You explained yourself so well.

    I can see you were under act of pressure from your family as they had higher expectations for you. Some people can have pressure from others but they ignore it. I had a friend whose parents ere both doctors and she was under lots of pressure to be a doctor but she decided to be an actress. It was hard but she knew what she wanted. To this day her parents complain about her choice!

    I feel the pressure from others like you and cant ignore it soI wonder why some people can and ones that mean they dont have an inner critic as they follow their feelings and are not swayed by outside pressure.

    SN have confidence you write well and explain yourself clearly.

    just a few thoughts- any ideas form anyone reading?

    Quirky

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  18. Elizabeth CP
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    1 March 2018 in reply to quirkywords
    Self confidence makes the difference. If you are already confident you see things through the lense that you are OK so if you are unfairly criticised you assume the critics don't understand. My son is like that. He knows where he is going & what he wants & won't deviate. People like myself lacking confidence take criticism to heart even if it is totally unjustified. Other people's opinions just feed your nasty self critic.
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  19. quirkywords
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    2 March 2018 in reply to Elizabeth CP

    Hello all,

    Elizabeth thanks for your comment.

    If people say positive things to you, do Yu believe them or only the negative ones? Is there a way overcome lack of confidence?

    Quirky

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  20. startingnew
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    2 March 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    hello everyone

    Thank you Quirky for giving me abit of confidence with your comments..

    I agree with Elizabeth, I think having good self confidence would be a great help in talking to our IC or having one thats rarely around. Those who struggle with self-esteem, and even more so those with a mental illness take any negativity from others whether its indirect or direct and place it upon themselves. When we get compliments its hard to accept them. Has anyone noticed that when people give you a compliment- your IC starts to question it rather than allowing ourselves to say thank you?
    I guess the self confidence and believing in yourself and your dreams as well as being able to deflect negativity from others helps with the pressures from others- to be what they want us to be instead of who we actually want to be.


    I find it really hard to accept compliments and postive things, in a way it embarrassess me but that it no ones fault, thats the constant IC telling me how worthless I am and how undeserving I am of good things. I am not too sure about how to overcome lack of confidence- some I think are naturally born with a higer confidence to others while some have to work harder and build upon it.
    Maybe a suggestion would be to challenge yourself more in the areas of life you want to improve- for example social anxiety- pushing yourself to even speak to one person a day , or while passing someone in the street say a friendly 'morning, afternoon, evening'. Baby steps towards a bigger picture....

  21. quirkywords
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    2 March 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Greetings to everyone

    ThanksStaringnew for your comments.

    Confidence is a strange concept as people to think everyone else has it but they dont.

    I would say it would take great confidence to write over 4000 posts here and to able to offer to help others. There are people who never post at all because they lack confidence.I suppose it depends how you define confidence.

    People I see as confident tell me how that is a mask and they are very insecure.

    I think we need to learn to accept a positive thing someone says and tel inner critic to be quiet. AS people have said, we would not allow a best friend to be bullied the way we let our inner critic bully us.

    I think challenging yourself is good as long as you start with something small.

    Thanks SN for your thoughts .

    Quirky

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  22. startingnew
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    2 March 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    theres a big difference between posting online and having time to think about what to say and write then to talking to people offline Quirky, i guess thats a big part for me. with a screen i can type at my own pace and think about what it is i want to say whereas offline i get super nervous, start stuttering and fumbling with my words making me sound like a total fool. Still on here i hesitate with each post with that nagging IC talkign to me, i read alot more than i type but it becomes a little less scary when people like you say that my writing is good or others give me feedback as well- being on here and helped get up off the floor has been the best thing ive ever done on my recovery journey- it truley has.

    and with bullies and standing up for our friends- it is often visible and is an external thing (to us as in witnessing name calling or seeing text msgs etc) where as our IC is an internal battle. i hope one day that each of us will be able to stop that constant internal battle and start breathing and living again...

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  23. Quercus
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    3 March 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Hi everyone,

    Yep SN I know the screen vs reality dilemma oh so well too. Online is easy once you settle into the forums. In person... not so much.

    As part of volunteering here I had to have a chat with the forum manager Chris over the phone. My inner critic had a field day. I thought afterwards well that's it now the cat's out of the bag. Online I am a chatterbox. On the phone I either blurt it out or have awkward silences.

    Sometimes my critic pipes up saying if people really knew you they wouldn't bother hitting reply. I don't always have a response to that.

    Bloody critic. Wish it would be quiet. Today I went to buy biscuits to take to the real estate agent and fell apart at the register. Why? Because I wasn't local and didn't realise you had to bag your own stuff. Couldn't even get a word out. Haven't stopped apologising since. I'd apologise to a rock if I tripped over it.

    Dear Critic.

    You suck. I'm sick of you making me feel worthless today because I'm not. So please go do something useful. Sit in the back of my brain and work out how to do long division huh?

    Kindest, Nat (owner of this brain you're currently irritating).

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  24. quirkywords
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    3 March 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello everyone,

    SN, yes I realise the difference between online and offline but there are many may people reading on the forum who never post and they would see you as very confidnet. Thats what I was trying to say . They would see you from a different perceptive.Ido understand the difference and how hard face it face can be.

    I just find if I see my inner critic as a bully I can sometimes stand up to it. I suppose like Nat I write and talk to mine so I make it less internal. SN have you ever written to your critic?

    I really appreciate your contributions to mythread.thanks.

    Nat,thanks foryour comment. I liked the way you put IC in its place. I was in a different shop the other day and I was waiting in the wrong place. No one told me and watched everyone getting served until I realised and I felt very silly. Critic said how silly I was that I couldn't even go shopping in a corner store!

    Like you on the phoneI either can't get my thoughts together or I rave on nervously .I told you I am queen of sorry no offer apologise to inanimate objects when I bump into them!!

    At the moment my critic I feel is siting to jump on me about things they have gone wrong recently so while I amclam now I am waiting- how weird is that.

    Quirky

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  25. startingnew
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    3 March 2018

    hi everyone

    sorry Quirky, i read back and that last post sounded horrible even though it wasnt intended that way.

    ill respond abit more tomorrow when i can gather my thoughts better

    xox

  26. quirkywords
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    4 March 2018 in reply to startingnew

    Sn

    no need to apologise I liked your last post, Try not to be critical of yourself. You write and express yourself so ell.

    Quirky

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  27. Moonstruck
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    4 March 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    I thought I had silenced my Inner Critic...as I have been doing my best and coping quite well (I thought) considering the sadness and pain that sometimes overwhelms me.....but today is a Sunday and I have no commitments today. I "could" go into the town centre and get a few things, fill in some hours. I "could" go for a walk to the beach, or even a swim.

    It's terribly terribly hot and humid. Walking in the heat will not be pleasant and there'll be heaps of people at the beach on a weekend...I much prefer weekdays. I have anaemia at present and get extremely tired. Especially in the heat. I have had a busy week and I am actually very very tired. I would much prefer to lie under a fan and read some books/mags I am looking forward to. Or..I could watch a favourite DVD. these are things I would "like"to do today.

    So now...my Inner Critic is having a great time, shouting first in one ear, then the other "Look at yourself, you need some exercise, get out there in the sunshine, you're so lucky to have the beach so close, why are you wasting your day lying around in the house...you lazy thing! You can read at night before you go to sleep...you can watch that crap on TV any time....surely there must be something constructive you can do with your time? You're just using that anaemia thing as an excuse! So what if you're coming out in tiny bruises here and there...they are probably just "age spots"...you are getting on in years you know!!! You have to keep moving, just lying around resting is not helping to strengthen your muscles, joints etc. (I am actually doing regular Pilates classes which have been very strengthening and I've achieved a lot there....but Inner Critic seems to forget that!)

    So how do I spend the rest of the day doing what I want (which is nothing much) .and not feel guilty?? Any clues Quirky?

  28. quirkywords
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    5 March 2018 in reply to Moonstruck

    Moon,

    I replied hours ago, but the reply was lost as I was on a bus and the internet faded.

    I am now curious what you did . I do hope you ignored your inner critic and had a well deserved rest and watched TV or read a book.

    I am queen of feeling guilty but really what is wrong with a rest . I would have told your critic off and sent it to the naughty corner it's no sweets.

    Quirky

  29. quirkywords
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    7 March 2018 in reply to Moonstruck

    What happens when you agree with your inner critic ?

    At the moment i feel like I have been a bad friend to someone (offline) who was helping me even though she was not well and now I feel I let her down by being selfish.

    I thought she was better, she was acting better, and offered practical help. I knew she had many issues and was fragile but I let her help me. Even now she still wants to be there for me which makes me doubly guilty as I am ok.

    Now she tells me how she is near meltdown and of course inner critic and I agree I have been self absorbed , have let her down,and did not see the signs.

    So when my inner critic tells me I am a bad friend and a selfish human I agree.

    I hope this makes sense as I did not want to go into lots of details. My friend had other things going on in her life that triggered her illness but of course I feel guilty for her helping me.

    This thread has been about talking to the inner critic, even telling it off, but what happens when I agree.

    If anyone has any ideas or input that would help me.

    Quirky

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  30. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
    3557 posts
    8 March 2018 in reply to quirkywords

    Hi Quirky,

    I completely get you here. Yesterday's session at the psych was about feeling guilty and self absorbed and selfish.

    Lately I've considered ending my therapy because I'm worried I am becoming self absorbed to the expense of my relationships with my family and friends. When we make our needs a priority it means some of the energy we would usually invest in others is given to ourselves instead.

    I'm kind of in this constant state of feeling like I let people down. The guilt is enormous.

    The psych asked me to think about if my response was over critical. That perhaps I needed to be more vocal about what I had to offer in the first place. And to be more forgiving of myself.

    I may not know how to change my feelings but his suggestion to be vocal is something I can and have been trying to do. It shuts my critic up a little because I can say I am doing what I can and others are aware of it.

    I'm trying to tell people in advance when I just don't have much to give. Like sending a text letting friends I would usually catch up with weekly that I will have to do every second week because of all the house selling and school commitments snowing me under.

    They understood but also it helped me to feel less guilty. They know I care and will make time for them but also that at this current moment I am so busy that if I try meet everyones needs I will exhaust myself.

    With your friend maybe it could be easier on you to have a conversation every fornight so they know you do care for them but are just caught up with your own responsibilities right now.

    What do you think? I think you're a good friend Quirky and are being very hard on yourself. Give it a rest Quirky's critic!

    ❤ Nat

    1 person found this helpful

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