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Symptoms => Six Major Symptoms => NSC - Negative Self-Concept (eg Inner Critic, Shame, Perfectionism) => Topic started by: Kizzie on September 25, 2015, 09:35:12 PM

Title: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Kizzie on September 25, 2015, 09:35:12 PM
According to Pete Walker: 

The Inner Critic... is typically spawned in a danger-laden childhood home. When parents do not provide safe enough bonding and attachment, the child flounders in abandonment fear and depression. Many children appear to be hard-wired to adapt to this endangering abandonment with perfectionism. This is true for both the passive abandonment of neglect and the active abandonment of abuse. A prevailing climate of danger forces the maturing superego to cultivate the various psychodynamics of perfectionism and endangerment listed at the end of this article. When anxious perfectionist efforting, however, fails over and over to render the parents safe and loving, the inner critic becomes increasingly hypervigilant and hostile in its striving to ferret out the shortcomings that seemingly alienate the parents. Like the soldier overlong in combat, PTSD sets in and locks the child into hypervigilance and excessive sympathetic nervous system arousal. Desperate to relieve the anxiety and depression of abandonment, the critic-driven child searches the present, and the future, for all the ways he is too much or not enough. The child’s nascent ego finds no room to develop and her identity virtually becomes the superego. In the process, the critic often becomes virulent and eventually switches to the first person when goading the child: “I’m such a loser. I’m so pathetic… bad... ugly…worthless…stupid...defective”.   (Reference: http://pete-walker.com/shrinkingInnerCritic.htm)

The Outer Critic projects onto others the same processes of perfectionism and endangerment that the inner critic uses against the self. It perseverates about the unworthiness [imperfection] and treacherousness [dangerousness] of others to avoid emotional investment in relationships for fear they will replicate early parental betrayals.   (Reference: http://pete-walker.com/pdf/ShrinkingOuterCritic.pdf)

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Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Boatsetsailrose on November 14, 2015, 08:32:32 PM
Thank you for posting this kizzie
Is very helpful and supportive
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Kizzie on February 02, 2016, 06:49:12 PM
When you find your self criticizing your self, stop...
Ask the critic-in-you what it's so afraid of...
Then do what you can to help this old and frightened part feel safe enough to be comfortable
with you being just how you are being right now!

By Robyn Posin - http://forthelittleonesinside.com/
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: SugarPuff on March 25, 2016, 04:23:26 PM
Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. I only learned about CPTSD last night, so I'm new to my self-discovery on this stuff too. I read what you wrote here and started crying. It's like you were describing exactly what goes on in my head all the time. It feels so good to know I'm not weird or alone on this, and it really helps me understand and start accepting myself better. Thank you so much.
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Kizzie on March 25, 2016, 04:54:38 PM
You are most definitely not weird (what you are experiencing are symptoms common to CPTSD, not character defects, weaknesses, or crazy parts), and you most certainly not alone any more.   :hug: to you SugarPuff and welcome to OOTS.
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: SugarPuff on March 26, 2016, 12:40:50 AM
Thank you so much, Kizzie! And a :hug: back! It's so overwhelming but such a huge relief to have found this information! I've always felt that I'm crazy and somehow innately different and weird and just "bad". Finding that CPTSD exists, and is pretty much my definition, helps me feel like it might be okay to try to not hate myself so much! And that maybe I don't have to be so scared of other people "finding out the real me" (even though I've never been able to figure out what that actually means in my head haha) and hating or being disgusted by me!

Also thank you so much for replying and welcoming me! It's such a relief that I'm not the only one who has thoughts and feelings like these!
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Jdog on March 26, 2016, 03:38:39 AM
Welcome to our forum, Sugarpuff!  You are not alone and we are glad to have you with us here.  Please post as often as you would like, and know that your presence helps others here as well.
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: SugarPuff on March 26, 2016, 11:16:09 PM
Thanks Jdog! I really appreciate the welcome and it's really nice to think I could help people too! I'm so glad I found this place! It feels like a home haha, I feel like I finally have a place where people understand me! I'm sure I'll start posting more regularly soon I'm just taking in my surroundings right now! :) I really appreciate how nice everyone is here!
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: MalovaFarms on May 30, 2016, 04:48:37 AM
Hi New to this forum and site and so thankful to be here! :thumbup:
I was professionally diagnosed a few years back with CPTSD but I ironically I overlooked it because it came with a lot of other notes in the column at the time of my hospitalization.. I remember borderline with a huge ?(and after dating a BPD I definitely can self relate that I am not lol) and of course was suffering from major depression.. I wish I had really been pointed in the way of understanding CPSTD , it could of saved me some even more years of nasty self criticism! I took mental health in as not being 'strong' enough,  was constantly told in my life that I was and am "too sensitive" and yet I always was so hard on myself when all I had to do was just look at the family history, the traumatic events and emotional- physical- sexual abuse  that I had suffered in my life to really step back and realize I did the best I could do and that because of these events.. many of them or maybe all of them of which I had no control over ...that I would unfortunately and inevitably develop symptoms. I am becoming more aware of the self critic.. I know where she comes from now- who's voices she's using now and id like to desperately help her.. but I am also learning to be gently aware at first that she's there.. that it doesn't mean I hate myself, and that I can observe her for now in response to how I run my life. I am a chronic people pleaser .. I have constantly put others needs before my own. I also ask very little in return, I feel very strange receiving things or treating myself to nice life situations.. I am learning.. I just moved into a way nicer rental than my previous place (outhouse and 320 sq feet lol !)  and it was interesting to watch my inner voice almost feel undeserving and guilty of a basic but good place to call home.  anyways, glad to be here !
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: tea-the-artist on September 28, 2016, 05:36:04 PM
When you find your self criticizing your self, stop...
Ask the critic-in-you what it's so afraid of...
Then do what you can to help this old and frightened part feel safe enough to be comfortable
with you being just how you are being right now!

By Robyn Posin - http://forthelittleonesinside.com/

this is interesting. I had only read about it sometime last week, and correct me if I'm wrong but this sounds like self-compassion? the sort of way of treating yourself as you'd treat a friend who would be feeling this soft of way.
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Kizzie on September 28, 2016, 10:09:01 PM
I think you're right Tea  :yes:  it is about self-compassion. I always find it interesting that it's easier (for me at least) to be compassionate towards others but I had/have a difficult time being that way with myself.  Something else interesting is that the more self-compassionate I become, the more compassionate I become with others.  Why it doesn't quite work the same way in reverse I don't know  :Idunno:
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: tea-the-artist on September 29, 2016, 06:41:54 PM
oh gosh I have somewhat the same thing! verbally, I'm not so good, but texting/messaging others compassion comes so easily to me. in my heart I know folks don't deserve the pain they're going through. but my heart seems to be confused when it comes to my own situation. :blink: whenever I try to say it out loud or even think any compassionate thoughts, I feel really emotional and start to cry. it's very confusing :stars:
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Jdog on September 30, 2016, 11:09:36 AM
Tea-

I know what you mean.  I am a high school teacher and it struck me this week that my students appear to trust me when I tell them it's ok to make mistakes and that I am there to them learn and grow.  My inner child has great difficulty believing that truth from adult me, however.  I think the little one inside has been let down many times and it is only with much patience and repeated good treatment (along with good boundaries) that trust will be built.  So puzzling, but a job well worth doing.
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Kizzie on September 30, 2016, 08:25:06 PM
Couldn't agree more Jdog about a job worth doing  :thumbup:
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: shoshannah on April 25, 2017, 03:39:10 PM
Wow... after reading the link that  Kizzie posted about shrinking the outer critic I think my mind is blown...

I have friends and an amazing boyfriend but a part of me doesn't really feel comfortable or feel really connected to them....the "thought substitution" part seems like an amazing activity to try to help me feel like they are actually my friends and my boyfriend, not just distant people I spend all my time with.

Whew, thank you for posting i'm gonna go rethink my entire life now (haha)

xo -Shoshie
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Elphanigh on October 26, 2017, 10:22:34 PM
Finally finding this post, as I am starting to want to comabt my overactive inner critic. I read Pete Walkers description, and as I got to the list at the end I realized I can make a check mark for basically every single behavior. No wonder, this is such a strong struggle right now.

Thank you for these resources Kizzie!
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Kizzie on October 28, 2017, 03:50:02 PM
 :thumbup:  and   :hug:
Title: Re: Information about the Inner & Outer Critic
Post by: Gwyon on October 28, 2017, 05:11:27 PM
Re the inner critic and self-compassion...

This has been an epic struggle for me as well. I'm getting some traction with the idea of holding myself with the same unconditional love that I hold my own son. I visualize that child-self at 6mo's old or so and think: "This child was born whole and sound and deserving of love. I will treat him with the same love, care, and protectiveness of a father to his own son".  When I can truly give myself over and believe this idea, it is incredibly powerful and healing.  But it is not easy, as we all know so well how hard it is for us to feel deserving of such love.  I have been committing myself intensely to this idea of self-compassion ("Radical Acceptance", as Tara Brach says it) for well over a year now (yet another layer of healing following decades of work).  And it is only now that I have moments of truly feeling it. I sense that this is the true path, and that I have a long journey ahead as well.

Kindly,
andrew