Inner Critic Blues

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bring em all in

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Inner Critic Blues
« on: December 28, 2016, 06:13:51 PM »
I met with my therapist today and we spoke at length about my inner critic. As a child I've absorbed messages from my parents and school bullies that I have internalized. These days I often respond to others as though they are repeating these negative messages. Sometimes they really are, but other times I'm viewing what they say through the prism of my inner critic- the one who says I am  ugly, mentally and socially defective, and who tells me the world is never a safe place and I can never let my guard down.

I'm reading about the inner critic in Pete Walker's book. My therapist says getting through to the inner critic can take a long time. How many of you have managed to alter/negate the inner critic? How long did it take-or is it ever really silenced?

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woodsgnome

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Re: Inner Critic Blues
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2016, 08:17:31 PM »
Bring em all in wrote: "I met with my therapist today and we spoke at length about my inner critic. As a child I've absorbed messages from my parents and school bullies that I have internalized."

That's 2 of us, or should I say 4, as that very issue arose during my last therapy session. I'm beginning to alter how I deal with this, but it's been a long, slow process to tackle those inner critic blues.

I've tried and tried and tried various things, but nothing seemed to change. As you say, I still have interpersonal breakdowns which are a result of my seeing people through the wrong prism, as if I'm back in abusive patterns set in place by parents, siblings, bullies, and teachers long ago.

Everyone's unique, and I'm still working this out, but I'll share a couple of things I'm trying. First is just acceptance that the ic is along for the ride, and if so I can lessen its influence. Not by ignoring it totally, and especially not by going to war with it (violent metaphors always rub me the wrong way, anyway--I end up feeling worse, not better).

While I accept the icr's presence, I can lessen its importance, by as simple a process of never referring to it using upper-case letters. This may sound silly but just doing that--taking away its 'title'--lessens its importance. Yes, it's a word game, but it lessens the icr's importance in my eyes, and hopefully in its...depersonalizes it, maybe? So while I refer to the inner child as ICh, the critic demon doesn't even get the honour of capital letters.

If I still visualize it, I'll just picture it as being without its disguise; rather as someone I'd choose not to listen to. I visualize it without its sly costume as just an ordinary, yucky, grimy, slimy-looking green monsterish gremlin--amusing but listen to him...who would want to listen to that?

Something else my therapist has stressed is just to yell (internally in public, vocally if alone) at the beast and just utter, "shut up!" (for starters).

Back to acceptance--that might seem counterproductive at first glance. For me, though, it lessens the stress at trying to defeat the silly dolt. What I'd rather do is defuse it for sure, but not disable it to where it would be riled up to the point of retaliating. While not ignoring it, I humour it, so to speak.

I haven't fully negated the icr by this, but I have altered my internal response, making it more about defusing than totally defeating it. Maybe old icr gremlin will take the hint and back off, realize its course in influencing my life is winding down, if not expired. Hmm...as I typed that word 'expired', another image came to mind; I can consider that its harsh influence in my life is way beyond its expiration date. It's rotten and past its shelf life. I already have its replacement--my soul.

All this might sound out-of-the-box, but it's appealing to me, as i spent so many years in the box of conforming to what wasn't working.

I'm wishing you well as you continue to sort this residue out of the system.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 08:31:53 PM by woodsgnome »

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bring em all in

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Re: Inner Critic Blues
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2017, 09:13:24 PM »
Thanks, woodsgnome! I refer to the inner critic in lowercase letters also except in titles, such as subject. Pete Walker's book emphasizes the need to get angry with the inner critic and shout it down or tell it to "shut up." I'm making the effort but the inner critic tends to be many steps ahead of me in most situations and by the time I realize it has taken the wheel I'm several miles down the road. I'm hoping to get better at recognizing when the inner critic is trying to "carjack" me and take steps to leave it behind.

It's hard when the inner critic has deeply engraved such negative self-beliefs and perceptions about the world. Overcoming the ic's insistence that what it says is true and there's nothing I can do will be my first task. Two weeks from now I'm starting a series of sessions with a therapist of EFT that supposedly has yielded considerable results in treating PTSD and many other physical and emotional issues.

I'll keep the forums updated on my experiences with EFT. It sounds like New Age BS, but scientific studies have attested to its effectiveness so I'll give it a try.

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Joeybird

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Re: Inner Critic Blues
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2017, 11:03:30 PM »
Had a nasty run in with my inner critic last night. I'm having a flare-up because of some recent stuff. I was in a car accident -- no one hurt, bu I couldn't afford to fix my car. I'm 70, and began thinking of all the fender benders I've had in the last six month, the trouble parking and staying in my lane all the time. The truck I ran into that popped off my passenger side mirror. You get the idea -- there are more. My driving has become more and more erratic, and after talking with my therapist, decided now would be a good time to stop driving.

I'm used to going out every day for lunch -- it's only been two days since the car has been gone. It's okay -- I had some good stuff delivered, and am sharing that with my parrot. Still, this will be a big adjustment. Luckily, there are a lot of transportation options for seniors who don't drive. My daughter was happy to hear my decision, because she had been worried about my driving.

Anyway, I was having ups and downs while I was waiting to sell my car -- it was drivable, so I still went out every day, but not far at all.

So last night I went to bed, and woke up at four. My inner critic was in attack mode, and my thoughts got all jumbled. Kept telling myself I needed to get out of bed, but it took a while to act on that. I made myself a cup of tea, and read for a while. It calmed me down, and after an hour or so I went back to bed and fell asleep.

My parents were very critical, and some of the things that they were critical about turned into nasty abuse. They never stopped, either. When my father died, and it was just my mother, I dealt with it by refusing to go anywhere alone with her. She was nice when other people were around.

But I couldn't avoid her completely, and during her last rational conversation with me, before the Alzheimer's took her mind, was all about her talking about my whole life, and all the things that I had done wrong. We were waiting in the doctor's office, so I couldn't leave. I did tell her if she didn't stop I was going to sit on the other side of the room. She didn't stop and I moved. From then on, her caregiver at the board and care took her to doctor's appointments. I went, but kept my distance.

Enough about that. I'm glad that I found a way to calm myself down.