"How do you do, Outer Critic?"

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LittleBoat

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"How do you do, Outer Critic?"
« on: May 26, 2018, 02:00:34 PM »
I am reading Pete Walker's book, which is helping enormously with understanding my psyche, how it works, how what was once a form of self-preservation, is now  deeply maladaptive.  I've begun doing Walker's advised work on tackling the Inner Critic, doing well with it, and wouldn't you know, just as he says, as soon as you gain some control over the Inner Critic, the Outer Critic jumps in to take its place.  It's like they play some sort of tag team to keep me frozen (and yes, I am a Freeze type).  I honestly believe that I had some form of "bottoming out," last week, in an argument with my husband.  I was convinced he had seriously gaslit me, and by the end of the day, I was a crying/yelling/physically-stiffened mess, shouting that I didn't trust him, that I didn't trust anyone.  At that point I was convinced that Nobody was safe.  That Nobody had my back.  I felt alone and abandoned.  The next day, I realized that my "bottoming out" was the Outer Critic, introducing itself to me in a way it never had before.  It was virulent.  It blinded/blindsided me.  The feeling of abandonment it brought with it was most certainly an emotional memory.  Very visceral and very primal.  I then realized that, all my life, I've prided myself on recognizing a potentially problematic person or situation before others do, wondering how blind they could be to warnings that seemed so obvious to me.  I realized that I had been, all my life, easily triggered by little things that others could simply brush off.  The faintest impression I'd have of a slight, of a person not being perfectly polite and gentle and understanding made me close that person out of my life in a snap.  And I've lost friends and opportunities to my Outer Critic's demands for 100% fealty to me and my safety.  I'm realizing that I, indeed, have the capacity to examine someone down to basically a "pore level," seeking perfection.  But that no longer serves me.  So, "How do you do, Outer Critic?  I can see you now."  And now, after my "bottoming out," my grand introduction to the Outer Critic, as well as the Inner, a new level of healing can begin.  Wish me luck, folks.  --LittleBoat

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Kizzie

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Re: "How do you do, Outer Critic?"
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2018, 04:25:53 PM »
Good luck Little Boat (although it sounds like you're doing well with this :yes:)

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FrillyFarmGirl

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Re: "How do you do, Outer Critic?"
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2018, 06:02:02 PM »
Wow. As a relatively new person to this, I feel this is so eye opening and a bit challenging to let sink in. Thank you for sharing.

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LittleBoat

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Re: "How do you do, Outer Critic?"
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2018, 08:16:13 PM »
Wow. As a relatively new person to this, I feel this is so eye opening and a bit challenging to let sink in. Thank you for sharing.

Dear Frilly,
I'm so glad I could be instructive, here.  My background, which might explain things a bit:  I'm 57.  Been with therapists and psychiatrists since I was 23.  I was diagnosed with Major Depression, suicidality, and Anxiety Disorder for years.  Then, PTSD was added.  Then bi-polar.  I've been on various psychiatric drugs, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics most of my adult life.  I've tried whatever therapeutic modality was in vogue at the time:  Inner child work, EMDR, DBT (recommended for PTSD, not so much for C-PTSD); I've also been in and out of psychiatric institutions in the past seven years, and took classes and participated in group work while there.  I've also done a lot of spiritual/mindfulness work.  And I took it upon myself to read books about childhood trauma and child abuse when such books were considered controversial because I knew something was up with me and my family, without professionals telling me.  I diagnosed myself in the last year or two with C-PTSD, and my psychiatrist (who specializes in trauma) is going along with me.  C-PTSD is not yet recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, and therefore, I cannot be "officially" diagnosed with it.  But, wow!  When I discovered it, I felt like I had discovered the root of a LOT of my issues.  And, when I look back on my lifetime of treatments, I think I could have saved myself a lot of time and money, a lot of painful knocking around in the dark, with therapies that didn't quite work and drugs that are now causing me problems.  But I think all those years of practiced and constant self-examination made my awareness of what is going on inside myself easier and quicker to recognize.  I recommend Pete Walker's work.  I also recommend going very very slowly.  Chip away at it slowly.  Take good care of yourself.  --LittleBoat

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FrillyFarmGirl

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Re: "How do you do, Outer Critic?"
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2018, 09:18:04 PM »
Sometimes I just want to cry and scream at the "waste of time" chasing around solution after solution, feeling so lost and alone.... It is a crazy story how I ended up on this forum and finally finding a place to go for real help.

I am sorry to hear of anyone else, yourself included, how was even more deep into the various ways we get "helped" (not really) along the way.  :Idunno: :fallingbricks:

All the same, I am thankful for these answers. I know I will get to the book soon... Thanks for the comraderie and encouragement also, love and light back to you, LB.

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LilyITV

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Re: "How do you do, Outer Critic?"
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2019, 04:26:00 PM »
Bumping this thread up because now I'm at the point in my journey where I've been formally introduced to my Outer Critic.   I've spent the past eight months or so trying to contain my inner critic and now it seems my therapist thinks it's time for me to start battling the Outer Critic.   

I used to deny to myself that I didn't like certain people in my life and that they did things that annoyed me.  I kept my negative feelings about them to myself or I whitewashed what I actually felt.  Lately in therapy I've been feeling freer to fess up that deep down I do not like these people and wish they were out of my life completely.   Since I've opened up in this way, now my therapist seems to switched gears.

The following from Pete Walker is spot on when it comes to where I'm at with my Outer Critic.

Quote
Unfortunately, in early recovery the outer critic often seems to become worse, bigger, and stronger the more we notice and challenge it. We may even think we are
counterproductively stirring it up by daring to resist it. What is really happening however
is that we are experiencing an erosion of dissociation, which then provides us with a more
accurate perception of our psyche’s addiction to drasticizing and passing judgment.

My therapist is trying to get me to engage with the people I don't like instead of just cutting them off and avoiding them--something I very strongly want to do.  According to Pete Walker, this is characteristic of a Freeze type.   

With my husband, the Outer Critic sends me into Fawn mode.  Instead of sharing with him my true self and negative or upsetting feelings I may have, I think about his negative qualities and convince myself it's safer just to keep those feelings to myself.   

It took me a while to get my mind around the concept of an Outer Critic.  Now that it's time for me to face him, I think I am more terrified than I was at challenging the inner critic. 

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Anjulie

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Re: "How do you do, Outer Critic?"
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2019, 06:00:12 PM »
Dear LittleBoat,
thank you for sharing what was your history of therapies and diagnoses. I can relate a lot to it.

"But, wow!  When I discovered it, I felt like I had discovered the root of a LOT of my issues.  And, when I look back on my lifetime of treatments, I think I could have saved myself a lot of time and money, a lot of painful knocking around in the dark, with therapies that didn't quite work and drugs that are now causing me problems.  "
 :yeahthat: