Inner Critic Work


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Inner voices and the inner critic are the focus of my recovery now.

Pixabay johnhain

Old habits like self shaming, having a critical relationship with myself, and self sabotage are at the core of my PTSD.

Simple phrases like, We are mature now, We are safe, We are worthy, We are loved, calm the wounded child.

I was abused in childhood not flawed, not unworthy, and not damaged at my core.

After a week of work on my inner voices, glimpses of value and acceptance have appeared.

With all the healing work done in the last decade, my inner critic is the piece that fuels my PTSD.

Worthlessness springs from these inner voices, they are the culprit.

On my healing journey, I improved in small increments, using many therapies and techniques.

Childhood PTSD presents the greatest trauma challenge for a therapist, it is not a single event that happened after the brain developed.

Childhood Trauma is like an octopus entwined around our brain development, looking from the inside it is hard for us to determine what is mind and what is trauma.

Our inner critic is formed before we become aware, before some parts of the brain develop to handle trauma efficiently.

The inner critic is part of us, so we need to soothe him and make him safe and secure first.

This is the way out of survivor mode.

Thoughts?
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Quieting the Inner Critic in Complex PTSD

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FEBRUARY 14, 2019 TRACI POWELL

Complex PTSD involves a strong inner critic that presents a great challenge to recovery. Learn to manage PTSD’s inner critic to decrease emotional flashbacks at HealthyPlace.

One of the greatest challenges of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is quieting the inner critic. The critic develops as a result of a neglectful or abusive home in which caregivers do not provide a sense of safe attachment in the child. Many children in this situation will enact perfectionist mode, believing if they could just be good enough or do things well enough, they can prove their worth and earn parental love. However, over time, as perfectionism fails to create the bond the child so desperately needs, anxiety and sadness build in the child.

As anxiety grows due to failed attempts at perfection, the inner critic finds its voice. The child begins to search for all of the ways he or she is flawed, becomes hyper self-critical and takes on the blame of the parent’s lack of affection. The critic can become even worse when the abusive environment includes constant berating about the child’s stupidity or worthlessness.

Eventually, the child believes emphatically that he or she is inherently faulty. Still needing parental love, a cycle begins of perfectionism to win over the parents followed by severe self-criticism. As perfection continues to fail, over time, perceived imperfection becomes deeply attached to fear and shame.

How the Inner Critic of Complex PTSD Causes Emotional Flashbacks

My childhood was filled with people who were wounded people themselves and therefore completely unable to provide me with a sense of safety and love. I took the perfectionist route, which not only didn’t make my family treat me better but instead resulted in ridicule or physical harm. Eventually, I connected doing good with being very bad, but I just continued to work harder at perfection to prove my worth.

Now, I have a very present inner critic. For a long time, I shamed myself for every little or big mistake, which would result in me making choices that were not healthy because I was angry at myself for what I felt was me not being good enough. I still struggle to ignore my inner critic at times. It loves to tell me how worthless and imperfect I am, which leads to me emotionally flashing back to the days when I felt that way all of the time. Once my inner critic takes charge of my thinking, I can spiral quickly into depression and anxiety.

Silence Your Inner Critic to Manage Complex PTSD

Because your inner critic is so closely tied to the feelings of worthlessness you had as a child, it’s important to stop it as soon as possible. One of the best defenses against the inner critic is to fight back with positive thoughts. If you can move quickly to identify the inner critic thought and replace it with a new positive one, you can head off a spiral down into an emotional flashback.

Take note of situations in which your inner critic most often comes out. For me, it almost always happens if I’m taking a class because school was where I always tried the hardest to prove my worth. Even if I were to receive 99 percent on a paper, I would instantly start beating myself up over the missed point that kept me from receiving a perfect score. That little one point has caused my inner critic to lead me down into emotional flashbacks so badly that I quit a class, believing I had no right to participate.

Now, whether it’s a class or anything else in life, I do my best to fight the critic and give myself credit for the part that I did right. This helps the abused little girl in me to feel it’s ok to not be perfect.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to find anything positive when the inner critic has already sent you into a flashback. To be prepared for such situations, take time to create a list of some of your positive qualities and accomplishments, no matter how small. This list can act as a constant reminder to the adult you that you are a worthy individual, helping you battle the emotional flashback. As you learn to interrupt your inner critic, you’ll begin to be on your own side and teach the child within you to know that he or she has value.

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My two cents: This is a huge issue for me, my inner voice fuels unworthiness.

My new focus is to damper this demon.

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Poll: Millions in US struggle through life with few to trust By ALEXANDRA OLSON

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/14144186320715568/

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June, 10, 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — Karen Glidden’s loneliness became unbearable during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 72-year-old widow, who suffers from vision loss and diabetes and lives far from any relatives, barely left her house in Champion, Michigan, this past year, for fear of contracting the virus. Finally vaccinated, she was looking forward to venturing out when her beloved service dog died last month.

It doesn’t help that her circle of trusted friends has dwindled to one neighbor she counts on to help her shop, get to the doctor and hang out.

“I feel like I’m in a prison most of the time and once in a while, I get to go out,” said Glidden, whose adult children live in California and Hawaii, where she was born and raised.

She is not alone in her sense of social isolation.

Millions of Americans are struggling through life with few people they can trust for personal and professional help, a disconnect that raises a key barrier to recovery from the social, emotional and economic fallout of the pandemic, according to a new a poll from The Impact Genome Project and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The poll finds 18% of U.S. adults, or about 46 million people, say they have just one person or nobody they can trust for help in their personal lives, such as emergency child care needs, a ride to the airport or support when they fall sick. And 28% say they have just one person or nobody they can trust to help draft a resume, connect to an employer or navigate workplace challenges.

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A rerun: 5 Ways Anger is Not Like Other Emotions By Jonice Webb

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/21462535715145928/

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Anger is not just any old emotion. It’s special.

In fact, it’s so special that a 2017 survey by the Mental Health Foundation of 2000 people found that 28% are sometimes worried about the level of anger that they feel.

First, let’s outline what makes anger different from other emotions, and then we’ll talk about how you can use this information to become happier and healthier in your life.

* It’s Motivating: Anger’s purpose is to push you to protect yourself. Anger gives you energy. It’s activating, and it drives you to engage, not withdraw, as most other emotions do.

* It Never Stands Alone: Anger is always a result of feeling something else. You feel hurt, marginalized, overlooked, targeted, mistreated or vulnerable. Anger isn’t just an emotion, it’s a constellation of emotions. There are always layers of feelings underneath it, feeding it.

* It Seeks a Target: Other emotions can simply be. Anger cannot. Like an arrow shot from the bow, it looks for a target. This is what makes anger so easy to misdirect. It may erupt at the wrong person, in the wrong way and at the wrong time so very easily.

* It Can Be Turned Inward or Outward: Sometimes directing our anger at its true target can be acutely uncomfortable, and sometimes we aren’t aware of the true target. This is when we are at risk for turning our anger inward, directing it at ourselves.

* It’s Capable of Damaging Your Health: Research has shown that anger prone individuals and people who express their anger as rage are more at risk for heart attacks and cancer.

Anger is a powerful, protective, complex emotion.

Yes, it has potential to do great damage.

But used properly, it also has potential to help you mightily.“

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My two cents: My PTSD emotions have changed while trying to heal.

At first fear and anxiety ruled my life, erupting triggers overpowered any cognitive defense.

Anger was rarely used until I calmed my triggers exploding, not until the fear subsided did my resentment and anger surface.

When I am suffering, resentment and anger want a prominent place in my thoughts.

It is the daily ongoing battle of PTSD , the war that I have been waging since childhood.

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Orphan Triplets: separated by class then studied

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/1055599892591489/

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My rational mind has no understanding why a certain traumatic event carries such power and fear.

My rational mind has no control over when and how intense PTSD will erupt or last. All I know is my effort to heal this out of control demon.

The irrational, PTSD part of my mind, runs without input from my rational, cognitive side of my brain.

Cognitively, I know normal people are able to let past memories go and move on.

I understand trauma is stored as implicit memory in the right amygdala and also in the body.

The consequences of these mechanisms changes life forever.

The differences between self image, thought patterns, levels of cortisol, anxiety, fear of people, and trust is massive.

The difference between a severely abused child’s life and one who is supported is drastic.

They have taken orphaned triplets in England and placed them in different households to study the impact of childhood. Some were sent to different economic conditions , one poor, one average and one well to do.

They did not tell the kids or adoptive parents what they were doing. This was a study on the influence of class on kids.

The nurturing of the kids was more important than class. A poor foster dad who was devoted to his kid turned out fine.

These researchers were playing God. The kids met in there 40’s, not knowing they had two other twins.

One of the kids placed in a rich home committed suicide, so class is not the only factor.

It’s between biology and nurturing that decides what life will be.

In today’s environment I doubt if you could do such a study again, playing with life for science.

In real life, birth is the ultimate lottery ticket.

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My moods shift, ptsd ignites again

Pixabay: pixel2013

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This is my mood right now, by noon it will shift, by six another emotion will rule, life is a struggle, it is painful.

It took me 8 years of intense therapy and meditation to calm all my PTSD symptoms. I was not completely healed but life was good for two years.

I meditated five hours a day for five years, went to weekly therapy, read everything on therapy, trauma, meditation, mindfulness and many spiritual or holistic healers..

It was the only two year period of relief in my life.

Now an old trauma ignited my childhood abuse, my PTSD has fired up again.

I thought it was dead, thought I beat it.

Ten years of work, how can it regenerate like this?

I have not given up but I have lost hope of ever healing, now.

Many people have spoken to me, when they had no response for my old trauma, they said bad shit happens.

It’s like that makes it ok or something, many people suffer the rest of their life after bad shit happening.

Always those without childhood abuse say just move on, it is simple, easy for them.

People are clueless and do more harm, friendships end.

I search and find something new, pour my heart into it, get momentary relief, then trauma eats my ass up again.

No matter how much some of us work, healing will likely never happen.

Sometimes hiking I wish I could just keep going deep in the woods, hike right off this damn planet, be free of what people have done to me.

I wish the pain would stop.

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PTSD: what havoc has a year of Quarantine produced?

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Having a compromised immune system, contracting covid could of been fatal for me. I have already experienced two viral immune diseases, chronic fatigue and guillian beret, actually being paralyzed for three months.

With Covid, people presented a real danger to my health, combine that with my irrational childhood triggers, and you have a big mess.

In a way quarantine was the symptom of avoidance being enforced culturally. Since my PTSD erupted over a decade ago, some form of avoidance has always been present.

At my low points avoidance turned into agoraphobia. Now, I am close to agoraphobic again.

Five months into this quarantine an old trauma broke loose and entered my consciousness, my dormant childhood PTSD fired back up.

I enjoyed an almost symptom free period of two plus years. Yes I thought total healing was possible. Now I am at a low point again.

Childhood PTSD presents a calculation for every social situation, risk versus reward, suffering versus wellbeing.

There is no clear cut answer, no right thing to do. Therapy says we need community, attachment, I rarely have felt either.

Some risks turn into damage and suffering, some turn into a pleasant experience.

All risk contains anxiety and suffering for me. Many risks have turned out badly and made further risks unlikely.

My daughter is disappointed that her father, the type A driver, the highly motivated and active man has disappeared.

I am wondering how I kept pushing through my trauma, how I persevered in the midst of emotional turmoil.

It’s hard when we do not live up to expectations from those around us.

I feel shame for how compromised PTSD has made my life, my behavior.

Enjoying life is so far out of reach, I would plead just to be out of suffering.

In the midst of all this, I am venturing out today, going to the coast with a friend, to an aquarium.

Exposure therapy was over for me years ago, now life repeats itself.

Childhood trauma is the gift that keeps on giving, it never dies.

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Childhood PTSD: Desire rarely outweighs risk

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My childhood PTSD, the last decade plus of suffering, depression and agoraphobia has negatively impacted my life. My triggers exploding, the fear of those triggers firing doused any desire to be around strangers, crowds or people.

For a couple years, I could not handle leaving the house, childhood trauma had destroyed my life. My mind became my greatest enemy, I suffered, that’s when my therapist raised my antidepressant to five time the normal dose.

I was on 350 milligrams of Effexor, 75 was the normal dose. After moving to another state, every doctor I crossed thought my Effexor dosage was close to malpractice. A prescribing PhD. Psychologist wrote the script.

For me, I have never felt anything but side effects from antidepressants. I knew a pill would never heal childhood abuse.

Normal life was a thing of the past, all my effort was to stop the pain, anxiety and triggers from firing. Being around people became impossible to navigate, I was part vegetable with uncontrollable fear, my nervous system erupted when it wanted.

Desire receded, taking risks was inconceivable, each day felt like a week. It was easy to see why some committed suicide. For me, my father would win, so suicide would never happen.

Now, there is no geographical destination or event I have any interest in seeing. Desire changed for me, I found a way to exist needing very, very little.

Keeping my life calm is far more important than taking risks around people.

I am not lonely, not bored, and not a victim.

I am frustrated after a decade of intense therapy and practice.

Healing seems so far out of my reach, I will be long dead and buried.

I have overcome chronic pain, guillian beret and chronic fatigue, so my willpower and courage are proven.

Saying that, childhood PTSD resists all my concerted efforts.

What percentage heal from serious childhood abuse?

The ACE study says we suffer and die early not heal.

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Childhood PTSD lasts a lifetime

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My childhood PTSD has three heads, the first deals with the consequences, subconscious and overt over my lifetime, the second encompasses all the therapy and effort trying to heal and lastly the effort to function in this present moment.

The second phase of trying to heal from childhood abuse did not start until my mid 50’s. My father considered therapy a sign of weakness. The main reason: I had no idea something needed fixed, no clue PTSD was an issue.

When my PTSD exploded in my mid 50’s, trying to heal consumed all my energy and focus. My trauma was living under the radar, in my subconscious, until a family crisis set it loose.

On the healing path, the consequences of PTSD are numerous. I can give you examples where my life was devastated by traumas curse. Our memory, our past haunts us, it is cloudy and confusing and extremely scary.

It never totally disappears and has a habit of exploding when stress visits me.

Now my time is spent trying to function in this present moment. Life is a minefield, mood changes and triggers abound.

Life has never been free for me, always guarded, PTSD changed my personality and wellbeing.

There is no celebration over what I have overcome. Shame, humiliation, physical harm and unworthiness are the gifts childhood trauma gave to me.

If you are looking for a storybook ending, childhood trauma is the wrong place to search. From the Adverse Childhood Experiences, we have more cancer, addictions, suicides, chronic diseases, other mental disorders and early death.

We are not normal. I feel that to my very core.

Ask any abused kid if he would want to experience childhood again or the life after it.

I am not alone, life does not feel safe for some of us, we do not trust people.

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I am an ACE kid: Adverse Childhood Experiences (https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/about.html)

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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/13581236366457321/

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I am in the midst of new understandings about my inner world.

Yesterday at the podiatrist my blood pressure was somewhat high.

My reaction brought a shift. I always thought any physical flaws or body disabilities were a weakness, my failure.

For the first time, I felt no guilt since childhood.

My father’s demand for perfection, subconsciously manifested in feeling guilt with any flaws.

So much of my angst and anxiety emanated from these subconscious judgments.

My mother was strict catholic, guilt was her weapon of choice, my atheist father wanted a superstar, he used criticism and violence to enforce his demands.

It sounds embarrassing for a grown man to say, for the first time I have no guilt for having high blood pressure.

Funny, I had some resistance writing that from inside, a queasiness of sorts.

Remember, let the narrative go, feel the body sensations, be present, let go.

What a journey lately a for this old man.

Any thoughts?

All of you out there have subconscious judgments that influence present behavior.

For me, I am an Ace kid, Adverse Childhood Experiences (https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/about.html).

Severely abused as a kid, my body has contracted chronic fatigue and guillian beret, two viral, immune deficient diseases.

So we get sick more, suffer more and die younger.

That’s what childhood abuse does to us.

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