Posts Tagged ‘inner critic’

Looking back on the Week


Description of this week: There is an internal war going on, battles are intermittent but intense.

My moods can switch instantly, the morose part brings many emotions, seemingly before thought even starts. Remember the defense mechanism fires immediately, the cognitive side is 5 seconds delayed.

PTSD triggers fire our defense mechanism, called our fight or flight mechanism. This is part of the mechanical, physical side of trauma. Think of that, a trigger fires before directed thought even knows what the hell just happened.

I have eliminated this repressed trauma three times, gaining some freedom for a few days, then it appears again. With my childhood trauma, once a piece was integrated, my improvement lasted.

So part of my day is good, part horrible and then the rest spent distracting my mind.

I have to play solitaire while I watch 📺 tv, it takes two things like this to prevent my mind from ruminating. Having chronic pain and being 69, I do not have the energy to go back to my workaholic distraction.

Much of my adult life, I see now, was spent working or being busy, overloaded to outrun what was chasing me. Spending time alone with my mind was avoided at all costs. Sound familiar?

Fear is not a big part of my PTSD lately, humiliation and shame are far more dangerous and debilitating.

Humiliation and shame have a huge impact on unworthiness.

Childhood abuse brings anxiety, fear and unworthiness at its core. Unworthiness and abandonment were my big fears as a child.

I was going to get beat severely no matter what.

I feared, but never cried, giving that son of a bitch (dad) any satisfaction.

Even as a little kid, there was a apart of me that would not let him think he could hurt me.

That’s hilarious now as he has stolen most of my adult life. I was using my only strength against him, sadly it was not enough.

It was the emotional crap that carried on inside. We all have strengths and weaknesses.

I can endure pain, unworthiness and shame are my weaknesses. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

For me going after the physical part of PTSD first, was using my strengths. I needed to take as much power away from PTSD before I attacked my weaknesses.

Common sense for me, comes from pro ball, how to improve and fill in your weaknesses.

It’s called the off season.



Compassion for our Inner Critic?



“You can learn to witness unpleasant thoughts and emotions with self-compassion, and even come to feel a certain amount of compassion for the inner critic (which often helps calm this eternal source of self-criticism).”

Living with your Heart Wide Open



My two cents: Have compassion for our inner critic, interesting!

I have been trying to murder my inner critic, at least cut his vocal cords.

Once again, surrendering to our fears is the correct path.

My human nature always wants to face, resist and fight off criticism, external or internal.

That has ended badly.

Now, I will adapt and build compassion for my inner critic.

New things are always awkward at first.



Childhood Trauma and Your Inner Critic—and What to Do By Darius Cikanavicius, Author, Certified Coach



What Is an Inner Critic?

We all have at least one inner voice that is popularly called an inner critic. It’s a part of our personality that constantly criticizes, ridicules, berates, abuses, or even sabotages us. In some cases it is so bad that it can drive the person crazy, literally.

“Why do you even think you can find a better job? You think you deserve better? You don’t. You deserve what you have. You can fool yourself and try, but you know that you’re going to fail anyway. You always fail. You’re such a loser.”

“Okay, so you like this person and would like to talk to them. What makes you think they will like you? You’re so weird and stupid, why would they even consider talking to you? There’s nothing likeable about you.”

“Why would you even say that? Now the person thinks you’re a moron. You’re so dumb. Like, really dumb. There’s something wrong with your brain. You should just lock yourself inside and never talk to another person again because you just humiliate yourself every time you open your mouth. You’re such a disappointment. Why do you even bother trying.”

“The reason you feel ‘toxic shame and guilt,’ as you call it, is because you should feel like shit. You are shit. You deserve it… So what if people do things you don’t like? People make mistakes. They are human too. You think everyone who makes you feel bad is an ‘abuser.’ Stop being so sensitive. They did the best they could. And if they sometimes treated you badly, you probably deserved it by being so annoying and difficult. Maybe you’re the real abuser here.”

The Origins of the Inner Critic and Its Relation to Trauma

While we all have an inner critic, and the severity of its presence varies from person to person, its existence is not natural. It’s not natural in the sense that we are not born with an innate drive to self-abuse and be overly, unreasonably self-critical.

Then the question is: where does an inner critic come from?

When we are children, people treat us a certain way. We learn to self-relate in a certain way by how we are treated by our caregivers—parents, teachers, family members, peers, and other influential people in our lives. If those people treat us with love, acceptance, respect, and care, we learn self-love, self-acceptance, self-respect, and self-care. However, if we lack these things in our early relationships—or worse, if we are treated in a disrespectful, condescending, dismissive, neglectful, and otherwise abusive way— we learn to treat ourselves the same way.

As I write in the book Human Development and Trauma:

“If the caregiver reflects to [the child] an inaccurate picture of themselves, they will internalize it and accept it as truth. At the least it will become an important part of their self-image, regardless of whether or not it’s correct. Thus, if the caregiver tells the child they are stupid, bad, and worthless, the child cannot help but believe this at some level.”

In other words, we internalized the treatment that we received from those who had power and influence over us and learned to self-relate in the same manner. So, an inner critic is the combination of negative, destructive, hurtful, rude, manipulative, abusive, untrue messages we received in the past. Not all of those messages were necessarily overt, explicit, or clear. However, they all formed those irrational and self-destructive beliefs that you have about yourself and your relation to society.

The harm we suffered becomes self-harm we inflict onto ourselves.

And it’s not like it stops after you become a legal adult. We carry those beliefs and connected, painful emotions into our adulthood and transfer them onto our adult relationships.

The Effects of Having a Loud Inner Critic

People who have lived through childhood trauma—and we all have been through some trauma as children—have internalized those hurtful and abusive messages. Consequently, they struggle with a wide variety of problems.

Many of those issues are related to their self-esteem where they tend to undervalue themselves. They often see themselves as inferior to others, lacking, or even fundamentally defective.

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Dethrone the inner critic!



Recently, I changed my focus teaching mindfulness. The basic way to meditate has stayed constant with an addition of a body scan.

Beyond meditating things have changed. I bring challenges for the week. The last two weeks it has been exploring our inner critic.

Certain stressful situations had impacted two of the group.

Of course the initial reaction following our thoughts, lead us to habitual routines, judging the event.

Some judge this stress as further reinforcement of our unworthiness or we label the situation horrible.

Horrible makes our experience “Horrible”.

This is a perfect time to apply our mindfulness (focus) skills.

What is your inner critic saying?

First, it has judged something as horrible that is not. It has brought fear and panic into this situation to gain control. Our inner critic uses outrage to dominate behavior.

The inner critic wants control not our wellbeing.

An inner critic need not be extinguished but should be used sparingly.

Another discovered his inner critic cursing at him for things he wanted to say but didn’t, or comments he did say he regretted.

Look how horrible the inner critic behaves.

He found this dam could break with the slightest mention or thought of an event.

It is amazing to witness, someone seeing the inner critic at his/her nefarious best.

Small actions always start with this awareness.

Now the challenge is to discover more and discredit the critic.

Dethrone your inner critic!!!!!



The Inner Critic is not your friend!

Pixabay: Devanath



Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving:

“Permanent abandonment, public humiliation, lethal illness, lonely death, imminent attack, and penniless homelessness are common endangerment themes of many survivors.

One of my clients identified his inner critic endangerment process as: “My critic, the horror movie producer”. This made me think: “My critic the terrorist”.

If I had to describe the two most key processes of the critic, I would say this.

First, the critic is above all a self-perpetuating process of extreme negative noticing.

Second the critic is a constant hypervigilance that sees disaster hovering in the next moment about to launch into a full-court-press.”




My two cents: Our inner critic became dominant during our childhood abuse, know our goal is to overthrow this tyrant, this despot of suffering.

We must decide to support the inner critic or Aware Presence.

Ruminate or stay present, suffer or live free.

It is a moment to moment battle, the marathon of life.

The secret is to focus on this moment, then move on to the next moment without baggage!



How to Recognize Your Inner Critic by Sharon Salzberg

tur-ilustation/Adobe Stock



This practice is really about communicating with the inner critic, and, as for Lilah, the first step is to catch that voice when it appears. We notice that the critic lives in a world of absolutes, with little room for nuance or gray areas. Her favorite words are should, always, and never, and blame is her operating system. “You’ve blown it, you always do.” “You should just give up.” “You’re so different, no one will ever love you.” “You’re so flawed, you’ll never be able to help yourself, let alone anybody else.” Instead of creating a wide and open space for embracing our lives, the inner critic causes us to question our worth and collapse in on ourselves.

For some, the inner critic is a specific voice from the past—your mother, your aunt, a child, the boss who fired you. My friend Joseph Goldstein still remembers the first-grade teacher who gave him a big red F in cutting and pasting. (This was in the days when you mixed flour and water to make paste, and Joseph’s work was apparently very messy.)

A friend or stranger may make an offhand remark that we take so deeply into our bodies and minds that they become part of our identities. And if, as in Josephine’s case, the critical voices have been passed down “like family heirlooms,” the identification goes even deeper. I have a friend who hears the scornful voice of her long-dead mother—a woman who revered thinness above all human attributes— when she gains even a few pounds. Paradoxically, at times, such critical voices may even comfort us by linking us to our past and to the most important people in our lives. The judgments of those we loved or admired are part of our story, and, if we don’t spot them when they arise, they become the judgments we project on others, as well as ourselves.

Mindfulness helps us see the addictive aspect of self-criticism—a repetitive cycle of flaying ourselves again and again, feeling the pain anew. The inner critic may become a kind of companion in our suffering and isolation. As long as we judge ourselves harshly, it can feel as if we’re making progress against our many flaws. But in reality, we’re only reinforcing our sense of unworthiness.

Yet when we start to pay attention, we notice how quickly the critic jumps in, even when something good happens. If people befriend us, our critic may whisper that if they only knew how insecure and defective we are, they wouldn’t stick around for long. Or say you’ve just run a marathon. Are you celebrating the fact that you trained, ran, and finished? Or are you upbraiding yourself for being the last person to cross the finish line?

One student told me that shortly after the birth of her second child she went into a tailspin of self-judgment because her house was messy and she wasn’t keeping up her appearance or getting to the ironing. The noise of her self-abuse was so loud that it was more than a week before she realized she was comparing herself to her mother, a woman who always looked put together and kept a spotless home despite having two children—but she also happened to have a housekeeper who came in every day. Comparison is one of the critic’s favorite weapons. Luckily, mindfulness is so much wiser and more robust than our inner critic.

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