The Inner Critic

I’m not sure if everyone has this exact voice or if others voices are as loud as mine. I do realize that inner critic isn’t me. It’s a voice that was put into me through abuse, trauma and just living life. It’s not my true voice. It doesn’t even sound like me. Now it is time for me to dismantle it. I found these questions on this forum here.

1. What happens right before a harshly critical or self-rejecting voice inserts itself into my inner dialogue?

Usually the critics voice is repeating things I’ve been told. When someone  has been the scapegoat since childhood, there are many phrases and ideas to pull from. My life was a constant barrage of negativity, dismissive comments and down right cruel intentions. I find that the inner critic comes out when I’m already feeling down. It rises to the surface when I’m feeling insecure and unsure. The voice tries to keep me from rising up. It wants to hold me back. It wants me to feel inferior because that’s how my family wanted me to feel my entire life.

2.In what ways do my inner critic’s slogans and diatribes resemble fear mongering propaganda?

Usually the voice is not reasonable and not factually based. It’s not pulling from historical precedents, it’s using the game plan of that most governments use. Facts aren’t necessary. The voice doesn’t go for logic because it knows it can’t win in a logical argument. The inner critic goes for the emotional wounds that have never healed. It knows my weak points and it attacks them ruthlessly.

3. How would I respond if a friend or acquaintance talked to me the way my inner critic does?

If a friend spoke to me the way my inner critic does, I’d let them know that shit is unacceptable. Or would I? Since I’m still under the influence of my inner critic, maybe I’d just accept it? I’d like to think I wouldn’t, but my friends don’t talk to me that way. The acquaintances and members of my family that might talk to me that way tend to go the more passive aggressive approach. Which in itself can be mildly infuriating. I get very frustrated when someones words don’t match up with their intentions.

4. What are the hard (non-negotiable) boundaries I need to assert between my inner critic and the rest of my mind?

This is very difficult for me. Even when I try to set up boundaries, the inner critic always steps over them. I know its because I wasn’t raised to have proper boundaries. People are easier to control and manipulate if they don’t have proper boundaries. Let’s just pretend for a moment that I can set up non-negotiable boundaries.

a. I need to understand and feel that the inner critic is not me. It’s not even a part of me. It’s an invasion into my psyche from outsiders wanting to keep me down. Wild animals don’t have inner critics (as far as I know anyway). I don’t think deer wander through the meadow telling themselves they are worthless and should probably save this patch of grass for a more important deer. I know this intellectually, but I’m having trouble feeling it emotionally.

b. Maybe I’ll just let the inner critic speak for a moment or two. Then accept that he has that point of view, but that it is not mine nor is it the advice I’m going to follow. Giving it space instead of trying to control and suppress it might be the best option. It’s a similar tactic to a boxer who plays defense while letting their opponent tire themselves out. After my inner critic has used up all his ammunition and every available tactic to try to assault my self esteem, I’ll thank him for his input and then promptly disregard it. Unless it’s based on facts, but the odds are that his attacks aren’t based on facts at all.

5. How can I mediate between the internalized parental voices and the parts of me that are hurt and frightened by them?

Hmmm… that’s a good question Mr. Internet. Having a parent and older sibling that dismiss you and actively try to sabotage you due to their own insecurities is a large burden to carry for the rest of ones life. Even now as I type this, I hear their voices in my head telling me what I’m writing is stupid. The voices are telling me that I’m wrong. They tell me that I’m stupid and exaggerating the facts. They tell me I’m weak. They tell me they were just trying to make me strong, even though I know they are the weak ones for trying to keep others down.

So how can I be this mediator? It seems too daunting of a task.I suppose first off, I can deal with things in small increments. I need to take small steps and I need to be consistent. I can give the voice space at first, but i need to always counter its falsities with facts. My family didn’t base their accusations and insults on facts and my inner critic doesn’t either. So I can look for supporting evidence to counter their claims. When the inner critic says something, I can pause, breathe, listen and decide if its saying something true or not. This will be much easier once I get more in touch with my feelings again.  In the meantime, I’ll just be patient with myself and do my best to to counter the inner critic with positive people, active self care and a constant rebuttal of that voice with my own true voice that responds with kindness, acceptance and love.

In the end, I’m sure the inner critic, if it does have thoughts of its own, is mostly worried about being snub out. It’s worried about it’s own existence.


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