PTSD Your Inner Critic
Research suggests that some children respond to pervasive emotional neglect and abandonment by over-identifying with the parent/person or even merging that person/abusers' identity with the inner critic and adopting an intense form of perfectionism that triggers them into painful abandonment flashbacks every time they are less than perfect or perfectly pleasing. This Inner Critic becomes the voice that screams loudest when triggered by many external incidents.
Perfectionism is the unparalleled defense for emotionally abandoned children. The quest of perfection saves the child from giving up, unless or until, failure or pseudo- failure that make him/her to retreat into the depression of a dis-associative disorder, or launches them hyperactivity.
Perfectionism also provides a sense of meaning and direction for the powerless and unsupported child. In the guise of self-control, striving to be perfect offers a sense of control. Self-control is also safer to pursue because abandoning parents typically reserve their severest punishment for children who are vocal about their negligence. Perhaps this is because the inner critic appears to align with the extreme right brain dominance of flashbacks (as shown in MRI’s)
Here is a list of 14 common “the inner critic” and “replacement messages”
Trying to appear correct in all ways I do not have to be perfect to be safe or loved in the present. I am letting go of relationships that require perfection.
I have a right to make mistakes. Mistakes do not make me a mistake. Every mistake or mishap is an opportunity to practice loving myself in the places I have never been loved.
Self-Hate, Self-Disgust & Toxic Shame – abusive self-talk
As long as I am not hurting anyone, I refuse to be shamed for normal emotional responses like anger, sadness, fear and depression. I especially refuse to attack myself for how hard it is to completely eliminate the self-hate habit.
All-or-None & Black-and-White Thinking
Extreme or overgeneralized descriptions, judgments or criticisms. Statements that describe me as “always” or “never” this or that, are typically grossly inaccurate.
Feeling guilty does not mean I am guilty. In the inevitable instance when I inadvertently hurt someone, Guilt is sometimes camouflaged fear. – “I am afraid, but I am not guilty or in danger."
I will apologize, make amends, and let go of my guilt. I will not apologize over and over. I am no longer a victim. I will not accept unfair blame.
Not repetitively examine details over and over. I will not jump to negative conclusions. I will not endlessly second-guess myself. I cannot change the past. I forgive all my past mistakes. I cannot make the future perfectly safe. I will stop hunting for what could go wrong. I will not try to control the uncontrollable. I will not micromanage myself or others. I work in a way that is “good enough”, and I accept the existential fact that my efforts sometimes bring desired results and sometimes they do not.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference” - The Serenity Prayer
I will substitute the words “want to” for “should”
and only follow this imperative if it feels like I want to, unless I am under legal, ethical or moral obligation.
I am a human being not a human doing. I will not choose to be perpetually productive. I am more productive in the long run, when I balance work with play and relaxation.
I will not try to perform at 100% all the time. I subscribe to the normalcy of vacillating along a continuum of efficiency.
Harsh Judgments of Self & Others/Name-Calling
I will not let the bullies and critics of my early life win by joining and agreeing with them. “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself”. - Jane Eyre
I refuse to attack myself or abuse others. I will not displace the criticism and blame that rightfully belongs to them onto myself or current people in my life.
To others or to one’s most perfect moments. I refuse to compare myself unfavorably to others.
I will not judge myself for not being at peak performance all the time. In a society that pressure us into acting happy all the time, I will not get down on myself for feeling bad.
I will not compare “my insides to their outsides”.
Hypochondrisizing- I feel afraid but I am not in danger. I am not “in trouble” with my parents. I will not blow things out of proportion. I refuse to scare myself with thoughts and pictures of my life deteriorating.
No more home-made horror movies and disaster flicks.
Over-noticing & dwelling on what might be wrong with me or life around me. I will not minimize or discount my attributes.
Right now, I notice, visualize and enumerate my accomplishments, talents and qualities, as well as the many gifts Life offers me, e.g., friends, nature, music, film, food, beauty, color, pets, etc.
About Being Attacked- Unless there are clear signs of danger. The vast majority of my fellow human beings are peaceful people. I have legal authorities to aid in my protection if threatened by the few who aren’t. I invoke thoughts and images of my friends’ love and support.
I will thought-stop my projection of past bully/critics onto others.
I am not in danger. I do not need to rush.
I will not hurry unless it is a true emergency. I am learning to enjoy doing my daily activities at a relaxed pace.
Disabling Performance Anxiety
Frozen by fear of criticism. Anxiety I reduce procrastination by reminding myself that I will not accept unfair criticism or perfectionist expectations from anyone.
Even when afraid, I will defend myself from unfair criticism. I won’t let fear make my decisions.