Saturday, July 23, 2016

Shame Attacks by the Inner Critic

The Inner Critic is an internalized version of your IMAGO, in other words, an introject of all the negative messages you received as a child. The Inner Critic is your Super Ego, which is in place to keep you in line. As a child this Inner Critic was formed out of the voice of your primary caretakers towards you. If your caretakers were mean, abusive, abandoning and rejecting, then you have a very strong Inner Critic inside your that is filling you with toxic shame and impeding on your life in a major way. It's like that abusive person or people live inside you today, no matter how long it has been. This is how our minds develop. It is true that the way you speak to your children becomes their inner voice.

This Inner Critic is subconscious the creator of the False Self. The False Self is created in effort to appease the primary caretakers in childhood, and to try to help you get the love, attention and direction you so desperately need as a child in order to survive. Your inner critic is shaped in the opposite shape as your primary caretaker. I have found that the Inner Critic serves the following toxic functions:
  • Keep you striving for external sources of validation.
  • Keep you striving to be perfect.
  • Keep you trying to obtain  love from abusive sources like you had to do in childhood. 
  • Keep your true self from emerging because your true self and true feelings were shamed into hiding when you were a child.
  • Keep you in line so you won't be abused anymore and so you keep getting conditional love. 
  • Keep the Fantasy Bond alive between you and your primary caretaker and any other relationships formed after this model.
Ways the Inner Critic Shows Up

The Inner Critic is the author of toxic shame. When the Inner Critic is activated, it causes you to feel toxic shame, which is the carried shame of the shamelessness of your abusive primary caretaker. The Inner Critic objectifies you and cuts-you-down if you don't meet it's relentless conditions and demands. If you were abused badly enough, the IC can make you feel guilty for your very existence.

  • When you feel worthless, the Inner Critic is behind the scenes subconsciously telling you why you're worthless. (ie: you are a failure, you're overweight, you're a pig, you're stupid, you're an idiot, you're unlovable, etc...)
  •  When you look at yourself in the mirror, the Inner Critic is the voice inside you that says, your posture is not perfect, you have chicken legs, you are ugly, no one will ever want to be seen with you...
  • When you get into your car, the Inner Critic is the voice that says things such as: You're a loser because your breaks are squeaking, your car is dirty, why are you always such a mess? 
  • When you cook dinner, it's the Inner Critic that says, why don't you give up, you know you can't cook, what an idiot you are! You forgot the salsa, your cooking stinks, and you suck.
  • When you're getting into a new relationship, it's the Inner Critic that says, No one will ever want you, you're not hot enough for that girl, she is going to see the real you and run, you have nothing to offer.
  • When you're going on a job interview, the Inner Critic is the one that tells you you're going to fail, makes you feel anxious and spill the coffee on your tie. 

The Inner Critic is EVERYWHERE!!! It is the shaming voice that tells you to do something, then chides you for doing what it told you to do 2 minutes later. The Inner Critic is a voice that's trying to keep you in line, keep you in the bounds of the conditional love that you received in childhood. Just because you grow up doesn't mean it goes away. If you were raised in an abusive, neglectful, disrespectful and abandoning environment, this Inner Critic is alive and well inside you as an adult until you confront it and take it down with the power of unconditional love and acceptance. 

Ways to Dismantle the Inner Critic
  1. Reparent yourself with positive self talk that incorporates unconditional love and self acceptance. 
  2. Argue / answer the Inner Critic using logic.
  3. Use logic to convince your Inner Child that the Inner Critic is wrong. 
  4. Remind your Inner Child that you are safe, that it is 2016 and that you have resources you didn't have as a child that you can use today.
  5. Tell the Inner Critic to "Shut the F up."
  6. Take up for yourself against the Inner Critic.
  7. Use insight and inner awareness to recognize the places the Inner Critic hides so you can meet it using your adult intellect. 
Here are ways to talk yourself through shame attacks by the inner critic:
  • Remind yourself that you have worth and value regardless of your mistakes.
  • Gently talk to yourself in a kind, compassionate and self accepting way.
  • Make positive affirmations on a daily basis about who you truly are.
  • Catch the Inner Critic in the act and begin to separate the Real You from the False Self.
  • Use art therapy to draw out the different facets of the Inner Critic in your life.
  • Use anchoring techniques to anchor good, positive thoughts and feelings in place of the old, painful and negative thoughts and feelings of the IC.
  • Re-arrange your memories of past abuse by imagining scenarios that workout in your favor.
  • Get the help of an expert therapist to help you dismantle the IC.
  • Write down all your self critical thoughts so you know what they are; answer these thoughts with the truth that you are worthy and valuable even though your car is dirty.
  • Keep a journal of your negative thoughts so you know what you're dealing with.
  • Do mirror work where you overcome the negative, self-defeating thought patterns about yourself with positive thoughts and feelings. 
  • Practice meditative techniques to let thoughts pass you by without dwelling on them.
  • Use thought stopping techniques to stop thinking those awful thoughts or to deal with it later. 
The Inner Critic is not your friend. It does not make you better. You are a better person when you love yourself unconditionally, when you're not shaming yourself but instead you are encouraging yourself that you are good enough. The truth is, the IC is outmoded. You don't need it anymore. You needed this introject in place as a child growing up in an abusive, harsh environment, but you don't need it today--in fact, today it causes you undue pain and hardship. The only way to get free of the pain of the IC is to dismantle it and love yourself unconditionally

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