10 Steps to Overcome the Inner Critic

By May 5, 2022February 23rd, 2024Wellness
the inner critic

The Negative Narrator

Do you often get the sensation that maybe you’re inferior to other people somehow? Do you treat yourself like you’re bad-hearted, stupid, a loser, ugly, selfish…..and and and?

A stream of constant, self-generated psychological abuse is, sadly, completely normal.  

It’s like being forced to listen to someone narrating the movie of your life in a very unfavorable way. Everything we do, think, and feel is subject to unkind, unasked for negative commentary coming from our own minds.

Who’s the Wizard Behind the Curtain?

Have you ever looked into who exactly inside you is being so harsh on the rest of you? 

It’s the great and terrible Inner Critic. Also known as The Mean Voice In Your Head, and to psychologists as Superego (not nearly as fun as that sounds, unfortunately). It’s the Part who makes sure you fit in. 

Outdated Management Needs an Upgrade

Inner Critic is an artifact from the past, a member of the legacy management team that got us through our childhood. 

But now that we’re not living with our parents, dependent on their every whim for our physical survival, we don’t have to please them or anyone else anymore as a condition of staying alive. 

If you’d like to see what life is like without an inner PA system blasting horrible pronouncements about you all day long, this post is for you!

10 Steps to Overcome the Inner Critic

  1. Write down what the Inner Critic says

Start a log in which you record what your Inner Critic says about you. A transcript of everything that’s said will help you see these statements as opinions, not facts. You will also have an easier time seeing how brutal these comments are. 

  1. Defend Yourself

Looking over the Inner Critic’s allegations, identify what’s unfair, unscientific, untrue, cruel and over the line. The Inner Critic is a bully and a liar. Fight for justice like you’re Atticus Finch defending Boo Radley.

  1. Identify the Double Binds, Gaslighting, and Abuse

Inner Critics love damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t scenarios. Call out these double binds. Notice how the Inner Critic gaslights you, and abuses you psychologically, like a narcissist. Call it what it is.  

  1. Identify Your Parents’ Voices

Does your Inner Critic remind you of anyone? Inner Critics are tape recorders replaying the worst things our parents told us, in their worst moments. Feel free to consider that this is their baggage, not yours.

  1. Use Your Values to Disagree With the Critic

Your true values are a resource for disagreeing with the Inner Critic’s antihuman, patriarchal, misogynistic messages. Get grand, get high and mighty. Rise above.

  1. Identify the Trigger

Ask your Inner Critic what it’s scared of. What horrible thing will happen to you if you don’t do what it says? The Inner Critic is, in its own demented way, trying to protect you. By letting it tell you what it’s worried about, you can often say “Ok, thanks for your input” and let it all go. 

  1. Connect the Inner Critic’s Worries to Events of Your Past 

If you’re able to find out what triggered the Inner Critic to go chicken killer on you, ask yourself: “When and where did I learn this particular rule?”. Realizing that this rule was learned in a very specific setting can help you see that perhaps it does not apply to your current situation. 

  1. Remember Who put the Inner Critic in Charge

It might not feel like that now, but it’s actually us who long ago empowered Inner Critic with the mandate to constantly remind us of the expectations that others have of us, the requirements we need to fulfill in order to keep being loved by our parents. But the Inner Critic can only rule by consent of the governed. How about some regime change?  

  1. Send the Inner Critic into Retirement

You are absolutely, 100% allowed to retire the Inner Critic. They’ve been doing this job for as long as you have been alive, which is a long enough career. You can replace Inner Critic with an Inner Guardian who will help you survive, but in a nice way. 

  1. Dominate the Inner Critic

Take a Cesar Milan approach to your Inner Critic – be calm and assertive and just say no. You are in charge now. The Inner Critic will eventually respect your authority and happily let you take over the task of keeping you safe. You being all grown up and safe from the things that nearly killed you in childhood is actually what it was after, all along. 

Thanks for reading!

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