Name Your Negative Voice: Dealing with Your Inner Critic #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my letter N post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today I want to talk about dealing with negative thoughts coming from your inner critic.

You know what? Just because you think something, doesn’t make it true. Your thoughts and feelings are not fact. See my post on cognitive distortions for some examples of how our thoughts can deceive us.

One way of dealing with negative thoughts, is to engage them in a challenging conversation. It may help, in this case, to name your inner critic. Literally give it a name. Then look at it like you would to a really annoying person you meet, who however has little to no authority over you. It may then be easier to ignore or shut up your inner critic.

For example, let’s assume you call your inner critic Donald. (That’s what Anna Borges suggests and I do wonder whether she bases it on some orange-faced creature currently leading the world’s most powerful nation.) If your inner critic were to say you shouldn’t do something because you presumably can’t, you can then call him out on his bullshit, like this.

Inner critic: You’ll not get the job you want, so don’t bother to apply.
You: Shut up, Donald. You don’t know shit.

In this conversation, you’re purposefully keeping your comebacks to Donald brief. After all, you know he’s ignorant and insensitive and yet he doesn’t have the authority over you that requires you actually listen to him.

Another approach to your inner critic, particularly if it originates in childhood trauma, is to see your inner critic as a punitive parent. Then you can create a nurturing parent in your mind to help you challenge the punitive parent. After all, you most likely do generally feel you need to obey your parents more than you need an annoying acquaintance, even though really as an adult you have no such obligation.

Remember, naming your inner critic still requires you realize it’s part of you. Don’t go about blaming others for your own negative thoughts. Even when your inner critic is a reflection of your parents, it’s still your responsibility to deal with it.

As a side note, having a name for your inner critic can, in my experience, also help you see its function. For example, one of my more critical alters emerged as a named inner critic I thought should just shut up. Later on though, I realized she had a function beyond just being an inner critic or punitive parent. For this reason, I do feel engaging your inner critic can really be more than just telling it to shut up.

10 thoughts on “Name Your Negative Voice: Dealing with Your Inner Critic #AtoZChallenge

  1. I have named my inner critic some years ago but I had no idea that it seriously was a thing, like that it’s really used as some sort of a therapeutic strategy, haha. My inner critic is called Maggie, and while I don’t really think naming her has helped me much in shutting her up, and it’s really hard to have a rational conversation with her, which is perhaps at least in some part due to the fact that I have AVPD where the inner critic is really overactive, but it has helped me to realise somehow that all that she says doesn’t necessarily have to be true, and she isn’t as intimidating as she used to be to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m so glad your inner critic isn’t as intimidating as she used to be. I never quite knew naming your inner critic was a thing either until I started researching stuff for this challenge. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “As a side note, having a name for your inner critic can, in my experience, also help you see its function. For example, one of my more critical alters emerged as a named inner critic I thought should just shut up. Later on though, I realized she had a function beyond just being an inner critic or punitive parent. For this reason, I do feel engaging your inner critic can really be more than just telling it to shut up.””

    That’s Jane?

    She used to be really noisy and challenging.

    The function beyond was “get up and go” / morality…

    And I think Brenda was one of those sometimes too.

    And great idea about engaging your inner critic in challenging conversation.

    Ignorant and insensitive people do lose their authority over time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s Jane. I do feel she encourages me to be as independent as possible. Danique does that too now. However, what I really meant was to say that behind her critical mask, she feels really insecure.

      Like

  3. Interesting, I never thought about telling it a name, although on second thoughts, this might be that foul “Monster under my bed” that haunted my peace and sleep some years ago and forced me to sleep with a night lamp on. Maybe now that it isn´t that strong, I should give it an annoying name, like Miss Now It All, or Karen, like the lady all the cat memes talk about. I hope this helps whenever my inner critic tells me nothing is worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

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