My Inner Critic: Visciousness Wrapped in Cruelty Inside Hatred
“The critical inner voice is a well-integrated pattern of destructive thoughts toward ourselves and others. The nagging “voices,” or thoughts, that make up this internalized dialogue are at the root of much of our self-destructive and maladaptive behavior.
The critical inner voice is not an auditory hallucination; it is experienced as thoughts within your head. This stream of destructive thoughts forms an anti-self that discourages individuals from acting in their best interest.”
My earliest recollections of my inner critic rapaciously forcing itself upon my young and relatively unscarred psyche harken back to Kindergarten, when basic testing revealed that my gross motor skills were below average.
Apparently I wasn’t as adept at skipping as I was “supposed” to be. My narcissistic progenitors, who viewed any “flaw” in me as barrier to them attaining a reputation for producing perfect progeny, initiated a years-long (and most likely unconscious) effort to “better” me through bullying, criticizing, forcing, depriving, shaming, and withholding love.
Obviously any campaign to “perfect” a human being is doomed to failure. And one premised on shaming and criticizing does significant damage.
One of the noxious side effects of this campaign for me (and for many others who have endured it) was to spawn a merciless component of my psyche that attacked me relentlessly with the ferocity of a demonic force fighting for possession of my soul.
As I grew older, this “inner critic” grew more powerful with each affirmation that he received from yet another verbal assault from my parents, or from a mistake that I made that fueled his grossly inaccurate narrative that I was cowardly and incompetent.
Today I have 52 years of lived experiences and mountains of contradictory evidence to thrust into his hideous countenance, often stopping him cold, when he slithers out to drag me into his fetid, filthy, miserable lair of hopelessness, self-hatred, depression and suicidality.
I also have many recovery and self-care tools (and a strong support network) that usually enable me to avoid him forcing me to join him in his sinister retreat.
But this was not always so. All the way into my late twenties I was vulnerable and exposed -virtually helpless on the frequent occasions he snatched what little self-worth I had cobbled together and left me holding a bucket of shit he had gleefully ladled from the sewer in which he was poised to hold me hostage for another bout of misery. The harder I fought, the stronger he became. My sheer force of will only tightened his vise-like grip on my psyche.
He still visits me and attacks on occasion. Sometimes inflicting significant wounds, and even dragging me to the mouth of his loathsome abode. And there is no guarantee that he won’t overcome my experience, strength, hope, faith in my Higher Power, and recovery tools, -dragging me back down to his dank hole to torture and afflict me. But accepting that possiblity is part of one day at a time recovery.
The next step in my spiritual journey is to thank him for his role in making me the person I am today. And to befriend him.
However, that is a work in progress….