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Day 9 Question on Self Criticism

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Susan, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

    The question asked in Day 9 of the Structured Ed Program asks if I have been overly critical of myself
    lately, how and why.

    I have lots of self criticism, not just now. I realize that growing up with a critical mother created that pattern in me. She was not critical of herself but critical of my dad to me and about me. As a child I bought that criticism and it is part of me. Self criticism affects the TMS symptoms and process. It is certainly something I want to work on because it undermines my confidence in gaining mastery over thoughts that focus on the psychological rather than the physical. Self criticism contributes to a feeling in me that I "should" be making more progress in moving beyond the pain by now. Rationally, I know I am working on my emotional repressed memories at a good pace. Is this impatience? Is this self criticism? Does anyone else operate as if they need to be perfect (the mask of self criticism) in order for the program to work as described and to achieve a pain free life?

    I am getting to the core of self criticism and emotions attached to childhood memories. I do not want to sabotage
    progress by getting down on myself. Sounds like a vicious cycle and something else to journal about.

    More later
    JanAtheCPA and Livvygurl like this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Nice description of the TMS personality type ;)

    It sounds like your questions are rhetorical as part of your journaling, but if you want to discuss, them, we're here for you!
  3. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member

    Hi Susan:

    I too had a very critical mother and have been left with that "perfectionism" personality . I've been working the program since late last year. And I want to let you know - the more you are aware you are doing this - the more it will go away. Instead of "I didn't do that project up to my standards" - I now say "I did the very best I could do." This is working for me. Perhaps it will work for you too. The trick is to catch yourself and that takes some time. After all, we're retraining our brains to let go of old habits.

    I haven't had the opportunity to welcome you - so welcome to the forum and the journey!

    MorComm likes this.
  4. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

    Thanks, Jan.
  5. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

    Thanks, Beach Girl.
  6. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Heya Susan,

    Behind self-criticism is what Alan Gordon called the internal bully or internal terrorist in the Webinar event at http://www.tmswiki.org/forum/threads/june-9-drop-in-chat-with-alan-gordon-lcsw.340/page-2#post-2603 . It is important to understand where our self-criticism comes from and it sounds like you are doing a great job at this.

    It is also important to understand how our perfectionism affects our recovery. As you mentioned, your perfectionsim makes you feel like you should be making amazing progress. I think a lot of this comes from hearing about book cure, but you know what, those our rare and not what usually happens. You need to understand that recovery takes time and in comes with patience. As Steve Ozanich mentioned in the drop in chat, recovery is " like a sponge the size of a car that you’re making wet with an eye dropper...you need to soak that car sized sponge to alter the brains behavior but it takes one drop at a time." Each day you go through the program and every time you read about TMS you are adding one drop to the sponge. It takes time for the message to be fully absorbed by your unconscious. The goal is not to take away pain. The goal of TMS is to take away the reason for the pain.
  7. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    Thanks for your response and the reminder of the goal of TMS. Journaling about the repressed emotions that now are popping up with each distant memory of events I had forgotten is a real tonic. Some days I feel like I have an emotional hangover but I so into the process and eager for each day's work and revelations. I find that rather than forcing the process, I am allowing what comes into my conscious awareness to just appear and then I apply journaling to the emotions evoked.

    Livvygurl and JanAtheCPA like this.
  8. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love hearing this, because I think it's the key to recovery.

    It's waaay too easy for the TMS personality type to intellectualize the concepts - which is a really effective way to keep the emotions right where the brain wants them - buried deep!

    Keep up the good work - we'll let you get back to it now :)

  9. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

    Just read the transcript of yesterday's chat. Can you please let me know the name of Steve Ozanich's book? I would love to get it.


  10. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

  11. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

  12. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    I'm reading the book now and it's filling in the "gaps". The way Steve explains what Dr. Sarno is saying to us is really helpful. Interesting you mention "allow". This morning I awoke in my usual pain state running scenarios. Instead of fighting it, I allowed the fear to come and then is slowly slipped away. For me, it's literally a minute to minute exercise.

    Learning this, along with getting the "bully" (our mother's) voice out of our heads - I think is key. I can relate to so much of your original post and I want you to know - it works. It's staying in the moment, allowing the emotions to wash over you and then letting them go.

    We'll get there. I call it: Aiming for Nirvana - or a day with no pain!

  13. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Susan, criticism we experience and believe, especially comments spoken (or implied) by parents or other perceived authorities, become part of our own self-talk or harsh inner voice. This behavior can be unlearned (rewired in our brain) but it takes time, and love and patience with ourselves.

    I like to note when I hear a harsh inner (critical) voice and counter immediately with a kind, loving voice. This becomes a habit. It takes time but the harsh inner talk can turn to loving and nurturing inner talk. Dr. Christiane Northrup suggests we try out Un-Do-Ism--undoing negative messages and doing whatever neutralizing is needed to replace these with a loving inner voice messages. Again, this takes as long as it takes!

    I'm glad to see you have been journaling about these negative messages. Examining from whom the messages came is good; feeling it from the viewpoint of the person we were then--at whatever age we can recall the message, realizing how we internalized this message and believed it. It's important to counter this critical message with the opposite or whatever is the loving and truthful message for our brain to hear. I believe this step is very important so we don't get stuck on a negative plane. Even if it's just one tiny but important morsel like "I am worthy". Repeating it too.

    One other word I have learned to use less and less is "should". In fact, several in my circle of family/friends have become aware of this word and will quickly say "don't SHOULD on yourself!" Should is a pressure word and can imply that you are wrong. e.g. I should have done this or that. :rolleyes:

    Hugs, :)
    Forest, MorComm, Livvygurl and 3 others like this.
  14. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    Thanks for your words of wisdom and helpful tips for counteracting self criticism. Getting myself out of automatic thinking is a worthy goal.

    Great to hear from you.

  15. Beach-Girl

    Beach-Girl Well known member


    Your post is also a really good reminder for me. I'm a "should" personality and will make this change right away. There are so many words we use that are "wrong thinking." I don't use the word "problem" but replace it with "issues". I don't say "this is hard" - I now say "this is a challenge". It's amazing how shifting our self talk and one word or two makes such a difference in our healing process. Loved this whole post.


    Hope things are going better for you and you're having some pain free days.

  16. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

    Beach Girl,

    I am not ready to write my story yet, but after two weeks working the program, I do have less achiness and tightness. Am still not free of the TMS symptoms and know it is just a matter of time. Thanks for asking .

    Knowledge is power! Received the Mind Body Prescription by Dr. Sarno yesterday. As I read it and saw some of his newer thinking from the first book I read that old self criticism kicked in. Anger seemed to be replaced in his model by rage. I immediately thought, oh no, now I have to go back through the repressed emotions I have uncovered and search for rage. Luckily, that lasted only a few hours and I was back into the space of allowing emotions I have repressed to surface as they are ready to be felt. Lots of new material today to work through.

    I trust that the rage will appear when I am ready to deal with it. In the meantime, I am working on Day 15's assignments...and, Lori, I am already putting your great suggestions into practice. My little child is very frightened of rage. All the more reason to let it surface and feel it.

    Having feedback via these Forums is invaluable. Thanks to everyone for the support.

  17. Lori

    Lori Well known member


    How about reassuring the frightened little child that you are there for her with love, and everything is going to be ok?! You can even respond to such words on behalf of the little child.

    Warm hugs,

  18. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter


    Again my thanks. Yesterday I was sure that rage was an emotion that I simply did not and could not feel. This morning I knew I was wrong. Memories of events in my life stretching from the near present to childhood surfaced and there was the rage. I welled out of me and when I was done I could see the patterns I had recreated throughout my life. Rage was involved in them all.

    True to your statement above, I made sure to talk supportively and lovingly to my child when I was done to support her. I feel very successful today. This process is amazing. I am truly grateful to all with TMS and to the professionals like Dr. Sarno who put this syndrome out there. The journey continues for me.

    The support of this community is a wonderful opportunity for a newcomer like me to know I am not alone.

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  19. Shanshu Vampyr

    Shanshu Vampyr Well known member

    @ Susan: *hugs*
  20. Susan

    Susan Peer Supporter

    Thanks for your reply. Hope you are doing well.

    Hugs back to you.


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