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How to stop self critical thinking?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Skeleton Bob, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Skeleton Bob

    Skeleton Bob New Member

    I keep having thoughts like:

    - "Why did I do that, that was stupid"
    - "I can't believe I forgot that, I am so forgetful"
    - "Why did I say that, that wasn't the right thing to say"
    - "I can't believe I made that mistake again, everyone must think I'm stupid"
    - "I can't believe I missed that obvious solution, I am useless"

    I then end up obsessing how I could have done something better. I try not to but I get stuck in a loop of self critical thinking!

    I have told myself that if someone made a mistake/forgot something/made a poor decision, then I wouldn't insult them, I would try and make them feel better about myself, and I need to do the same to myself i.e. treat myself better, but it seems my brain only accepts self criticism not self praise!

    Has anyone got any tips or advice for avoiding self critical thinking or dealing with it?

    Time2be likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

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  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    I recommend the book Soul Without Shame by Brown. Deep exploration of techniques to "disengage from the Inner Critic."

    With regards to TMS, understanding how the Inner Child feels in relationship to the Inner Critic is important to see causes of --and thus undo symptoms...

    Also, direct application of self-compassion helps.
    plum likes this.
  4. Bingo2500

    Bingo2500 New Member

  5. Bingo2500

    Bingo2500 New Member

    Your subconscious is always listening to you. It never sleeps. It does not judge or reason. When you say those things about yourself the subconscious takes them as truth about you and brings you what you want. Learn to say only positive things, think only positive thoughts, and rewire your subconscious with new thoughts about yourself, whether you believe them or not, and it will bring those to pass too. At least 3 times a day , and especially just before sleep, repeat a sentence like, "Every day in every way I am getting better and better." Do that at least 20 times in a monotone voice passively. Your subconscious will pick that up and bring it into your reality just as it has your negative thoughts. Watch your thoughts during the daytime. Stop any negative ones and replace with positive ones. We are what we think we are.
  6. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    My negative thoughts are so subtle they're like a constant mumbling of negativity. There are so many of them. When I hear a negative thought sometimes it's more of an assumption or belief, like I will think about what I'm doing this evening and I'll almost imagine myself feeling dizzy later and my brain says ''youve felt this way for so long so you will feel dizzy later" don't know if I'm explaining it right but that's how it feels. I don't know how to stop or replace those. Like there are too many thoughts and I struggle to think of the right positive thoughts
  7. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Your examples of self criticism are all indicative of the TMS personality trait of perfectionism, which stems from our belief that if we are perfect we will be invulnerable. This belief come from fear generated by our primitive brain. I use Sarno's "top-down" approach which involves using the conscious, rational part of our brain to eventually override the primitive, fear-based thoughts. For this to work these counter-statements must be believable. So when I have a thought like the examples you list, I counter it with something like "It's OK that I make mistakes and am imperfect. I am still worthy of love and forgiveness." I also remind myself that I love and forgive people who make mistakes and are imperfect. Doing this consistently eventually results in a reduction of these self critical thoughts in my experience.
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  8. Bingo2500

    Bingo2500 New Member

    Just repeat what I said then. It will override your negative thoughts. You can't think 2 things at the same time. Learn to meditate to calm your mind and thoughts also.
  9. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    If I say everyday in every way I am getting better and better another thought will come up like 'yiure not because you feel awful today' ... Make sense? Do I just keep at it
  10. iwire

    iwire Peer Supporter

    Be patient with yourself and keep it up....I have been working on this too and finally I am noticing that my negative and fear based thoughts are less common than my positive thoughts. It has taken time though. Also-- I have actually done a journal dialogue with myself where I wrote the first negative thought that came to me--and then countered it with a positive thought....kept doing it...ending with a positive thought --until I had written down everything that was coming to mind in the moment (even some things that came up more than once)... and then after a couple days of doing this I moved on to only writing down positive thoughts/affirmations. It works best for me if my affirmations are simple. "I am strong, I am healthy, I can do what I want" (this I got from Dr. Schubiner). I also use some affirmations that I got from Louise Hay that have been very helpful.
    Best Wishes
    Bingo2500 likes this.
  11. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    I just find there are so many tools and suggestions I get overwhelmed
  12. iwire

    iwire Peer Supporter

    I hear ya!!! I have been going through this same thing--so I chose a couple things that spoke to me-- and stuck with those. I think doing that has helped me.....
  13. colls100

    colls100 Well known member

    Thanks X
  14. Skeleton Bob

    Skeleton Bob New Member

    Thanks for all the replies. I was looking for some quick fix, and getting frustrated that I still had self critical thoughts, even though I was trying to counter with positive thoughts. Rome wasn't built in a day, I have been struggling with self critical thoughts for years, and it isn't going to get better overnight.
    Bingo2500 likes this.
  15. Bingo2500

    Bingo2500 New Member

    Life is a journey, not a destination.
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  16. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Skeleton Bob,

    The pain Inner Critic activity causes --as well as the confusion it causes, is important to me, so I am coming back to this with more input.

    Here is a basic formula for disengaging from the superego (Inner Critic) attacks.

    -Identify the attack, from the viewpoint of the attacker:
    changes to
    "You are useless." So you understand it as an attack coming from the other, not you.

    -Formulate a response which attempts to neither defend or argue, but instead asserts your right to decide what you are, rather than be told. for example:
    "I am useless as hell, and I love it, so f**k off!"
    or "I am useful enough for me, so back off!"
    or, my favorite, which I take some credit (in my own mind!) for "inventing:" "I'm useless enough for me, so back off!"

    -Repeat the phrase out loud 3 times, voice raised.

    -Sense into body to notice change to spaciousness, relief, or other somatic changes, or not. If another attack arises, repeat as above. You need body feedback in order to assess whether your disengagement worked.

    -You will never convince the Inner Critic that you're right. Your disengaging statements don't have to make sense. They simply disrupt an old, embedded inner relationship. You will never kill off the Inner Critic, but your understanding and relationship to it change in time.

    Over time, simply your awareness dissolves the attacks because you know that the critic voice is repetitive, primitive, not attuned and is a distraction. Just knowing it has no value or power takes away the power. But most folks have to start this with the above exercises.

    "Disengaging from the Inner Critic" as I am describing uses your life force to assert your independence from conditioning, and to become more yourself in the moment. It is creating inner boundaries. Using outrage or anger is part of what is needed. It also helps tremendously in outer boundaries and relationships. Much of who we see others as is actually projected superego activity.

    Try this practice twice a day for two weeks and report back, if you're inspired!

    Andy B
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
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  17. HollDoll

    HollDoll Peer Supporter

    Think this is fascinating and brilliant; def will be trying. Thanks again, Andy!
  18. Skeleton Bob

    Skeleton Bob New Member

    Thanks, I'll give that a go. I appreciate your detailed response. I'm glad it's just not me who has a problem with self critical thinking. I sometimes think it's just me. Makes me feel better that I'm not alone.

    I have been laughing in my head at inner critic and that seems to be helping. It always says the same thing, and I know I can have power over it. It's better to laugh than cry!
  19. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is huge!! Glad you're able to see the primitive, repetitive nature of the Inner Critic. And the strangely humorous aspects: I like my twists/humor way of dealing with it, just as you're doing.
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  20. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    I find this thread so helpful!! I need to check out the links. The inner critic is a problem for me, though I am getting better dealing with her ..
    My inner critic is very much aware of the double bind I am caught in: I am criticizing myself for not being less critically about myself ... uhh there you go .. So, I laugh now. I learned I cannot win against the inner critic if I take her serious. I could get away being the stubborn child not listening. But that brings only shame and guilt. Disengaging is different. But also more difficult ..
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