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Legacy of Harsh Parenting

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Forest, May 7, 2013.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I love this quote from the Legacy of Harsh Parenting section of Pathways to Pain Relief, which we will be discussing for Saturday's call-in discussion group. When we repress our emotions, we are not accepting of ourselves or our thoughts. Reversing this disorder can be as simple as being more allowing of ourselves and stand up to our inner bully that tells us we are not good enough. Of course there are a lot of factors that lead us to developing that voice which tells us we are not good enough, and it can come out in a variety of ways. I am curious, how have you noticed your inner bully coming out? How do you stand up to it?

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    ValVal likes this.
  2. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Before I knew anything about TMS, a psychologist friend recommended I read Tara Brach's Radical Acceptance. I tried, I really tried but for me it was as if it were written in a completely foreign language. When I was a couple chapters in, I remember talking to someone about it, trying to describe it. It's about self-compassion, being your own best friend. I remember telling the person that it was such a foreign concept to me it made as much sense as radio static - that if I treated my friends the way I treat myself, no one would ever come anywhere near me! It wasn't until about 2 months ago that I realized how truly sad that is. My inner bully is brutal, she can easily drive me to be self-destructive, and she is VERY hard to stand up to because she is so well-practiced she is an expert at what she does. She is the originator of all of my automatic negative thoughts

    So far, key for me seems to be recognizing when I'm being bullied and getting help to stand up to her when I can't do it alone. It's hard but I have to summon the courage to let those horrible thoughts about myself actually come out of my mouth to another person. The interviews from the Self-Acceptance Project (especially Brene Brown) have really been beneficial for me. I think just realizing that it's not everyone else's standards and expectations that I'm not measuring up to, it's my own (and just how impossible those standards and expectations actually are) has been really eye-opening. One of the interviewee's was speaking about the Dahli Lahma (spelling??) having been asked about his thoughts on "self-hatred" during a conference. The interviewee was completely amazed by the look and response of confusion he had to the idea. He truly had no idea what self-hatred was. As I was listening to that interview I was thinking - he's my alter ego! He didn't know what self-hatred was and I didn't know what self-acceptance was...amazing.
    tarala likes this.
  3. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    This resonates with me so much, I probably could have written that myself! I could never imagine treating anyone how I treat myself.

    I think you said it best - my inner bully is indeed an expert at what it does! What I have found to be helpful is to literally say the negative thoughts out loud. For some reason, once said out loud, my inner bully becomes less of an expert and whatever it is saying has less of an effect than when they are in my head.
    tarala and Leslie like this.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    My late father always asked me, "What have you done anyway? The world isn't beating path to your door!" And in response I turned perfectionist and was extremely hard on myself year after year, amassing degrees, publications and honors. Every time I'm alone with myself, his voice comes back, echoed by other critics I've encountered throughout my life telling me I still need to do more to live up to my own impossibly high expectations.

    Needless to say, Dr Anderson's description of Mr. L's father really resonated with me:

    "His father consistently, ruthlessly, made him feel like a failure if he noticed him, or like he didn't exist at all. As I listened, I could easily sense the impact of his father's narcissism on Mr. L's self-esteem."

    Anderson, Frances Sommer; Sherman, Eric (2013-01-21). Pathways to Pain Relief (Kindle Locations 2335-2337). . Kindle Edition.

    The subtitle of "The Legacy of Harsh Parenting Section" really sums it all up: "Mr L and the Tenacious Inner Critic"

    Luckily of me, I always had my mom, who praised and worshiped, acting as a counterbalance to my father's constant criticism and ridicule. Sometimes the divided mind does offer an alternative to a completely negative self-critic.

    Well, on to the fun and games on Saturday morning. At least I didn't turn out to be as harsh on myself as Mr L but the tendencies certainly are there! Also, my father certainly noticed me and probably had as high expectations and opinions of me as my mom, but he sure didn't want to reveal them to me. Like my late aunt once said, you know you probably intimidate your father, don't you?
  5. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    Isn't it funny how other people in our families can see things that we don't see at all? I bet it never once crossed your mind that your father might be intimidated by you while all the critiquing was occurring. I know that was certainly the case for me. My mom was the critical one, seemingly constant comparison of me to someone else she felt was better demonstrating the "desirable characteristics". As a result, I drew close to my Dad as a child. Wherever he was, I wanted to be there and Mom never hesitated to let her displeasure with that be known. Just a few months ago my sister and I were talking about our childhoods and I was completely stunned by her observation that Mom behaved the way she did because she was jealous of the closeness that my Dad and I had because that's what she wanted between she and I. Never crossed my mind and yet to my sister it couldn't have been clearer.
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Leslie, that's exactly why a disinterested third party like a psychoanalyst or psychotherapist can peer into the dynamics of a family and see things that the family members cannot see. The members of a forum like this can do that too, pointing out the obvious things we're too close to or too emotionally involved in to pick up on, stuff that's quite obvious if viewed outside the family structure.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi all,
    Here's the recording from our discussion Saturday. You can also download the audio as an mp3 by right-clicking this link and choosing to save it to your computer. Enjoy!


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