What to Do About the Brutal Inner Critic
My psychologist/analyst/writer friend Joe Burgo proposes in his latest post a way entirely new to me to deal with the brute within.
What he's referring to is the inner voice that brings up some past mistake I've made, causing me fresh paroxysms of guilt and misery. This whisperer is, I believe, close kin to the one that causes in-the-moment hesitations, procrastination, and unreasonable self-doubt.
I know the Said-the-Wrong-Thing creature very well. We're probably all pretty familiar with our own version of that voice. My particular brand of obsessive-compulsive disorder (scrupulosity) has led me to take it to extremes, for example: convincing myself that something I may have said or done or not said or not done 25 or 40 years ago has horribly and unforgivably altered the course of someone's life. Medication has helped me enormously with this; what I deal with still is probably not much worse than the typical garden-variety inner monster. And that's plenty.
So I was delighted to see what Joe has posted on the subject. His suggestion is: rather than fighting off the idea or replacing it with a glowing positive affirmation, take a thoughtful middle course. Calm down and examine the real or imagined error and learn from it a way to do better. He calls it creating "a thoughtful inner parent."
If you're prone to self-flagellating, go read the whole post on After Psychotherapy. I think this solution may be quite do-able.