So here I am once again reeling from insight after insight triggered happily by reading another Pete Walker book! Finding that I’m free – or continuing to work myself free from old constraining ways of thinking around my shame from drinking and other perceived weaknesses which is often represented by the voice of our inner critic. It’s just too good not to share and once again I strongly advise you to go read the whole book! 🙂
14 Common Inner Critic Attacks (He kindly provides a therapeutic thought-correction response with each attack/programme) and these are a great addition to my posts looking at Drinking Thinking errors.
- Perfectionism. This is a self-persecutory myth. I do not have to be perfect to be safe or loved in the present. I am letting go of relationships that require perfection. I have a right to make mistakes, Mistakes do not make me a mistake. Every mistake or mishap is an opportunity to practice loving myself in the places I have never been loved.
- All-Or-Nothing & Black-and-White Thinking. I reject extreme or over-generalized descriptions, judgements or criticisms. One negative happenstance does not mean I am stuck in a never-ending pattern of defeat. Statements that describe me as ‘always’ or ‘never’ this or that, are typically grossly inaccurate.
- Self-Hate, Self-Disgust & Toxic Shame. I commit to myself. I am on my side. I am a good enough person. I refuse to trash myself. I turn shame back into blame and disgust, and externalize it to anyone who shames my normal feelings and foibles. As long as I am not hurting anyone, I refuse to be shamed for normal emotional responses like anger, sadness, fear and depression. I especially refuse to attack myself for how hard it is to completely eliminate this self-hate habit.
- Micromanagement/Worrying/Obsessing/Looping/Over-Futurizing. I will not repetitively examine details over and over. I will not jump to negative conclusions. I will not endlessly second-guess myself. I cannot change the past. I forgive all my past mistakes. I cannot make the future perfectly safe. I will stop hunting for what could go wrong. I will not try to control the uncontrollable. I will not micromanage myself or others. I work in a way that is ‘good enough’, and I accept the existential fact that my efforts sometimes bring the desired results and sometimes they do not. A serenity prayer moment 😉
- Unfair/Devaluing Comparisons to others or to your most perfect moments. I refuse to compare myself unfavourably to others. I will not compare ‘my insides to their outsides’. I will not judge myself for not being at peak performance all the time. In a society that pressures into acting happy all the time, I will not get down on myself for feeling bad.
- Guilt. Feeling guilty does not mean I am guilty. I refuse to make my decisions and choices from guilt. Sometimes I need to feel the guilt and do it anyway. In the inevitable instances when I inadvertently hurt someone, I will apologize, make amends, and let go of my guilt. I will not apologize over and over. I am no longer a victim. I will not accept unfair blame. Guilt is sometimes camouflaged fear.
- ‘Shoulding‘. I will substitute the words ‘want to’ for ‘should’ and only follow this imperative if it feels like I want to, unless I am under legal, ethical or moral obligation.
- Over-productivity/Workaholism/Busyholism. I am a human being not a human doing. I will not choose to be perpetually productive. I am more productive in the long run, when I balance work with play and relaxation. I will not try to perform at 100% all the time. I subscribe to the normalcy of vacillating along a continuum of efficiency.
- Harsh Judgements of Self & Others/Name-Calling. I will not let the bullies and critics of my early life win by joining and agreeing with them. I refuse to attack myself or abuse others. I will not displace the criticism and blame that rightfully belongs to my dysfunctional caretakers onto myself or current people in my life.
- Drasticizing/Catastrophizing/Hypochondriasizing. I feel afraid but I am not in danger. I am not ‘in trouble’ with my parents. I will not blow things out of proportion. I refuse to scare myself with thoughts and pictures of my life deteriorating. No more homemade horrors and disaster flicks. I will not turn every ache and pain into a story about my imminent demise. I am safe and at peace.
- Negative Focus. I renounce over-noticing and dwelling on what might be wrong with me or life around me. I will not minimize or discount my attributes. Right now, I notice, visualise and enumerate my accomplishments, talents and qualities, as well as the many gifts that life offers me, e.g., nature, music, film, food, beauty, colour, friends, pets, etc.
- Time Urgency. I am not in danger. I do not need to rush. I will not hurry unless it is a true emergency. I am learning to enjoy doing my daily activities at a relaxed pace.
- Disabling Performance Anxiety. I reduce procrastination by reminding myself that I will not accept unfair criticism or perfectionist expectations from anyone. Even when afraid, I will defend myself from unfair criticism. I won’t let fear make my decisions.
- Perseverating about Being Attacked. Unless there are clear signs of danger, I will thought-stop my projection of past bullies/critics onto others. The vast majority of my fellow human beings are peaceful people. I have legal authorities to aid in my protection if threatened by the few who aren’t. I invoke thoughts and images of my friends’ love and support.
1 – 9 are what Pete Walker describes as ‘perfectionism attacks, fueled by toxic shame, create chronic self-hate and self-flagellation’ and 10-14 ‘endangerment attacks, fueled by fear, create chronic hyper vigilance and anxiety‘.
Aren’t these just the best?! What a freeing list to read 🙂
And if you’d like to work on easing your inner critic voice here is a meditation from Melli over at MrsMindfulness