The inner critic II

https://i1.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0c/C%C3%A9zanne%2C_L%27Hiver.jpgI lie, of course, because I am ashamed. I do not want to avoid the CAB, as it is my way of meeting people, having an interest, exercising my altruism. I want to avoid having my buttons pressed. The problem is the strength of my inner critic.

The paid job I had at Swanston CAB was poorly planned. I was supposed to advise parents at Children’s Centres about their benefit entitlement. The CAB thought the Children’s Centres would be eager to refer the parents, and the parents would be eager to see me. The Children’s Centres thought the CAB would refer clients whom I would see at the Centres, so bringing new clients to them. The parents showed indifference, mostly, and one support worker was deeply hostile- think of incident, rage and cry a bit, put it back in its box- so I saw far fewer clients than was expected.

Making an effort to see it positively, I can say: it got me to this beautiful place, six  months’ paid work, and I did some good for some clients. I had not really made an effort to publicise my services before, and I had that challenge. (At one show, with stalls for various services for the parents, few parents actually turned up, but that was not my fault.) I had to form relationships with the children’s centre workers, with varying results: I choose to think that with Lucy more important than with that hostile worker.

Seeing it negatively, as I did, I found it a failure, which was a judgment on me. My failure. That is the inner critic, which sees me as a bad and generally useless person. Just as the internalised transphobia is reinforced by the few transphobic people I meet, my inner critic is reinforced by the occasional harsh judgment of me by others. The problem is that as my inner critic is so fierce, I find it hard to differentiate those negative judgments of others according to whether they have value or not. Each feels like a complete rejection of me, and I react angrily and imperceptively. My judgment meets my angry denial, where I would be better to see things as they are, and feel and respond appropriately to this situation not past situations. And my inner critic disregards any hurt I feel at this as inappropriate, again stupid and useless.

I had the Minute of Disunity of Quakers, and my appeal against it, to deal with at the same time.

Now, I have been volunteering. I wrote about how I find it now, and over the last six months I have been thinking of how I can fit in there- do as I am told, basically, rather than formulate my own arrogant way, as there is only room for one way. Accept that. Now, I think, reduce my fierce reaction to criticism, because it is not a reaction to the real world. Find my own current emotional reaction. See clearly. Something I need to practise.

5 thoughts on “The inner critic II

  1. Clare,
    I think the opportunity here, which I see happening for you, is increased awareness, learning from mistakes and being willing to practice new ways of being. You now see that inner critic more clearly when she raises her less-than-helpful critical head. Why not just have a dialogue with her and ask her to mind her own damned business so you can get on with your life? That wonderful intellect that you have is a blessing – and also probably a curse at times. And your wonderful heart can serve you best at soothing yourself when the intellect runs amok. I think it can and does get better with practice. All things good to you, my friend. Hugs, Cathy

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  2. My dear Clare

    I echo so much of what Cathy has said. I want so much to comfort you. We are all a bit silenced into doing nothing, by our self hatred. All of us have to tiptoe out of it, quietly reasserting our power to see farther, to go beyond. We are all like that, and you are not so unusual. So you do not need to feel especially isolated about that.

    You are also extremely perceptive, articulate. You lay out arguments and counter arguments with such clarity and honesty. We can trust you in that, because your truth is so obvious from your straight presentation of facts and circumstances.

    You are well armed to deal with your inner critic. But maybe she should just be told to stop worrying about you. She is fierce, I imagine, because she sees your risks, your challenges are particularly high, particularly damaging if they go wrong. But that is a misunderstanding. We all face these kind of risks, and sometimes they are good for us, to see that the fear of threat is out of all proportion to the reality. There is no real threat, whatever we do. There is no chorus of disapproval waiting to greet you, to scorn. And if they do, if the nightmare happens, what would you do? Crumble to dust? Dissolve? Crack and disappear into the crazy paving in your head? That might be the doorway to light, the home of peace, the crucible of understanding….though it probably would not get to that. You would probably get so far, and then say, “I’ve had enough of this!”

    You are love. Only love is real. “I love me, even if no-one else does…..” and the inner critic has a field day! But, when the noise is finished, we look down at our hands, we gaze at the beauty of our feet, and wonder. You are wonderful.

    XX 🙂

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    • I work my way to better perception. I strip away the blind spots. I see more clearly. I am frightened, and I am getting more useful ways of being.

      I am seeing that job again, and differently. It made me miserable. I resented it. Now, I decide to see it differently. I see all the good in it. I see where I have seen it as bad, and decide to see those aspects differently. This is a trick I learned many years ago, none of this stuff is new, and I am applying it.

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  3. You do not have to be endlessly accepting about everything, though it does help to have acceptance as the starting point. You can also accept your dislike, your hostility and even your hatred, which is disarming, sometimes! xx 🙂

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