We all have it, and in the west, it is certainly culturally reinforced.
This is how it works:
First a fear or a threat to our ego brews the autonomic nervous system. Clouds of anxiety and negative judgemental thoughts form as we feel more insecure within our selves… the familiar stories of inadequacy, fear of rejection and failing. The inner critic’s survival instinct kicks in with the MO to prevent failure by demobilizing – either the self, or others around them.
The person you love nearby copping the brunt of the storm, or ego inside under attack and loathing… “you idiot”.
“Don’t be so defensive” – well I can’t just switch off a defence mechanism and the cascade of autonomic nervous system chemicals.
BUT you can use secure attachment words to debunk the Inner Critic.
Being SECURE allows you to do all those effective things: mentalize, and integrate the perceived criticism, make meaning out of the negative feedback or threat, to learn.
So how to become secure when you’re in your dysregulated inner critic response? In these moments we need to use Secure Attachment scripts: words to say to ourselves that remind us that we are secure – to calm our poor dysregulated brains.
1. Trust yourself – you’re doing ok
2. Imagine a loving secure relationship (even if not your own)
3. Look at yourself (3rd person) with soft, loving eyes
4. Imagine yourself relating to any person in an open and compassionate way
5. I’m really upset, but I’m here for you.
Simply imagining scenes of bonding relationships has shown to calm down a nervous system under attack from the inner critic (fMRI studies).
Some of these statements can be really challenging and hard to achieve. If it is hard to believe, then imagine someone else saying it.
Thanks for the picture Adi Goldstein auf Unsplash