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Here’s How You Can Immediately Stop That Inner Critic in Its Tracks

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If you’d like to learn how to stop your inner critic so you can become the best version of yourself, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


I grew up with a Yiddish grandmother, so I know that everything is on the table for commentary. Imagine that person that is always around the next corner ready to comment on what you say. It definitely felt like a cat and mouse game, so I’ve learned to scurry around grabbing tiny morsels of sustenance, ever watchful as to not fall into her trap. 

The language of the critic is sharp, piercing, and debilitating. It’s fluency to disapprove and analyse everything from appearance, emotions, intelligence is utterly remarkable. What perhaps started as an exterior voice from a concrete “other” then becomes an interior voice that sounds like your own. These spaces are the soil for depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, addictions, and self-destructive behaviors. They kill productivity, intimacy, and confidence. 

Imagine the scenario that you are about to make a presentation at work. You are prepared and couldn’t be more ready. Then the cold sweats come, the pit in your stomach, and the raging doubt in your head. All of a sudden you feel like you could get sick, pass out, or both. What happened? 

Perhaps there was a presenter before you, and now you are stuck in comparison. Maybe you saw that coworker that intimidates or caught a glance at the boss to see a perceived or real expression across their face and presumed it was disapproval of you.

On a more personal side, imagine the scenario where you are having an enjoyable encounter with a partner. There’s connection and joy. Then the pessimistic thoughts start creeping in and you become worried about your appearance, when just a moment prior there was joy. 

Whether it is for personal or professional reasons, we’ve got to conquer that beast!

Here’s how:

1. Take a deeper breath

When you notice the thoughts spiraling in your head, feel that gripping and tightening in your gut and chest, lengthen your breath. Bring your attention to your breath. Inhale in through your nose and exhale through your mouth while making your exhale longer. Perhaps you use a counting system. Breathe in with the count of 2,4, or 6. Breathe out with corresponding 4,6, or 8. Lengthen the exhale.

“Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.” – Frank Sinatra

2. Notice

Befriend the beast, get to know it. Once you are more aware of the running commentary in your head you’ll be able to catch yourself when you are facing that overly critical space. 

Recognize its go to shaming statements, “You are so stupid,” “Oh, you really messed that up,” “How could you ever think that they would like your work,” or any and every variation of these statements. Where does shame attack? Identify how it feels in your body, emotions, and mind.

3. Acceptance

I’ve met a lot of people in my life, and there is not one person that is shielded from the powers and workings of the inner critic. We all have an Achilles heel. The inner critic knows them well, launches out for those vulnerable spaces, and goes on the defensive. 

Believe it or not, the inner critic’s primary job is to keep you safe. It does its job well. If you curtail your hopes, aspirations, and goals so as to not risk, the inner critic thinks it’s saving you from a lifetime of embarrassment. 

It is also hindering you from soaring into life with purpose and achievement. Accept that the inner critic’s voice is going to be a part of your life. Learn some skills to acknowledge it and move forward. If you feel trapped in its tentacles and there is nothing you can do to quiet the thoughts running rampant, push pause. Go back to the deeper breathing, take a walk, call a trusted friend, or journal down the recurring thoughts that come and look at them on the paper.

4. Choose

What are you going to do? Are you going to allow the pummeling of the inner critic and get stuck? Or can you focus on solutions to the critique that is coming your way? 

An inner critic is just that, a critic. It isn’t solution oriented. Like my Yiddish grandmother, it points out all the flaws. What will you focus upon? What you focus on, you empower. Shift yourself and instead of listening passively to the tear down, build yourself up and do just one thing differently.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

5. Discernment and Compassion

An exercise you can do is to take a moment to look at that list of statements you have journaled about. Acknowledge with compassion any truth that is within them but don’t stop there. Discern where the statements are lies or intimidation. Don’t just silence or ignore the critic, and go on the defensive. 

Examine and discern out the spaces that are just not true. You will one day get the promotion because you work hard, there will be a person who is attracted to you because of your strengths and who you are as an individual. 

Also, give compassion to that inner critic. 99% of us would never talk to a friend the way we let ourselves talk to ourselves, so begin talking to that part of you as you would a friend. 

Show empathy to the parts of you that are frightened of rejection, embarrassment, or shame. Acknowledge them in a kind way, express understanding, show empathy to it as you would another. 

Perhaps we don’t conquer the inner critic. Perhaps we learn to tame it and use it to our advantage allowing it to challenge us to be the best versions of ourselves. We can harness its power through breathing deeper, self-awareness, acceptance, and compassion to accompany inner critic into our days and nights.

How do you stop your own inner critic? Do you have any tips you’d be willing to share with us?

Elle Miller is a trauma-informed C-IAYT yoga therapist and Body Advocate working to bring transformation into the workplace. Her speciality is  finding spaces that shift anxiety and burn out, zoom fatigue and disconnection. She created The Listening Project as a means to show  how subversive the very act of learning how to listen can become. Connect with her at Elle@LivingMangaliso.com to schedule your personal session or to find out more about our corporate offerings.

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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