Hello and welcome back to the Therapy Spot, everyone! This week, I’d like to talk to you about your Self critic. Specifically, I’ll focus on its role in your close relationships, and how to stop taking responsibility for more than your fair share of the mess.

Don’t let the name fool you: just like all of your parts, your Self critic means well! Like a sheepdog, it “herds” you over to possible solutions by being critical and judgmental. Those little nips at your heels help keep you out of a rut, and moving forwards.

Sometimes, however, this self-criticism is just too much. What does it sound like when your Self critic gets extreme?

  • “Why bother looking for a new job? I’m such a loser, nobody would hire me.”
  • “I should be more grateful for what I have. I need to stop complaining.”
  • “No wonder I’m such a burden, I’m too anxious and needy.”

For a while, thoughts like this can push you in the right direction. Eventually, however, they will come back, because of what’s behind your feelings. That’s right: behind your anger, frustration, and hurt, you have an unfulfilled need.

If your once-helpful sheepdog has become a bully, you might feel like it’s stopped herding you, and started knocking you down. That means it’s time to put down self-criticism and self-blame and seek out other ways to respond to your situation.

Turning Inwards First

Rather than sit and reflect on the situation or the other person, turn towards yourself. Ask yourself, “What is it I need right now, that I’m not getting?”

  • Support from my partner
  • More personal time
  • A peaceful home environment
  • More intimacy and closeness in the relationship

Once you identify your needs, you can move forwards. Yes, this can be scary! Sometimes we have to move through disharmony to create a more harmonious, balanced environment. Once you become aware of your needs and follow through with self care you will feel stronger. Then you can start to have more important conversations with your partner.

Join me this week, and let’s get started.

Image Credit

Palmer wears the Cone of Shame in solidarity with Zelda!” by Flickr user Lindsay Attaway, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.