Silencing The Self-Defeating Inner Critic

By bp Magazine

July 4, 2019   •   Volume 12, Issue 27
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Silencing The Self-Defeating Inner Critic

You can do nine things right and one thing wrong, and what you’re left with at the end of the day is a bunch of negative self-talk about that one wrong thing. All the right things simply don’t carry enough weight to rise to the top.

Sound familiar?

The inner critic is harsh. That so-called tiny voice in the back of our minds isn’t so tiny at all when it comes to prodding our most formidable anxieties.

Psychologist and researcher Golan Shahar, author of Erosion: The Psychopathology of Self-Criticism, says self-defeating inner dialogue is due to critical family relationships or genetics that implant a tendency to seek internal flaws.

Research in the US, Canada, Israel, and Europe, Shahar says, including his own study documented in a paper for the journal Psychodynamic Psychiatry, has shown that self-criticism contributes to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and physical health conditions.

A study of women published in The British Journal of Clinical Psychology found that those with bipolar—both when depressed and when in remission—were more self-critical than women with no psychiatric history.

According to psychotherapist Peter Michaelson, the inner critic “is a formidable inner foe, a true enemy within that is audacious and shameless. We can’t suppress it through willpower. We can, however, undermine and defeat it with correct self-knowledge.”

To do that takes training and practice. Self-compassion—what researcher Kristin Neff defines as giving ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend—is key.

bpHope writer and activist Melody Moezzi offers a first step: “For starters, we can recognize that simply by daring to survive, we are revolutionaries. Thus, no matter where we are in our recovery, we are eternally worthy, useful, and better off alive.” Read more >>

Perseverance Lessens Anxiety and Depression

May 2, 2019, State College, PA—People who don’t give up on their goals—or who get better over time at not giving up on their goals—and who have a positive outlook appear to have less anxiety and depression and fewer panic attacks, according to a study of thousands of Americans over the course of 18 years.

The study, done at The Pennsylvania State University, was published by the American Psychological Association in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

“Perseverance cultivates a sense of purposefulness that can create resilience against or decrease current levels of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder,” says lead author Nur Hani Zainal. “Looking on the bright side of unfortunate events has the same effect because people feel that life is meaningful, understandable and manageable.” Read more >>

Following in Their Footsteps: Finding Hope in Bipolar Disorder Mentors

Medication and self-care are both important parts of managing bipolar––but so is finding an inspiring bipolar mentor.

By Lynn Rae

Medication and working on yourself can go a long way to assist in managing bipolar disorder. But there is one other key that has been crucial to my recovery. That is having mentors to look towards who were further along in their recovery than me.

When first diagnosed in 1996 there was almost no one talking about mental illness, let alone bipolar disorder. I couldn’t find people that I could talk to who were managing the illness effectively. I relied on the one or two famous people that were willing to speak out to give me hope that recovery was possible.

The first person that I looked towards was Patty Duke. Read more >>