Why we criticize ourselves and how to stop it


Self-flagellation, self-criticism, self-deprecation, self-criticism – in psychological slang, all these words mean “negatively colored introspection, accompanied by disapproval of one’s behavior (words, thoughts, actions) and dissatisfaction with oneself.”

No child is born with built-in self-criticism. But many learn this skill quickly enough.

Why do we scold ourselves

What triggers and supports this process in us?

1. Introjects – parental and owned by significant people. Those same condemning, blaming, criticizing, accusing phrases that we have so often heard from mom, dad, teacher, classmates. We leave home, finish school, say goodbye to people, but their small speaking copies remain in our heads. And they begin to sound in situations that remind us of past experiences. So if you are raising children, remember that what you are telling them now will stay with them for life.

2. Mirroring and heredity. Perhaps my mother was very caring and never allowed herself to be criticized in your direction. But at the same time she scolded herself every minute. We, as small, conscious or unconscious, but still copies of our parents, we can, voluntarily or involuntarily, repeat their demeanor and use the words they uttered.

In therapy, we are often faced with the fact that in our life the thoughts and feelings of previous generations are manifested “emotional echoes”. After all, we genetically adopt not only external, but also internal similarities.

3. Obligations. We were raised as “correct children”, surrounded by many phrases: “you must”, “you must”, “must be done”, “this is necessary”. We did not always fulfill what we “had to”, because many of these duties did not correspond at all to our inner urges, aspirations and desires. Therefore, they caused us not only indignation, but also self-criticism.

4. Character traits, which exacerbate all of the above. Among them:

  1. Inability to accept your weak and negative manifestations of character, as well as forgive yourself for mistakes.
  2. Making excessive demands on yourself and the world around you.
  3. Maintaining a negative attitude in life.

How to change your attitude towards yourself

There are many psychological ways to correct self-criticism. To solve the problem, in any case, you need to change your attitude to your true “I” and get rid of introjects.

Better results can be achieved in psychotherapy sessions, because all the triggers of self-criticism are at the level of the unconscious. And almost no one manages to get there alone.

In working with a psychotherapist, several subpersonalities can be distinguished: our own critic, our own criticized and outsiders, those who have introduced these introjects into us. The specialist helps to get rid of other people’s attitudes, develop their own and learn to support oneself instead of condemning.

At home, you can try to do the following: imagine yourself small, the one that was accused and criticized. Give her support. Say encouraging words. Give promises and permissions:

  • “I give you permission not to feel guilty. You are not guilty of anything, because I decided so. “
  • “I let you feel happy”
  • “I allow you to rejoice”
  • “I give you permission to try and fail.”
  • “I allow you to be sad when sad, and laugh when fun”
  • “I let you feel alive”
  • “I promise to take care of you, be with you, support and help you”
  • “I really need you, and I really love you”

Supporting your inner parts of the personality is important in any solution to psychological problems.

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