If you are coming over from my guest post on Joe Bunting’s The Write Practice.com site, welcome. This is a new blog and I hope you find it helpful. We are beginning to look at how we see ourselves in the mirror of life. Is our perception the truth or have we believed lies our abusers have taught us?
Do you tear yourself apart? Second guess yourself? Compare yourself to others and find yourself wanting? Your inner critic may need taming.
Photo: National Media Museum
There is nothing wrong with an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses with the goal of discovering areas of improvement. But, if the assessment is debilitating, and leaves you feeling hopeless it is a clue your inner critic is working overtime.
Many of the abuse survivors I’ve spoken with feel they have a heightened sense of shame. They either blamed themselves for their abuse or they felt inferior as a result of the violation they received.
One of the largest struggles I had to deal with was feeling like damaged goods. I believed there was something wrong with me because my father abused me. If I had been nicer, kinder, smarter, or (fill in the blank), he would have loved me and not abused me. The truth is, my feelings or sense of self was not important to him. He wanted his lustful gratification.
The problem was him, not me. But the damage he did went deep. It is difficult to shake the feeling of being damaged. It takes hard work and perseverance. I have to remind myself who I really am and counter each and every negative thought with two positive ones. It takes more than one healthy thought to counter a negative image.
As a teenager I wrote the a snippet of a poem:
Help me to feel the feelings I should
So I can be real and be understood.
That was the start of my inner critic. I didn’t believe my real feelings mattered. I wanted to blend in, be a human wallflower in the crowd of life.
My abusive parents taught me that control was necessary and that I needed to respond the exact way they wanted me to respond to preserve my life. Yes, they tried to kill me several times for wrong reactions to their desires.
This inner critic grew until it dominated my life. I had to replace the negative self-image and negative criticism with more positive thoughts. Sometimes I had to repeat these thoughts over and over until sheer repetition helped me to believe them. Never forget that words have power. We need to watch what we speak, think, and write about ourselves. It must line up with the truth.
What truth do you need to speak over yourself? One that I keep repeating is, “You are God’s beloved child. Abba loves you.”
Have a blessed day.