Self-Worth: That Voice in Your Head

Do you have an inner or outer critic that won’t shut up?

Does the inner critic sound familiar, like a mother, father or other relative that wouldn’t let up on how terrible they want you to think you are?

I used to wonder how people ended up not speaking to their relatives for years even decades. It is easy to give up on these complicated relationships. I am always conflicted, because with the good comes the bad, but sometimes cutting the cord is a necessary evil.

It doesn’t have to be a total elimination of these people from your life, but some relatives are, well, toxic. Like a frog in slowly warming water, one’s self-worth and self-esteem will erode under a constantly rising temperature of methodical, mendacious criticism.

I am open to different opinions. I am open to words of advice. Yet, there is a point when that family member has to STFU.

It is a crude point to make, yet insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result.

As for me, I can’t take it anymore. I have had enough. Constant second guessing of myself, constant criticism of even the smallest deeds, the relentless assertion of not “being a nice person” – I can’t take it anymore. I have had enough. It is life long, long term child / adult abuse. It is a sneaky, shadowy form, but the message is always clear: there’s something wrong with you, you are not a good person.

When I constantly get this message, I begin to wonder: how am I supposed to change? What can I do to be a better person? Am I really a bad person? Am I mean? How come I am not nice? How come no one likes me? Is that why so-and-so doesn’t like me? And so on…

Yet, to make sure that my reality isn’t skewed I check with people I know. I ask, am I that bad? The responses I receive are: you are a nice person, you are good, you are kind, you are sweet, you are compassionate.

That’s when it occurs to me as to why I get mad. I know it’s not my imagination. I know when I’ve heard nasty little comments, little digs, malicious insults, negative pessimistic stories that just happen to match my personal situations, and the constant attempt to chip away at my self-worth and self-esteem.

I understand that it’s not the real deal type of abuse, but do I even need to hear it? This kind of language is programming. Programming which leaves me to second guess myself too often, to leave me preoccupied with things that – while they matter – take up too much effort and energy. I am forced to act under a false doctrine: I am not worthy. I get angry, because I don’t want the inner critic to take over and make me live a life less worthy of living.

I am content with myself, with the way I am. I can do little to change it. I am the way I am. I try to be respectful of everyone; I can do no more or less.

Yet, for my mental health and well being, there are some family members that I need to pull up anchor and drift away from.

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