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When Your Inner Critic Rules Your Love Life

podcast relationships Oct 22, 2019


Can't Listen? Here's the transcript: 

Today’s podcast is for those of you who are either looking for a partner in your life or you have a partner in your life and are unfulfilled in the relationship. 

First, I want to talk about how your Inner Critic plays matchmaker in your romantic life. For those of you who are in the dating world, whether you are single and looking for a relationship or you’re divorced, this is super important.

Most people think that the way to find a great relationship is to find someone out there who is really great. But here’s the problem with that--If you have an Inner Critic that is ruling your mind, you are making decisions in your relationship based on your Inner Critic’s deepest beliefs about you, about other people, about relationships, and even about what it is that you really want in a relationship. 

Because not only does your Inner Critic voice tell you who to date, but also who you deserve to date. For so many of you, you don’t even recognize that your self-worth is wrapped up in this choice. You’re looking for someone who will make you feel the way a certain way.

A lot of people I work with are either looking for a relationship or they’re dissatisfied by the current one they’re in because they want to feel loved, valued and important. But here’s the issue: The only person that can make you feel loved, valued and important is YOU!

So, if you don’t recognize that you’re looking for someone else to create these feelings in you, this is a set up for a lot of trouble. Your Inner Critic might cause you to not be interested in really great people because your Inner Critic nitpicks over someone’s career, their looks, their family or even their clothes because your Inner Critic is saying this person is not good enough.

But you might not recognize that your Inner Critic is really saying you’re not good enough. You may not recognize that the ideal picture in your mind could be your Inner Critic trying to fill a hole inside of YOU. I hear from so many people that they are staying in relationships that are less than satisfying and sometimes even toxic. Now, why would you do that? Because deep down, you are convinced that if you argue with them, point out what they are doing wrong, where they need to change, what they need to do to make you feel more loved, more important, that at some point they will turn into the man or the woman you know they can be. If only they just saw the error in their ways, if only they saw how good you really are, they would change. 

And instead of realizing that you are worth more than this, you will stay with the person that is not capable of giving you emotionally what you want. Many of you are afraid that if you leave, you will never find someone who will give you what you want, so you stay with what you have. But the issue here is that we don’t ever attract what we WANT. We attract who we already ARE.

Unless you already have a relationship with yourself in which you know INSIDE that you are someone who deserves nothing less than being adored and worshipped, because YOU adore and worship YOU, you are going to keep looking for that other person to make you feel adored and worshipped. And then you'll keep trying to turn that person into the one who’s going to make you feel that way. 

In other words, instead of listening to your Authentic Self to determine who would be a good match, you abide by the negative chatter of your Inner Critic. And many of you don’t ever see who you really are, which is your Authentic Self. You only see who your Inner Critic says you are. You deserve someone who truly meshes with your Authentic Self.

This is also how your Inner Critic can create unhealthy dynamics in relationships that actually have the potential to be loving and connected relationships. And over time, how petty little arguments can blow up into huge explosions because the things they are arguing about are triggering something deeper from the Inner Critic’s perspective, some version of I’m not important enough, I don’t matter, I’m not appreciated enough, I’m not valued enough.

I’ll give you an example of this in my own marriage.  My husband is an introvert. He was born an introvert. It’s part of his god-given personality. I am an extrovert. And for years, I let my inner critic rule this part of my relationship with my husband. My husband is truly an amazing man. He is loving, supportive, he adores me, he’s a great dad.

But my Inner Critic used to tell me that it was not okay that he was an introvert. My Inner Critic convinced me that if he was quiet, people would think less of him.  So for years, I would try to turn him into more of an extrovert, by pointing out all of the ways he should put himself out there more at parties or family gatherings.

Now my husband has managed to live most of his life very successfully but that didn’t stop my Inner Critic from convincing me that not only did he need to change but that I was the one that needed to change him!

So, you can imagine how well this went. His experience of me was that he felt like I never thought he was good enough. He frequently felt criticized and he actually harbored some resentment towards me for not appreciating him for who he was!  Now, this was a pattern that existed for years, until I woke up to just how much my Inner Critic was sabotaging my relationship. And when I began to take responsibility, and really examine my Inner Critic and get intimately familiar when she would play the broken record of judgment and criticism, I decided to get her out of my relationship with my husband.

I began to let go of my Inner Critic’s ideal picture of who my husband was supposed to be and instead, I let him be who he was. And not only did I let him be who he was, I actually started appreciating the parts of him that were quiet and reflective. And the more I backed off and let him be, the more loving, playful and fun he would be in our relationship which is really all that I wanted him to be when I was trying to change him for all that time.

Ways That Your Inner Critic Sabotages Romantic Relationships.

1) Plays matchmaker
2) Picks petty fights with partner
3) Assigns false meaning and collects evidence for the perspective she is feeding you.

So for years, my Inner Critic convinced me that, “I do it better” or that being an extrovert is better than being an introvert (which is actually complete BS).  Your Inner Critic’s judgment creates a wedge between you and your partner even when you don’t say it out loud. Because even if you don’t say it, you’re still thinking it.

It blocks intimacy. This is a pendulum that your Inner Critic whips up. It’s obvious when your Inner Critic can make you feel less than, but you don’t notice how your Inner Critic whips you up with the “I’m better than” when the Inner Critic presents it like that.

In terms of intimacy, love goes out the window when the Inner Critic is in charge of the romantic relationship. For your Inner Critic, it’s all about “how do YOU make me feel about ME.”

Your Inner Critic can be triggered by feeling not appreciated enough, not mattering enough, not being important enough, not being loved enough, or not feeling good enough. So instead of remembering this is someone that we love or this is someone who we want to be connected with, our Inner Critic becomes so protective of that inner pain. She will make you do or say things that actually create the stuff in the relationship that you don’t like! Kind of like me, when I was critical of my husband and what I was creating was a husband who was quiet, shut down and distant, because he felt criticized for who he was.

When you listen to the negative chatter of your Inner Critic, it can be hard to see what it is that you are really committed to. You may love your partner but you find yourself snapping at them because you feel unimportant.

When I used to find out that my husband forgot to tell me some detail about his life, I would get angry at him because I felt like I wasn’t important enough.  He was being himself, which is someone who doesn’t readily share details. It’s just naturally who he is. So I might have given him the cold shoulder or react in a way that didn’t line up with what I am really committed to, which is a loving and connected relationship with my husband.

I was the one causing a negative cycle in my relationship, because giving him the cold shoulder was definitely not creating the relationship I craved.  But when my Inner Critic is on autopilot, there are certain ways I behave. And I have to be aware of those ways of behaving.

In the MIND method, that’s the I step: Investigate the indication signs that your Inner Critic is on the scene. Becoming intimately familiar with those indication signs will be able to alert you when your Inner Critic is on the throne of your mind.

One thing you can do to combat this is to create a mission statement for what you want your relationship to be: A mission statement that defines your commitment and what are you committed to in the relationship. And write it down. The second part is with that commitment in mind, what actions are in alignment with that commitment?

Look at how your automatic actions sabotage or are out of alignment with that greater commitment. Your Inner Critic is so committed to making the other person wrong that you forget that what you’re committed to is a happy, healthy relationship. When I’m being right, and making my husband wrong, that makes my Inner Critic happy. But would I rather be right or would I rather be in a happy relationship? Would you rather be right or related? 

And many of you are arguing right now while you’re listening to this and saying, “Why doesn’t the other person have to create a mission statement? Why doesn’t the other person need to align his or her thoughts, feelings and actions to a higher commitment?”

And my answer to that is that you have no control over another person. You only have control over yourself. And what I found in my own relationship is that when I took responsibility for my Inner Critic's thoughts, feelings and actions, and realigned my thoughts, feelings and actions with my higher commitment, my husband changed. Just by me changing who I was being towards him, he began to change towards me.

 Maybe there’s a tug of war in your head about what your relationship should look like -- and your significant other doesn’t even know about it! Your Inner Critic keeps score when it comes to your relationship, doling out the should’s and could’s, saying things like, “Your relationship should be more passionate in this way or that.”

Our Inner Critic has ideal pictures, fantasies really, about a lot of things in our lives.  And this is definitely the case in our romantic relationships. Our Inner Critic paints these ideal pictures in our mind and then compares your relationship to other people on social media. Of course, this is the worst place to look, because your Inner Critic will see one picture posted on social media and will make all sorts of assumptions about that person’s relationship.

And for those of you who are dating, your Inner Critic tries to prevent you from even risking going on a “bad” date so you can avoid any possibility of hurt feelings, rejection and disappointment later on. But the more you run from your Inner Critic’s fear of uncomfortable emotions, this may mean you won’t go on that date where you could have met someone who made your Authentic Self smile and sing. 

Dating makes your Inner Critic scream at you! And if you’re not willing to practice being uncomfortable on purpose, it’s almost impossible to take the necessary actions that go along with online dating.

Our self worth is often tied up in our romantic relationships -- whether we’re in one, succeeding at one or looking for one. Your Inner Critic may perceive you’re alone because you don’t deserve a romantic relationship. This simply isn’t true and is not your Authentic Self talking. We’re all deserving of love and affection. Recognizing we’re always worthy of love, no matter who we are, is the key to tuning into your Authentic Self. 

With regard to all of our relationships - our Inner Critic has us have a specific way of viewing people or situations in our life.  So for me, my Inner Critic shows up more in my relationships with my teenage sons than in my relationship with my husband. Because if my teenage boys are dismissive or give me one-word answers, my Inner Critic forgets that they’re being teenagers and then has unrealistic expectations about the way teenage boys are supposed to behave with their mom! 

For some of you out there, you may notice your Inner Critic shows up more with a parent or a sibling. How many times can you catch your Inner Critic saying s/he always, s/he never...? Without even realizing it we have a predetermined way of viewing other people, whether it’s our partner, our boss, our kids.  

 Most of my clients tell me they want a loving relationship with their significant other and when they get mad and disappointed, what they really want is to be right about how wrong their partner is. This goes for parents/children too. When it comes to relationships, most people don’t recognize that they are more concerned with being right, making someone else wrong or staying comfortable.

What does your Inner Critic have you focused on that keeps you from having what you want? Our Inner Critic’s job is to keep us protected from any perceived pain. So we avoid situations where we need to risk being vulnerable - we want to date that person but are too afraid of being embarrassed or rejected. 

This shows up at work too. People don't ask for a raise, thinking they aren’t valuable enough to get it, or they’ll afraid of upsetting somebody which leads to them never getting what they want.

Today's podcast is about cultivating the ability to see that your Inner Critic has you more focused on staying protected and comfortable or being right instead of focused on having what you really want in your life. 

So ask yourself where your Inner Critic is proving you right about how wrong someone else is. Pick one relationship in your life that is less than satisfactory and do a little investigating to determine where the judgments and limiting beliefs of your Inner Critic might be keeping you stuck in behaviors that are perpetuating the way the relationship looks. 

In other words, where are you more interested in being right than having a loving relationship?

Is Your Inner Critic Keeping You From Success?

Find out what your Inner Critic is saying to sabotage your success and how you can move past her limiting beliefs. 


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