Everyone has an inner voice. That sense of pride when you do a job well is a part of it, as is that other voice that criticizes you when you make a mistake. For most of us who suffered narcissistic abuse, that inner voice turns into the harshest, cruelest critic you can imagine.
Have you ever done something simple, like spill your drink, & then tell yourself how clumsy you are for doing so? Or, did you show up late due to circumstances beyond your control such as a flat tire then berate yourself for being so unreliable? Did your company let you go due to cutbacks, no fault of your own, yet you still told yourself you were a failure? That is your inner voice turned inner faultfinder.
That voice isn’t naturally cruel. It turns cruel because of your narcissistic mother. Her constant put downs & judgments eventually turn inward, & you began to tell yourself the same things she did. Maybe you use her words, or maybe not, but you become as abusive towards yourself as she is towards you.
Unfortunately, this seems to be a natural event for children of narcissistic mothers. I wonder if it is because that inner voice stays stuck as a child. It doesn’t grow up, but instead stays an abused child, wanting to please the impossible to please narcissistic mother. When you fail to please her (by making a mistake, spilling something, doing something she wouldn’t approve of, etc.), that inner voice simply repeats what your mother has said (or implied). I’ve heard that some people who experience trauma at an early age never emotionally grow past that point. They get stuck at the age of their traumatic experience. Maybe for some of us who didn’t do that, our inner voice did instead. It just got stuck in an abusive childhood, & wants so desperately to please the narcissistic mother, it will imitate her actions in an attempt to make it happen.
I have been this way my entire life- extremely critical of myself. If I forget something, I tell myself how stupid I am. If I’m feeling under the weather & my husband helps me with or worse yet, does all of the housework, I’m useless & a burden. If I stub my toe, I’m stupid, clumsy & should’ve known better. It’s not a pretty inner dialog. Frankly, it’s gotten old. I’ve heard enough unfair criticisms in my life to last ten lifetimes, & not only from the narcissists- from myself as well. I’ve decided it’s time to change. God has shown me some ways to change this, & I’ll share with you in the hopes they help you as well..
- Ask for God’s help on the matter. He will show you creative ways to handle it as He has me.
- Tell that critic to shut up. I’m going to say “shut up!” to that awful faultfinding, hyper-critical voice inside every time it says something hateful, then switch my thinking to something else. Anything to take my mind off what it said.
- Remind yourself the critic is only an echo of your narcissistic mother, & it’s wrong. Just like your narcissistic mother, this voice has her best interests at heart, not yours. Its opinions won’t benefit you. Ignore it as you do your narcissistic mother’s useless opinions on your life.
- Years ago, I saw Robb Thompson, a preacher on TV, give a wonderful visual for controlling bad thoughts. He said they were from the devil, so when bad thoughts came to you, imagine taking the devil by the hand, walking him over to God & saying to the devil, “Ok, now tell Him what you just told me.” Naturally the devil would be too afraid to say anything so cruel to one of His children in front of God & would back down.
I believe it will take time to make that cruel inner voice less cruel but I think it can be done. After all, it was trained to be so negative- why can’t it be retrained to be less abusive?