At therapy this week my therapist said “we have to get rid of that inner critic, always putting you down” and the 1st thought that popped into my head was “I know. I’m so stupid for doing that”. What a predicament! How can I get rid of the voice that constantly criticizes me, when I’m criticizing myself for having that voice in the 1st place?
This happened during an EMDR session. In these sessions I put in earbuds, and my therapist guides me through memories, stories and re-writes while sounds are bouncing back and forth between the two sides of my brain. I know it sounds crazy, but it life altering. It is the only things I’ve ever done that has successfully rid me of negative feelings. When we decided to tackle my inner critic I went to pull out my earbuds and found I had forgotten them. Because I’m stupid and careless, my inner critic said.
The day before this I had gotten my ex’s affidavit of our assets & liabilities, and I was incensed looking at it. He is claiming the new Cadillac he just purchased as one of “our” liabilities, as well as his taxes from 2015. We’ve been separated for over 2 years, so this is a ludicrous claim for him to make, and it won’t stand up in court, but never the less, it upset me. In fact, every time I have to deal with anything related to the divorce, I have a panic attack, and she wanted to know why.
So we spent the session going through the pivotal times during my 25 year relationship with him. When I finished telling my story she was outraged, and she assured me that we would abolish my inner critic, so that I can stand up for myself. It is a constant worry, because throughout our time together, he always got his way on important issues. He was always able to hold out, patiently waiting for my inner critic to catch up to him, to fully embrace each of my flaws, so that he got what he wanted. It has been my fear that this would be the case with our divorce; that I will give in, and not get what I deserve.
I feel very fortunate that I have my therapists, my lawyer and my family and friends helping me discern what is real, what is true, what is right. The next day I had conference call with my attorney and he said “have you finished laughing yet? unbelievable!”, and with those words I relaxed. He went on to say that it would really be hysterical if it weren’t so blatantly wrong. For the first time since all of this started, I felt like I will be okay. I have a great attorney who understands all of the aspects of my case, I have great therapists and great family and friends. I will get through the divorce.
The problem I’m now really starting to think about is what next. What happens once we are done with court, we have a settlement in place, and we have sold the house. He’s already in his “what’s next” place. He’s moved in with the new GF, bought his new car, recreated his life. I, on the other hand, have been sitting in this house for over 2 years trying to figure out what my “next” will be, only to have my inner critic take over.
How nice it would be, I think, to be a psychopath and not worry about things like this. How nice to just do whatever you want, regardless of the consequences to yourself or others. I am always so damn busy weighing each option, listing the pro’s and con’s of each choice, thinking about who might be negatively affected about the choice, I just go around and around in my head. It’s exhausting!
So, I will not forget my earbuds next time! I am getting rid of that inner critic once and for all. I can’t wait!
In the meantime, I’m headed to DC to do some advocacy work, and my inner critic has berated each outfit I’ve tried on. She’s told me I dress inappropriately, I look stupid, I’ll stick out like a sore thumb, and I’m so pissed I forgot those headphones! I know what I want to wear, but that damn voice keeps shouting at me. I have literally spent the entire week shopping, bringing items home, returning them and shopping more, trying to find an outfit my inner critic approves of, when the entire time I’ve had two outfits here that I love, feel like me, and are probably acceptable. How ridiculous is that?
I guess I’m going to have to bring my Valium. At least I have that.