227: What is the real reason your self talk is so harsh and critical?

227: What is the real reason your self talk is so harsh and critical?

Welcome to this episode of our short daily podcast - A Slice of Therapy.

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With Alun Parry https://liverpoolpsychotherapy.co.uk

Automatically Generated Transcript

00:01
you’re listening to a slice of therapy
00:03
with me alun parry
00:06
[Music]
00:14
so imagine that someone that you really
00:17
care about
00:19
is walking towards traffic
00:23
and you see them there and they’re
00:26
walking and it’s
00:28
a busy road and they just seem oblivious
00:31
to the fact that there’s a busy road
00:32
there and they’re walking
00:34
towards the road and it doesn’t look
00:37
like they’re going to stop
00:41
and you’re not close enough to be able
00:43
to
00:44
reach out and grab them back to safety
00:48
and you can see that if they carry on
00:50
walking they’re going to get hit
00:54
so how do you actually reach them
00:58
how do you actually call them
01:01
and alert them what kind of voice would
01:04
you use
01:06
to alert them to the danger
01:09
one option is that you’d be really
01:11
polite about it
01:13
you’d be really kind of timid and gentle
01:16
about it and you’d say
01:17
um excuse me um
01:20
i don’t really want to be the person who
01:22
tells you what to do but
01:24
you know maybe it might be a good idea
01:26
to pause right now what do you think
01:30
we probably wouldn’t use that voice
01:33
because it’s far too urgent and we’re
01:36
far too scared for them so we would
01:37
probably
01:38
scream at them at the top of our voice
01:43
stop just stop
01:49
now if you just take that out of context
01:53
you’ll probably notice that tone doesn’t
01:55
sound too nice
01:57
that’s not really the way you would go
01:59
around and talk to anybody
02:00
that you cared about in an ordinary
02:03
situation
02:07
the voice sounds harsh it’s loud and
02:11
shouty
02:12
it almost sounds critical
02:16
and yet nobody would blame you for
02:19
shouting like that in this instance
02:21
because who wouldn’t use
02:23
a loud harsh voice as loud and harsh as
02:27
possible
02:28
in a situation like this to protect
02:30
somebody that you really care about
02:34
from a perceived danger
02:38
i’m guessing that you’d have done or
02:39
said pretty much anything
02:41
to stop them from carrying on walking
02:43
forward at that moment
02:48
and the reason why i’m mentioning this
02:51
and drawing your attention to the harsh
02:53
voice
02:54
that you would no doubt use in this
02:57
situation
02:59
is because many of us
03:02
also carry around a harsh voice
03:06
in our own heads that is aimed at us
03:10
and it’s our self-talk
03:14
and that’s harsh too isn’t it that’s
03:17
often
03:18
sounding critical that often says things
03:22
which are not that nice to hear in a
03:24
tone of voice
03:25
that doesn’t seem that kind they’ll say
03:29
things like
03:30
who the hell are you to be thinking that
03:32
you can do that
03:34
who said you can feel happy
03:37
what are you doing thinking that you can
03:39
feel proud of yourself
03:43
you failed that means you’re stupid
03:47
they’re really really harsh voices they
03:49
don’t talk nicely to us
03:51
this kind of self-talk voice that we
03:53
carry at all they
03:55
almost seem like enemies like they’re
03:57
trying to drag us down
04:01
and whenever we’re brave enough and
04:02
courageous enough to
04:04
spread our wings out the voice comes
04:07
along
04:08
to try and clip us back again to try and
04:10
pull us back
04:11
into our box
04:15
and when we’re carrying around this
04:16
voice this self-talk with us it’s
04:19
no wonder it’s hard to reach our
04:21
potential sometimes
04:23
we’ve got these enemies in our own heads
04:27
getting in our own way
04:31
now i call them enemies but what if
04:34
they’re not
04:35
actually enemies what if they’re
04:40
friends now you might say well what kind
04:43
of friend
04:45
is going to talk to me in that kind of
04:47
way
04:50
and yet isn’t that the kind of voice
04:53
that we use
04:54
in the example before with the busy road
04:57
we use a harsh tone of voice we used an
05:00
exclamation mark we said oy
05:03
stop
05:06
and so what if in the same way this
05:09
self-talk this critical voice that we
05:12
carry around with us what if they use
05:14
that harsh voice
05:16
for the same reason that we use the
05:18
harsh voice in that example
05:20
not because they hate you
05:23
but because they’re actually on your
05:26
side and they’re
05:27
scared for you what if they’re being so
05:30
harsh because
05:32
like you with the traffic scenario
05:36
earlier they actually want to protect
05:38
you
05:39
and like you they’ll do whatever they
05:42
can
05:43
in order to give you that protection
05:47
so they see a danger and they come to
05:50
the rescue
05:50
even if that means talking to you
05:53
horribly
05:54
they see you doing something that they
05:56
think is dangerous
05:58
and they will say whatever they can say
06:01
in
06:01
whatever harsh tone they can use in
06:04
order to make sure that you stop doing
06:06
the thing
06:07
that they think is dangerous
06:11
and so maybe the real problem with these
06:14
voices isn’t that their enemies
06:18
maybe the real problem is
06:21
isn’t even that they trash talk us in
06:23
the way that they do
06:25
maybe the real problem is that they’re
06:26
seeing danger
06:28
when it’s no longer there
06:32
perhaps what they’re seeing is danger
06:34
that is from years ago
06:37
and this critical voice maybe was shaped
06:41
many many years ago that if you did
06:43
those kind of things
06:45
if you spread your wings in those
06:48
situations
06:50
that it actually was pretty dangerous in
06:52
some way
06:53
that it wasn’t safe for you to do that
06:56
and so it learned to create this
07:00
harsh voice in order to stop you doing
07:02
that dangerous thing
07:04
and so even though you’ve outgrown that
07:07
situation today the voice is still kind
07:10
of
07:10
stuck in the past it hasn’t updated
07:13
itself
07:14
it’s like an old piece of software
07:18
rather than the latest version and so
07:20
even though you’ve got lots more
07:22
resources today that voice is kind of
07:25
locked in time and so it still talks to
07:27
you in this harsh way
07:29
not because it doesn’t like you but
07:31
because it does
07:33
and it’s trying to protect you from a
07:34
danger
07:36
but a danger that perhaps isn’t there
07:39
anymore
07:42
and so when you spread your wings what
07:44
this
07:45
critical sounding voice remembers is
07:47
that is that once upon a time
07:49
doing that really wasn’t safe and so it
07:52
panics
07:53
gets anxious for you it sees you moving
07:56
towards something that it thinks is
07:57
dangerous for you
07:59
and so it starts to scream just as you
08:02
would scream
08:03
if somebody that you cared about was
08:04
heading towards
08:06
danger as well
08:09
it’s shouting at you in that way perhaps
08:11
because
08:13
it’s willing to do anything to keep you
08:15
away from this danger that it perceives
08:20
the thing is though like we said it’s
08:23
stuck in the past it’s basing its
08:27
fears around something that were back
08:30
then
08:31
that is no longer dangerous and yet it
08:34
hasn’t updated its view
08:38
and so when you check it out and ask
08:40
well is this really still dangerous in
08:42
the present
08:44
or is this critical voice still reacting
08:47
to things from the past
08:50
you’ll find probably
08:54
that this is stuff from the past the
08:57
your critical voice that harsh voice
09:00
that you carry around with you
09:03
is still living in and is still trying
09:06
to protect you from to this day
09:10
so what if you changed the way that you
09:14
view the self-talk
09:15
not something oppressive or antagonistic
09:20
or that’s trying to drag you down in any
09:22
sort of malicious way
09:25
but as a friend
09:28
just a really panicky
09:32
out of date misled friend
09:35
the kind of friend who really cares for
09:37
you but is overzealous
09:40
and frankly a little bit daft because it
09:42
doesn’t have
09:43
all the information anymore
09:46
and what if you thought of it that
09:50
it wasn’t trying to keep you small
09:53
it was trying to keep you safe
09:57
it wasn’t trying to scare you for its
10:01
own sake
10:02
it was trying to protect you
10:06
what if you saw this panicky anxious
10:10
misled friend that is desperate to
10:12
protect you
10:13
as something that actually you need to
10:15
soothe
10:17
and educate about the new reality
10:21
what if this was a voice
10:24
that you actually asked a question of
10:27
this is really scared for me so what
10:29
does it need from me
10:32
in order to stand down what does it need
10:34
to see me doing
10:36
that allows it to retire from its job
10:41
as protecting
10:45
you see these kind of critical voices
10:51
we can actually get curious about them
10:53
and explore them
10:55
and find out what they do
10:59
we can get interested in them
11:03
not as something that is necessarily
11:06
malicious but as
11:07
a friend we can find out what
11:10
its tricks are what its techniques are
11:12
what its intentions
11:14
for us are what it believes in
11:18
what lies that it tells us
11:22
in order to get us to do what it wants
11:24
us to do
11:25
we can even find out what it is that it
11:27
does want it to do
11:28
want us to do and why
11:31
and so when i’m working with someone
11:33
especially if there’s a long standing
11:37
issue there then i will often get
11:41
curious about
11:42
that and almost create
11:46
an external person of this critical
11:49
voice
11:50
and get interested in what it is that is
11:53
motivating it
11:55
like why is it showing up why does it
11:58
company that it shouts in a harsh voice
12:02
and almost seems like it wants to bring
12:05
us down a peg or two
12:07
and what we usually find is that it
12:09
doesn’t really want to take us to go
12:11
down a peg or two
12:12
inherently it’s just that it
12:16
it views us as safer when we do kind of
12:20
hide ourselves
12:21
when we do go down a peg or two it
12:24
relaxes there because it views
12:26
that as the safest place for us to be
12:29
probably because of something in our
12:31
history
12:34
and so to recap then we started off
12:37
didn’t we with this example
12:39
of a loved one walking towards a busy
12:42
road and how
12:42
harsh you might shout in order to get
12:46
that person’s attention
12:49
and we saw the link there between how
12:51
harsh our own critical voices are
12:53
sometimes
12:55
and that perhaps they’re motivated by
12:58
the same love and care and need for
13:00
protection
13:02
as when we would shout in the same way
13:05
if we saw somebody doing something that
13:08
we thought was dangerous
13:11
and we saw as well how
13:16
if we get curious about that critical
13:18
voice we might actually realize
13:22
that it is a friend but just a really
13:25
misled
13:26
and jumpy an ill-informed friend
13:31
that is trying to protect us
13:35
but whose information is so outdated
13:38
that it might be an interesting alarm
13:40
system but it’s certainly not a good
13:42
advisor
13:44
and so one of the things that we can do
13:47
is to actually externalize this voice
13:52
what we can do is really separate
13:55
ourselves from the critical voice
13:57
treating it almost like some sort of
14:01
friendly but ill-informed creature that
14:04
we can
14:05
find out more about because once we know
14:08
that these thoughts that we have are not
14:10
our own thoughts but the creatures
14:13
it allows us to separate it allows us to
14:16
build a relationship with it
14:18
but more importantly it allows us to
14:21
recognize it for what it is
14:24
something that is trying to protect us
14:26
but is really really
14:27
outdated and overzealous
14:31
and it allows us then to make a decision
14:34
do we really want to
14:36
follow the advice of this outdated
14:40
albeit loving little creature
14:45
so if you like this idea and you’d like
14:46
to try it for yourself you can work with
14:48
me one-to-one
14:50
i’m alun parry and you’ll find out more
14:52
at liverpool psychotherapy dot co dot uk
14:55
of course you don’t have to be local
14:57
because i work online as well
14:59
using video calls and telephone calls
15:03
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15:05
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15:06
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15:11
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15:12
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15:15
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15:16
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