Your inner critic could be ruining your relationship and you may not even be aware of it.
Got intimacy issues?
Connection and communication problems?
Can’t seem to understand each other?
Find yourself walking on eggshells, uncertain how to talk about things together that you feel couples should be able to handle?
Is there a growing distance is between you and your partner, and you can’t seem to understand why?
Peruse through this site and you’ll find all kinds of reasons why you may find yourself distant from each other.
And whether you’d like to admit it or not, you could even identify with 9 out of the 9 top 9 danger signs of a relationship in trouble.
None of these issues are what we are discussing today. We are talking about something else all together that you’ll take with you to your next relationship and your next if this one doesn’t work out.
Your inner critic
This problem that may be killing your intimacy is one you may not even be aware of. It has nothing to do with your partner. It comes up with success driven ambitious people I work with all the time and it truly kills intimacy.
I’m referring to your inner critic.
You may not even know you have one as it may be such a familiar part of your internal landscape that you confuse it for your true voice. It’s not you. It’s a judgy, blaming part of you that wants you to sacrifice true intimacy and happiness for a false sense of security and control.
This inner critic acts like a wall between you and your experience of your authentic feelings. It comes up and always has something to say. It blocks intimacy because it is selfish and thinks everything is about you and how you need improvement.
Your partner is not in love with your inner critic
In its desperate ways to keep you safe and protected, your inner critic prevents your partner from reaching you. It prevents you from feeling like you have anything valid to say because it believes you must first improve yourself.
“How dare you,” it asks, and in the time it may take for you to glance at your partner with any semblance of disappointment, it can throw you down a shame hole you just may not find your way out of.
Have you ever done anything that you regret in your relationship in the past (everyone of all time ever please raise your hands)? These past mistakes are fuel for your inner critic.
Did something big that you regret? You’re likely never be able to heal this together unless you tame that inner critic.
How to identify and deal with your inner critic
- Start with being more mindful. It made the cover of Time magazine and is all the rage these days, but mindfulness is always a good idea. A few years back I wrote a post on Valentine’s Day about how the best gift you could give to your partner was being present in your relationship. It’s true. Have a look at it and apply the same principles of mindfulness to yourself and your inner experience. When we are being mindful, we are fostering a kind of awareness that gives us a renewed and fresh perspective on many things, especially ourselves. Have a look at your thoughts and feelings from afar, bearing witness to them with curiosity, compassion and love. Listen to how you talk to yourself, and listen for the inner critic. Pay attention on a regular basis and you’ll start being able to discern that voice from the rest.
- Name your inner critic. Yep, come up with something ridiculous. That will help you separate it from you and hopefully will help you identify and communicate with it regularly and productively. You will be more of a leader with it and remind it who is boss (you are now, not it).
- Journal. Of course you can ask yourself questions and journal your responses in a mindful sort of way to slow down your thinking and examine it. Another option is to engage your critic in a conversation via journaling. Draw a line down the middle of a page and go back and forth between it on one side and your true voice sharing your insights and opinions on something. Maybe your inner critic has something valuable to say (most of the time it doesn’t). The point with all of the above is to separate it from you and start learning how to listen to your authentic voice.
- Compassion. Your inner critic can be really harsh. Know it’s not speaking the truth about your value and worth. If it tells you that you are worthless, I don’t care WHO YOU ARE, even if I DON’T LIKE YOU, it is WRONG! We are ALL valuable and worthy. As you start separating yourself from your inner critic, really lay on the compassion for yourself. You can never go too far with that.
Make friends with it.
Just don’t let it rule the show. You are the boss.
When you connect more and more to your authentic experience and voice, separate from your inner critic, you’ll invite more intimacy in your relationship with your partner.
You’ll be able to accept their love more readily, you’ll be able to hear them and their feedback more clearly, and you’ll also be able to speak your truth with greater ease.
Now…let’s have some fun, name your inner critic and let us know in the comments.
To taming the critic and your deepest most fulfilling relationships,