You wouldn’t choose to live with a bully, and yet you roll out a red carpet and invite your own inner bully into your daily life. And living with an inner bully, or as I like to refer to her, with an inner nasty or “IN,” will cause you to strike out at others, which causes further shame and anxiety.
Elaborating on last week’s post Arguing Hurts, I decided to speak a little more about your “IN.” I’ve written numerous posts about the inner critic, but the information cannot be reiterated enough because understanding this is the difference between you thriving and you stuck and “surviving.”
Understanding this is the difference between you thriving and you stuck and “surviving.”
Recognizing the Inner Nasty
When you are mean to yourself, that’s IN. She or he (the same gender with which you identify) will be cruel to you before anyone else can. And, too, she’ll point out all of the times you’ve been hurt by people so that eventually you believe that people will turn on you, or people are not trustworthy. Depending on your trauma, she might be specific, such as: men are not loyal or women betray. And she will point out all of the instances in your life when you were betrayed so that when I challenge a client and suggest that maybe not ALL women or men betray, my client will say something like “but that’s all I’ve ever known. That’s real. It’s my truth.”
The irony is that when you subconsciously wall off from others, they can’t connect with you or feel you, and then they are less likely to want to be with or around you, which only proves to you (and your IN) that people are unfeeling and dangerous.
You don’t consciously CHOOSE the people who hurt you.
If you get hurt again and again in the same ways, it’s usually because it’s what you’ve known and are accustomed to. It’s subconscious PROGRAMMING. It’s physiological not psychological.
When I get to this conversation with clients, their IN will say things like: It’s too late for me. I’ll never change. Change is terrifying to IN. She wants to be in control and make sure everyone stays as far away as possible. She’ll even take it so far that some people believe they shouldn’t exist. If you have seen or read Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, the dementors come closest to what IN feels like. Unlike the dementors, IN has good intentions to protect you, but she has lost her way. The master of shame, blame and guilt, she will sneak in as morality and make obligation and owing sound honorable rather than personal hell.
The Creation of IN
IN doesn’t like me. But that’s all right. I can take her. I remind clients that she was created when we were babies. The more sensitive and empathic we were, the sooner she was created and the stronger she got. She was created to protect the vulnerable inner child. After all, if you believe that people are not trustworthy, you will avoid people OR, worse, and to IN’s delight you will subconsciously sniff out someone who will let you down (no matter how trustworthy they are to begin with) just to prove her/your point. That way you or the other person sabotages the relationship and you begin to isolate and avoid people, never getting the chance to change your mind.
Change Your Mind
IN creates stories that rev up anxiety and the primal brain. Most of the time the stories are not even true, but you get so worked up that truth eludes. That’s why ALL people seem bad. She thinks in black and white terms and worst case scenario. She says “better to be safe than sorry,” but the truth is that her way of being just makes you less able to respond appropriately.
Her way of being just makes you less able to respond appropriately.
As you hear her words with an observer self, you will be less invested. You can identify IN as your “survival programming that no longer serves me.” And, oh, by the way, she gets threatened. She will get worse before she gets better. But soon you will be able to distinguish which of your responses are coming from fear and which are coming from love and your higher thinking/awareness/being.
And that, my friend, leads to personal peace and, ultimately, world peace.