It’s well known that we are our own worst critics. We question our value as people, question everything from whether we can ‘pull off’ that outfit to whether we are good parents to whether we should tell that woman sitting oppose us on the train that the label from her top is sticking out.
But what happens when this becomes something constant and quite extreme? When that critic gets stronger, doesn’t whisper anymore but shouts at you from within, telling you that not only can you not ‘pull off’ that outfit, but you are so hideously fat that you don’t deserve to look or feel good in clothing at all…ever. Telling you that if you did anything to draw attention to yourself that people would be disgusted by your very existence. Telling you that you are such a failure as a parent that your child will grow to feel twice as much of a failure as you and hate you for it.
These are the types of things my inner bully tells me, she likes to keep me weak and I don’t fully understand why. Maybe I will never understand, but I often feel like I’m fighting a battle that could go on for ever. Sometimes the ‘better’ me has the upper hand and sometimes the ‘bully’ me does.
The times when she’s stronger than me, I retreat into myself and in the past, self harmed as a result. But Im getting better at noticing when I’m on a downward one and I have learned (the hard way) that the most effective defence is to communicate!
I have to tell others when I know it’s happening – friends, family, partner, doctor – these people can help me when I feel like I can’t help myself and I feel like that bully is getting the upper hand.
Nobody ever won a war single handed – we need help! Humans are not solitary by nature. It’s not healthy for us to be withdrawn and alone for prolonged periods of time and there’s a reason it’s used as one of the highest forms of punishment in prisons. I used to think I would be burdening my loved ones by sharing and I didn’t want that because I didn’t feel like I was worth their worry…but that’s just the bully again, because bullies are most effective when they isolate you.
I’ve had counselling, had to be monitored by friends and family, been to the doctors so many times and been on various medications over the years. Most recently I’ve been trying Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and I have to say, it’s proving to be the most effective approach I have ever tried.
Cbt isn’t like counselling as it doesn’t focus necessarily on tracing where our behaviours stem from but how to manage and change the thought process surrounding those behaviours currently. There’s a lot of work done outside the sessions – you take notes on significant situations that may trigger the unwanted thought process and you self analyse – then in the session, the therapist helps you to work through your homework and eventually you end up being able to cope with ‘trigger’ situations by implementing new thought processes and behaviours.
I’m a very pragmatic person so this approach is perfect for me as it’s about looking at facts vs perception or opinion. It’s bloody hard work because it basically involves completely overhauling your learned thought processes but I’m finding it really worthwhile.
Do you have any coping mechanisms that help you fight off that inner bully?
For me, the blogging has helped massively too. It’s taking something I love and using it as a focus point and a distraction. Trying out new makeup and beauty treatments makes me feel good – it boosts my confidence and that’s never a bad thing. Plus I get to hear from you guys which holds infinite value for me.
I would love to hear from others who have had similar experiences, or even others that share my passion for potions, lotions and all things makeup!