The critic blames you for things that go wrong. The critic compares you to others - to their achievements and abilities - and finds you wanting. The critic sets impossible standards of perfection and then beats you up for the smallest mistake. The critic keeps an album of your failures, but never once reminds you of your strengths or accomplishments. The critic has a script describing how you ought to live and screams that you are wrong and bad if your needs drive you to violate its rules. The critic tells you to best the best - and if you’re not the best, you’re nothing. He calls you names - stupid, incompetent, ugly, selfish, weal - and makes you believe that all of them are true. The critic reads your friends’ minds and convinces you that they are bored, turned off, disappointed, or disgusted by you. The critic exaggerates your weaknesses by insisting that you “always say stupid things,” or “always screw up a relationship,” or “never finish anything on time.”
- From Self-Esteem, page 15
In short, the more you grapple with an internal voice like this, the more likely it is you sense of self-worth is being compromised by this cognitive style. The good news is, the inner critic is much like the loud, obnoxious drunk at a party; everyone listens to what he says because he is loud and obnoxious, but with a bit of confrontation and some logic, everything he says can be disproved.