Tag Archives: Criticizing

You make me so miserable!!!

Dr. Ken Larsen

miserable_kenDr. Glasser told us that we choose our own misery.  That’s just what a miserable person wants to hear, right?  WRONG!  When I ‘m miserable I want someone to blame.  I want to feel helpless and a victim of the fickle finger of adverse circumstances.  Something, someone OUT THERE is causing my misery and suffering.

The problem is whose behavior can I control?  If my suffering is caused by someone or something outside of myself, I am condemned to a prolonged period of suffering.  I am a victim.  No one understands me.  Poor me.

Please forgive my mocking tone as I make this point.  The hopeful message that Dr. Glasser was bringing us is that if we are choosing our own misery, we can choose something else.  If we stop criticizing, blaming and complaining about external causes, we can take responsibility for our life and our total behavior.   A good way to recapture the mental health and happiness that has slipped away is to look at what we can change, our behavior.

total-behaviorDr. Glasser talks about total behavior as the four wheels on a car.  The front wheels are what steer the car.  They are how we choose to act and to think.  The back wheels are often the result of what we are doing with the front wheels.  Our actions and our thoughts have an impact on our emotions and our physiology.  The evidence for this is conclusive.

The hard part is turning away from the misery that shelters us from responsibility.  It takes courage and determination.  To change our miserable feelings, we need to move away from the back wheels and work on what we are doing and thinking.  This can be as simple as taking a walk, and reading an inspirational account of someone who has overcome their misery.

I have had bouts of depression and melancholy many times throughout my life.  I have learned to pay attention to what I’m telling you here.  It’s hard to stay miserable and depressed when physically active.  I’ve learned to take a walk, ride a bike, go the club for a workout, call a friend.  Anything to shift the focus of my attention from the navel gazing “poor, poor, pitiful me” to something that refreshes my appreciation for the life that I have.

For many of us, this message is a review of fundamental insights from Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory.  It is good to review fundamentals from time to time to refresh the wisdom we have learned.

The Voice In Your Head

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

“What an idiot,” I complained out loud to myself while cooking for my family. “Luckily I am also charming, loving and willing to experiment with a new dish.”

All of this came out of my mouth automatically. I was not interested in having anyone else hear this monologue but me. You see, I have been attempting to change an old habit, an organized behavior. There is a voice in my head that admonishes, criticizes and belittles me when I make a mistake. Too often I listen to this voice that is putting me down and practicing one of the deadly habits that destroys relationships. The plan I’m not trying to cultivate instead has me shifting to my own out loud voice that encourages my efforts, complimenting me no matter the results!

sadwomanDo you know whose voice is in your head? You know the one I mean, the one that tells you “Be careful!” or “How selfish” or “That won’t work out.” This isn’t the voice that might be categorized as a hallucination. No, this is the voice that Eric Berne, founder of Transactional Analysis, described as critical parent. Berne stated that we maintained different ego states, including critical parent. (TA is a type of therapy that has lost favor in the current psychological circles Berne’s work was an updated and more modern version of Freudian theory of ego states.)

The voice and words that you hear in your head are most likely the statements you heard as a child spoken by your parents, older siblings, teachers, coaches and other carers. Your parents may not have said or meant what the voice in your head is saying and meaning. But remember, you absorbed and incorporated these statements as a child, with a child’s comprehension and understanding. And that is what still sticks as the cautionary, criticizing, or admonishing voice in your head.

Yet, these are only thoughts and stories that you tell yourself. This is GREAT NEWS! You have the ability and chance to change these thoughts and stories! You have the power to switch the voice from critical, scolding, or belittling to supportive, encouraging and loving.

Before you can make the switch though, you first need to hear this voice and these statements. You may be attempting to avoid the pain of criticism by pushing the voice down, pretending to yourself that you don’t hear it. However, if this is a strategy you’re using you know you still hear the scolding even though you’re trying very hard to ignore it.

For your Mental Health & Happiness try a different, more effective strategy. As soon as you hear that cautioning or belittling voice say out loud, “I may be clumsy AND I’m beautiful and courageous as I step out into the world.” Obviously this particular statement won’t fit every situation. But take that voice out of your head, say the words out loud, then say other encouraging words that offer love, encouragement and support!

The more you practice, the more successful you will become. Amazingly what you may discover is that the voice in your head speaks less and less frequently. The loving, encouraging, praising voice begins to take over.

You have the ability to eliminate the deadly habits that are interfering with the relationship you have with yourself. Begin consistently practicing the connecting habits improving your self-esteem and self-love.

Deadly Relationship Habits

By Kim Olver

Today,  I just want to mention seven Deadly Relationship Habits and later I will give you seven behaviors you can use instead to create a strong foundation to any important relationship in your life, including the relationship you have with yourself.

When I ask the question, “Whose behavior you can control?”, most people intellectually know they can only control themselves. And yet, how often to we attempt to control those around us to change so that our life will be better? Most people who don’t know about Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory psychology, tend to create their own misery by trying to get others to do things they really don’t want to do and even some of us who do use Choice Theory in our lives, still catch ourselves doing it from time to time.

This also happens with others attempting to get you to do what you don’t want to do as well. Has someone close to you ever used the following behaviors to attempt to get you to do something you don’t want to do? Have you ever used them with others?: Complaining, Blaming, Criticizing, Nagging, Threatening, Punishing and Bribing, otherwise known as Rewarding to Control.

nagging

I would be extremely surprised if you haven’t at least experienced these behaviors from others or you have used them with people you care about: your children, your aging parents, siblings, our significant other and most definitely, with yourself. When you have a strong foundation to your relationship, using these behaviors every now and then, probably won’t cause a big problem but think about a concrete foundation. Now, imagine taking a pickaxe to the concrete every time you engage in one of these behaviors. Can you see, hear and feel the relationship foundation crumbling under your feet? The more you use them, the less solid your foundation becomes.

After learning these, people sometimes start to guilt or punish themselves for using these deadly relationship habits. I once had a mother in one of my workshops declare that she was a horrible mother for using every one of these behaviors with her children. The truth is she was not a horrible mother. She was simply doing/repeating behaviors she had learned in her lifetime that had helped her get something she wanted.

The problem is we don’t always consider the cost of getting what we want. We can’t use a deadly habit without causing some damage to the relationship. So watch for upcoming posts where I will discuss the healthy relationship habits to substitute instead.

In the meantime, don’t attempt to stop using these deadly ones; just begin to notice when you use one. This will help you make their use more conscious so you can reduce their use without even trying. Just notice when you use them and you’ll be surprised how much less you engage in them.