Have you ever caught yourself criticizing yourself as your parents did when you were a child?
What’s a Mental Tyrant?
Mental tyrant we have in our mind is that inner voice that reminds us how bad we do everything.
It also tells you:
- how much you’ve failed
- your behavior is unacceptable
- what a bad person you are
and endless endless criticism.
It’s a part of you for which it doesn’t matter how much you try, how well you do something or how successful you are… because, for this “tyrant”, IT’LL NEVER BE ENOUGH.
It’ll always focus on what’s missing or what you haven’t achieve, where you could’ve done better, where even if you did well, it wasn’t enough, etc.
It’s a voice that can generate a lot of stress because its demands are inexhaustible.
It could even lead to depression, as it specializes in negative and catastrophic thoughts.
But worst of all, even though what this inner voice tells you isn’t true, you believe it.
How was the Mental Tyrant created?
When you were little, you were criticized, because even though your parents, brothers, friends, family, etc. wanted the best for you, they probably didn’t learn to tell you things in a
positive and motivating way, so when you did something “wrong”, they criticized you.
The problem with their criticism and all criticism in general is that the person is judged, and
not their actions.
Allow me to explain:
- When you failed an exam or didn’t do your homework, did they tell you that you had to study more or that you WERE dumb?
- When you didn’t finish something or had doubts, did they tell you that you had to spend more time on it or that you WERE ambivalent?
If you notice it, a criticism on one of your behaviors, became a criticism on you.
And those criticisms were recorded in your Subconscious.
Social transactions or interactions
Eric Berne, creator of the Transactional Analysis, established the existence of 3 positions or roles within you:
- The Paternal: you could think of all the criticisms that important people made to you when you were a child and which you still can’t filter on whether they were true or false. Also, this section stores all the rules, judgments about what’s right and wrong, etc.
- Children: represents the most spontaneous, that seeks pleasure, fun and wants no rules. This part represents your inner child and is connected to your emotional part. Here are all your emotions, creativity, your ability to believe in the impossible, etc.
- The Adult: that part is capable of integrating the two previous parts and choose the most appropriate behavior according to the situation in which one is found. The adult can be spontaneous but follows the rules, can defer pleasure because there’s a
job to do, etc.
According to Eric Berne, each person may have a tendency of behavior, mainly between the paternal or children, and the adult reaches for personal growth or madurity.
Imagine your parents criticized you constantly for everything. Unintentionally, that way of “treating you” remained internalized within you and probably, in your adult life, you continue to treat yourself as your parents did, although now the criticism comes from within.
Perhaps, they didn’t set that many rules or you were overprotected as a child, so you have a very well-developed inner child. In this case, it may be difficult for you to follow rules or postpone pleasure and you could continue to react like a child when a more rational response is required.
If you work on your inner self, you’ll be able to “mature” and find that “adult” within you who can find a balance between duty and pleasure.
For those in which the Paternal or critical part predominates, I’ll give you 3 suggestions so your criticisms don’t sink you.
How to get rid of your mental tyrant
1. Be aware of it
If you don’t know that it exists, hardly, you’ll be able to do something to change it.
It is important to be attentive to your “self-talk” and see how much of the dialogue is constructive or destructive to your self-esteem.
- Do you criticize yourself?
- Do you insult yourself?
- Do you say how bad you do things?
If so… you’ve discovered your mental tyrant.
You can also ask yourself the following questions:
- How much do these criticisms influence you?
- Are criticisms directed at you as a person?
- Do you accept these criticisms as unquestionable truths?
You need to notice that that critical voice ISN’T YOU, it’s a series of ideas and beliefs that come from your childhood, and it’s time to stop considering them as true.
2. Find the positive role
Generally, behind a criticism, it “uses” to be (and I say “uses to” because it’s not always like that), the positive attempt to improve something.
For example, if they tell you “you’re bad at sports“, the positive attempt of someone who tells you it, is that “you have to practice more and improve”, but they forget this second part.
Make a list with the common criticisms you use to do yourself.
For example: “I am an inconstant person, I never finish anything”.
Imagine that, behind this criticism there’s a desire to improve, to make you a more constant person, but so far, nobody has taught you to “talk to yourself differently”.
For each criticism you find, first you need to find that positive intention.
For example, in this case, the positive intention of the criticism could be a desire on your part:
- To be more constant
- To finish what you start
- To achieve what you want
Do you see it?
Once you have a clear idea of the Positive Intention behind your criticism, you only need to learn to speak to yourself based on that Intention.
3. Change the way you speak
Once you know what is what you want, you need to teach the mind how to tell you things in a constructive way.
Until you’ve had plenty of practice, the first thing (because right now it’s automatic) that will come to mind will be the criticism:
- “you’re not constant, you never finish anything!”
Then, you’ll need to find what lies behind that criticism, that is, the Positive Intention and in this case, we’re going to say that you want to be more constant and finish what you start.
So, to that mental tyrant or critical voice, you mentally say, “Thank you, but I no longer need that way of speaking to myself. Deep down, what I want is to be more constant.” Now, you can ask your mind:
How could I improve my perseverance and finish what I start?
You have turned your criticism around, you haven’t listened to that “initial criticism”, instead you’ve found you need to do and you’re forcing your mind to help you find a solution.
At this time, it appears the possibility that your mental tyrant turns into your best friend, a little voice that instead of harping on yourself, it supports you and gives you behavior alternatives.
This is possible, but you’ll need a lot of practice.
And these are only 3 ways, I’m sure there are more:
How do you stop your mental tyrant?
You can leave your strategies in the comments part.