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Critical Inner Voice and Relationships: Defeat Negativity

Couple arguing in kitchen influenced by Critical Inner Voice and Relationships.

#1: It strikes and undermines you

The critical inner voice shows itself in all our self-critical thoughts when we let down our defenses and feel vulnerable to another person. It is all of the picky ideas we have about our appearance, all the criticisms we have about how we talk, and all our nagging insecurities about how we act. Suppose we don’t challenge this destructive process. In that case, we become increasingly self-conscious and self-attacking until we eventually pull away from our partner, withdraw into ourselves, and destroy a loving relationship.

#2: It attacks your partner and undermines your feelings for her

The critical inner voice also shows itself in all our negative thoughts about someone when we fall in love and feel vulnerable to them. It is all our picky thoughts about their appearance, habits, and characteristics. It exaggerates their flaws and focuses on their shortcomings. It is behind our cynical attitudes about them never changing. As negative thoughts and criticisms persist, we gradually pull away from our partner, withdraw into ourselves, and, once again, destroy a loving relationship.

Identifying your critical inner voice’s attacks on your relationship

# 1: Its attacks on you

Take time to think about the critical thoughts and attacks you have about yourself in relation to love and your relationship. [For example: I’m so awkward, I always say the wrong thing. He (she) will think that I’m such an idiot.] Now, translate these same statements from the first person into the second person. [You’re so awkward; you always say the wrong thing. He (she) will think that you’re such an idiot.

Say the statements in the second person aloud. Do they seem emotionally charged to you? When you say them, do any more negative thoughts come to mind? If they do, express them, but be sure to keep them in the second person. These are the attacks of your critical inner voice. Does voicing these attacks arouse feelings in you? If so, what are the emotions?

People often have insights and ideas after expressing the attacks of their critical inner voices. Where do you think these attacks come from? Do they sound familiar? If so, who said them? Putting your self-critical thoughts into the second person helps expose them as the hostile attacks of your critical inner voice.

# 2: It attacks on your partner

Couple in argument influenced by critical inner voice and relationships on park bench

Take time to think about your critical thoughts and attacks on your partner. [For example: He (she) is such a slob. I’m constantly cleaning up after him (her). He (she) is so gross; how did I end up with him (her)?] Now translate these same statements from the first person into the second person…as though someone were talking to you about your partner. [He (she) is such a slob. You’re constantly cleaning up after him (her). He (she) ‘s so gross; what are you doing with him (her).

Say the statements in the second person aloud. Do they seem emotionally charged to you? When you say them, do any more thoughts come to mind? If they do, say them, but be sure to keep them in the second person. These are the attacks of your critical inner voice. Does voicing these attacks arouse feelings in you? If so, what are the emotions?

People often have insights and ideas after expressing the attacks their critical inner voice makes on their partner. Where do you think these negative attitudes come from? Do they sound familiar? If so, who said them? Putting your critical thoughts into the second person helps expose them as the hostile attacks of your critical inner voice.

Identifying your point of view about your relationship

Now that you have identified what your critical inner voice has to say about your relationship, what do you think about it? Take an objective yet compassionate look at yourself: what is your point of view about the attacks your critical inner voice has made on you and your partner? Imagine you are a friendly outside observer: what would you say about yourself, your partner, and your relationship? These are the thoughts that belong in the first person. These thoughts reflect your genuine feelings and your personal point of view. When you say them, do you feel you are expressing what is important to you? Do you think that you are speaking from the heart?


Challenging your critical voice

Challenging your critical inner voice’s attacks on your relationship, you have identified your critical inner voice, and you can be aware of when it has crept into your thoughts. When you recognize that you are attacking yourself, you can put your self-criticisms into the second person and separate yourself from this unfriendly way of seeing yourself. When you become aware that you are attacking your partner, you can put these criticisms into the second person and separate from this hostile attitude toward someone you love. Be vigilant and stand against the critical inner voice’s negative influence.

You can challenge your critical inner voice by not acting on what it is telling you. Even though it tries to induce you to take destructive actions, you don’t have to obey it. You are ultimately in control of your behavior. No matter what your critical inner voice is saying, do not let it affect how you act with your partner. Do not let it interfere with your relationship. Be sure to stay in contact with your partner: be affectionate, maintain eye contact, and communicate. Do not allow yourself to be drawn away into a defended, self-protective world.

You will win the battle if you do not allow your voice attacks to affect your loving behavior with your partner. If you stand your ground, your critical inner voice will grow weary and concede the victory to you. Your voice attacks will diminish and have less power over you. Your life will be enhanced by the love and intimacy that you have fought for. 


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Dr. Sydney Ceruto

A Pioneer in Neuroscience-Based Coaching

As the founder of MindLAB Neuroscience, Dr. Sydney Ceruto has been a leading force in integrating neuroscience into coaching and counseling for over two decades. With three master's degrees in psychology and two PhDs in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, she is widely considered a top expert in her field.

Harnessing the power of neuroscience-based coaching, Dr. Ceruto's innovative approach focuses on neuroscience, neuroplasticity, and neural pathway rewiring to foster lasting positive change in mental health.

Dr. Ceruto holds esteemed memberships in the Forbes Executive Council, Positive Performance Alliance, Wharton Executive Education Program, the International Society of Female Professionals, and executive writing positions for Alternatives Watch, Brainz Magazine, and TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

Dr. Ceruto's accomplishments include:

  • The 2022 CREA Award.
  • A lead research position at NYU Steinhardt.
  • Volunteer work with Covenant House and the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI).

Her science-backed method of Neural Rewiring has successfully guided thousands of clients toward happier, more productive, and more resilient lives.