Over controlling behaviors include shaming, excessive criticism,
monologing (conversational control),
and overall bossiness.
An extreme example of such is the 'no win situation.'
Most all of us have been in this situation before.
You are 'damned if you do' and 'damned if you don't' which is also known as a
double bind situation.
Sometimes the outer critic engages in scapegoating where personal frustrations are unfairly dumped onto others. Scapegoating is typically fueled by unworked through anger about childhood abandonment.
Displacing anger on wrong target however fails to release or resolve old or unrelated hurts.
When understanding the formation of the outer critic, we look at and understand attachment disorders. Attachment issues come from the absence of a sympathetic caregiver in childhood.
When the developing child lacks a supportive parental refuge, often they do not learn that other people can soothe loneliness and emotional pain. These children don't learn that real intimacy grows out of sharing all of your experience. These children don't know how to trust others since they could not trust what they felt and said to their parents. Often, positive emotions were supported by the caregivers, however negative emotions such as frustration and fear were met with criticism or ridicule or dismissed all together. The rules of their caretakers were learned early by children in order to seek and obtain acceptance. These "rules" follow the individual throughout their lifetime.
Another technique of the outer critic to unconsciously avoid intimacy is to catastrophize out loud.
Catastrophizing out loud can be very triggering to others and can be an unconscious way of making others afraid of us.
It is being addicted to doom and gloom situations. Those who unnecessarily frighten others by excessively broadcasting about all the possible things that could go wrong rarely endear themselves to others. Moreover they force others to avoid and abandon them and the outer critic unconsciously and ultimately avoids intimacy. That is safety to the outer critic.
Reducing outer critic reactivity requires a great deal of mindfulness. This is as essential for aggressive types who internally rant against humanity as "Those F_cking People!" Blaming others keeps them away from the internal pain of their loneliness. In other words, it gives the message, of "stay away from me."
Mindfulness is the process of becoming intricately aware of everything that is going on inside us, especially our thoughts, images, feelings, and sensations. In terms of outer critic work, it is essential that we become more mindful of both the cognitive and emotional content of our thoughts. Two key elements of critic shrinking are cognitive and emotional.
Cognitive work involves the demolition and rebuilding processes of thought-stopping and
thought substitution, respectively. That is to pause, recognize the critical thought, challenge the thought, note the emotion connected to the thought, and then change the thought. It is removing the critic's fuel supply -- the unrepressed childhood anger and the uncried tears of a lifetime of abandonment.
Road rage and the less intense irritations we experience with our fellow drivers are common forms of the outer critic transference. When we become more mindful of our driving frustrations or other minor everyday annoyances, we can look below the tip of the iceberg for old unexpressed anger and hurt that it reminds us of. I encourage you to practice this the next time you are inordinately angry at some driver for a relatively minor driving mistake. You can try asking yourself, "What is this situation or feeling reminding me of?"
See what you discover.
Taken from the book, Complex PTSD