Are You Your Own Worst Bully?
Guilty as charged. No one bullies me like I bully myself. Frustration is recycled and directed at my own inabilities. I’ve done it all my life, but it doesn’t help that I can’t move very well right now as I’m waiting for a double hip replacement. So I berate myself into guilt, unworthiness, and sheer tear-inducing frustration. I’ve never felt so useless.
Logically, I need to accept that I just can’t do things I used to do with ease. Yet that doesn’t stop the old internal critic popping up to let me know that I am failing in my self-appointed duties. Judged and found wanting.
Most self-bullying is rooted in perfectionism. And perfectionism is usually formed in childhood, born from trauma and criticism by a parent, teacher, or carer.
Signs you are a self-bully
- You find it unacceptable to make a mistake. It nags at you for hours or even days.
- Guilt is the emotion you feel most often. And stress is the result.
- You regularly ‘overdo it.’ You struggle to finish a task even though nothing terrible will happen if you take a break or even give up altogether.
- Imperfection is anathema.
- You notice imperfection in others and worry if you do/not do that thing they are doing.
- You notice perfection in others and constantly compare yourself — unfavorably.
- You refuse to accept a compliment without discounting it in some way.
- You criticize your own body and your own thoughts.
- You can’t ask for help because you believe you must do everything yourself.
- And you do everything yourself because you have to have control.
- When a family member tries to intervene and come to your assistance, you snap, “I can do it!”
- You always have a plan or schedule, and nothing can distract you from it. Until something does and your internal nag bag resumes the bullying.
You can’t win when the bully is you