(Adapted from Chapter 14, The Bitch in Someone Else’s Head: Self-Protection, from The Bitch in Your Head: How to Finally Squash Your Inner Critic, by Jacqueline Plumez, Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.)

Sometimes a mean comment gets stuck in your head. It could be an insult you heard in childhood or a snarky thing a colleague said last week. When you are feeling low, The Bitch will repeat this remark over and over, sapping your self-confidence and squashing joy. Here are some sources of this pain:

 

1. Toxic childhood

Even good parents can blurt out hurtful words and, unfortunately, some parents are so cruel as to be abusive or neglectful. Cruel parents and The Bitch always blame the child. If this happened to you, imagine watching someone treat your child that way. You will undoubtedly realize you did not deserve to be treated so badly.

2. Toxic Marriage

Home should be a refuge, a place of comfort and kindness. If your loving relationship has devolved into bitterness and insults, get help now. Marriage counseling can restore trust and love. Just don’t let The Marriage Bitch tell you that compromise is weak. Compromise and negotiation is often the only way to a win-win solution to marital strife.

3. Toxic Society

For all the strides our country has made to end discrimination, if you grow up poor or a member of a minority group, chances are some parts of society will try to make you feel inferior. And even if you are part of the majority – females – the beauty-industrial-complex of industries ranging from the media and fashion to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals spend billions to make you feel you are not attractive enough. In fact, some psychologists say we live in a “girl poisoning” culture where advertisers and the media push children to be sexual before they are ready.

What to do: Get support.

When The Bitch is in someone else’s head, it is important to find family members, friends, clergy or a therapist to validate that you are not crazy or to blame. Similarly, if you are feeling the effects of the toxic parts of our society, join a support group to help you feel okay as you are.