The Deceiver

When there is no enemy within ,the enemy without can do no harm-African Proverb
When there is no enemy within ,the enemy without can do no harm-African Proverb

Other Alias

The deceiver has many names, here are a few:

  • Self Doubt
  • Self Hatred
  • Troll
  • The Judge
  • Inner Critic

(SOURCE:WildMind,Psychology Today)

The Deceiver

We all have voices inside our heads commenting on our moment to moment experiences, the quality of our past decisions, mistakes we could have avoided, and what we should have done differently. For some people, these voices are really mean and make a bad situation infinitely worse. Rather than empathize with our our suffering, they criticize, disparage and beat us down at every opportunity !The voices are often salient have a very familiar ring to them and convey an emotional urgency that demands our attention. These voices are automatic, fear-based"rules for living that act like inner bullies,keep us stuck in the same old cycles and hampering our spontaneous enjoyment of life and our abilities to live and love freely.

(Source: Greenburg,Melanie)


I call this voice or group of voices the deceiver because they are meant to deceive the listener. They have the ability to undermine your confidence resulting in self doubt, anxiety, and in extreme cases cause an inferiority complex within the individual.This part of the mind holds murky dire perceptions of any thing one may choose to view.In Psychology this is termed your inner critic.


Have your ever taken a test you knew you studied for ?Yet,you wonder if you past the test. If that is all that occurred then the level of darkness is normal. Still ,some people who take the same test and have adequately prepared for this test may not come in to check their scores. Despite, the overwhelming evidence that they passed the test.They have been convinced by this voice that they may have failed. They don't show up to get their results. This may happen with job interviews and business engagements.When this happens your mental internal conversation may go something like this:

The healthy voice: I studied for this test ,I feel pretty good about it .

Your critic : you failed (it may be accompanied by a fearful emotion). You always fail. I am certain you missed some questions.

The more optimistic part of you may grows weak : Maybe, I did not do as well as I thought.

The introduction of self doubt heightens drama: Well, maybe if I don't have to look at it, I wont get hurt.

According to author ,Melanie Greenburg,a Clinical Psychologist, these internal voices were originally created to protect us in situations that may have hurt or threatened us in some way. When this natural defense mechanism is left unchecked or unresolved it becomes self doubt, critical. Some of us bond with this voice because it has been within us for so long we beleive it is a part of us.Others decide to check and correct it cause they are aware that they no longer need it.


The Deceiver and how it works

The deceiver is your inner critic. It is the voice of self doubt . This insidious voice takes on many forms it's job is to undermined your confidence. These characteristic lets you know it's at work in your brain.

  • Perfectionist- if you feel every thing must be perfect . it is at work. perfection is an illusion.
  • Comparisons-if you find you are being over whelmed by someone else's genius, your inner critic is at work.
  • Self Doubt- it is the true voice of your inner critic.
  • Limited Thinking of Any Kind- if you believe that you can only go so far. Yup, you guessed it, he is at work!
  • Procrastination- any time wasting on your part is due to your inner critic.
  • Fear- this is your inner critic in one of his finest moments.

The first step is recognition. Awareness is key to overcoming many if not all problems. This one is no different. The deceiver is a cruel taskmaster that must be stop and they only way to do that it to identify it.

There is nothing good or bad,but thinking makes it so-William Shakespere
There is nothing good or bad,but thinking makes it so-William Shakespere

Tips for Dealing with the Deceiver Effectively

  • Learn from the Master-On the flip side.Your inner critic is usually behind the internal push to set high expectations for your self and impel you towards success. Surely you can be motivated to succeed without berating yourself, right?
  • Shift your Thinking and Focus-The goal is to eliminate the habit of letting that voice wear you down and replace it with a new way that works in your favor. Placing your focus on something positive is a good start.
  • Rev up the Empathy- Shifting your focus away from yourself to others is a great way to quiet the voice of the deceiver. It is a means of better problem solving.When you empathize with someone else you put yourself in their shoes. You seek to experience the discomfort that they experience to both better understand the problem.
  • Be Deceptively Non -Committal-Trick your inner critic by using a bait and switch tactic. When you feel your inner critic enticing you to procrastinate,deftly sidestep it:"I'm not going to do x,I'm just getting ready for it." "just getting a couple of tools." "not really doing it." You'll find once you push past the initial resistance is all you need to neutralize your inner critic long enough to get into the flow of a given task.
  • Be Bad- a final tactic is to play with being bad ,as much you possibly can, at what you are creating. Deliberately give your self permission to make the most god awful design possible. Use the most uninspired writing you can muster for that brief, article,or blog post. Butcher creative works or projects beyond recognition. Giving yourself this kind of leeway often helps you side step the inner critic and free up the essence of what of you now have, the mental space and energy to let your true talents emerge and get busy succeeding in chosen endeavor.(SOURCE:Denise Jacobs)


My Run In With It and a Few More Signs

During my third year of college. I heard my inner critic. Because I had no idea that I could change or challenge this voice, It wreaked havoc on my self esteem. It allowed me to take trash from toxic people. My breakthrough came when I discovered the self help aisle in Barnes and Noble. I now have a healthy relationship with my critic. My life is a lot better these days.

Here are a few more signs that your life is being invaded by your inner critic:

  1. Mental Signs: self-criticism,procrastination,excessive worry,negative thoughts about your options,black and white thinking,confusion,and feeling stuck
  2. Emotional Signs:loss of motivation,discouragement,feeling of failure,depression,low self-esteem,fear,feeling powerless
  3. Physical Signs:lack of energy,fatigue,sickness,or injury

(SOURCE:Dissertation Doctors)


Our inner critic can become our worst nightmare if we let it . The inner critic is often talked about as it should be. I heard somewhere that repetition is a part of learning and I believe in learning especially when it involves demystifying our inner voices of self doubt. For once we can do that, we are on our way to reaching our highest potential.

Revealing the Deceiver

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