1. Defining yourself based on everything that went wrong in your life
You believe that all mistakes you’ve made define who you are, and you have an unhealthy obsession with identifying yourself as such. You always think negatively of yourself and believe that all mistakes will remain as part of your identity, so much that you label yourself with undesirable traits. Even when you’re productive, smart, and courteous on a consistent basis, you still define yourself as lazy, unintelligent, and rude.
2. Apologizing for every little thing, even for mistakes that don’t affect other people
No matter where you are, “sorry” is something that keeps slipping out of your mouth, even when you haven’t done anything wrong to others. You’ve probably even apologized to people around you just for sneezing, biting your nails, or stubbing your own toe.
3. Assuming that one criticism from the person who hates you the most defines how most people perceive you and then using that opinion to criticize yourself any chance you get
When someone criticizes you, you assume that it’s what everyone thinks of you. You extrapolate one opinion to everyone else’s, which makes you feel like you need to work on turning all of your weaknesses and character flaws into strengths while trivializing whatever you’re good at and anything you’ve done well. You make one critic’s opinion your own and then compound upon that, brutalizing yourself from the inside.
4. Setting very unrealistic expectations for yourself and feeling so paralyzed that you never start
You have a long list of things you’d like to achieve only because you feel terrible for not being where you think you should be. You then make ridiculous plans for the future, only to never start because you cram in so much that you’re paralyzed by the overwhelming fear of not doing any of these things the right way, according to your perfectionistic standards and hypothetical scenarios of how people would shame you if you failed.
5. Expecting too much from yourself all at once
You expect too much from yourself in a short period of time because you’re impatient with going through the process of trying, failing, trying, failing, and trying again. You just want to succeed right off the bat, even when you know it’s downright impossible to do everything that way.
6. Predicting that anything you do to change your life will result in failure
Whenever you’re starting a new job, moving to a new city, getting into a new relationship, or pursuing a new creative endeavor, you predict that it’ll end in failure because your inner critic believes that you’re innately unqualified and undeserving of success. You’re extremely anxious about failing the most, yet you accept it as your uncontrollable fate.
7. Assuming that you’re always going to be inferior to others, despite how distinct and individualistic you are
You assume that most people you know are better off than you are because of how many friends they have, how much money they make, the level of prestige in their careers, how soon they’re settling down, and how much they look like they have their shit together. You’re always searching for something to make yourself feel inferior, and you’re never satisfied with what you do because you can’t be like everyone else who’s “normal.”
8. Alternating between these two extremes: trying way too hard or not at all
As your own worst critic, you overcompensate for your criticisms by exerting so much effort into proving to yourself that you aren’t all the loathsome and undesirable things you judge yourself to be. However, you have a tendency to not even try at all because you judge yourself for being a failure and don’t see the point in trying anything new.
9. Being extremely indecisive with what you want to do next because you’re constantly criticizing yourself for making the wrong choices
You have multiple options for the next move you want to make (both in the little things and the big things in life), but you take a long time to decide what to do because you’re trying too hard to predict the outcomes of each decision and any negative consequences that may arise, according to your own bleak vision of the future and abrasive self-judgment.
10. Feeling ashamed of compliments because you think you haven’t done enough to deserve them
You not only have a difficult time accepting compliments, you also have an abnormal sense of shame whenever you do receive them, because you’re always dwelling on past mistakes that make you feel disqualified from receiving any sort of praise.
11. Never speaking up for yourself whenever you really need to
You don’t speak up for yourself because you feel that your shortcomings, past failures, deficiencies, and flaws won’t make you worthy of being listened to or deserving of help.
12. Having an obsessive fixation with a persona that you think is well-received by society and finding numerous ways to criticize yourself for being the opposite
You’ve created a persona in your head that’s completely the opposite of you and project your feelings of inferiority when you ruminate over the traits and qualities you lack in contrast with the persona that strives to have it all, pleases everyone, and gets rewarded for it. This persona is most likely a combination of people that adults told you to be like when you were younger, because being yourself was somehow shameful and unworthy in their eyes.
13. Listening in to other people’s conversations and then crying and hating yourself based on their negative opinions that you’ve overheard
You know that deliberately seeking out negative opinions of others is detrimental to your mental health, but you can’t help it. It’s almost as if you’re desperately wanting to add one more thing to your already endless list of things to be overly self-critical about.
14. Holding onto past criticisms that serve no purpose other than to torture yourself
You constantly belittle yourself based on every negative opinion that anyone has ever had about you. Even when many years have passed, there still lies a dark side of you that clenches onto all the twisted and judgmental things that others have said to make you feel inherently unworthy.
15. Constantly feeling guilty for the mistakes of your past self, even after progressing and changing for the better
Even when you desire to move on and have attempted to do so, there’s still a constricting feeling of guilt within you that makes you feel like you’re too broken and too much of a failure to deserve a future that’s completely free from ruthless judgment, twisted guilt, and deep-rooted shame.