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20 Signs You Are Overly-Critical of Yourself

Overly-criticizing myself dramatically affects my self-confidence and causes me to think poorly of yourself – and others. It sways my thoughts to be even more cynical, which eventually prevents me from enjoying the things that once brought me pleasure.

Self-criticism is an automatic thought (sometimes at an unconscious level) that creates negative feelings, which eventually leads to behaviors that cause major problems in my relationships. I became so good at criticizing ‘me’ that doing it to others was an easy habit to engage in. I have to stop and notice what I’m thinking on a regular basis, or my negative/automatic thoughts take over quickly (usually within 5 seconds or so).

Are you overly-critical of yourself? In case you need a reality check, here are 20 ways to know if you're constantly sabotaging yourself:
  1. At some level, you believe that you deserve negative situations (e.g., getting fired, having your lover leave you).
  2. Compliments are hard to take (because you don’t believe them); when someone compliments you, it usually sounds ridiculous. 
  3. Nothing is good enough for you.
  4. There are few things you truly enjoy in life.
  5. You always second-guess yourself (e.g., "Did I do that right?”).
  6. You are fully aware of your own perceived flaws (and those of others).
  7. You are your own worst enemy.
  8. You complain a lot, and you often voice these thoughts and opinions to your friends and family.
  9. You focus a lot on what's going wrong – and minimize or over-look the things that are going right.
  10. You get the sense that some of your friends and family avoid you. 
  11. You have a very low level of frustration-tolerance (i.e., little things really set you off).
  12. You have been accused of being a pessimist.
  13. You look at the world from a place of scarcity.
  14. You pick others apart.
  15. You pick yourself apart.
  16. You take life too seriously. 
  17. You take others’ behavior too personally.
  18. You truly don’t trust yourself. 
  19. You usually look for the worst in others and automatically expect that things won’t turn out the way you would like.
  20. Your relationships suffer from constant complaining and negativity.

As one young man with Asperger's stated, "On a scale of one to ten, when I beat up on myself at a level ten, I feel justified in beating up on others at a level eight or nine."

When I’m overly-critical of myself and others, I allow myself to operate in a negative mental environment. If you find yourself thinking a lot of these signs, start to change your “thought-habits.”

As soon as one of these signs pop in your head, quickly replace it – WITHIN 5 SECONDS – with a more positive thought (e.g., “There I go again. Beating up on myself. I’m my own worst enemy. It’s my responsibility to begin to love myself and come to believe that I am worthy of good things in life!).


==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

I think my boyfriend may have Asperger's...

“I’m currently dating a guy who is a very quiet and gentle person, but a bit odd in some ways. I’ve told some of my friends about how he acts, and a couple have suggested he has Asperger syndrome. What are some of the traits? How does it affect relationships? I would like to make this work, so I want to learn more about what to expect (and not expect). Thanks in advance!”

Although there are many possible symptoms related to Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism in adulthood, the main symptom is usually “difficulty with social situations” regardless of the age of the individual. The individual may have mild to severe symptoms, or have a few or many symptoms. Because of the wide variety of symptoms, no two people with the disorder are alike.

Symptoms in adulthood may include the following:
  • sometimes have an inability to see another person's point of view
  • often lack of emotional control, particularly with anger, depression, and anxiety
  • often excel because of being very detail-oriented
  • may have problems engaging in "small talk"
  • may find it frustrating and emotionally draining to try to socialize
  • may feel "different" from others
  • may be naive and too trusting, which can lead to workplace teasing/bullying
  • may appear immature for their age
  • have difficulty with high-level language skills (e.g., reasoning, problem solving, being too literal, etc.)
  • are typically uninterested in following social norms, fads, or conventional thinking, allowing creative thinking and the pursuit of original interests and goals
  • are focused and goal-driven
  • have a preference for rules and honesty may lead them to excel in their job
  • talk a lot about a favorite subject
  • speech may be flat and difficult to understand because it lacks tone, pitch, and accent
  • one-sided conversations are common
  • most are very honest, sometimes to the point of rudeness
  • may not understand a joke or may take a sarcastic comment literally
  • may have an awkward walk
  • are unable to recognize subtle differences in speech tone, pitch, and accent that alter the meaning of others’ speech
  • are preoccupied with only one or few interests, which he or she may be very knowledgeable about
  • are overly interested in parts of a whole or in unusual activities (e.g., designing houses, drawing highly detailed scenes, studying astronomy, etc.)
  • internal thoughts are often verbalized
  • may have an unusual facial expression or posture
  • have heightened sensitivity and becomes over-stimulated by loud noises, lights, strong tastes, certain textures, etc.
  • have a formal style of speaking (e.g., may use the word "beckon" instead of "call" or the word "return" instead of "come back")
  • do not pick up on social cues (e.g., being able to read others' body language, start or maintain a conversation, taking turns talking, etc.)
  • dislikes any changes in routines
  • have difficulty with transitions
  • difficulty regulating social/emotional responses involving anger, or excessive anxiety
  • difficulties associated with this disorder can cause them to become withdrawn and socially isolated and to have depression or anxiety
  • may avoid eye contact or stare at others
  • may appear to lack empathy
  • may appear to be "in his/her own world"

Many of these individuals find their way to psychiatrists and other mental health providers where the true, developmental nature of their problems may go unrecognized or misdiagnosed (30-50% of all adults with Asperger’s are never evaluated or correctly diagnosed).

Many adults with Asperger’s have been able to utilize their skills, often with support from loved ones, to achieve a high level of function, personally and professionally – and some represent a unique resource for society, having the single mindedness and consuming interest to advance our knowledge in various areas of science, math, etc.

Their rigidity of style and idiosyncratic perspective on the world can make interactions difficult, both in and out of the family. There is a risk for mood problems (e.g., depression, anxiety). They are often viewed by others as eccentric, and they can be challenged by the social and emotional demands of marriage (although many do marry). 

Many also have coexisting conditions, such as anxiety disorder, ADD or ADHD, depression, OCD, and social anxiety disorder.


Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Self-Test

Many adults on the autism spectrum have received an incorrect diagnosis (e.g., schizophrenia, depression, a personality disorder, etc.).




==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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