5 Signs You Are Becoming Your Own Bully

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How do you feel?

Are you successful in your career but never truly satisfied? If you have a tendency to be too hard on yourself and expect more from yourself than you would from others, keep reading!

Being a high-achiever can be tremendously rewarding. There is pleasure in setting an intimidating goal and reaching it. Making a difference in the world brings enormous joy. Yet, many of you don’t feel as much joy as you deserve. Why?

You may have crossed the line between being a high-achiever and an over-achiever. A high-achiever is driven by the pleasure they find in their work, whereas an over-achiever is driven by the fear of not being enough or not doing enough.

The difference may seem subtle but it has dramatic implications on the person’s emotional state and well-being. Over-achievers tend to attach their identity to their job titles and their self-worth to their accomplishments. They constantly work to prove their worth and won’t tolerate weaknesses or mistakes.

They tend to be self-critical, sometimes to the point of becoming their own bully. Here are five signs to watch out for. Don’t let this happen to you, or if it already has happened, realize it’s time for change.

1.     No matter how much you do, it feels like it’s never enough

You constantly think about your work and other responsibilities. Your goals for each day are so ambitious that you have to push yourself excessively and find it difficult to take a break. Instead of feeling accomplished when most of your to-do list has been crossed off, you obsess over what is still left to do. You can’t relax guilt-free because you keep thinking you should do more.

2.     Self-appreciation is uncomfortable

When you accomplish something significant, instead of being proud of yourself, you discount the importance of it. You think it wasn’t that hard after all and you immediately focus on new ambitious goals. You don’t celebrate your accomplishments. You even find it difficult to accept compliments graciously. You are not sure you have earned the recognition and may not feel worthy of the appreciation you receive from others.

3.     You expect perfection

You seek perfection and keep thinking about what you could have done better. You might obsess over tiny mistakes or missed opportunities. When you do something 99% right, you beat yourself up for the 1% that wasn’t perfect. You tend to feel guilty when something didn’t turn out the way you wanted, even when it wasn’t your fault. You have no tolerance for mistakes or poor judgment.

4.     You are too self-critical

You notice all your flaws and can’t recognize your talents. You take your excellence and expertise for granted. You often feel inadequate because you’ve trained your mind to seek areas for improvements, gaps in knowledge, and other deficiencies to correct within yourself. No matter how much you learn and grow, your inner-critic keeps finding more things to point out and you blame yourself.

5.     You feel tired at the end of each day

Your work days are draining but in reality, it is not because of the nature of your work. It is because you’ve been beating yourself up all day, putting far too much pressure on yourself, and listening to your inner-critic.

Every day feels like a battle and by the time you get home, you don’t have much energy left in you. You know you need to relax and you want to give quality time to your loved ones but your mind is still thinking about work. You think about what you didn’t finish today and what you’ll have to face tomorrow. Your spouse asks about your day and you spend an hour unloading all your fears and worries, which reinforces them. You may have difficulty falling asleep. The next morning, instead of feeling refreshed, you still carry tension from the previous day.

You know self-care is essential. In fact, you keep telling your staff about the importance of taking vacations, not answering emails at night, and taking care of their health, but you don’t do it for yourself. Your inner bully won’t let you have what you need.

Can you relate to any of this?

Don’t let your inner critic become a bully! The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as abusive conduct that is: (1) threatening, humiliating, or intimidation, or (2) work interference – sabotage – which prevents work from being done, or (3) verbal abuse.

You wouldn’t do this to anyone. Yet… you might unknowingly be subjecting yourself to abusive behavior or language from yourself! If you make yourself feel judged, threatened, criticized, fearful, insulted, intimidated, or under-valued, you have become your own bully!

What to do about it

Changing jobs hoping you’ll be under less pressure elsewhere won’t help you because your inner-bully will follow you anywhere you go. Instead, you can choose intentionally to transform your inner-critic into a supportive voice.

Decide that starting today, you will become your own best friend. Treat yourself the same way you treat others. Show compassion for yourself.

If you would like me to facilitate this process and make it easy for you, click here to schedule a complimentary consultation. Don’t hesitate. Liberating yourself from your inner-critic is the most important thing you can do to improve every aspect of your life.

About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits.  Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset. 

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