How’s your relationship with your Perpetual Roommate? You know, that roommate that’s taken up residence in your head and rarely stops talking.

Common habits of this Perpetual Roommate (PR):

  • Highlights what you DID wrong, what you MIGHT DO wrong in the future, and the consequences for BEING wrong.
  • Entices you to take it easy, watch Netflix/Prime/YouTube videos and then criticizes you for taking it easy and watching Netflix/Prime/YouTube videos.
  • Calls you names constantly—and often mean-spirited and demeaning ones!
  • Shames you
  • Digs up the past
  • Warns about looming disasters in the future (and spins vivid narratives just to intensify the emotional effect)
  • Convinces you that others are treating you badly while insisting that you accept the same dismissive treatment (PR doesn’t live by rules of fairness)
  • Convinces you others are doing it all wrong and then accuses you of being judgmental (the PR is effective, not rational)
  • Insists that you must have things your way
  • Reminds you of all your preferences—likes and dislikes—and nudges you consistently to pursue the likes and avoid the dislikes

Your Perpetual Roommate’s Needs

Whether the Perpetual Roommate needs to remind, flatter, terrify, worry, criticize, reward, or punish, the goal is your acceptance and compliance. If the tactic works and you comply, you will see it again and again and again.

You may know the Perpetual Roommate by its many names—inner critic, voice in the head, superego, the judge, gremlin, and even itty-bitty shitty committee.

Warning: Perpetual Roommate is Very Tricky!

Be on the alert for the Perpetual Roommate’s most insidious technique of all—convincing you that you are one in the same! With the PR’s deep knowledge of you combined with its intimate, lifelong and seemingly continuous engagement in your life, we are easily deceived into thinking that darn “voice in the head” (the PR) is us!

Plus, Your Perpetual Roommate is Unique

Your roommate is unique to you, yet we all have one that behaves similarly and knows us intimately. Thus, only the specifics vary. Because the Perpetual Roommate knows you very well, the PR uses that knowledge to keep you repeating habitual patterns.

Yet ironically, some of the most exhilarating and freeing experiences of your life come when you defy or ignore the PR’s threats and nudges and reject the truth of the labels and name-calling.

Common steps for establishing a new relationship with your Perpetual Roommate:

  • Get to know the techniques of your Perpetual Roommate. The better you know and recognize these strategies, the more space you can put between you and the PR.
  • Silence the PR by noticing and letting all the chatter pass
  • Become skeptical about the truth of all the chatter
  • Allow the REAL YOU—the most authentic you to emerge. Then the Perpetual Roommate quietens and its influence shrinks!
    • Isn’t that what you want—to know and be who you REALLY ARE?
    • Don’t you get glimpses occasionally or even frequently?
    • Don’t you want more?

Wrap Up!

Your Perpetual Roommate, though seemingly perpetually with you, should NOT be mistaken as you. If you find this inner critic is often too critical, then it’s time to establish a new relationship with your PR. Be aware of your Perpetual Roommate, notice its tactics, become skeptical, and allow your most authentic self to emerge! If you’d like to discuss some of these strategies to alter that relationship, I’m happy to chat!

Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash