The Watcher

Why today? As she noticed her self-talk once again referring to herself as “we,” she felt compelled to contemplate what that signified.

She realized it has always felt like there was an entity that was somehow outside of her physical body, outside of her emotions, that watched and judged everything she thought and said and did from an objective vantage point. She wondered.

When did the watcher first appear in my life?

Was it always here?

Did it develop as a survival mechanism to distance myself as a child from physical and emotional abuse?

She thought of her first childhood memory. It was already there. The watcher was outside her baby body, watching her try to force a body that could not yet speak in words to communicate what she saw so clearly in the world around her. Somehow, she knew with certainty that it was an incredibly important message to convey, but all she could do was cry. Her body was simply incapable of doing what she felt was necessary for it to do.

She realizes the watcher does help her in some ways. It helps her evaluate every thought and action through a critical lens. Yet it also stifles spontaneity by continually pointing out her many flaws, mistakes, and limitations.

The watcher is almost always there – EXCEPT when she focuses on solving puzzles, learning something new, or creating something in the real world that comes from a place that she cannot see or describe. Like the attempt of her baby-self to communicate a message that she knew was inspired by the need to offer comfort and enlightenment to people who were suffering because of their woundedness, self-doubt, and low self-esteem.

She eventually learned that the only way to appease the watcher and silence it for a while was to keep learning, attempting to create something positive in the real world, or solving puzzles. You know, though, each of these strategies can become an addiction and a source that provokes the watcher to be ever-more critical.

“You’ll never know enough. You’ve failed yet again. You’re wasting your time playing when you should be working.”

She’s decided to watch the watcher from this day forward, just to see what happens. Who knows what she will discover?



26 thoughts on “The Watcher

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  1. Glad you shared this and glad I saw it. I know I’m just an anonymous person on the internet but I also use “we” in self-talk. Have never told anyone about it and haven’t analyzed it deeply for myself; I simply accept it. Having said that, my “we” seems to be different from your “we”, or at least in a different place/phase. I wish you the best in watching your watcher. Maybe the watcher will change its tune someday and start saying nice things.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Edy, and for sharing a little about your “we.” I’m not sure I want to lose the watcher’s presence, or even the reminders to take time to consider alternatives carefully before action. It even reminds me about the importance of remaining humble, a healthy practice I think, that ultimately inspires me to keep learning, experimenting, and solving puzzles.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was just concerned about the harsh and critical words in your post. But your “we” is yours, and while the two of us could compare/contrast our experiences, I think ultimately it’s a very personal matter.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel this part is so very important: “She’s decided to watch the watcher from this day forward, just to see what happens. Who knows what she will discover?”
    So much of this reminds me of Eckhart Tolle and Michael Singer’s work. I wish you well as you begin to watch the watcher. I hope you will write about your discoveries. Sending love and support for the journey. 💜

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Carrie, and for the suggested resources. I wasn’t familiar with Singer’s work, and just watched a brief video about “The Untethered Soul,” I’ll keep Singer and Tolle in mind as resources to explore when I come up for air after the semester is done. 💜

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Very thought provoking Carol. It reminds me of the movie “A Beautiful Mind”. Have you seen it? “The watcher” in this case was the voice incarnate that pestered Russell Crowe. That is up until the point where Russell Crowe (although aware of the watchers presence) no longer acknowledged him.. the watcher remained at bay.. but no longer was dominant.. That movie helped me better understand my fathers battle with schizophrenia and later as you mention, the existence of our own negative self talk. I hope this moment finds you well. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your intriguing comments, Ray. I did see the movie, but I didn’t really remember much about it. I had to read the synopsis online. I was glad to read that Nash (Crowe) was eventually able to function, and grateful to hear the movie helped you understand your father’s battle. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be for a child to make sense of schizophrenia. My father was bipolar, although it was referred to as manic-depressive at the time. The experience taught me how to “read” energy at an early age so I would know how to avoid triggering outbursts. As I look back, I am grateful for the lessons, but sorry that my father suffered throughout his life and sad that he actually made other people’s lives difficult, especially my mother’s, in the process.

      Again, thank you. Sending my best wishes, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very fine post. It made me think. Also liked your picture of the fish and bird of prey. Sounds like the Watcher was a constant butt kicker. A bet a lot of people; family and students benefited from her persistence. Maybe it is time to turn the tables, if so don’t be to hard on her. 🙂 Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, Bob, I love your comments. I actually drew the picture for a different post a while ago. It seemed perfect for this odd, totally unexcepted reflection. Thank you for your kind words, and for making me smile. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The critical voice at first the guide then the jailor, how we grow up and sometimes don’t grow past the critical voice which means well, but cannot trust the process. I see this in myself and in so many I work with.

    Liked by 3 people

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