Introducing Mrs Carp, the voice inside my head

Wed, Jan 27, 2010


Introducing Mrs Carp, the voice inside my head

For the lovely Sleep is for the Weak’s writing workshop:

The voices started as soon as I left home for university. ‘God, why did you say that? He/she/they will think you are a total idiot now,’ ‘oh, look, your marks are slipping. Well, what do you expect, you were making a fool of yourself all night at that party, no time to revise.’ ‘Why are you applying for that job, no-one in their right mind would give it to you,’ ‘Christ, you look fat in that! Why the hell haven’t you got ANY self-discipline?’

All through my life, like an alternative soundtrack to whatever music I’ve tried to enjoy at the time, the voice I call Mrs Carp has been whispering her poison in my ear. ‘Why are you bothering to write this? You know it’s rubbish,’ she’s cooing now. ‘You’re revealing too much of yourself. You’ll have nowhere to hide. You’ll just be embarrassed that you’ve told people about me. They’ll think you’re nuts.’

mrs carp

You may well all think I’m nuts, and quite possibly I am. But I suspect a lot of women have their own Mrs Carp, saying evil things in a quiet voice, undermining and corroding their way through the day. When I’m feeling low, she can really bring me to my knees. On a good day, I shrug her off, put my fingers in my ears, and sing, ‘la la la la la.’

Why do we do this to ourselves? For, although Mrs Carp has her own sibilant voice, very different from my own, I am still aware that she is just a manifestation of all my own worst fears about myself. Do I think that, if she gives voice to my fears, I can then shout her down and rubbish all her cruel work? Or is that I, and most of us, secretly do fear that we are crap?

I can’t tell you all the answers – all I can say is that I anxiously monitor my own teenage daughter, to see if she ever has that inward look, which means she is listening to a voice of her own. I hope not, and I try my best to fend off the whisperers by chasing all her doubts away.

And,  Mrs Carp, if you’re reading this (and I know you are, I can feel your hot breath on my cheek) can I just say two words to you?


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19 Responses to “Introducing Mrs Carp, the voice inside my head”

  1. Heather Says:

    Oh yes, I have one of those too. No idea why we do it though, why we let ourselves be talked down and crushed by our own inner fears. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Just knowing that, however, doesn’t seem to stop them. The worst thing is I have given in to her just to shut her up, because it’s easier. If I cave I wont have to listen to all that doubt anymore. Why is the voice of self confidence never so loud?

  2. Dulwich Divorcee Says:

    That’s a good point, Heather, I should try to develop a rival voice, maybe Mrs Jolly, shouting positive things ….on second thoughts, with the two of them I really might go nuts!

  3. Brighton Mum-Teenage Angst Says:

    Oh, I just assumed everyone had their own ‘Mrs Carp’. You mean they don’t??? I’ts only some of us??….bugger

  4. Family Affairs Says:

    How very polite you were – I’d have sworn at Mrs Carp using all the words I know and maybe some of my children’s too Lx

  5. Littlemummy Says:

    I have the voice, I just hadn’t given her a name. I thought it was just me!

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      You are not alone, Littlemummy – though I think some people escape. Or maybe they’re just hard of hearing?

  6. Rosie Scribble Says:

    I used to have a Mrs Carp until I realised the internal critical voice in my head was actually my mother. Now that voice only resurfaces at time of extreme stress. Life is much easier because the only voice I hear inside my head is my own.

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Hmmmm, I think you have reached a higher evolutionary plateau than me, Rosie. Still trying to get there ….

  7. rosiero Says:

    That voice drives me mad sometimes. Can’t put a foot right.

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      Let’s both try jamming our fingers in our ears and singing really loudly, Rosiero. That ought to show them!

  8. Part Mummy Part Me Says:

    Yeah, it’s really hard to praise ourselves and so easy to criticise. I think we internalise our parents’, teachers’ etc voices. It’s all for a good cause – to protect us from effing up and to push ourselves to do better. But as we know with our children, it’s better to be firm and gentle with oirselves, to foucs on the good and ignore the bad. Unless it’s very very bad. Then a stern talking to is just the thing!

  9. Part Mummy Part Me Says:

    excuse my rubbish typing – I can spell ourselves and focus!!

  10. suburbia Says:

    Love her name!

    Yep, she visits me too, always looks on the dark side, I wish she’d bloody well go and bother someone else!

    • Dulwich Divorcee Says:

      She’s a menace, that Mrs C. I’m going to take her travel pass away, that way at least she can’t come and bother you!

  11. Josie @Sleep is for the Weak Says:

    I think everyone has that little voice. It’s just that some people are better at humming very loudly and not listening.

    Mine has a loud speaker. And I’m rubbish at humming.

    Stupid Mrs Carp…