Inner Child – Inner Critic

By | Category: Inner Child

“That was a huge mistake”
“What in the world were you thinking?”
“Who do you think you are?”
“You’re lazy (boring- selfish – ugly – stupid”) etc. etc.
“Nobody likes you”
“You are a bad boy/girl”

Who’s voice are you hearing? Your mother, father, teacher, older relative, Mother Superior? You don’t have to look far to find the culprits in the past, and as children, their pronouncements were The Truth. The idea of a critical voice playing in our heads is not new. In Gestalt Therapy it is called the Top Dog, in Transactional Analysis it is the Critical Parent. For short, let’s call it The Critic.

I am not going to describe The Critic. All you have to do is sit down with pen and paper and ask it to talk to you about what is wrong with you, and you’ll get an earful, I am sure. You’ve heard it all before. There’s nothing new here, but putting it on paper and reading it aloud puts it in more perspective, and it would be funny if it didn’t have such a devastating effect. What I do want to talk about is trying to understand why the Critic does what it must, and how we can make it an ally instead of a foe.

The Critic has developed from an early age on, picking up its clues from the authority figures around it, all of them intent on teaching us to be “good people”, pointing out what we’re doing wrong, so the Critic has plenty of material to work with, and by adulthood it’s got enough to broadcast 24/7. The premise is still the same. All the Critic wants is for us to be happy and successful; it is however looking at us with a set of glasses that only shows our faults and bad sides, magnifying glasses at that. Nothing else comes through, so the Critic is relentless in its pursuit to teach us to be “good people”. But because it can only see the “bad” it is also very afraid and anxious; it is failing in its job, and we are never going to amount to anything, so it keeps harping at us. And because it’s been doing this for most of our lives, we are not really aware of the tape playing in our head. We just buy into the notion that somehow all this is true.

The first step in changing all this is starting to LISTEN, then write it down and look at it. Realize that this is really coming from a fearful, but loving Inner Child. Start a dialog (on paper first) with this child, acknowledging its feelings, ask what you do to help it feel better, dump its colors (ask for permission or show them how to do it). But most of all keep the dialog going over time, and it will start to change the lenses in the glasses to see that you are really not all bad and quite capable of running a good life, and in doing so, will become your supportive partner. Not surprisingly, the Critic is not very supportive of any Inner Child explorations, as it deems it “not REAL work and a waste of time.” The younger children feel this and behave accordingly, so “taming” the Critic is a very important first step in any serious Inner Child healing.

Making the Critic feel more safe will give you a Nurturing Parent figure instead, and it brings a considerable amount of talents to the table. It is very good with details, disciplined and objective and using all of these in a positive and supportive manner will allow your life to flow and be creative.

On a personal note, I have been experiencing severe headaches for many years, not a full blown migraine attack, but not far from it, and it always started it the back of my neck and then went on from there. After I started meditating, I learned that the Self Centers were located in that same area. As I have been working with my Inner Children I’ve been focusing more on these centers, but it was not until I found and talked to the Critic that I stared to make headway on this. From what I have learned so far, the Critic’s way of making me pay attention was to put pressure on my Self Centers (“I had to shout” is how she put it.). Now when I feel the familiar pain in the neck (!), I tune in to her, telling her I’m listening and she doesn’t have to shout, and it goes away instantly. I am still in the early stages of this process, so I cannot tell you I haven’t had a headache in a long time, but so far, so good. And I am enlisting a couple of friends who do suffer from migraines to help me test this theory, so I’ll let you know how it works out.

If you want more in-debt info on the Inner Critic, read Lucia Cappacchione’s Recovery of Your Inner Child, chapter seven, and Embracing your Inner Critic by Hal and Sidra Stone. Their method is called Voice Dialog.

Meanwhile, I am talking and listening to my Critic, slowly bringing her over to my side, making her feel safe again, becoming my friend and loyal supporter. And what a rewarding and joyful experience this is.



One Comment to “Inner Child – Inner Critic”

  1. Katie says:

    being criticized made me strong as a kid…I remember we would just act silly put finger on the nose with fingers all twinkling saying nananana lol and still run and laugh and then also stick tongues out lol..silliness and we laugh..and and cry but no one got hurt really we still played and felt better and had adventure..apologies were only needed because parents said so to have peace….then 6th grade hit and we started worrying about grades and clothes and hair looked crazy but I had a heart of gold and adventure and didn’t understand why it was so hard to have friends…my heart was broken..I am now 41 years old and realizing hey…all that hurting made you a great artist…smart..but you look at yourself the way people did back then still…I leaned on Jesus and stories of compassion more than I trusted people…and I got very sick, very lonely, read self help books to wake reference books to wisen up….and the hardest part to realize was I am still me lol… I just have to find that wavelength that says its ok we love you here on mount Shasta hehehehe…I love and I forgive and I am also so sorry if I hurt anyone on the way to trying to understand this..I have been following the yellowbrickroad my whole life lol I would rather cry than ever hurt someone….this movie is so beautiful and this key makes me cry many sweet happy tears…each day I love more and more I try to love and give what I can or barter what I can and use the wisdom I learned to help…I miss my parents my inner child weeps for them I honor them by missing them and it helps me also grow up I am still growing up..forgive me friends for taking so long to grow up I love you all and I need you all..i love mother earth and father sky..and all life….I need strength and forgiveness for cussing so hard all the way through it I never meant to hurt God’s feelings while I was hurting..I am soooo sorry OM I am sooooooo sorry OM I am sorry to all OM MANI PADME HUMMM I ammmm soooo sorryyyyyy