The inner critic

My “War” – it may be more about parenting.

I had a fierce inner critic. I first became aware of her years ago when I was lying on the floor weeping and I heard a clear voice in my head, “Stop play-acting. This isn’t real.” I refused to accept that, and carried on with my healing weeping.

The Inner Critic is a part of me, and I got to know the kind of things she says, and what she tries to steer me away from. She was very angry and fearful. She hated me taking any risks. She did not understand my feelings, and loathed me expressing them. I read that she is a self-protection mechanism I developed when I was a child, to steer me into conduct which people around me would find acceptable, and the problem seemed to be that she had not moved on from then. She thought her observations of what people then wanted still apply.

So I have named her Johanna. I think she is about seven. I imagine her in a white velvet dress and a hairslide with a rose on it, because I hope something pretty might make her a little happier. Her feet are bare, so she may wriggle her toes and feel the Earth.

The problem is that she wants to parent me. She has strong ideas about what I should and should not do, and what Other People Think of me, and she wants me to follow her and self-protect. Whereas, actually, she is about seven, and I need to parent her. So she is sitting on the Naughty step. She can sit there, or she can dance and sing. Those are her choices. She does not get to tell me what to do. I smile at her, now and then, point out beautiful things to her, and I may go over and give her a hug.


If you do a search for “Inner Critic”, you will find lots of wisdom. I found out a lot about her on the Hoffman Process, and techniques to deal with her, and there had that “you mean other people are like this too?” experience. I like the book “Embracing your Inner Critic– turning self-criticism into a creative asset” by Hal and Sidra Stone.

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