Dear soft hearted people,
I find myself sharing about the types of inner critics (often using the book Freedom From Your Inner Critic*) to share with patients about their inner loving parents and inner critics. I sought Maryam Fallahi’s expertise and knowledge to explain more for us in this post. Maryam Fallahi is an amazing and compassionate Life Coach who graduated from William Glesser Institute of Coaching and Positive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University.
While it can be scary to learn about the inner parts, especially the inner critic, there’s a lot of hope in identifying what’s coming up, what trauma it is rooted in, and nurturing all those parts with as much tenderness and kindness as we’d give our closest loved one.
From Maryam: Hi folks! Happy new year! Today I want to introduce you to our internal family of critics by inviting you to do a little thought experiment with me. Imagine you are going to have some company over to stay with you for the holidays; not one, not two, but a family of seven! They are going to come all at once and they are not going to tell you when they are leaving; in fact you are not even sure they have booked a ticket back!
The first family member I want to introduce is the youngest sibling, the perfectionist. This inner critic loves to get everything done perfectly. They have insanely high standards. When you don’t meet this critic’s standards, they attack. For instance, just this morning the perfectionist found out that you wanted to make some turkey and stuffing for tonight’s dinner and the perfectionist has been giving you demanding orders since. In fact the perfectionist can make you feel drained and like you have limited motivation to cook altogether.
The next inner critic thinks everyone should be in control of their behavior 24/7 and this sibling is called the inner controller. He humiliates and has rigid control when you overeat, spend more than you meant to, or do other things you may not have meant to do. He whispers insults and humiliation.
Next, is the taskmaster uncle. He is allergic to the idle world. He is going to call you lazy, stupid and incompetent if he doesn’t see you work your behind off non-stop.
Your next guest is the eldest sister of the family, the underminer. She is the one who will undermine everything nice you do for her. She will tell you that what you did is not enough, that you have to be smarter and more attentive to your surroundings, and that you should essentially stay small and not try new things or take risks.
The next person is the father of your inner critic family. He finds faults in you, tells you he thinks you are disgusting, and tells you innately don’t fit in anywhere. This inner critic is the destroyer.
The guilt tripper is also a wounded inner critic who tells you negative things about yourself. If for instance, your love needs 2% milk on your way home, and you say there is 1% in the fridge and that you are so tired from a week’s work, the guilt tripper will show up and tell you what a horrible partner you are and how you and your boundaries should feel ashamed.
The molder is the mother of this inner critic family. She is the inner critic who points out how you don’t fit the mold. If you try to cook for your guests for instance, she will tell you that your food was not good enough: it could use more salt, less cheese. It is overcooked, undercooked,… If you try to make a conversation at the dinner table you are too chatty, and if you sit back and let them talk you are too boring.
The inner critics seem scary, and I want you to know we have inner wisdom we can access to love ourselves and see why these inner critics are coming up in this way. It can be powerful to note thoughts or inner critic commentary rather than attach to and believe it. Powerful yes, and sometimes easier said than done. You are not alone on this journey of noting what comes up and healing some of these wounds.
Please reach out to Maryam Fallahi firstname.lastname@example.org to get started with coaching services.
With a soft heart,
*No affiliation with this book.