Lack of self-confidence, low self-esteem and low motivation to act don’t necessarily result from limiting beliefs or lack of faith in one’s abilities.
What inhibits you so much is very often your Inner Critic.
It’s that part of your personality that every day evaluates your every move and action, criticizing them in various ways. In order to start working on your Inner Critic, first you need to understand how this part of your personality even operates.
It turns out that every Inner Critic is different and each of us experiences this part of ourselves in our own individual way. What's more, psychologist Jay Earley distinguished 7 types of Inner Critic. Each of them in their own way assesses a particular aspect of our lives. Some of us have more than one type of critic, while others - a mix of its several different varieties.
Check out the list below and try to figure which Critic lives inside your head.
This Inner Critic wants you to do things perfectly and flawlessly. It has very high standards for performance, and when you don’t get to meet them, it attacks you and says that your actions are not good enough. It often prevents you from even starting a new project, claiming that you will not be able to do it the right way.
The Perfectionist usually says:
- "Try harder!"
- You will never do it right."
- "You’re not planning to leave it like that, are you?"
- "Your work is worthless!"
2. Inner Controller
His task is to control impulsive behaviours, such as binging on sweets, turning to alcohol, using drugs and various stimulants (coffee, cigarettes, etc.). When you slip up and do one of these things, the Controller will start to blame you and criticize you.
The Inner Controller usually says:
- "You did it again... Shame on you!"
- "You have no willpower."
- "You will never break free from this!"
He will do whatever it takes to get you to work as hard as possible. In order to motivate you it can tell you that you are lazy or incompetent, and that you can achieve nothing. It often crosses swords with another part of your personality - the Procrastinator (the one that puts off work for later).
The Taskmaster usually says:
- You’re such a lazybones."
- "Get down to work already!"
- "Rest is for the weak."
- "You won’t achieve anything in life unless you start working hard."
Task of this Inner Critic is to undermine your self-confidence and chill your actions so as to protect you against the risk of failure. It lowers your self-confidence and self-esteem, which paralyzes you and prevents you from taking any action. It tells you that you are worthless and that you will not succeed.
The Underminder usually says:
- "You're worthless."
- "Don’t even try because you will fail anyway."
- "It’s pointless."
- "Let it go, why waste time on this?"
It makes direct attacks on your self-esteem by making you believe that you shouldn’t exist. It shames you deeply.
The Destroyer usually says:
- "You should have never been born"
- "You are one big failure"
- "You are worthless."
His job is to blame you for specific actions and decisions you took (or didn’t take) in the past. This often concerns behaviour that was harmful to others (especially those who are important to you), regardless of whether it was done deliberately or not.
The Guilt-Tripper usually says:
- "How could you do this?"
- "You will regret this for the rest of your life."
- "He will never forgive you."
- "You will never forgive yourself."
It tries to get you to blend in a certain social framework and keep your head down. It molds you in such a way so that you become someone who fits into the family values and principles of your culture. This Inner Critic praises you when you behave in accordance with them, attacks you when you don’t.
The Molder usually says:
- "Don’t make a fool of yourself."
- "Keep your head down!"
- "Do as you are told."
- "What will other people think?"
Why is it so important to understand which inner critic (or critics) is part of your psyche?
Because with each of them you need to work differently. Undeniably, the Inner Critic is, at first glance, a real scumbag that we want to get rid of, when we get the chance. However, just like every part of personality, it’s there for a reason. And although it tries to achieve its goal in a way that isn’t good for us, deep down it wants us well.
One type of Inner Critic takes care of your safety, another protects you against rejection, or people’s negative evaluation. The motives of Critic’s actions are different and depend on the type of Inner Critic, which means that you will work differently on its transformation into a constructive and supporting part of your personality.
When we begin to understand, at a deeper level, how our Inner Critic operates, we quickly realize that the best way to break free from it is not through agressive confrontation, but conversation, establishing relationship and getting along. Then the Critic becomes Support, while we regain self-confidence and restore energy for life.
If you want to get to know more about subpersonalities and self-therapy you can visit my site - IFS Poland, dedicated to Internal Family Systems method.