“It is all my fault.” “There is something wrong with me.” “Nothing I ever do is good enough.” Clients who come to therapy struggling with self-worth say these things to themselves. And pretty much every one of them had a parent who was critical.
The need to criticize another person is about control. What better way to control someone than to oppress them; if they feel lesser than you, they will most likely do your bidding and you feel safe and secure in top position. Unhealthy? Absolutely. When we grow up with a critical parent we get these messages honestly; when we become adults, our internal voice takes over and we begin to repeat the messages to ourselves, usually acting in ways that reinforce the way we feel.
We can challenge our inner critic by identifying the messages, then asking ourselves “Who does this really sound like?” (It doesn’t usually take much exploring to get to the answer.) From there, we can begin to ask ourselves “Could it be different?” And the answer is unequivocally “Yes.”
Your inner critic is yours; it is yours to keep listening to or it is yours to challenge. You can allow it to keep its throne, or strip it of its power. The choice, ultimately is yours; perhaps that realization is the first step in quieting your internal voice and putting it in its place.
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