Everyone has an inner critic. And this inner critic can do some serious damage. It might stop you from pursuing an revelation lead you to start yet another diet or trigger an all-around unease and unhappiness about yourself.
But your inner critic can become a genuine supporter. (In fact, inner critics are just trying to protect us, anyway. This was a big revelation to me, and has helped me learn how to deal with my own inner critic.)
The first step is to better understand just who that inner critic is, and how she (or he) operates.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Muhammad Talha
Authors and psychotherapists Bonnie Weiss, LCSW and Jay Earley, Ph.D, have identified seven types of inner critics. Most of us actually have several inner critics that try to protect us.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Bonnie about this work and how we can turn a harsh inner critic into a warm supporter. I’ll post the rest of our interview next week.
In the meantime, here are the seven types of inner critics, which Bonnie shared.
Perfectionist: Tries to get you to do things perfectly. Has very high standards for behavior, performance and production.
Taskmaster: Tries to get you to work hard or be disciplined in order to be successful or to avoid being mediocre.
Underminer: Tries to undermine your self-confidence and self-esteem so you won’t take risks that might be dangerous, or so you won’t try and fail, or so you won’t get too big or powerful or visible and therefore be attacked or rejected.
Inner Controller: Tries to control impulsive behavior that might not be good for you or others, or might be dangerous.
Guilt Tripper: Attacks you for some specific action you have taken or not taken in the past or for repeated behavior that has been harmful to others or violates a deeply-held value.
Molder: Tries to get you to fit a certain mold or be a certain way that comes from your family or culture—e.g. caring, aggressive, polite. It attacks you when you aren’t and praises you when you are.
Destroyer: Makes pervasive attacks on your fundamental self-worth. Deeply shaming. Believes you shouldn’t exist.
Identifying your inner critic helps you get closer to transforming it. If you’re not sure what your inner critic looks like, take this questionnaire from Bonnie and Jay’s website.