Extending Grace To the Wounded Inner Critic

Throughout my career I have often heard clients say, “its my inner critic”…”its the critical inner parent”…”It’s the critic that drives me”.  I have a strong one too – so I can relate. In spiritual terms it can be the inner adversary. In Jungian terms, the inner complex. 

The conventional advice to establish internal boundaries is stand up to the inner critic! Tell it to stop! Question it – Is it true? Reaffirm yourself with positive affirmations etc. 

These approach work and are a start.  

I also believe the spiritual adage “whatever you resist, persists”. 

In my Coaching Hidden Dimensions work – I started to call the Inner Critic/Critical Parent something different. I call it the Wounded Critic or the Wounded Parent. 

The wounds drives the beliefs which drive the critical voice that leads to more dysregulation of the nervous system and the vicious cycle repeats.

The critic is a survival voice that wants to avoid shame at all costs and control getting needs/outcomes to be safe. 

Not Enoughness fuels the inner self-destructive fire of shame. 

The Inner Critic is also a gatekeeper to the diamond below the surface, like a troll at the draw bridge. 

Wrestling with its unreasonable nature is the equivalent of shadow boxing, a self-depleting attempt at resolution which can work for awhile and go on for years. 

Remaining curious with compassion, allows a sense of inner mercy and opens up the possibility of grace. For example, “I hear you. I know you’re trying to help me survive and stay small to be safe. Your harsh words keep me there. I don’t believe I need this anymore and choose a different way. I want to know what drives you?

Inner mercy leads to outer mercy – and what is a season of light and miracles without it? 

“Hate cannot drive out hate…only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.