The Inner-Critic is the part of you that judges you, demeans you, and pushes you to do things. It lowers your sense of self-worth and makes you feel bad about yourself.
Jay Early, PHD defines seven types of Inner-Critic:
This Critic tries to get you to do things perfectly. It has very high standards for behaviour, performance, and production. Sometimes it prevents you from creating anything for fear it won’t be good enough. Sometimes it makes you work forever trying to perfect something.
This Critic tries to control impulsive behaviour that might not be good for you or others, or might be dangerous. It tends to be harsh and shaming when you slip up.
This Critic tries to get you to work hard or be disciplined in order to be successful or to avoid being mediocre. It can cause over-striving and workaholism.
This Critic 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 to big or powerful or visible and therefore be attacked or rejected. It makes you feel worthless.
This Critic makes pervasive attacks on your fundamental self-worth. It shames you deeply. It believes you shouldn’t exist.
This Critic attacks you for some specific action you have taken or not taken in the past or for repeated behaviour that has been harmful to others or violates a deeply-help value. It makes you feel guilty and will never forgive you.
This Critic tries to get you to fit a certain mould 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. If the mould doesn’t fit who you are, it constantly makes you feel inadequate.
Despite the pain they cause, each type of Inner Critic is actually trying to help you or protect you from pain, in its own distorted way. By determining which types of Inner Critics you have, you can more easily get to know them and find out what they are trying to do for you. This makes it possible to develop a cooperative relationship with the Critic and transform it into a positive resource for you.
Jay Earley, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice who teaches classes and workshops on the Inner Critic and IFS. He is the author of Self-Therapy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Inner Wholeness Using IFS and Self-Therapy for Your Inner Critic. See his website www.personal-growth-programs.com. There you can take a questionnaire to determine which types of Critics may be a problem for you and read reports on them.