The Inner Critic and the Criticized Child

Whenever we are being attacked or judged by an Inner Critic part, there is always a second part of us that is receiving this attack and feeling hurt, depressed, or worthless. I call this part the Criticized Child. This is an exile who believes the attack and feels ashamed or guilty, bad, or inadequate. Many people, at first, don’t make a distinction between the Critic and the Criticized Child, but doing so is crucial to unraveling this difficult issue.

There are always two parts involved. One part attacks us, and a second part feels attacked. For example, suppose your Critic sneers at you and tells you that you’re so shy that you’re a loser and no one likes you. The sneering Critic feels harsh, judgmental, and dismissive toward you. There is a second part of you (the Criticized Child) that believes this attack and feels rejected, ashamed, and worthless. You will need to work with both parts, but in very different ways.

The Inner Critic is an IFS protector that is trying to protect you by attacking you, as strange as that sounds. The Criticized Child is an IFS exile who already feels bad about itself, and the attacks from your Inner Critic make it feel worse.

For example, suppose you have just gone on an eating binge, and now your Inner Controller Critic starts shaming you and telling you that you are a greedy, fat slob. Your Criticized Child is the exile part of you that hears that message and believes it. The Child feels ashamed and believes that it is greedy and bad.

Your Criticized Child

Do you have a sense of your Criticized Child Part that is most hurt by the Critic you are working on? You may not know this until you do the guided meditation that takes you through an IFS session later this week. However, if you have an idea of this exile, please take some notes on it, and if you feel like sharing them with the class, click stj-inner-critic-course-participants@googlegroups.com.