Bonnie and I recently realized that we needed to rewrite our report on the Inner Controller, which is one of the seven types of Inner Critics. It isn’t that our understanding of the Inner Controller changed. What’s new is our view of the Inner Champion needed for the Inner Controller. To understand this, we can think of there being two kinds of Inner Controllers. Here is the second half of the new Inner Controller report.
(1) Sometimes the Inner Controller has an unrealistic view of who you are and the danger of your impulses. It attacks you for having needs or taking actions that are just taking care of yourself. Or you may have some degree of impulsiveness, but your Inner Controller reacts in a way that is much too harsh, punitive, and rigid, given the reality of your behavior. Your culture may have an unreasonable ideal of thinness or prohibitions against emotional or sexual expression. This can result in your feeling that you have to control your normal impulses. In this case the Inner Controller may be working against what may be natural and healthy for you.
(2) In other cases the Inner Controller is really reacting to an out-of-control Indulger Part that does need to be attended to. When this is true, there is a polarization between these two parts and both sides need to be understood and worked with to get relief.
Take a moment and ask yourself whether your Inner Controller‘s attacks are a reasonable response to the danger from your impulses. You may need to take some time to settle into yourself in order to really tell. You might even want to consult with friends.
If you determine that your Inner Controller is really dealing with an out-of-control Indulger that is having a damaging effect on your life, just profiling your Inner Champion won’t be enough. We know that this intense battle between Inner Controller parts and Indulger parts needs a broader program of intervention to make a significant difference. The Indulger Part may need help with an addiction and healing the underlying pain that causes it. This is beyond what we can help you with in this report. However, if the problem is primarily with a harsh Inner Controller read on.
The Inner Champion
(in response to the Inner Controller)
Your Inner Controller is often modeled after messages you received in childhood, e.g. you’re too fat, sexual, lively, angry, etc. It holds beliefs that were either true at one time, or may not have been valid at all. It fears that these parts of you will get out of control and impact your life if not carefully monitored. Even if there is some truth to the Inner Controller’s concerns, its harsh attempts at control are not only harmful to your self-esteem but tend to trigger rebellious parts that want to escape from it.
Your Inner Champion will help your bring the Inner Controller up to date. It will allow it to see who you are today; the skills and abilities that you have developed and the capacities that you bring to managing your life in the present. It will encourage the Inner Controller to relax and trust you to control your impulses, as you allow yourself more freedom in areas that it has over-policed.
Your Champion tells you that you needs and desires are OK and you are fine just as you are. It supports you in being relaxed and trusting of your decisions about what you ingest or what you do. It supports you in being grounded and centered, which naturally brings moderation. It also supports you capacity for healthy pleasure and sensuality in life, which is so satisfying that there is no need for over-indulgence.
Your Inner Champion can set limits on the Inner Controller when it gets too rigid or shaming. It tells Controller that harsh attacks aren’t helpful while letting the Controller know that it agrees with its need to achieve moderation.