Taskmaster Report

Bonnie Weiss, LCSW and Jay Earley, Ph.D.

The Taskmaster is a part that tries to get you to work really hard, or to be very disciplined. It may do this because it wants you to be successful, and thereby gain the rewards of success: money, praise, power, freedom, admiration, etc. Or it may do this because it doesn’t want you to be seen as a failure, or mediocre, and therefore be judged, shamed, rejected, etc.

One kind of Taskmaster part is more concerned that you develop a discipline, such as meditation, or exercise, or eating in a healthy way. It may want you to get the benefits of rigidly following such a discipline.

Another type of Taskmaster wants you to accomplish the ordinary things that are needed for your life to work, such as doing your taxes, cleaning your house, or mowing your lawn.

TM2It is easy to see that the Taskmaster wants what’s best for you. But it becomes a problem if it pushes you too hard, or expects too much from you, not allowing you to be relaxed and easy going. These demands often fail to respect your need for a healthy balance in your life. The biggest problem with the Taskmaster is that it attacks you for not living up to its expectations

The Taskmaster believes that only by working very hard, and being extremely well disciplined, will you get good results. It believes the best way to get you to do this is for it to tell you, in no uncertain terms, what you “should” be doing; and to ride you unmercifully to do it. It thinks that the harder it pushes, the more likely you’ll succeed. The Taskmaster may believe that if you take any time off from your project, or fail even once to do your discipline, you will be a failure. Its attitude is “all or nothing”.TM3

The Taskmaster tells you that you must work this hard to be recognized as a good person — or even to be just OK. The Taskmaster may ignore the connection between the work it wants you to do and the results it wants to see. It just tells you what you “should” do. It’s unaware that pushing this hard may activate a Rebel part who’ll fight against the Taskmaster; or a Freedom part who needs to take more time off to get away from the Taskmaster’s unrelenting demands. This sets up an inner conflict, or polarization, between the Taskmaster and the Rebel where they each become more extreme in order to counter the other. In this situation, you must work with them together, so that each one learns to relax and trust you; and ultimately to cooperate with each other.

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