Telephone Course: Transforming Your Inner Critic Using IFS

The Inner Critic is the part of you that judges you, pushes you, and undermines your self-confidence.

It can make you feel worthless, ashamed, guilty, depressed, or inadequate. Actually, you probably have more than one Inner Critic part, each of which judges you for something different or in a different way. Bonnie Weiss and I have studied how to best work with these difficult parts using IFS in order to transform them into inner allies.

Transforming your Inner CriticThese Inner Critic parts aren’t quite what they seem to be. They are actually trying to help and protect you even though their effect is to harm you. In this course, you will learn how to work with your Inner Critics using IFS to make friends with them and then transform them. You will learn about other parts that arise along with the Inner Critic:

  • The Criticized Child, which is hurt by the Critic
  • The Inner Defender, which fights the Critic
  • The Inner Rebel, which defies the Critic.

You will learn about the seven types of Inner Critic parts and discover which ones are the most harmful to you—the Taskmaster, Perfectionist, Inner Controller, Underminer, Guilt Tripper, Conformist, and Destroyer.

You will learn how to discover the exiles (wounded inner child parts) that are being protected by your Inner Critic and how to heal them in order to free up your Critic from its judgmental job. You will discover how to develop your Inner Champion, which is the healthy part of you that can support and encourage you in the face of Inner Critic attacks.

The course will include reading, lecture, discussion, group exercises, and homework where you practice IFS work in pairs with other people from the class.

Tuesdays, May 5 – June 9 (6 two-hour classes)
4:30-6:30PM pacific time (7:30-9:30PM eastern)
Cost: $250

Each class will be recorded so you can listen to any that you miss.

Click here to enroll.

For more information attend the Inner Critic webinar this Tuesday (see above), or click here to get the replay of a longer webinar on IFS and the Inner Critic.

A Story of Resolving the Victim Pattern

The victim pattern and the responsibility capacityIn a previous blog,  I told the story of Sandra, who had received some “tough love” from her friend Jill, who pointed out that she seemed to have a Victim Pattern. This is a continuation of that story showing how she overcame it.

Sandra did not like what she had heard, and at first, she felt blamed and angry. But as she calmed down and kept thinking about it, she realized that she knew Jill to be a fair person who would not lie to her or criticize her without a very good reason.

Sandra started exploring the Victim Pattern and saw that the capacity she could develop was Responsibility. She decided to ask her adult daughter Sheila for some perspective.

SANDRA: “When I told Sheila about the idea that I might be stuck in a Victim Pattern, she confessed to me that she had often felt frustrated with me when she was growing up because she thought I gave up on trying things too quickly. She also told me that she felt upset that I was still blaming her father for our divorce.”

SHEILA: “My mom would just look at something, like our new dishwasher for instance, and gripe that she didn’t know how she was supposed to figure out how to use it. Even as a kid, I had a hard time with that because it just didn’t seem like that daunting of a task. I also learned that if I wanted help trying something new, I shouldn’t ask my mom. She would just make me feel more helpless, or she would get angry and find some way to make it my or my dad’s fault.”

Hearing this, Sandra decided that she wanted her daughter to be able to be proud of her. She decided to work on developing her Responsibility Capacity, and stuck with it for several months.

SANDRA: “I felt uncomfortable sometimes, trying new things and not asking people to help me right away. My sense of anger came up a lot. I really have had a big habit of getting mad that people aren’t helping me. I noticed, as I practiced, that I wanted to revert to my old methods. I discovered, under my anger, that a part of me feels safer when I can get someone to do things for me. But the first time I figured out how to update my bookkeeping on my own, I felt pretty excited. It’s a cool feeling to think about being able to make my own way in the world without having to rely on manipulating someone else into taking care of things.”

Even Sheila noticed a change in her mother after these months of practice.

SHEILA: “When my mom started talking about wanting to get a resume put together, I felt my stomach clench. Normally she would manipulate me into doing it for her. But this time, she came to me and asked if I could direct her to some online resume resources. She asked me questions about how I had done mine and what had worked for me in getting interviews. I could tell she really wanted to learn!”

Sandra kept up her practice and discovered that she had more curiosity than she had realized.

Developing the Responsibility Capacity helped her feel more interested in life, and she is currently apprenticing with a florist who appreciates her investment in learning. Sandra hopes that she will find a job this way, but she also feels good knowing that no matter what, she can take ownership of her future well being.




A Victim Pattern Story

This a story about Sandra who is a person with the Victim Pattern.

Sandra was married for over fourteen years to Robert, who had been kind of a pushover. She was often able to get her way in things and she criticized him a lot. He rarely stood up to her. Over time, Robert became depressed, and at the advice of friends, began to get IFS therapy.

He tried to get Sandra involved, but she wasn’t interested.

Eventually, Robert began to grow and become more assertive. He started standing up to Sandra and confronting her about some of her controlling behavior, but she was unwilling to take him seriously or do anything different, thinking the flaws in their marriage were mostly his doing. Robert also wanted her to listen to the feelings he was uncovering in therapy, but she had little interest.

After a year of these conflicts, Robert decided to pursue divorce, and Sandra was stunned.

SANDRA: “I don’t understand how Robert could do this to me, after all our years of marriage. He’s just so selfish.”

Even though the divorce left her with half of their assets, she became frightened about her financial future. Instead of looking into how she might make some extra money, she just became angry at him.

SANDRA: “What in the world am I supposed to do now? Robert just doesn’t even think about me. He didn’t give me enough money. I’m not prepared to get a job. What skills do I even have, after keeping house and cooking for him and the kids for all these years? This is just so unfair. I don’t know what I’m going to do!”

Sandra complained to all their friends, who were sympathetic at first–after all, divorce can be heartbreaking and depressing for the best of people. But after hearing Sandra go on and on about how terrible Robert was, some friends stopped calling her for lunch dates. Others stopped taking her calls entirely. Sandra had always been critical of people, but it had never been this bad.

Finally, one friend, Jill, ran into her on the street and Sandra started in again on how hard her life was now and how she didn’t know what to do to move forward. Jill listened patiently, and then spoke.

JILL: “Sandra, I know you are facing a lot of change right now, but you might want to think about how making everything Robert’s fault really disempowers you. As long as your divorce is all about him and your situation is impossible, you leave yourself no room to take any steps forward. And I have to tell you, hearing you complain about this over and over, sometimes I feel like you want me to fix your life for you. And I can’t. Only you can do that.”

Then Jill hugged Sandra and continued on her way. Sandra stayed rooted to the spot, stunned by what felt like a slap in the face.

Slowly, over the next week, she began to consider what Jill had said. She discussed this with some other friends and began to look at herself and her situation a little differently.