Transforming Your Inner Critic – A View Through Two Lenses

Freedom from Shame and Inadequacy: Transforming Your Inner Critic
A View Through Two Lenses

Jay Earley, PhD, and Ann Weiser Cornell

  • Do you feel bad about yourself?Inner Critic
  • Do you hear a voice calling you worthless and unlovable?
  • Do you struggle with self-hatred?
  • Is there a voice that constantly doubts your abilities?
  • Do you believe that you’ll never get anywhere?

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. It seems to come up especially when you are expanding, doing more, being bigger. In fact, there isn’t just one Inner Critic, but a whole flock of them, hovering anxiously and ready to attack or push when you want to take new steps in your life.

You have so much you could contribute to the world if you just didn’t sabotage yourself from inside! Join Jay Earley and Ann Weiser Cornell for an inspiring and practical two-hour webinar that will help you free yourself from undermining inner attacks so you can move into living the life you were born to live.

What’s special about this webinar:

  • You’ll learn surprising truths about the positive intent of Inner Critic parts
  • You’ll understand the dynamics of inner criticism and how to transform it to inner support
  • You’ll learn powerful practices that you can use immediately in your life
  • You learn from two different teachers and methods

Watch Jay and Ann together! These major figures from IFS (Internal Family Systems Therapy) and IRF (Inner Relationship Focusing) rarely present together. We will explore the similarities and differences between our powerful methods in a lively, interactive dialogue.

Learn how to develop self-esteem and self-confidence, so you can

  • Accept yourself just as you are.
  • Know that you are lovable.
  • Feel confident in what you can do.
  • Feel proud of your capacities and accomplishments.
  • Feel a deep sense of self-worth.

Other reasons to take the webinar:

  • You are a Healing Professional whose clients who struggle with shame, low self-esteem, or inadequacy?
  • You are curious about how to work with a “part” or how to use a “felt sense”?
  • You have been wondering how IFS and IRF are similar and different? 

Wednesday, April 19
1-3 pm Pacific time (4-6 pm Eastern time)

Click here to register for free

Feel free to register even if you can’t attend at that time. A recording will be available afterward.



Seven Types of Inner Critics

Jay Earley, PhD and Bonnie Weiss, LCSW

Inner Critic In our study of the Inner Critic, we have identified the following seven types of Inner Critics that people are troubled by:


  • This critic tries to get you to do things perfectly.
  • It sets high standards for the things your produce, and has difficulty saying something is complete and letting it go out to represent your best work.
  • It tries to make sure that you fit in and that you will not be judged or rejected.
  • Its expectations probably reflect those of people who have been important to you in the past.


  • This critic is stuck in the past. It is unable to forgive you for wrongs you have done or people you have hurt.
  • It is concerned about relationships and holds you to standards of behavior prescribed by your community, culture and family
  • It tries to protect you from repeating past mistakes by making sure you never forget or feel free.


  • This critic tries to undermine your self-confidence and self-esteem so that you won’t take risks.
  • It makes direct attacks on your self-worth so that you will stay small and not take chances where you could be hurt or rejected.
  • It is afraid of your being too big or too visible and not being able to tolerate judgment or failure.


  • It makes pervasive attacks on your fundamental self-worth.
  • It shames you and makes you feel inherently flawed and not entitled to basic understanding or respect.
  • This most debilitating critic, comes from early life deprivation or trauma.
  • It is motivated by a belief that it is safer not to exist.

Conformist (we used to call this the Molder)

  • This critic tries to get you to fit into a certain mold based on standards held by society, your culture or your family.
  • It wants you to be liked and admired and to protect you from being abandoned, shamed or rejected.
  • The Conformist fears that the Rebel or the Free Spirit in you would act in ways that are unacceptable. So it keeps you from being in touch with and expressing your true nature.


  • This critic wants you to work hard and be successful.
  • It fears that you may be mediocre or lazy and will be judged a failure if it does not push you to keep going.
  • Its pushing often activates a procrastinator or a rebel that fights against its harsh dictates.

Inner Controller

  • This critic tries to control your impulses: eating, drinking, sexual activity, etc.
  • It is polarized with an Indulger Part—an addict that it fears can get out of control at any moment.
  • It tends to be harsh and shaming in an effort to protect you from yourself.
  • It is motivated to try to make you a good person who is accepted and functions well in society.

For more information about Inner Critics, click here.

Jim’s Story About His Inner Critic

Jim’s Inner Critic Story

Here’s Jim’s story about his Inner Critic and how he integrated experiences into his life, allowing him to focus on creating balance in his life. 

Jim was a successful corporate executive. His easy affable manner belied the internal tension that drove him towards success. He was the corporate man, the good guy, everyone’s buddy, but relentlessly self-critical on the inside. He had trouble taking time off, chronically worked late, and never felt he had done enough. His internal tension was beginning to manifest in physical ailments. His GI doctor suggested he seek psychotherapy because of the pressure he kept putting on himself.

The Inner Critic Jim had an Inner Critic that constantly judged him for not working hard enough, not achieving enough, not being enough. Its aggressive expectations caused him to push himself unmercifully and also to feel inadequate at a deep level despite his outward successes.

Jim came from a military family where he was the youngest of 6 brothers. Genetically gifted athletes, the family was very competitive. They always excelled in school sports, skied together, and rough-housed constantly. The military moving around solidified the “band of brothers” mentality. Though also a competent athlete, Jim was naturally more sensitive than the rest. He had more artistic inclinations, which he identified as being more like his mom.

His father, Arthur, was the iconic figure in the family. Jim looked up to him and sought his approval. This wasn’t easy to get, and Jim felt disappointed that he couldn’t please his father very much.

Being the youngest son by a number of years, he wasn’t allowed to join his brothers on certain family adventures. He remembers feeling left out, feeling small and inadequate. When he was included, his father wasn’t able to adjust his expectations to his youngest son’s age. He was pushed to keep up with his brothers and ridiculed when he couldn’t.

In his therapeutic work Jim accessed this Critic and discovered that it had the voice and face of his father. Now, of course, this was a part of Jim, an Inner Critic part, but internally it looked like his father. Jim began to dialogue with this “internalized father” as if it were actually his father. As he began to get to know the father, Arthur, he opened up to Jim about his own relationship with his father, Jim’s grandfather.

It turned out that Arthur, too, had felt that his father, a successful self-made, depression-era business man, was never satisfied with him. Arthur also had a softer, more aesthetic side that was totally unacceptable to his dad. His decision to join the military got him out of the house at an early age, and was aimed at snuffing out his gentler leanings.

This line of men were all carrying a burden of “being a tough man.” It came as a legacy burden from Jim’s grandfather through his father to him. Jim drive toward success was actually more his father’s drive than his. In working with this legacy burden, Jim’s therapist encouraged Jim to openly dialogue with Arthur about Arthur’s life and struggles. Arthur let Jim know that he actually identified with Jim more than his other sons, and was therefore harder on him.

Jim was able to listen to Arthur’s sadness and remorse about the way he had treated Jim, and Jim offered him forgiveness and healing. Together the two of them released their burden of ignoring the softer side of themselves and pushing themselves to be successful at all costs. They also offered this healing to Arthur’s father and the men of even earlier generations.

Jim and Arthur invited back into themselves, their gentleness, aesthetic appreciation, and feelings of positive self-worth. Jim was able to take in Arthur’s genuine pride in him. This completely shifted Jim’s Inner Critic. It no longer judged him and pushed him.

As he gradually integrated these experiences into his life, it allowed him to be easier on himself about work. He began to leave the office at a more reasonable time, take vacations, and focus on creating balance in his life.

He not only had a much more relaxing, enjoyable life, he also felt much better about himself, and therefore more confident in his dealings with people.

New Pattern Guided Meditations

Guided Meditations For the Victim, Taskmaster, and Destroyer Patterns

Our online store has had a number of recorded guided meditations that take you through the first part of an Internal Family systems Therapy (IFS) session, and now we have added quite a few more.

Each guided meditation is designed to work with a certain pattern. You access the part of you that enacts that pattern, get to know it, find out what it is trying to do for you, and develop a trusting relationship with it.

IFS has discovered that every part has a positive intent for you. This makes it much easier to connect with the part and help it to let go. In this meditation, you will discover the part’s intent and connect with it. This is a crucial step in transforming the pattern.

We have now added three new pattern meditations—for

PM22-IFS-Pattern-Meditation-Victim-PatternThe Victim Pattern:  If you have the Victim Pattern, you see yourself as being wronged by someone or in an impossible situation. In other words, you believe that your problems exist because bad things were done to you.



PM21-IFS-Pattern-Meditation-Taskmaster-PatternThe Taskmaster Pattern:   If you have the Taskmaster Pattern, you have an intense focus on hard work or discipline. You may have this because you want to be successful and thereby gain the satisfactions of success—money, praise, power, freedom, or admiration.



PM19-IFS-Pattern-Meditation-Destroyer-PatternThe Destroyer Pattern:  The Destroyer makes pervasive attacks on your fundamental self-worth. It shames you in such a deep way that you feel intrinsically flawed.




Click here to learn more about these and the purchase them.