By Brittany Moffitt, LCSW-C
Many of us may be aware of the inner critic. The inner critic is zoomed in on our flaws, mistakes, or shortcomings. For some, the inner critic pushes us to constantly strive for “perfection”. For others, the inner critic is a dreadful voice that brings us down and leads to inaction. It ultimately tells us that “If I am perfect then I will be loved, accepted, and safe”.
The outer critic, on the other hand, is externally focused. The outer critic looks at the flaws, mistakes, and shortcomings of other people. It ultimately tells us “People are not safe and to remain alert”. The outer critic attempts to protect us from rejection, abandonment, and harm from others.
The voice of the outer critic may sound like pointing the fingers at others, such as “They are the problem, not me.” or “Do not let this person in, they will disappoint you.” The outer critic attempts to keep people at a distance because our defenses are up. Many of these processes happen unconsciously and develop when we are children, especially for those who grew up with parents who were emotionally unpredictable, chaotic, or unavailable.
The inner and outer critics prevent us from being our authentic selves. By understanding how the outer critic manifests itself, we can begin to notice when it shows up and why it’s working so hard to protect us. Then we can slow down our automatic reactions and learn to respond in new ways that align with who we really are.
If you find that your inner or outer critic has impacted your self-esteem and relationships, then you are not alone. A trained therapist can help guide you alongside this process of taming the inner critic and outer critic while rebuilding inner safety and self-trust. I found EMDR therapy and inner child/reparenting work to be wonderful therapeutic approaches in this area. To learn more simply click the button below to schedule your free consult with me!
Until next time,
Brittany’s specialty and passion is rooted in pregnancy, postpartum, and perinatal mental health. She aims to help parents reach mental and emotional wellness; while navigating the daily demands of the parenting journey – one of life’s biggest transitions. She loves supporting her clients to overcome stuck areas in their lives and grow into the person they were always meant to be.
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