But Is There Another Way?
Amanda was extremely attached to her father, not only because he was loving, kind and supportive. His criticism and pushing motivated her to achieve “The Win.”
With “The Win” came the dazzle of fatherly approval. To get the approval she craved, Amanda pushed herself to become an all A student. She became a nationally ranked teen tennis player, president of the student council, and earned the Girl Scouts gold badge.
Eventually, she went on to Harvard and Harvard Business School. Upon graduation, she was snatched up by a Fortune 100 company. She soon rose to the ranks of VP in charge of marketing. Along the way, she married and had two children.
Amanda Develops a Critical Inner Judge
Sounds like a comfortable and complete life unfolded for Amanda! But did it?
Not exactly. As she grew into her new roles, Amanda had taken both herself and her critical “Inner Father” along for the ride. What was the result?
At work in a Fortune 100 company, Amanda had pushed herself and rose quickly as those above her noticed her drive and competence.
She never said “no” to any challenge laid out before her. Why? Because she feared feeling guilt and shame from her Inner Judge/Critic if she did not succeed with each challenge. (Her Inner Judge/Critic sounded like her father’s voice saying what she thought her father would.)
Fear of inner punishment motivated Amanda to work long hours and never give up, causing high level stress.
Each time she succeeded at a challenge, she would feel the dazzle of approval from the inner father part of her. She also relished approval from her outside parental substitutes in the corporate hierarchy.
How Her Critical Inner Judge/Inner Critic Affects Amanda
Unfortunately, Amanda’s good feelings were short-lived. She rushed ahead to succeed at the next challenge and to avoid her inner fear of disapproval. While consumed with work, Amanda had little time for husband and family. Her stress reactions caused her to take out her distress on her family through anger and criticisms (similar to those of her father).
Unfortunately, after many attempts at creating change in the marital and family relationships, Amanda’s husband started the route to divorce. Not only did he want a divorce, but he wanted full custody of the children.
Amanda Learns to Change
At that point, Amanda woke up to the fact that she could lose her family. She entered the Extraordinary Self Program as a coaching client, and we set to work.
We started investigating what drove Amanda to always say ‘yes’ to any work challenge. We discovered it was her fear of inner disapproval and the resulting self-attack of guilt and shame that motivated her forward; she also sought and enjoyed that momentary dazzle of approval when she accomplished what others thought were impossible challenges.
Identifying the Inner Judge or Critic as the culprit, we then set about giving Amanda the tools to turn that Inner Judge into an Inner Coach!
She Visualizes Her Changes
Through imagination, Amanda learned how to picture her Inner Judge as a separate part of her with a reason or intention for its existence. This part wanted Amanda to succeed to get that parental approval. Unfortunately, the Inner Judge (created when Amanda was young), had learned to motivate her in the same way her father had – through guilt production and fear of disapproval.
This Inner Judge was an inner model of Amanda’s father. This Inner Judge had a positive intention – to help her succeed. In her case, success was motivated by pleasing any substitute father figures because she feared their disapproval.
What if Amanda learned to consider what she wanted, in addition to what the substitute fathers wanted? What if she learned to nurture herself and to make more balanced realistic decisions about her life? What if she learned to reward herself for family success and for business success, one tiny step at a time – striking a balance without fear of inner disapproval? What if she learned to say, “no”?
After a few coaching sessions, Amanda did learn some self-nurturing and positive motivational skills that cut through her fear of inner disapproval from the Inner Judge.
She learned to think through her choices at a more global level, and motivate herself positively about the steps she was going to take. In fact, she was able to transform her Inner Judge into an Inner Coach who motivated her by rewarding her for success at each step. Her new Inner Coach also helped her to learn at each little step, as needed.
Now it was time to put her new skills into action. Could she say “no” instead of “yes” when her superiors handed her the next Mission Impossible?
She decided to risk her job to regain her family and judiciously began to say “no”.
The Results of Amanda’s Change
The result – people in the company respected Amanda even more as she explained her reason for saying “no”. She explained that she needed to balance family and work and already did more than her share. Her explanation did not fall upon deaf ears. Not only had Amanda succeeded in reshaping her inner self; she had succeeded in reshaping the perceptions of others in her company.
If you find yourself a victim of your own Inner Judge or Critic, we suggest you sign up for our e-Course: 8 Key Abilities for Your Extraordinary Future. You will find yourself transforming your own Inner Judge into an Inner Coach, who will help you succeed without self-attacks. Many have transformed their Inner Judge. You can too!