7 Types of Inner Critic Voices You Must Learn to Silence
“Don’t do it. You’ll make a fool of yourself.”
“You look ugly.”
“You’ll never be successful.”
“You are a failure.”
“You’ll always be alone.”
“You don’t deserve it.”
Our inner voice is often our greatest obstacle to happiness and success. Though they may ooze confidence and joy on the surface, many high-achieving, successful people secretly battle with self-sabotaging ideas.
Recognizing different types of inner critic voices is the first step toward learning to silence your inner critic and move forward with your life.
What is an Inner Critic?
Everyone has an inner critic. An inner critic is a voice inside us constantly judging and criticizing our looks, skills, behavior, and everything else about us, whether or not this is reasonable. It is a deeply ingrained destructive habit of thinking that we acquired while growing up, shaping our sense of self and behavior.
Your inner critic is made up of different voices that judge different parts of yourself in various situations, harming your self-esteem and mental health and keeping you from living the life you deserve.
But if you learn to recognize your inner critics and how to deal with them, you could challenge your inner judge and learn to live with it.
Are Inner Critics Ever Helpful?
Once you know how different types of your inner critic work, you can learn to live with it and use your inner judge to help you grow and improve yourself.
For instance, if you tend to put things off and miss deadlines, your harsh inner critic may berate you for being irresponsible and disorganized. But you can use this self-criticism to push yourself to learn how to manage your time better and overcome procrastination.
While self-criticism in small doses may be a positive and powerful motivator, excessive self-criticism can be immensely harmful. When self-critical voices become habitual, they can create or exacerbate anxiety, depression, burnout, and other mental health issues.
How Do Our Inner Critics Wear Us Down?
Your inner critic leads to a negative view of yourself, no matter how skilled, successful, attractive, or intelligent you are. Such a negative view of yourself is often linked to low self-esteem, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, and other mental health challenges.
Also, harsh self-criticism can make it difficult to believe in yourself. Constant self-sabotage can make you feel unlovable, unworthy, or fundamentally flawed. It can make you less motivated and stop you from getting what you want.
Everyone has a critical voice inside them. But most of the time, we are unaware of these thoughts that hurt us. This makes it hard to overcome the inner judge. Still, knowing your self-sabotaging habits can help you figure out how they affect your life. It can also teach you how to live with your inner critic and move forward.
7 Types of Inner Critic Voices You Must Learn to Recognize (and Silence)
Here are seven types of inner critic voices that can help you figure out the thinking patterns that are getting in the way of your happiness and success.
The Perfectionist is your inner high achiever who sets generally unattainable goals for yourself, resulting in frustration and dissatisfaction. This inner critic constantly pushes you to be the best at everything you do, often leading to disappointment, frustration, anxiety, and burnout.
The Perfectionist’s favorite phrases are:
- “Try harder.”
- “You’ll never achieve anything really great.”
- “You should not ask for help.”
- “You should not make a mistake.”
Your guilt-tripper makes it difficult to forgive yourself for what you have said or done. It keeps you stuck in the past, constantly reminding you of mistakes and wrongs you’ve done and stopping you from being kind to yourself.
Its favorite phrases are:
- “You are a bad person.”
- “You don’t deserve love and compassion.”
- “They will never forgive you.”
3. Inner Controller
This kind of inner critic stops you from acting on impulse, which can make you feel bad about your choices every day. For example, the Inner Controller will lash out at you if you devour sweets.
The Controller’s favorite phrases are:
- “How dare you!”
- “Shame on you!”
- “You have no self-control.”
The Underminer makes you constantly self-doubt every decision, causing you to fear failure and eroding your confidence and self-esteem. As a result, it makes it impossible to trust yourself, take risks, and grow.
Its favorite phrases are:
- “Why try when you’ll fail anyway?’
- “There’s no point.”
- “You’re worthless.”
The Taskmaster is the greatest enemy of procrastination or our habit of putting off the work that needs to be done for later. While urging you to do tasks on time may be beneficial, the Taskmaster may tell you that you are lazy or stupid in order to motivate you. Such thoughts, however, might backfire, making you feel unworthy, dissatisfied, and miserable.
Taskmaster’s favorite phrases are:
- “You’re so lazy!”
- “You must start working harder if you want to achieve something.”
- “You’ll never get the work done on time, you lazybones!”
The Destroyer is the most destructive inner critic and is frequently the result of childhood trauma. It is responsible for shaming you and making you feel profoundly wrong. You may feel unworthy of respect and affection due to a loud Destroyer in your head.
Its favorite phrases are:
- “You are worthless.”
- “You are unworthy of love.”
- “It would be better if you had never been born.”
The Conformist forces you to conform to the expectations and values of your family, community, and culture. When you deviate from a given social framework, your Conformist gets loud, scolds, and judges you. So you resort to people-pleasing to silence your conformist and avoid rejection.
The Conformist’s favorite phrases are:
- “Do what they want you to do.”
- “What will others think of you?”
- “You’ll look like a fool.”
Learning to Live with Your Inner Critics & Move Forward
Practice self-care to silence your inner critics and learn to live with them. First, be mindful of your thoughts, and keep a journal to identify your self-limiting beliefs. Then, practice affirmations daily to overcome self-criticism and enforce self-compassion and confidence.
If you struggle to overcome your inner critic, seek counseling or coaching. A skilled professional can assist you in identifying the types of inner critics that most resonate with you and learning strategies to make your inner critic work for you. If you want to learn to live with your inner critics, grow, and make your dreams come true, contact me to set up a free empowering conversation.