Are These Just the Facts or Is This Self-Judgment?By Phyllis
December 02, 2007
How do we deal with the voice of the inner judge? Read this article to learn the gentle way to offer yourself another option.
I think this must be an almost universal phenomenon. We learn about Inner Bonding. We begin to see how there is a better way to take care of ourselves. We feel lighter, freer, excited about the possibilities, and then something happens and the feeling disappears. What happened? What happened is that our wounded self, our inner judge, has acquired the language of Inner Bonding. Instead of, or actually in addition to, telling us that we are not good enough in the usual ways, the wounded self has picked up a new one. Now it starts to tell us that if we did Inner Bonding well enough we would feel okay, but since we don't, it is obvious that we are not good enough.
What is so confusing is that this self-judging part of ourselves is saying things that appear to be facts. "You haven't stayed in step 1 of Inner Bonding." "You did not ask about the loving action before you said something." Other times, it has said things like "You are overweight," or "You have made a mess of your life." All "true" you think, these are facts, so I have to accept the awful feeling that comes after I tell myself these things, just like I had to accept it from my parents when I was little.
The truth is that when the awful feeling comes after you tell yourself something, it means that it is a judgment coming from your wounded self, disguised as your helper, disguised as a statement of fact. It is not. This is a message coming from the part of us who is a wounded child and who has taken the job of making us okay. It is totally convinced that if it judges us long enough, if it beats us up enough, we will become okay because we will finally do it, including Inner Bonding, right. More accurately, I guess, it has us totally convinced that it is right. It believes that if it did not beat us up, or at least feed us unpleasant "facts" about our failures, there would be total anarchy, because those are the choices it knows, judgment or complete failure. This wounded judge will remain in control until we realize that this is not the truth and offer the child that fuels this protection another loving, compassionate way to really be okay, one that was not available when we were little.
One of the first steps in offering another way may be to realize that you and your little one have the absolute right to not feel awful, that you have the right to feel good. You really do! You may have grown up believing that you were supposed to suffer, maybe you were even told this by your church, but it is a false belief. Once you get that this is false, feeling awful can become a gift, a compass that helps navigate in the direction of love, rather than towards more of the same. If you feel worse, if your suffering increases, you need try another direction, just as you would if you wanted to go north and the compass needle said you were going east. If you feel even a little bit better, then you know you are heading in a better direction. You can ask, "What I could I tell myself in this same situation that would not feel so awful?" and navigate towards better and better rather than worse and worse feelings.
An analogy might be helpful. You completely believe that when you decide to move your fingers, they fingers should move. If they refused to move, you would immediately know that something is wrong and do something to find out why this is happening. In the same way, if you really knew that your little one was not supposed to be suffering and he or she started to, you would immediately know that something was very wrong and focus on doing something about it.
The second step, fundamental to Inner Bonding, may be to understand that if you do feel awful, it is, absolutely, caused by something internal, something you are saying or doing or not saying or not doing, not by a fact or even by what has happened in the past. What you are telling yourself cannot be the truth if it makes you feel that way! Now comes the challenge, because here is where your wounded judge is going to show up. How do you know it is the judge? Because you feel worse! A lot of us can spiral straight downhill on this one. "I feel awful because I am judging myself, so now I will judge myself for judging myself and feel even worse, etc, etc," straight down the rabbit hole.
So how do you penetrate the disguise of the wounded judge that is trying to help you in the only way it knows? How do you avoid being fooled by what seem to be facts but actually get in the way of learning to take responsibility for your little one? Again, by remembering to ask if what this part is saying to you is making you feel better or worse. If it is the wounded judge, you will feel worse. Then you need to make a new choice, to choose the direction, the statements that make you feel even a little bit better and build on that. This is what offering the wounded child a new option looks like. This is letting go of control by letting your child's feelings be your guide instead of the statements of the wounded judge. It might help to remember that the wounded judge is just a child, maybe a teenager, trying to take care of you. It means you no harm, but it is convinced that unless it does what it does and stays in control, something terrible will happen. It will not let go of this belief, even if you completely understand how much pain it is causing, until you give it the experience letting you do it in a different way. So, even if you notice that the wounded judge is already operating, it's not too late, because once you do notice, you can still use your inner compass and gently change your direction. At first, the change may seem very small, but if you keep asking your child how he or she feels, and keep changing what you are telling yourself based on those feelings, I promise that the wounded judge won't need to be taking care of you fulltime for very much longer.
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