Part 5: The Possibility of Transforming the Inner Critic
- Robyn L. Posin
We weather the storms of grief and rage over giving up the hope that we can ever get – from outside of our selves – the loving for which we’ve hopelessly yearned all our lives. Then, we dedicate our selves to developing and expanding our capacity to consistently and whole-heartedly make space for, connect with, listen to and tenderly practice re-mothering our (till-now) disowned, love-starved little inner selves. We, at long last, are finding the unconditional love we’ve hungered for: we are giving it to our selves. We know in our bones that love is not something one ever needed to earn – it is grace, our birthright just for being alive, and our own loving inner-mother is, albeit belatedly, now bestowing it upon us.
Sometimes along the way, we can even begin to engage with and embrace our inner critic with tenderness and caring. We understand that her mistreatment of us has been her way to keep us safe from abandonment: keeping us believing the myth that it is we who are/were unlovable/unworthy rather than that our damaged mothers were simply incapable of loving us.
As we embrace this misguided internalized mean mother/inner critic, we can help her gradually to let go of this terrible, now outdated role, that she’s had. Treating her with gentleness, we comfort her when she rears her head out of fear that we are endangering our selves by breaking the code of loyalty to our mean mother’s image of us; by seeing our selves as lovable and worthy. We remind her that we no longer have to protect our damaged, broken mothers by crippling our selves in order not to be abandoned. We remind her that we are safe now, that we will never abandon or stop loving our selves, even when we may not be at our most shining.
As we gradually become the fiercely protective, unconditionally loving mothers to our selves that we wish we’d had, we can maybe even grow into feeling compassion for the impaired, emotionally limited mothers we had. We can, perhaps, come to accept that they did the best they could with the consciousness available to them – even though it was far from what we needed.
And, maybe we cannot come to that place. Either way is okay.