A Reader writes:
“The other day I was Focusing with someone and her inner critic was overpowering her. It was a figure that looked somewhat like Darth Vader from Star Wars. And he was beating the heck out of her inner child with a rubber whip. She was lying on the floor. It was awful. A nice and gentle approach was not what came to my mind. With a firm voice I said to the inner critic that I could see that he was frustrated, angry, etc. But that I needed him to stop hitting the inner child so that I could get a little closer to him, etc. He did and she could comfort her inner child. I have never encountered anything like this before. How can I approach or deal with an abusive inner critic?”

Dear Reader,
The type of Partial-Self that is called an “inner critic” is a fearful, worried, terrified part. Always.

I know, that one did not look terrified. But look again…look underneath the surface appearance. It attacks so viciously because there is something about that vulnerable child that terrifies it. I suspect, based on lots of experience, that the attacking part fears that any vulnerability will threaten the person’s survival.

However, that doesn’t mean we sit back and allow it happen. I agree with what you did — but with one change. YOU were the one who spoke to the inner critic and said you needed him to stop hitting the inner child. But that should have been the Focuser who said that to her own inner critic.

As a Companion or Focusing Guide I never talk directly to people’s parts. My job is to support and facilitate the “inner relationship” between the Focuser as Self-in-Presence, and his or her inner parts and felt senses.

I do that by saying things like, “Maybe you can be with that.”

In the situation you describe I would probably say, “Maybe you could step in between that attacking part and that child part, and say to the attacking part that you really sense how upset it is, but you will not let it hurt the child, and you are here to listen to what is upsetting it so much.”

It is the Focuser being able to be calm and strong that will shift this whole experience.

“It looked like Darth Vader…”

When I hear a Focuser give a scary description of an attacking part, I find it helpful to remember that this description is not from the part itself, or from Self-in-Presence, but rather from the other part, the one that feels small and helpless.

From the point of view of a part that feels itself to be small and helpless, the attacking part looks monstrous, terrible, huge, angry, contemptuous, and so on.

But this is a point of view. I have seen inner parts change form very quickly when they are treated differently — and this is why. IT didn’t mean to be Darth Vader. IT is just trying to protect the person from what it fears will happen if they show or feel any vulnerability.

So don’t take descriptions at face value, and don’t speak directly to parts unless they are your own…and when you are the Focuser, step in between the warring parts and let them know that something new is happening now: YOU are here to listen.

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