Recently in The Song Workshop, I was working with a brilliant client. He had survived enormous amounts of trauma, overcome an addiction, had a thriving marriage, and healthy beautiful children. As we begin to move into his session the word worthy came up. I asked him, “are you worthy”? Immediately, without even a breath, he said, “No”. For all the love he could give to others, he could give almost none to himself. I understood, more than he may have known.
How many times have I walked with a client through their fear, loving their path with them, only to get in my car, and feel my own fear come rushing in. “Why am I not over this?”, I ask myself. “I should be better by now. This is ridiculous. What is my problem.” More judgement pouring from my lips to myself than I would ever direct toward an enemy. There have been plenty of days when I could answer as quickly as my client, with a loud and resounding, “No, I don’t feel an ounce of worthiness”.
Where does this come from, our inner punisher?
I believe the voice of the punisher is an old one. It is not ours. We learned this voice. We heard it over and over as children, whether from one mouth or several. The messages of the punisher came in the forms of abandonment, neglect, criticism, fear, shame, and hate. The un-dealt with trauma of our parents, teachers, churches, coaches, grandparents, all that they carried within their souls and delivered to us, we took on as our own. You see, here is the tricky part. The child desperately needs the adult in order to survive. The child can not care for themselves and intuitively they know, without that adult, they will die. It’s fundamental. So the child, in an effort to have a parent, to please a parent, to be apart of a family system, will side with the parent.
Imagine a raging father, screaming at his young son. Now, imagine that boy breaking off from himself, as though his spirit could go and stand next to his dad. He and his dad are standing side by side screaming together at the part of him he broke away from. The boy is so desperate for the love of his father, that he will rage at himself to stay connected to his father. His self rage becomes his connection to his dad. Twenty years later, he’s in a bar, drunk. He has an affair. He spends all his money. Or maybe, he’s super successful but wakes up every day and literally can hardly look at himself in the mirror without thinking, gross. The boy grew up with every intention of not being anything like his father, and yet he punishes himself just as his father punished him. He still has the inner critic bashing him. Grown up or not, the boy wants a father. The man wants a father, so he’s stays connected to the inner critic in order to stay connected to the father.
Why not break up with the voice of the punisher? Glad you asked! 🙂 Well, there’s a payoff to having that voice. It keeps him connected to the idea of his dad in a very unusual covert subconscious way. In order to silence the inner critic, the man & the boy, who are now the same person, will have to grieve the pain of all that the abusive father did. The man will have to face the truth, deep deep in his bones, that he did not have a father who would rise above his issue to show him true love. The grief feels too big. It feels as if the tears start, they will never stop. And so, it becomes that the self hatred is easier than facing the truth and grieving. On a conscious level we don’t even know this is happening, but it is.
For now, pause. For now, let this be where we stop. For now, just knowing the inner critic is there and why it is there is enough. In the next blog we will talk about how to heal, how to break up with the inner critic, how to silence “the voice” that is not your own, but feels like it is yours, the one that keeps beating you up, inside.
So you know, you are more than worthy. Until next time.
Sending you love wherever you are in the world, Tyler