(You can read “Part 1 – What Are They?” here.)
In the previous installment of this piece, I mentioned what Inner Critics are, but only a tiny bit of who they are.
They are our Protectors. And they protect us by any way and any method they can.
These are our Younger parts, from infants to adolescents, maybe some young adults tossed in. The Adult Parts are the Managers, the Directors. They get the unenviable job of trying to herd a bunch of cats, trying to organize a bunch of bits and pieces with their hair on fire yelling chaotically while they run around generally ignoring attempts to corral them.
Yes, this is you. And me. And probably 99% of the population.
So, how do you figure out “who” they are?
Well, the Critics are often the easiest, since they are the most vocal and the loudest. They will make themselves known in all sorts of situations and very obviously. “Wow, you suck at this.”, you might hear in your head. “I’m pretty sure no one is going to like what I just made.” A “you” or an “I” voice, usually very unflattering, critical, judging, and yes, usually quite nasty and mean about it.
I always recommend that when people are trying to identify their Parts, that they create characters to represent them. But often, our Parts (especially Critics) will jostle their way up to the front of the line to show themselves proudly, and one hardly needs to even “create” anything for them; they are already formed and willing to be seen as is.
What Do They Look Like?!
And they don’t have to be human. I’ve met a divan-type couch, a nebulous fog with sharp teeth, a potted plant with reaching tendrils, among many others; along with animals and humanoids. All shapes, sizes, genders (or not), colors, forms that either they present to us or we give them because it seems “right” (which, in my mind, is still just them showing us who they are).
It doesn’t have to be just the Critics you form into a character. It can be any Part. The “Inner Child” (of which you have many, so it’s rather a misnomer to call it that), the Resistant Part of you (of which you have many) that just doesn’t want to do that new (or old!) thing, the Ally Part (yes, we do have them!) that is a Guard and works to make sure you engage the things you love while protecting the young Parts from the other Parts that want to savage them… Ahem, sorry to get dark there. (Yeah, sorry, this is you, and me, and everyone else!)
Almost everything you “do”, almost all the ways in which you behave or make decisions are Parts going about their “lives” and doing their jobs. If you notice your various behavioral patterns, or specific reactions to things, or modes of thinking, you’re dealing with your various Parts.
Being able to identify that you’re…
- Dealing with a Part (you are, pretty much at any given moment),
- Sussing out the individual (or grouping) Part(s),
- Creating a “character” to separate from the others.
… is ultimately going to help you then engage your Parts so you can actually join in dialogue with your Parts
and maybe even help your Adults Parts wrangle some cats.
I’ll talk more on that process, this dialoguing with your Parts in the next installment, but in order to do so, you’ll need to have some Parts “formed” in order to speak with them. If you need to, start with a loudmouthed Critic Part.
Here are some character points to consider in the fleshing out of your Part “character”:
- What form does it take (it doesn’t have to be humanoid!)?
- What does it look like down to the skin and clothes (if it has any)?
- Does it have a gender?
- What does the voice sound like, how does it talk (“You” or “I” formats or
- What are the personality traits (again, get detailed!)?
- How does it behave and act?
- What does it like or dislike?
- What does it like to do or not like to do (really!)?
- Does it “live” anywhere specific (you can describe its environment too)?
- Give it a name, which can be descriptive of its function or how it looks or whatever feels right.
- And here’s another reminder to get as detailed as you can (remembering that you can always add to this as the form and traits become more clear, and that character forms can even change over time).
Have fun with this, you can’t go wrong. Whatever you make IS them, so no worries about it having to be perfect. All of this is coming directly from them and from you.
More to come when I discuss the “How?!” in Part 3.