The Power of Befriending Your Critical Voice - Guest Post by Teresa Lynne

In my work with client/peers who are suffering from trauma and  Borderline Personality Disorder,   I have found one pervasive issue with all of them, and that is the relentless ranting of the Critical Voice.   That thing in your head that beats you up all day and night, saying that things will never get better and reminding you of what an awful person you are.  The one that tells you what you are incapable and that even the good things that happen your way are not enough to fill the emptiness. 

EGAD!  Is it any wonder we can walk around feeling such hopelessness and despair?    If energy flows to where concentration goes, then it makes total sense that we feel stuck in the muck of emotional and physiological purgatory.

By the way,  at some point everyone is subject to this naysaying little buzz killer,  because even in the most loving supportive families people are socialized as young children to believe that something is wrong with us in one way or another. 

We are wrong to want something. We are wrong to express anger.

My dear friend Mary is one of the most emotionally healthy people I know, and once in a while she’ll get all over herself about perceived flaws that are holding her back from her dream of being a successful entrepreneur.  But then she’s quick to say "hey, we all get the blues, baby."
The difference for people with high sensitivity, trauma and the related “disorders” (man, what white lab coat came up with that icky word?) and those without is that in the case of trauma, especially those of us with chronic trauma, the voice is literally in control of our lives.

The more trauma we endured, the more powerful the critical voice is, keeping  us imprisoned in the belief that nothing we do matters. 

I know this because I have lived it for most of my life.  It ain’t no fun,   but it does serve a purpose that, believe it or not, is supposed to be helping us.  That, my friends, is the key to taming it.

Dr. Lynn Mary Karjala , a practitioner in the cutting edge field of Energy Psychology.  I had the good fortune of teaming up with for my recovery.   In her easy to read book, which I highly recommend,     “Understanding Trauma and Dissociation: A Guide for Therapists, Patients and Loved Ones”, it says that the critical voice has a positive purpose.   It has the role of the protector and in some cases, it really does help guide us to improve ourselves, our work and our behaviors.

"Understanding Trauma and Dissociation,
A Guide for Therapists, Partients and Loved Ones"
by Dr. Lynn Mary Karjala

In the case of unaffected people, it is a gentle and firm leader, helping them to achieve their dreams and desires.  The problems start when in the name of keeping us safe, it becomes a brutal master, whipping us until we are powerless.   The twisted protection mechanism in this case is that it won’t hurt as much when someone criticizes us if we are already saying it about ourselves.   The reality is that we actually are creating something that the outside opinion can match up to so it becomes the truth about us.

I totally believe I am a good singer and I know it’s true, so if someone says  I’m not, I just don’t believe them and it doesn’t affect me.  I have also mercilessly beat myself up and held shame over my poor time management skills and lack of focus due to dissociation so that when someone points out that I have the brain of a sieve, I can fall deeply into despair, because I have created a match in my own mind and for me it becomes an indisputable fact that I go about proving to myself over and over.

The mistake that we make with the Critical Voice is that we fight it as an enemy so it continues to attack us back, as an enemy does.  We try running from it, drowning it out with food and drink, distracting from it with work.   Meanwhile, we are giving it more power, more fury.   We hate it. We want it to go away.   The despair is not because I have trouble with organization and time management.  It’s because the Voice has convinced me that it is a hopeless, unfixable situation.    Is that true?  Of course not.

My former husband constantly said to me that I had a demon within me and I had no power over it, and I believed him.   Who hasn’t listened to the ramblings of the ignorant? Well, that demon is really a wounded little girl who has been made to believe she doesn’t matter, isn’t worth protecting and she’s unacceptable as she is, so she works very hard to stay safe from the crushing blows  of rejection by having a weak sense of identity  and not risking pain for the possibility of freedom.

That’s the Critical Voice within me.  Now that I know better, I do better.  Every time she opens her mouth to help me, I just notice that she’s there.  I turn toward her and smile lovingly.  I thank her for trying to help me and give her a tender hug.  I tell her that she is safe and that  I, the adult Teresa am now in charge of the situation.  I tell her that I am perfectly capable of achieving what I want.  I soothe and comfort her, and she settles down. 

She will try again. When she says you can never get better, I answer that I have everything within me to be whole and healthy.  When she says you are worthless, I say I have so much to offer.  I have a purpose for being here. When she says that I can’t be like the other people, I say, I have no desire to be like the other people.  I love being me!

I am learning to love and accept her and she fights me a lot less often than she used to.  I encourage everyone to practice compassion and acceptance of their Voice.  Go back and look at that word again.  PRACTICE.  

Just knowing this information does not make the transformation.  It is applying it every time you hear the Voice.  It is the only way to free yourself from the grip it holds on your life.   It shines a light on the darkness and leads you on a path to freedom.    Is it simple? Yes.  Is it easy? No.  Not at first.  Is it worth it?  That’s a hell to the yes!   WOOHOO!

-- Teresa Lynne
Certified Life Coach, Specializing in BPD

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Thanks for reading Teresa's guest post.
More Soon.


  1. This article spoke to me so much! Thank you, thank you, thank you... :)

    1. So glad to hear this Aeshe! I'm sure this will make Teresa smile. :)

  2. I can agree with this article a lot, a hell of a lot. I still feel at war with my inner self but I am definitely going to try this, especially trying to understand why my head is constantly telling me bad things about myself. Thank you Teresa for this post! :)

    1. Awesome and you are very welcome my dear! We are in this together. I would add another suggestion for you, if I may. Would you like to hear it?

  3. My voice starts as soon as I wake up before I have opened my eyes telling me how useless I am. Guess what, my days end up useless. X

    1. Such helpful little critters aren't they? Yes it feels bad and yes, with practice, you can start to make changes.

  4. Thank you so much for this article! I will be putting this in my toolbox along with other useful instruments of change! I have had positive results combating this voice by replacing it with little congratulatory "parties" in my head everytime I complete everyday tasks, such as laundry, dishes, etc. I build up my self-image this way, and become "all-good" instead of "all-bad"in those times I am feeling most worthless. IF we all keep sharingt hese great ideas, we can overcome!! Thank you again! Amanda

  5. Hey Amanda!
    I love this! That's how I started. I would take the smallest achievement and congratulate myself so that when I the bat came out, I had proof that I am capable of things. I am getting better, I am progressing. Progression not perfection. It all turns the thinking down stream. The brain is a piece of puddy and we can begin to mold it and take hold of it! Thank you for sharing. ANYONE can do it!!



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