Identifying Our Inner Critics

Identifying Our Inner Critics

Each and every one of us has experienced that nagging internal voice that criticizes all the ways in which we could’ve performed better, should’ve said this instead of that, or should’ve looked this way or that way. This internal voice that is generally related to criticism in one form or another and is often called our inner critic. While this critic does serve a purpose from time to time, its wisdom is often overshadowed by the negative remarks that come alongside the critiques. In early recovery, this inner critic is typically very alive and very loud, which is why we are going to discuss which parts to listen to and which parts we can choose to ignore.

To simplify the matter of which critical voice is speaking, we can look at these voices as coming from two separate perspectives. We will refer to the critical yet compassionate voice as the “Wise King” and we can refer to the relentlessly harsh critical voice as the “Tyrant King.” It is often the case in early recovery that we primarily experience the voice of the critical Tyrant King because we are too early in our development to have allowed the Wise King’s critical voice to be present. Again, it is best understood that both voices serve a purpose. The Wise King is direct and assertive but also compassionate in its approach to being critical of what we say and do. The Tyrant King is unforgiving, unapologetic, and fiercely demanding. It is possible that these critical voices even represent one or both parents. In any case, it is in the best interest for ourselves and our personal evolution to be able to assimilate the critiques laid by the Wise King while dispensing those harsh criticisms of the Tyrant. We can use mindfulness as a means to pay attention to what messages these voices are trying to send us, and whether or not we feel a resulting shame or if we feel energized and motivated.

Because both of these critics can determine how we feel about ourselves, it is crucial that in early sobriety we begin to block out any superfluous and unnecessary inner voices. At the early stages of our recovery process we do need assertive guidance, however, harsh criticism without compassion will not serve the individual in their quest for growth and understanding and so it ought to be silenced.



Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.

Share This Post