Inner Critic – Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

October 21, 2011

The Superego Resists Change

superego changeThough it acts as if it is helping you get what you want in life, the judge (inner critic, superego) actually resists your movement toward growth and development. Its function is to maintain the status quo  in two ways: It keeps you away from what it considers to be dangerous or unmanageable parts of yourself. And it directs you toward whatever ideals it feels will make you an acceptable, successful person. It constantly admonishes you, “Don’t do that—do this!” Yet because its demands are never-ending, the actual feeling you are left with is “I am not good enough, and I never will be.”

But the judge’s (inner critic, superego) impact on change is even more insidious and undermining. It tells you, “Change, you’re not enough, you need to get better for people to like, accept, and love you”—while also saying, “You will never succeed at changing, you’re deficient, you haven’t got what it takes.” However, should you actually come to a place where real change is possible and you could choose to act differently, the judge will scare you by taunting, “People won’t like you or support you if you change; they’ll turn their backs on you and you will be all alone.” You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.


Jeannine January 2, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Just finished reading your book…wow, your insight into the superego and soul speaks directly to me and where I am in my journey. For a long time now, I’ve been asking, “what is it that keeps telling me I’m too much…or not enough…and no matter what I do, this voice finds fault with it. It’s like being a dog kept on a short chain. I’ve had no idea how to defend myself and have never heard anything like your suggestions before in the area of awakening and awareness. Being female, it feels subversive and dangerous to access aggression on my own behalf. And so many spiritual traditions unwittingly reinforce a kind of passive acceptance. Luckily, I had a wonderful teacher in the late 80’s and early 90’s who helped me to access the deep soul quality of Truth and this quality helps me to recognize the deep Truth of your description of soul and superego…I just never had the words to describe the experience of the superego and my psyche hasn’t been ready until recently to become more aware of the cruelty and subjugation of its voice. I’d love to make it to your workshop, and have sent an e-mail to get more information on the upcoming teleconference.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing your discoveries with those of us ready to listen and turn towards a very tough challenge on the Journey.


Byron January 3, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Jeannine – I am glad that my book has resonated with you. I hope it will be a support in your continuing journey. It is such a blessing when we find the universe is providing us with nourishment for our soul be it a book, a person, a teaching or an experience!

Just to let you know that the Falling Awake workshop is not focused on the judge, though the underlying perspective on the soul is the same. Future Soul without Shame workshops are being scheduled so keep checking in to this site in the coming weeks.

Wendy February 12, 2014 at 4:19 pm

I’m slowly getting it. I must have a super-duper ego.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: