As we grow up we internalise parts of our childhood experience. Without realising it we all create an internal parent, capturing much of our parental voices and attitudes. This part has a tendency to be judgemental and tell us what to do, in just the way our mum or dad did, and possibly still do. I can’t help thinking of mini-me in the Austin Powers films where his son takes on his dad’s entire persona..
One of my own patterns with my internal parent is the need to justify every choice I make and explain myself. Of course, rather than the historical context of being expected to explain myself to my actual parents, I am now doing it to myself. Crazy, huh! Certainly a waste of energy.
Managing these voices – a touch of Harry Potter..
So how do we manage our internal parent when she/he gets noisy? The first step is noticing when we are hearing and responding to this part of ourselves. I find humour is then really helpful in shifting the power this ‘old voice’ seems to have back to my authentic adult voice. I’m always experimenting with different ways and at the moment it’s a bit like being in a Harry Potter film (my 7yr old ensures we are knowledgeable here!). There’s a scene where Harry’s class are taught to deal with Boggarts who become their worst fears, from scary teachers to spiders. They learn to use the ‘Riddikulus’ charm whilst imagining whatever they fear in a way that will make them laugh. So the next time you hear yourself sounding like your mum or dad and giving yourself a hard time internally, give that voice a body, and try playing with their image and accent until it takes the power away and leaves you smiling and unaffected. It might be fancy dress, a particular style of clothes, or make up, you could try anything from a brummy to german accent, or perhaps a little helium..
For more like this see other articles at the Your Relationship Coach website.