VOICES IN THE HEAD As you will recall, the Parent ego state is like a tape recorder full of pre- judged, prejudiced, pre- programmed statements. These “taped” statements can get activated while we are in our Adult or Child and then we can actually hear them as “voices in our heads.” The Parental tapes can feel good or bad depending on which Parent makes them. In other personality theories, the harmful Critical Parent voices are known as the harsh super-ego, negative self-talk, cognitive traps, low self-esteem, punitive protector or catastrophic expectations.
The Critical Parent can makes put-down statements like: “You’re bad, stupid, ugly, crazy and sick; in short you’re doomed, not OK.” The Nurturing Parent loves the Child unconditionally and says things like: “I love you,” “You’re a winner,” “You’re smart,” “You’re a princess” or “You’re beautiful.”
The Critical Parent sometimes controls the Child by preventing it from feeling good about itself. If the Child wants to be loved the Critical Parent says, “You don’t deserve it.” If the Child wants to give love the Critical Parent may say, “It isn’t wanted.” If the Child is angry at an unrewarding job, the Critical Parent may say, “This is the best you can do because you are lazy.” If the Child comes up with a new idea that goes against old points of view, the Critical Parent may respond: “You must be crazy to think like that.” The Critical Parent can make people feel not OK and force them to do things they don’t want to do. To counteract this kind of a Critical Parent people can learn to develop their Nurturing Parent, Adult or Natural Child.
By means of an egogram we can show the relative strength of a person’s ego states at any one time. This is very useful in diagramming the way people change over time, especially how they reduce their Critical Parent and increase their Nurturing Parent Adult or Child.