Ego same as inner critic?

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Have been analyzing my inner critic voice. Trying to understand if it is a child voice or implanted in me from someone else (the old tapes concept). I am aware of the concept of the ego. I don’t understand it very well but my understanding is that it helps a person function socially. It is related to a sense of self. And in people who were abused as children or kept in captivity as adults their ego can become enmeshed with their abusers’.

So it seems that the ego is a given. But somehow the inner critic seems possibly disposable? As in it’s possible to get rid of, reduce, or ignore it, etc.?

So my question is, first of all, do most people, regardless of trauma, have an inner critic? And if so, how do the inner critic and ego differ, if at all? My guesses are… Maybe the inner critic is part of the ego? Or they are different perspectives on the same concept?
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
I’d say that ego is more a way of thinking of ourselves and imagining how we should project to the world, while the inner critic (or critics) is/are the controller and enforcer of that vision (and/or the vision of people who had that controlling power at some point). So while in principle they should more or less work together I think it’s often that they clash and aren’t congruent with each other, e.g. you can have an ego that thinks, let’s say, I’m good at sex yay and do things to try to demonstrate that, while having an inner critic that says I’m a slut. Both can root from the same source of events but be discontinuous.

I do not know if these two concepts are really made to work hand in hand (ego is more psychoanalytic and inner critic more systemic psychotherapy?), so I wouldn’t get too tied in terminology. But the question is interesting.
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
For myself, the inner critic is based on emotions that are wrapped up in my self concept. I have a friend who defaults immediately towards guilt. Guilt if he is having fun. Guilt if he isn't very fun. And then comes the shame of feeling guilty. It is like a spider's web wrapped around every internal experience that he has that needs to go through those emotional filters. It was his father's treatment of him as a child that he defaults to these two things. It is a psychological cage he lives in that was constructed by a man that died 20 years ago. He still lives by the rules and those rules are based on the failure of not adhering to those rules. The inner critic works towards eroding internal concept of self confidence.


I feel like the ego is more of an external construct. I married a man back in the day who suffered catastrophic abuse by his father when he was wrong. About anything. He grew into a man who can not be wrong EVER. And he enforces this concept without fail on the people he interacts with. Everything he says and does (externally) must be correct and everyone must agree with him that he is always correct. If not, there is hell to be paid. Because he is protecting himself from the damage that was done to him when he was wrong as a child. It is like a force field that he carries around with him and presents outwardly to everyone. "here's the deal. I am always right, and you need to agree with that no matter what.'

Just my two cents. A really good question.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks for the responses!
and/or the vision of people who had that controlling power at some point
Parts of me are still resistant to accepting that someone else’s voice could have gotten inside me. It makes sense for the most part, but the reasons for not accepting it are, “But he never called me that or told me to kill myself.” Rationally I understand that he didn’t have to say those things directly for me to pick up on the fact that he felt that way, but I gaslight myself. This is something I can work on. T seems to believe that the inner critic is a waste of space and can be kicked out. Are there really people who live without an inner critic?
I do not know if these two concepts are really made to work hand in hand (ego is more psychoanalytic and inner critic more systemic psychotherapy?
Can you help me understand the difference between psychoanalysis and systemic psychotherapy?
For myself, the inner critic is based on emotions that are wrapped up in my self concept.
This seems helpful. In my own experience there does seem to be an emotional connection. I feel something and then the inner critic jumps in to manage the feeling.

Reminds me of the firefighter in IFS. I think the inner critic concept was present before IFS, but I’m not sure. Now I want to research who popularized the term inner critic.
I feel like the ego is more of an external construct.
Thank you for the example. You’re suggesting it’s how one presents them self, how one comes across to others? And the inner critic being how one responds internally to feelings?
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
Found an article that says the inner critic is synonymous with Freud’s concept of superego. It’s also called the judge and the saboteur. My T has had to hammer into me about not judging my feelings and needs. The judgement does seem closely tied to the inner critic. Although for me the judgment can cause me to dissociate without any internal dialogue. The inner critic seems to be saying mean stuff to motivate me to change except it has the effect of freezing me.

Found another article that the inner critic is synonymous with Jung’s concept of animus.

Apparently IFS recognizes seven kinds of inner critics: the perfectionist, the taskmaster, the inner controller, the guilt tripper, the destroyer, the underminer, and the molder.
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
You’re suggesting it’s how one presents them self, how one comes across to others? And the inner critic being how one responds internally to feelings?
I think I am suggesting that the ego is a protector from potential external triggers - shielding from potential psychological shatter states brought on by others. The inner critic is an internal state to protect emotions from getting out of hand, to avoid potential psychological shatter states. I think both are forms of control due to avoidance.
 

Friday

Moderator
In Latin ego literally translated to “I”. (Me, myself, I)

When people say things like “check your ego at the door” what they mean is WHO you are doesn’t matter. The patient matters, the mission matters, your team matters, why you’re there & what you’re doing matters, etc.

In the 19th century Psychoanlyisis used the Id-Ego-Superego to differentiate different parts of the mind… and the Ego’s “job” was to mediate between the unconscious & conscious minds (say, for example, your unconscious mind wants recognition? How do you achieve that? By throwing a tantrum or becoming a respected expert? How to achieve the recognition your unconscious mind desires has an infinite number of choices/possibilities. As do all other wants/desires/fears/hopes/etc.), and was -in essence, beyond it’s “job”- your personal identity. As it was the 1+1=3 of your conscious & unconscious minds.

In philosophy, ego is ANY conscious thinking subject. It was mostly a way to skirt around the whole christian idea of only people -or only certain types of people- had souls.

So… NOPE! No matter which definition you use? 😁 Ego is not the same as inner critic, as your inner critic is not who you are, it’s just a part of you.

***

Superego comes the closest, as it’s the “critical” part of the mind that reflects both society/cultural standards AND the role models of one’s youth. But even that? Is far more varied and complex than the idea of the “inner critic”, as inner critics (as described in psych) are NOT also responsible for every moral, value, ethos, sense of right/wrong you possess. The Superego is a faaaaaaaaar more complex and multifaceted construct than the inner critic. An inner critic might be considered a small facet OF the Superego, but not the whole durn thing; like an arm is a part of the body, but all by itself it’s just a limb / body part.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
What @Friday said.
In practice, I definitely hear my father as my strongest inner critic (in his voice, true to his style) but that one voice represents so much of what my ego is trying to appease, that often any criticism leveled, whether from within or without, is heard by my ego as just reaffirmation of a criticism laid down by my father, the voice is not important. The end result is no different, all criticisms end up at some level being "what would dad say?"
Learning to identify our inner critic and our ego's and all of the other voices in play in our jiggly jello brains is quite a trick, yes, but it is childs play compared to learning to just turn off the bad ones and amplify the good ones. Thats a masters level class and I fear I am constantly repeating 4th grade on the subject.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
For myself, the inner critic is based on emotions that are wrapped up in my self concept. I have a friend who defaults immediately towards guilt. Guilt if he is having fun. Guilt if he isn't very fun. And then comes the shame of feeling guilty. It is like a spider's web wrapped around every internal experience that he has that needs to go through those emotional filters. It was his father's treatment of him as a child that he defaults to these two things. It is a psychological cage he lives in that was constructed by a man that died 20 years ago. He still lives by the rules and those rules are based on the failure of not adhering to those rules. The inner critic works towards eroding internal concept of self confidence.


I feel like the ego is more of an external construct. I married a man back in the day who suffered catastrophic abuse by his father when he was wrong. About anything. He grew into a man who can not be wrong EVER. And he enforces this concept without fail on the people he interacts with. Everything he says and does (externally) must be correct and everyone must agree with him that he is always correct. If not, there is hell to be paid. Because he is protecting himself from the damage that was done to him when he was wrong as a child. It is like a force field that he carries around with him and presents outwardly to everyone. "here's the deal. I am always right, and you need to agree with that no matter what.'

Just my two cents. A really good question.
This . I’ve come to the conclusion everyone’s living this out to one degree or another. Traumatic memories can make it so you don’t even see the world around you. I actually started to understand this before therapy, because I recognized the emotional content of my reactions was way too high for the situation at hand in so many instances, and that my behavior was episodic.

Why am I reacting in a way this situation doesn’t warrant?
 
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