During someone’s formative years, they may have had at least one parent who was very harsh. If so, it would have been normal for them to be put down by this parent and treated like they were nothing.

Therefore, even if there were moments when this parent did treat them differently, it wouldn’t have had much of an impact. It also wouldn’t have mattered if they had another parent who was different.

A Deep Impact

Being treated in this way by someone who they looked toward for love, care and protection would have wounded them. What they needed was for this parent to build them up, not tear them down.

As a result of being on the receiving end of this behaviour, there will be how they would have felt and how they came to see themselves. Moreover, there is a strong chance that their parent’s critical voice ended up being internalised.

The First Part

When it comes to how they would have felt, they are likely to have experienced the following feelings: anger, shame, guilt, helplessness and hopelessness. Along with this, they are likely to have often felt rejected, unwanted, unloved and worthless.

Based on how they were being treated, it would have been perfectly normal for them to feel this way. And, as they were egocentric at this stage of their life, it wasn’t possible for them to see that how they were being treated was a reflection of what was going on for their parent.

The Second Part

When it comes to how they would have come to see themselves, the view that they developed would have been negative. So, as they were being treated badly and they were egocentric, they would have come to believe that there was something inherently wrong with them.

It was then not that their parent had their own issues and was unable to see them clearly; instead, it was that had no value, were unlovable, and incapable, for instance. Ultimately, the view that they formed had no basis in reality.

The Third Part

When it comes to the third part, if their parent’s voice was internalised, it would have caused them to develop a very negative inner voice. For example, this voice would have been programmed to tell them that they were incapable, not good enough, and a failure.

Although this voice would have been an effect of how their parent spoke to them, due to how normal it was, it would have been experienced as their own voice. They might have even believed that this voice was part of their conscience.

Back To the Present

Now that they are an adult, then, they are likely to experience a lot of painful feelings, have a negative view of themselves and have a very critical voice inside their head. This will be an effect of how they were spoken to, along with how they were treated by this and perhaps their other parent.

For them to gradually move on from this stage of their life, they are likely to have a lot of pain to face and unmet developmental needs to experience, amongst other things. This will take courage, patience and persistence.

The Other Side

As for the parent who was very harsh and had their own issues, they were probably not aware of how harsh or wounded they were. Even so, criticising their child and perhaps others is likely to have been a way for them to avoid what was going on for them.

If, then, they hadn’t put their child and perhaps others down, it would have probably caused them to come into contact with their critical inner voice. The outcome of this is that they would have ended up feeling worthless and unlovable.

A Defence

Thus, externalising their critical inner voice and putting other people down allowed them to avoid what was going on for them internally and keep it together and function. There is a strong chance that they didn’t have a very good connection with their inner world.

By being so externally focused, then, they were oblivious to the fact that they had externalised their critical inner voice and were living on the surface of themselves. If they had been aware of this, it is unlikely that they would have been able to behave in this way.

The Bigger Picture

What this illustrates is that, while how they were spoken to and treated by them would have been seen as a reflection of their worth and lovability, it had absolutely nothing to do with their worth or lovability. This parent was most likely deeply wounded during their formative years.

To handle what took place, they would have developed a disconnected and inflated false self. This self would have typically allowed them to keep what was going on for them at bay but it would have also caused them to become an unfeeling, cold and cruel being, who was full of painful inner material that had to be continually projected into others for them to stop themselves from coming into contact with it.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, enmeshment, inner child, true self and inner awareness. With over three thousand, two hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

To find out more go to - http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/

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