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This Jungian Life

Feb 4, 2021

The judgmental inner voice has volume, speed, pitch and range. It may appear as a perfectionistic critic, demanding taskmaster, or abusive bully. It also seeps in through the collective, with criteria for beauty, status, and wealth that are unrealistic and artificial. At its worst, this punitive, shaming complex incites self-destructive behavior, and has long been imaged by witches, warlocks, ogres and fiends.

Most of us would never treat anyone as badly as we sometimes treat ourselves. This internalized dynamic seesaws between extremes of idealized expectations and punitive backlash that pretends to be ‘for our own good.’ Like Sisyphus, we labor to roll the stone of achievement uphill when what is needed is self-acceptance, compassion, and the courage to confront the negative voice. Authentic encounter creates a vessel for transformation through consciousness. It makes room for choice, freedom—and soulful self-acceptance.  

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I found a tiny fish in the sink. It was really beat up but alive, so I got a bowl of water for it and put it there, but it immediately started outgrowing the bowl. I got a bigger bowl but as soon as I put it there, the fish got bigger. I got a tub of water and put it there and it got even bigger. It had stripes and it was looking at me and interacting with me the whole time. This fish seemed to have a soul." 


Robert Firestone. Overcoming the Destructive Inner Voice: True Stories of Therapy and Transformation.