Ending Self-Criticism

In this interview we have a personification of Marie’s disowned power in the form of a red egg full of toxic anxiety that is very critical of her. As such, Marie is at war with her own disowned power, which experiences as controlling her. It controls her to keep her safe, like an abusive parent justifies suppression to make children strong. In fact, it most likely is the internalized voice of one or more of her parents from many years ago. They now are living rent-free in her head, providing her with constant self-abuse, still telling us how screwed up she is. What Marie needs to learn is how to discriminate between the helpful, nurturing internal parental voices and those that are destructive.


What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

1 Being single and not wanting to be: feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, sadness…

2 Not having a job that feels fulfilling

3 Money worries!

Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?

The first one by far!

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?

Red, pink

Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness. Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What?

An egg

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Egg, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

I’m on the floor over there. I’m pretty small, like the size of an ostrich egg. I’m red. I’m full of the red color. I think I’m made of something like silk. I’m just kind of being.

What do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

Nothing that I can think of. My red color has the strength and power of all that anxiety. It’s like a radioactive quality.

What do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

Nothing I dislike about myself. I’m pretty powerful.  I don’t have any weaknesses. With all the toxic anxiety inside me I can change Marie’s mood by releasing my red anxiety in the form of all these thoughts, those cognitive distortions that overwhelm her.

Egg, you are in Marie’s life experience, correct?  She created you, right? What aspect of Marie do you represent or most closely personify?

Her brain?

Egg, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

I don’t want to change. I’m powerful and effective at what I do – controlling Marie.

How does that feel to control Marie for all these years, Egg!

It feels great! I want to control her and keep her safe in a way…I hate her weakness. I’m not weak at all.  (Tears…)

What’s going on with Marie right now, Egg?

I think Marie is wondering why she created me and gave it so much power...

Egg, do you have any theory about that?

I’m a replacement for her parents.  I think it’s kind of pathetic.  She shouldn’t need parents any more. She should transcend that stage of life.

Do you want to stay in that role, egg?

Yes, but it’s constricting, not very ambitious!  Using my power in more interesting ways.

Like what?

Send Marie into spaces where she feels engaged and excited about the world.

How would you do that, Egg?

I would force her to do the things that would make her feel that way! I would change my color to a cloudy white and let Marie sit on top of me and be a cloud. I would hatch out of me and have Marie travel the skies on me!

Do that and tell me what that’s like to you…

It feels exhilarating. I’m free and out of my shell. I’m not sure where I’m going to go but I’m in motion…  That’s a good thing!

Turn back into being a red egg full of that red color.

Disappointing. I’m back to being small, contained and malevolent.

Now change back and see what that’s like…

Much better!

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Cloud, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities:  confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence: 8

Compassion: 5

Wisdom: 9

Acceptance: 5

Inner Peace:   8

Witnessing: 3

Cloud, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?

I would feel euphoric!

How would Marie’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

Her scores would be a lot lower if I were still a red egg…But sitting on me, a cloud, she would be more of all of those things…

If you could live Marie’s life for her, how would you live it differently?

I would live it very differently.  I would have a lot more courage, take a lot more risks, worry less!

If you could live Marie’s waking life for her today, would you handle Marie’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?

1 Being single and not wanting to be: feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, sadness..

I would accept the state she is in, relax about it, be more open to possibilities that come and not dwell on the past or idealize former relationships or be afraid of new ones.

2 Not having a job that feels fulfilling

I would apply to more jobs that seem that they would be fulfilling. I would be more relaxed around people or situations that could lead to more opportunities.  Not pre-emptively feel that it is hopeless and I won’t get what I want. She has a defeatist attitude; I don’t.

3 Money worries!

I would handle it through the second life issue.

What life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Marie’s life?

Her poems, her creative work that only she can do. I would make that the center of  my life and not worry about other things.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Marie to imagine that she is you and act as you would?

Always! This evening she’s going to a reading. To be me instead of the red egg.

Cloud, do you do drama?  If not, why not?

I’m too busy doing other things!

What is your secret for staying out of drama?

I’m filling my being with other kinds of concerns and information…

Why do you think that you are in Marie’s life?

I don’t know!

How is Marie most likely to ignore what you are saying to her?

She can’t doesn’t know how to forget me! Both!

Marie, what have you heard yourself say?

I have a choice whether I’m a red egg or a white cloud. It’s positive.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Be the white cloud!


The encouragement that comes out of this interview is for Marie to risk! To move beyond a defeatest attitude.

Her challenge is to learn to observe what she thinks and feels and consider their source.  Are they her own? Or do they belong to someone else, in some other time, a long time ago?

If they no longer were allowed to govern her possibilities today, how would her life be different?  If you took up Marie’s challenge, how would your life be different?


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