How to Tame the Diabolical Trio

Filed Under: Change

30 April 2015 | Written by Xenia Ayiotis

“We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses” ~ Carl Jung

In last week’s blog I spoke about the Diabolical Trio – our inner critic*, inner perfectionist* and inner pusher*. If you missed out on that blog – you can read it here.

In this blog, let’s look at how to tame these inner voices.  No – it’s not with a whip!

First of all, acknowledge that our inner perfectionist, inner critic and inner pusher aren’t all that bad – they just want the best from us. They are actually trying to help us. Without our inner perfectionist we may never be inspired to change, without our inner pusher we would probably never move our bodies and without our inner critic we wouldn’t notice where we could improve. Let’s honour them – they are trying to serve us. The voices of the Diabolical Trio give us some useful feedback and information. The problem comes in when their voices become too loud and bossy. That’s when their intention to help hinders us instead.

The second step is to recognise their voices in your head. What do they sound like? What tone are they using? They love words like “should’ve, could’ve and would’ve”. When you recognise their voices, don’t try to resist them because they’ll only come back louder! Don’t ignore them because they will persist until they are heard! Instead, accept the voices and acknowledge what they say. Thank them for trying to help. The inner critic and pusher will be there when you eat, when you exercise and when you dress but don’t let them take centre stage.  Let them hang around in the wings or even better – send them backstage!

The third step is to thank, detach and dismiss the voices. It looks like this:

Diabolical Trio:
“Hmm you shouldn’t have eaten that no wonder you are so fat”
“Look at how big your bum is, you are so hopeless you will always be big!”
“That workout was pathetic, you are so lazy!”
“You are such a bad mother, you spend so much time working and not with your child”

“Listen here, I know you are trying to help me, but you’re behaving like a bitch, so shut up please…”

Diabolical trio move backstage.

The fourth step to tame the trio is to develop a new character that has been hiding backstage. This part of us must come out on centre stage – our inner nurturer.  This is the part of us that is kind, caring and patient. Every time we make small improvements, the inner nurturer appreciates and acknowledges our efforts. Our inner nurturer is very in tune with the voice of our heart and our body and what it needs. The inner nurturer balances acceptance with self-improvement. So we accept our limitations whilst doing the work to improve them.

Our inner voices have great power. The voices of the trio can help us see areas in our life that need improvement, but if they are too harsh they will cause suffering and inhibit change. Focusing on the voice of the inner-nurturer will be more productive and create lasting change. So, send the trio to the wings or backstage and give your inner-nurturer the leading role in your life!

Have a great long weekend!
Love, Xen.

*The Inner Perfectionist, Pusher and Critic are concepts from Jan Chozen Bays’ book – “Mindful Eating – A guide to rediscovering a healthy and joyful relationship with food”.

“From our first meeting - two faces on Zoom across the world from each other, there was a sense of familiarity and comfort that was a healing balm for a lifetime of food struggles and dieting. Without realizing how much damage I had done to myself by adhering, for decades, to restrictive food plans and rigid diet programs, Xen had a way of redirecting the harsh and negative self-talk and sending me forth each week with compassion, mindfulness and a new way of seeing myself in the here and now. Gone are the maybe somedays, and if-only, and when-I’m-smaller thinking. Now I am committed to the imperfect and rocky path to listening to my body, accepting my perfect imperfections, and rejecting diet mentality. Those negative voices will revisit me from time to time, I know, but Xen has offered valuable tools for meeting each day as a fresh start - another choice, another chance. Her devotion to this work and her belief in her clients is a remarkable gift; I am so fortunate to have found her. It is never too late to let go of the drama and embrace joy, ease and self-acceptance.”

Karen L, Denver, USA

“I felt hopeless and helpless in my daily struggle with mindless eating for many years. Then I found Xen which is exactly what I needed! My decision to work with her helped me to finally repair my relationship with food. It's changing my life for the better, one day at a time. Now I have control over the food, instead of it having control over me, which is the way it should be. I highly recommend Xen to anyone who has a desire to overcome similar food struggles. Xen, thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

Karen J, Colorado, USA

“I reached out to Xenia because 2021 started on a tumultuous note for me. Between deaths, businesses suffering, hospitalizations, and job losses in our personal circle, I felt depleted and found myself being available for everyone but myself. Then I was hit with an unexpected health diagnosis, which was the last straw as it meant giving up “healthy foods” and workouts that I leaned on for my well-being and stability. Despite working in wellness (Yes, coaches and healers are vulnerable too!), I found myself reaching out to desserts for comfort. I like to live a life of permissions (not labels or deprivation leading to bingeing), so I wanted to work with someone who approached healing from a place of mindful compassion. I didn’t want to be my own client. Xenia was great in reminding me to be kind to myself. Working with her, brought me peace and helped shift my mindset. I love how desserts and I look at each other now.”

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Daniela Velásquez, Ottawa, Canada

“Working with Xen was a game changer for me. After working together for a few months my relationship with food radically changed. I no longer felt like a failure. I now have the tools to nourish my body with foods that feel good in my body. I don’t feel guilty about eating cake or chocolate, I also don’t overeat cake and chocolate. I no longer feel the need to exercise to compensate for my eating. I feel much more free around eating and I am more accepting of my body. Xen has a nonjudgmental and compassionate approach to coaching and really supports you in the process.”

Rachel, Dublin, Ireland

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Michelle, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Diana, Vancouver, Canada

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Sarah, Illinois, USA

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Certified by The Life Coach School Certified and Trained by The Original Intuitive Eating Pro Professional Member of The Center for Mindful Eating