Judgements of a mother apart from her children are very different to those of an absent father. The masks are representations of group members ‘inner critics’, internal voices who often try to regulate our behaviour by reminding us of our failings. Telling us we are stupid, ugly or incapable. Recognising these voices limit and hold us back we begin to understand that getting to know them helps us to weaken their hold. They don’t control us.

Keep Strong


Not Good Enough


This critic has been around forever, or at least for as long as I can remember.

It says things like: “You never get anything right” “Everything you do is wrong” “You’re rubbish” “Nothing you do is up to standard” “You are always a disappointment” “You will never be as good as……”

This is me criticising me like I have been doing since the kids went. They often speak to me when I go to bed. They say things like you’re not a bad mum, there’s other mums like you out there. If I’d have worked with social services it would have been better. I got into this hole and couldn’t get out of it. It is getting better. You need to stop pulling yourself down



I’ve had this princess around for 10 years who often speaks to me when I am going to be around people. It says ‘you need to be slim, you need to have nice hair, you need nice clothes, you need to look tanned, you need to stand out and look nice. People will think you are ugly if not.’

My boys don’t know whether

They’re coming or going



Blank Eyes


So people can’t see what I am thinking


My inner critic is called guilty and has been around since I was about nine or ten. It speaks to me everyday saying things like:

You don’t deserve to be here, I’m disappointed in you, You are a pointless person, You are inadequate

These are things others have said to me and they’ve been said so many times I’ve started to believe them. I got bullied at school about being fat and I wasn’t even that fat then. Kids used to shout at me when I was getting a jacket potato saying I should get a salad. The teachers just let it happen. Life is shit and it always has been. Because of the bullying I turned to comfort eating and became what they said about me. Being told you are a bad mother everyday you become that and I believe that about myself. Having post-natal depression is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I’ve cried a deep lake of tears

F#@*ed Up

This is a monster who’s been around for around 2 years.

It used to speak to me when my kids got taken away.

It would often say things like:

‘Not good enough’

‘Waste of space’

‘Bad mother’

‘Should have done things differently’


My inner critic is unfortunately called Margaret- she is my mother. From a early age I got used to hearing I wasn’t liked, or loved, I was a waste of space- I caused arguments and wars! I had to run past the entrance to the children’s home because I was told that is where I belonged. Or why didn’t I go play on the motorway or under Jo Woods buses. Don’t ever think you are special- you are not a somebody. I don’t like you- I never will. Because you are fat nobody will like you, you need to go on a diet- I was eight. Your dad doesn’t love you; he gave you up for £150 arrears in maintenance. You tell lies, you could cause world war three, it’s your fault I went to St Lukes and had a breakdown, you deserve abuse, you are not loved, I wish I’d never had you. You don’t fit in. You should have never had kids, you’re a horrible mum, all their good stuff is down to me not you, you are useless. I have my light in me whatever she did- I am me.