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The function of the Punitive Parent mode is to punish you (or someone else) for doing something wrong or not meeting expectations. It includes self-criticism and self-destructive behavior. The best way to deal with these harsh and denigrating messages is to reject them and build self-esteem. The Punitive Parent is expunged by exploring its roots in the past so that there can be the acceptance that the abusive situations were not your fault. You are not to blame for others’ actions and treatment of you. It is not helpful to repeat them with yourself and others.

Use the worksheet provided to identify the signs that your inner Punitive Parent has become active. A situation may have made you feel worthless, bad, unloved, or abandoned, invoking your Punitive Parent inner voice to help you cope and feel more in control. Acknowledge these feelings, but redirect your thoughts and behavior to better alternatives. Appreciate the fact that everyone has (and is allowed to have) needs and feelings. Your feelings of abandonment and blame are likely from your past and do not represent yourself as a failure. Focus on your successes and positive qualities instead. It often helps to talk to your Punitive Parent mode. It provides an outlet for the angry feelings and reduces its power.

Download and print the Punitive Parent mode worksheet here: Enhance Personality – Session 5 – Punitive Parent Mode Worksheet

Next, we look at the first of the child modes, the Vulnerable Child.

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