Recently, I read a book called "Shrinking the Judge: Freeing the Inner Child", by Rick Malter, Ph.D. and Rosalie Malter, M.A. and, in my opinion, this is a very important book about a very powerful and relevant topic.

 

Many times I have referred to my bipolar disorder as an entity outside myself, which helps me to separate me from my disorder.  In their book, the Malters do that by naming this entity "the Judge," and defining it as "a powerfully destructive psychological force."

 

With insight and intelligence, they go on to explain how this concept relates to each of us and our inner child, telling us that it could be the reason why we struggle so much in our lives.  Although it is written for the masses, those with bipolar disorder (or dealing with a loved one with the disorder) can particularly relate to their description of the Judge and how it manifests itself in our lives.

 

The gist of the book can be summarized in the following excerpt:

 

"The concept of the Judge – its origins in childhood and its effects on adults – can be empowering for you, too.  Nevertheless, the Judge can be a very destructive force when it operates within each of us, but outside our conscious awareness.  However, when it is confronted and unmasked, its destructive power over our lives is greatly diminished.  With greater awareness and understanding, you can keep it from regaining power and control over your life."

                                                                                    (p.iii)

 

The key phrase is "outside our conscious awareness."  This book seeks to bring an understanding of the Judge and its negative impact on our lives into our consciousness, thus to defeat it.

 

The contention is that it is our own anger and fear that give the Judge the power to dominate us, our reactions, and our behavior.  The book states that the Judge really has no power of its own – rather, that it becomes inflated by our own anger and fear.

 

It also brings into the discussion our "fight or flight" response – our basic survival instincts – and how they play into the concept of the Judge.  The idea of the book is for you to learn to recognize the Judge and its effects and to deflate its power over your life.

 

Lest they leave you powerless, the Malters describe not only how the Judge operates, but also how you can defeat it and live a better life.  Using actual case studies, they illustrate this in an easy-to-understand way.  We see how others have been able to harness their own understanding of this concept and to reduce its power over their lives.

 

Whether you have bipolar disorder or are supporting someone who does, if you struggle with emotions that are difficult to control, you need to read this book.  It can help to bring your own "Judge" to your consciousness and help you to defeat it, so that you, too, can have an emotionally and mentally healthy life.