I HAVE SEVERAL PARTS INSIDE
& I feel best when they get along!
PREVIOUS: Process, Recovery #2b
REVIEW: S & I – Healthy Individuation
▶ EGO STATES (E.S.)
• We’re all born with the potential for 3 basic personality components – Parent / Adult / Child (P.A.C.) which vary in size & importance. They show up early in life in immature form, & are supposed to keep developing throughout life.
They’re called ‘ego states’ – because whichever one we’re in at the moment we think of as ‘me’, our sense of identity (ego = Self). Each is internally consistent, having its own Thoughts, Emotions & Actions (TEA).
Experiences & activities from childhood become grouped into these ‘clusters’, also called the “Family of the Self” (NOT schizophrenia), which are neural pathways in the brain forged by chemical connections as a result of thinking, feeling or doing (TEA) the same thing over & over, year after year.
How well these internal parts get along among themselves – in order for the individual to function effectively – can vary greatly from person to person
These clusters contain our conscious beliefs, opinions, inner ‘voices’, attitudes… & include memories, roles, physical feelings & postures, mental rules….
They become our habitual way of responding toward ourselves & the world, each cluster formed around some point of view or common ‘truth’, either healthy or not – depending on upbringing & native personality
Healthy = P : “I protect” / A : “I get things done”/ C : “I play”
Unhealthy (P) may organize around rigid rules
“I have to rid the world of all wrong-doing / It’s my way or the highway”
Wounded (C) may base it’s sense of identity on —
“I have to be perfect to be loved / I have to hide all my needs”
Limited (A) may focus on self-importance
“I want everyone to be impressed // I have to do…. no matter what”
E.S. are conscious aspects of our psyche which we can shift in & out of – one minute acting like a kid, the next handling a problem in Adult mode…. Unlike 2 of Freud’s 3 states (superego & id) ego states are visible, making it possible to notice, value, work with & modify aspects of them, if desired. Even so, most people are not aware of having different state, much less which one they’re expressing at any given moment.
However it can be noticed by others, just by listening to or watching how someone acts, even if they don’t know the terminology. Which ever E.S. is ‘on’ can get a response accordingly : “Boy, is he being a brat! (wounded C) / You’re not the boss of me! (bad P) / Yes, the suggestion you made is very practical” (healthy A).
General rule: Most people you deal with are either coming from their Wounded Child (WIC) or Negative Parent (PP) ego state
NORMAL – Childhood parts become integrated into a larger whole, with the Healthy Adult in charge. They work well together internally, partly because they include Adaptive Introjects of caring, supportive caretakers & teachers as healthy role models. This allows such people to function successfully in the world because
• have flexible rather than rigid thinking
• experience & manage full range of Es
• hold positive beliefs about Self & the world
• act in appropriate, productive ways
• live in the present (instead of all in the past or all in the future)
HEALTHY ego states form in childhood in response to positive, affirming relationships within a family that’s loving & able to connect to the child in all 4 PMES ways (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)
EXP of a mature internal dialogue
Healthy ADULT: “Hmmm, it’s Saturday. I want my place to look, feel & smell nice, so I’m going to clean today”
Playful younger CHILD: “NOOO, I want to play. I want to go to a movie with my friends & have fun!”
Loving PARENT: “I know little one, but the place is not in good shape right now, & you know how much better you feel here when it’s all clean & fresh.
We can do something you like tomorrow, & then we’ll have even more fun knowing we’re coming back to a nice clean home”
Older CHILD : Ugh! I know you’re right & I won’t stop you, but you’d better keep your promise!
NEXT: Ego States – basics (Part 2)