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ACoAs & Ego States (cont)
Carl Jung is credited with the concept of the “Divine Child”, but the term broke into the mainstream mainly with the book “Your Inner Child of the Past” (1963) by Hugh Missildine, MD. Modern IC work is an outgrowth of ‘Ego Psychology’, ‘Family Systems Therapy’ & Transactional Analysis
In the 1970s the concept of the Inner Child & co-dependence became popular. In the ‘80s & ‘90s John Bradshaw did an excellent series of TV specials focusing on ACoAs & the IC.
This chart is from Eric Berne’s breakthrough book “Games People Play“. In its simplest form it’s the basis for all modern Inner Child work. For Berne, an ego state is ‘A system of feelings accompanied by a related set of behavior patterns.’
💜 When we’re grown-ups, our E.S. are meant to be built-in resources we can call on as needed, but for ACoAs aspects of the basic states are distorted (WIC), deficient (poorly functioning Adult), even missing (Loving Parent) due to our upbringing
Our immature ‘Parent & Adult’ parts are expressed mainly (or only) from the WIC’s point of view – with a child’s emotional range, & only with a child’s limited, perhaps twisted, knowledge of reality.
• Internally – we mistake our parents’ beliefs, rules, slogans… for here-&-now adult reality (PP voice), so that toxic beliefs are taken as facts
• Externally – we may easily be convinced that everyone’s laughing at us because “they” always laughed at us (WIC’s thinking from past experience).
That’s even true in spite of years of education & a wide variety of positive experiences! Hopefully in Recovery we find more constructive ways to protect the total personality
Current reality is contaminated when overlaid with unresolved emotions & memories of early experiences which became psychological weeds. Our E.S. growth becomes stunted, emotionally & mentally stuck in Child Mode – not our fault, but has to be corrected
Unmet childhood needs which are disallowed – are often disguised by behavior opposite to what’s actually required, like beating oneself up as way to force oneself to ‘behave better’. The original need was to prevent punishment, BUT is now turned into self-abuse!
Bad PARENT : “Why can’t you do anything right?”
Victim CHILD: “I know I’m dumb. Nothing I do every works out!”
Disconnected ADULT: “Let’s see, next I need to –, & then I’ll go –, and then I can — …..
It’s normal for each E.S. to act differently when trying to accomplish something, no matter what the goal is. How the Adult part will handle a situation is not the same as an Inner Child or Loving Parent. This is not a problem for a healthy person, since appropriate actions are chosen to fit the situation EXP: Screaming at a concert (IC), serious at funeral reception (A)….
But when a ‘sane’ Executive E.S. is not available, some internal Voices are frozen in terror, or all are out of synch with each other.
Each wounded state then pulls in a different direction, trying to fill needs that are at odd with each other – especially under stress. This makes it hard to feel emotionally grounded & mentally stable, so we feel like we’re going crazy. We are NOT!
👨🏽🦱 The WIC’s version of an adult (A) can make us intelligent & very hard-working, but most of our efforts are meant to quiet some secret anxiety (FoA, guilt, S-H, shame…)
👮🏽 The WIC’s version of a parent (P) – actually the Introject – IS:
— internally very harsh toward the C’s child
— externally dedicated, clever & kind – but only towards others
— OR very mean to others, while feeling scared & vulnerable
Because the Inner Child is ALL of our history, we can speak of it in the plural, having to do with more than one version of the wounded part – different ages, possibly of both genders, & each one holding an aspect of our early self – sad, angry, scholarly, defiant, carefree…. the suicidal one, the determined one, the caretaker, the bully….
NEXT: Ego states – Adult #1