EGO STATES – Development & Trauma

for different situations

PREVIOUS: ES Basics (@2)

YouTubeTransactional Analysis, Ego-states 1-3


Ego States seem to develop from normal differentiation (separating general concepts into specific meaning – good vs bad….), the introjection of significant others, & a child’s reactions to trauma

According to Dan Siegel, E.S. can become fixed when a positive OR negative event is experienced repeatedly, or when a traumatic event is overwhelming. In general, they become parts of the Self, some by reacting to other people, some by internalizing them

a. Integration = Combining & incorporating previously unconnected ‘objects’ into one larger entity. Through this mental skill a child learns to group concepts together, such as combining Dog and Cat into a complex unit called ‘Animals’ //  Mother and Father becoming ‘Family’.

A healthy identity is made up of combining all conflicting reactions in Personality (needs, instincts & habits), gradually organized & then harmonized into a whole.
According to Jung, it’s the process by which the individual & collective unconscious are fused, which then becomes ‘maturity‘, & can help a person move past negative behavior patterns.

When conflicting ‘reaction tendencies’ are not resolved, the resulting internal stress will be expressed as unhealthy activity, but may be so disruptive it leads to dissociation, potentially even the disintegration of the Self into separate parts (More….)

b. Normal Differentiation = A separation of general concepts into specific meaning (opposite of Integration). Children slowly separate out their own identity from that of other family members – by having different opinions & values, while still being able to stay emotionally connected to them.
They learn to discriminate between what they like & don’t like, which become entire patterns useful for dealing with parents, teachers & playmates. Eventually it makes S & I possible. (More…..)

EXP: This mental skill helps us understand that one set of actions is appropriate during a sporting event but not at a business meeting.
If this separating process become excessive & self-defeating, it’s usually called ‘dissociation‘ – withdrawing from current reality

c. Introjection of significant others :
Children automatically accumulate groups of beliefs, emotions & behaviors from their caretakers. Some will be acceptable to their True Self, but for ACoAs, most will be harmful.
▻ If YES, the behaviors get included into their sense of identity (this is me)
▻ If NO (qualities of abusive / neglectful parents) the behavior ‘clusters’ become Inner Objects (not me) which have to be managed by creating defense mechanisms
d. Trauma
To survive overwhelming neglect, rejection & other kinds of abuse, children form internal E.S. which:
✎ end up in constant conflict (PP vs Natural Child… // PigP vs Healthy Adult //  WIC vs Natural Child…. ) OR
✎ get cut off from each other (dissociated) to save the child’s sanity

♥︎ Sadly, these choices prevent a feeling of security, & therefore the ability to extract & enjoy the best from the outside world

EXP: Healthy children can create a imaginary playmate, but eventually don’t need it, replacing it with real-life friends.
BUT a lonellonely childy, isolated child may cannibalize part of its True Self to produce such a ‘friend’, so the imaginary companion feels very real & is hard to give up. It would feel like killing a part of oneself – instead of getting re-integrated

💔 When such a child is forced to push aspects of the Self out of awareness because of conflict & environmental pressure :
☀︎ those disowned parts can eventually be channeled into Work/Career, Research, Creative expressions….. but the person will still be emotionally crippled
☀︎ but more often the result will be social awkwardness, isolation, procrastination, unfulfilled dreams
☀︎ & in a very few, this mutilation of the human soul can show up later in life in a different, more damaging form as multiple personalities. (“We, the Divided Self”, Watkins & Johnson, 1982).

Watkins & Watkins, at Montana U, worked with people who had deep inner conflicts between various ego states which make up the “family of self” – using behavioral, cognitive, analytic, or humanistic methods to create a kind of internal diplomacy.
Applying their “Ego-state therapy” showed that complex psycho-dynamic problems can be resolved in a relatively short time, compared to more analytic approaches. (More….)

NEXT: Ego States – Intro (#4)

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