Ego States – Injunctions & Consequences


PREVIOUS : Ego States – Basics #5

POSTs : “What is Self-hate?”  //  ES = ego-state

ACoA event  : An Al-anon ‘sponsor’ was having dinner with a sponsee who was making fun of herself about a negative pattern, as if it was amusing. The sponsor didn’t react the way she expected, & after a beat said “You obviously don’t have a sense of humor!” Sponsor replied quietly : “I don’t laugh at self-hate”.

Psychological T-shirts 
Eric Berne, MD said this term helps explain how we can hold two existential / mental positions simultaneously –  usually one is conscious (“driver”) & the other subconscious (“injunctions”). Both layers come from the original parent, & each represents it’s own Life Position, but in conflict.  (⬇️ IMAGE…)

The T-shirt concept (Front = True Self, A. or C. ego state) vs Back = False Self toxic beliefs from P1 or Po shows how we sabotage what we want the most. The combination results in self-harming / defeating attitudes & actions, causing so much frustration & emotional suffering. In many cases, it leads to recurring thoughts of suicide, even if it’s not acted on directly. (See below)

Without Recovery work, the hidden beliefs win out because there are more of them & are usually generational. (DRIVERS – slide 43, vs INJUNCTION – slide 44)
T-Shirt EXPs:
Front: “Someone please love me”   Back: “Not you, Stupid!”

Front: “Keep your distance!”
Back: “A little closer please” (‘Come here, Go away’)

Front: “Why does this always happen to me?”
Back: Kick Me

Front: “I was only trying to help”
Back: Now I’ve Got You, You SOB!”

Front: “Please tell me what to do”
Back: “So I can tell you why that can’t work” (“Yes, but” game)

Front: “I hate you!”    Back: “Don’t leave me!”  Audible book 
Front: “Please love me”    Back: “I’m not worth it!”

These double messages are good examples of psychological games people subconsciously initiate & participate in. (See 4 Games).

Many times the only way you can tell you’ve been caught in a subconscious game is the bad feeling that surprises you after its over. “I’m ok – Your not” or vice versa can start as an innocent question, but ends with a knot in stomach or chest , & you haven’t a clue what just happened.

The surprising bad feeling is known in TA as the “Payoff” for playing the game. BUT – while it’s often somewhat irritating, this feeling is also weirdly satisfying because it confirms your existential position (“OK Corral” statements).
⬇️ Expanded explanations re. how each injunction originated

SUICIDAL Ideation
One of the ways wounded people’s Inner Child ES tries to soothe itself is by having fantasies of dying, to eliminate severe current or long-term suffering.

Many ACoAs admit to having an on-&-off lifetime of suicide imaginings – even to the point of mapping out several possible methods. Some have actually tried, but only half-heartedly, or were rescued by a friend or loved one at the last minute. And some have succeeded.

What such people didn’t realize is that what they’re trying to kill is the torture coming from the Pig Parent voice (-CP), the negative Injunctions that goad the Adapted Child (-AC) to anxiety & despair – because it doesn’t have an internal protector.

In Recovery we can modify or subdue many Toxic Beliefs, & develop an empowering ‘UNIT’ that will eliminating the need to destroy one’s whole self. (See also “HEALTHY RULES

EXP of un-ambiguous destructive parental message, leading to career stalling, frustration or outright failure, & depression —>

💔 For people seeking Recovery but still consider ending their life, Tony White (T.A. analyst in AU) suggests that :
1. the therapist can encourage the FREE CHILD (+FC) to stay alive based on its ⬆️ ambivalence (but not to please anyone else)
2. if the person is willing, they can make a CONTRACT with themself, the Adult ES with the wounded Adapted Child ES : “I will not harm myself or kill myself accidentally or on purpose, for ‘X’____ time”  The A2 & C1 together decide how long they can stay alive. This can be renewed as many times as needed.

NEXT : Ego State (ES) – Summary

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