Ego States – PARENT (Part 5)

adult choices 

from a positive or negative Parent voice

PREVIOUS: Parent E.S. – Part 3

See ACRONYM page for abbrev.


This chart ⬇️ shows the Parent aspects. While the A. is our Executive branch, & most beneficial as a person’s guiding force, all 3 ego states (PAC) can be either the healthy or unhealthy part of someone with good or bad motives, with good or bad consequences. (See CHILD ES version)

EXP: The Adult ES can be applied to planning a new town on a drawing board, or planning to rob a bank. Both require logic, reason, critical thinking faculties, planning skills….. Review ‘OK Corral’ (Adult E.S., Part 3)

1. UNHEALTHY E.S. (PES) say: “You’re Not OK” to self & others
a. Negative CRITICAL / Controlling P. is punitive & insensitive. Gives abusive, degrading criticism to overemphasize being in control – using fear, suspicion & distrust: “How stupid can you be”….
For ACoAs :
• Outward – often expressed towards others as prejudice & disapproval
• Inward – continues to influence the Inner Child in the form of S-H
Parent Mode
EXP: It’s the person who sees an injured dog in the street, & says: ‘All dogs should be kept on leads, not allowed to roam free’ – & so does nothing to help

b. Negative ‘NURTURING P. is over-protective or engulfing, giving physical attention in order to control or manipulate others. May smother with concern, denying people the opportunity to develop their own skills.
Help is given from a self-serving attitude which discounts the other person’s actual needs, or their autonomy & competence

Negative Parent (PP) is ‘on’ when:
Physical – frowning, crossed arms, finger-pointing, angry or impatient body-language & expressions, superiority gestures…..
Verbal – uses condescending tone, judgmental & critical words, patronizing or posturing language :
“This is how you should — //  under no circumstances — //  you should always — //  never do — //  for once in your life — // you shouldn’t — //  how dare you —  // don’t do as I do, do as I say…”

Keep in mind that cultural differences in body-language or tonal emphases that may seem ‘Parental’ in one culture may not be the speaker’s intention in another

2. HEALTHY PES say: “You’re OKto self & others
Since the following aspects are either missing or weak in most ACoAs – especialgood parent voicely toward ourselves – developing & safe-guarding the Good Parent voice is a critical (no pun intended) & fundamental requirement for our growth

For US: It’s used to self-sooth, help the WIC with any form of emotional distress, letting the Child (C.) know it’s never alone.
It is also the part that encourages, cheers & champions the Healthy / Natural C. to be ‘all you were meant to be”! It draws from our own native capacity for kindness, as well as any experiences of being cared for, by anyone, but especially in childhood. (This is – or can form –  our Positive Introject)

For OTHERS: It’s the source of kindness, respect & help we give others, coming from a genuine regard for them as fellow-travelers on this earth. It allows us to give & take appropriate physical affection, such a gentle hug or touch
EXP: The person who lovingly picks up that dog who got injured by a car while crossing the road & takes it the vet

Positive CRITICAL / Controlling P.
For US: It’s used to set boundaries for oneself, providing self-control – limiting the Child’s excessive wants, demands, distorted thinking, inappropriate behavior such as unhealthy or unsafe acting out ….  It’s the way a good parent holds a child back from running across the street, limits unhealthy foods, sets curfews…. the Pos. Controlling P. helps us stay out of or leave dangerous or unsuitable people / situations…..

For OTHERS:  Instructions & commands are aimed at genuinely encouraging someone’s well-being. Constructive criticism is used to protect & steer away from harm or potential danger : “You might want to consider — //  I encourage you to stay away from the — //  be careful when you — // I recommend that you…..
NEXT:  Parent #5

Ego States – ADULT (Part 1)

PAC male 

helps me function well in the world

PREVIOUS: Ego States – Summary

SITE: T.A. tests & definitions

: Ego states (E.S.) are in our conscious mind, & only one can be in the foreground at any given moment. Whichever one is on the ‘front burner’ is called The Executive  – for the length of time it’s in charge. Healthy people can switch between ego states (E.S.) as required – most of the time.  It’s NOT supposed to be a rigid framework, but many ACoAs are trapped in the Wounded Child E.S.

All E.S. function on a continuum, from mild to severe … AND a person can go from OK to NOT OK & back again more than once throughout a day. We can catch this by noting physical & verbal characteristics
Parent: Language used is made up of value judgements, lecturing, scolding…. , about ‘You…’ or ‘One…’ rather than oneself. Posture tends to be leaning forward

Child :  Words are direct & spontaneous. Physically, the person can be sullen from anger, stiff w/ fear, IF comfortable – are engaged, attentive, use hand gestures….  In Adapted C. = may cry silently. In Free C. = have fun & maybe be excited-noisy
PhysicallyPosture is erect, maybe with tilted head (listening). Attentive, interested, straight-forward, non-threatening & non-threatened
VerballyTone is measured, clear, precise, crisp, rational, logical.  Words are clear, definable, factual: “It’s a cold day so we’ll need extra clothes”.
Talks in terms of: why, what, how, who, where & when, how much, in what way. Uses comparative expressions, reasoned & accurate statements

PURPOSE of ADULT = “Neo-psyche”, for survival of the Self
a. FACTUAL: This part of us concentrates on Reality, lives in the present & holds the accumulated data of all our experiences.
It begins forming around age 6 to 10 months & is assumed to be fully developed in a normal person by age 12 (from T.A.), but its actual function is not related to a person’s age.
The A. deals with external facts (“It’s 5 pm, the train is late…”), analyzing & solving problems, also using information from Parent & Child states, giving us the ability to successfully deal with the outside world

b. REGULATORY: The A. is in charge of supervising & managing the activities of both adult vectorsInner Parent & Child, AND intervening between them when necessary.
It allows us to keep control of those other 2 states – to not let the P. become too rigid, controlling, pontificating (“Do as I say not as I do”) nor the C. too out of control, selfish, hurtful ( “I’ll kill that so-&-so!”)

EXP: When PP beats up IC : “You’re no good, look at what you did wrong again, you’re useless”, the WIC will agree: “I’m no good, look how useless I am, I never get anything right”.

🔸 However, if we’ve developed a Healthy Adult, then when the PP acts up – it will step in, first to stop the Introject from doing any more damage, & draw the Child away from it, to work on correcting its toxic beliefs. Then the A. can make space for the Good Parent to comfort the suffering Child

c. ACCOUNTING Mode is part of the ADULT (A.) – the only E.S. that allows us to actually solve problems, which can not be successfully done from either P. or C., because when we try to correct things from those 2 states, the problems keep coming back.
In the present, the A. makes balanced choices & decisions, based on stored info from a wide range of experience (not primarily from dysfunction).
To have a rounded view & consider future actions, resulting outcomes are weighed against the reactions of Healthy Parent & Child  as well as real-world consequences  (MORE…. re. Accounting – scroll way down)

Accounting Mode interacts with other E.S. without energy blockages. When it’s available & stable (uncontaminated by PP or WIC), we operate appropriately in the here-&-now, having absorbed any positive parts of our Historic Parent & Archaic Child experiences. This allows us to choose which mode to draw from, depending on the current situation, without regressing into either negative Historic or Archaic states.

NEXT: ADULT Ego States (Part 2)