A HEALTHY ADULT INNER VOICE
helps me function well in the world
PREVIOUS: Ego States – Basics (Part 3)
SITE: T.A. tests & definitions
REMINDER: These internal states 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.
● Let’s start with the Adult aspect, which is the center circle. In the T.A. structural model, the Integrating Adult component is placed in the middle to show that it needs to orchestrate interactions between the Parent and the Child ego states.
PURPOSE of ADULT (“neopsyche”): The 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 individual 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 and solving problems, also using information received from the 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 the Inner Parent & the Inner Child parts AND intervening between them when necessary. It’s what allows us to keep the 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. get too out of control, selfish, hurtful ( “I’ll kill that so-and-so!”)
EXP: When the internal Bad Parent beats up on the internal Child by saying “You are no good, look at what you did wrong again, you are useless”, the Wounded Child will agree: “I’m no good, look how useless I am, I never get anything right”.
● Most people hardly aren’t even aware of this kind of self-talk – it’s automatic & often below consciousness.
However, if we have a Healthy Adult – it will step in, first to stop the Introject from doing any more damage & change the Child’s toxic beliefs. Then the Good Parent can comfort the Child who has been attacked.
Adult functions include:
— being in the present, testing reality, estimating probabilities, and processing information dispassionately
— being adaptable, intelligent, logical, organized
— can be compared to a computer or regulator, because it’s in charge of un-emotional functions such as decision-making, problem-solving
— it allows us to evaluate facts based on available data, & determines the actions we take given rational input
— is not unduly influenced by negative or harmful childhood experiences
● The healthy Adult-in-the-adult (rather than the Child’s version of an adult) allows us to be aware of all our options & possible resources, given who we are, in relation to what we need & what’s going on now.
NOTE: All info on this blog referring to healthy / recovering thoughts & actions are being generated by the Healthy Adult & Loving Parent (the UNIT) & in T.A. called ‘Accounting’ or Integrative Adult (See ‘Adult’ Part 3)
● Unintegrated Adult – the rational, competent part of us which many ACoAs use to get along at work & in a variety of relationships, but which doesn’t connect with the Inner Child, is easily swayed or blocked by old damage & can’t ally with a Loving Parent, because there is no LP
● Integrated Adult – is expressed in many of the same ways, but mainly as the primary ‘executive’, interacting with both P & C ego states, to form a whole personality. It prevents the WIC or the PP from running our lives
In Integrating Adult mode:
— we can be spontaneous as well as awake, constantly updating ourselves through our every-day experiences, to keep on top of things
— we have the capacity for intimacy because we have good boundaries as a result of knowing our rights & who we are, so are not afraid to connect with others
— we know who is safe & who’s not, because we can see people as they truly are, rather than idealizing , OR projecting our family & our own damage onto them
— we look for information rather than stay scared or make assumptions
— we can ask for help & apply problem-solving strategies when things get tough, allowing us to make healthy decisions & take productive actions
— we take the best from the past and use it appropriately in the present by integrating the strengths of our P. & C. parts.
● So when we experience emotions in response to something in the moment – like feeling sad when a friend moves away – our behavior is consistent with how we actually think and feel, (T.E.A.) rather than reacting based on our unhealthy past. In this state we’re aware of what’s real and what isn’t & we can act accordingly.
EXP: You feel jealous of your mate, but it doesn’t mean your partner is cheating on you. If you have that thought, you consider the strength of your relationship and the character of the other person, so you can either deduce that it’s:
a. a projection of your WIC, based on your FoA, because the Adult E.S. knows your mate is a loyal persona, so you realize the fear is not real
b. a very real possibility because the person has been acting secretive, had been pulling away or has cheated before…. and your Adult E.S. is willing to acknowledge what you know or intuit
ADULT Ego States – Someone with a strong, positive (A) persona tends to :
• have objective & reasonable observations which are realistic & current
• have a keen sense of awareness, understanding, insight
• be emotionally balance, not over or under reactive
• think & feel that things are done with medium importance (not dramatic)
➼ When ACoAs function too much out of the AES, we will be too much ‘in our head’ & not be able to relate to others emotionally or express our own.
NEXT: ADULT Ego States (Part 2)