I NEED TO WATCH OUT FOR
ways the Child or Parent take over
PREVIOUS: ADULT Ego State (Part 1)
See ACRONYM page for abbrev.
Eric Berne (creator of T.A.) comments that coming from an Integrated Adult ego state (E.S.) does not mean just being in a rational frame of mind, but that we can also access emotions, values & attitudes, because the 3 parts are working together as a whole, in the ‘here and now’ experiencing current reality – internally as well as externally.
Even if we spend a lot of time in Adult mode, it’s normal to move out of Adult into Parent or Child when faced with enough stress. This can be from a pile up of real-life events, or from something setting off an internal hot button from childhood, or bumping up against an unhealed wound. Then the 3 states are no longer working together. This is called regression – to an earlier time in our life, with the specific experience, beliefs & training we lived thru.
Whenever we move out of Adult E.S. we leave the present and fall back into our own past versions of the P. or C. states.
● We may just experience them as internal ‘voices’ influencing our thoughts & feelings (PP – inner critic, or WIC – constant self-doubt)
● move fully into one of the other 2 states from our past, outwardly acting from: — the damaged Parent – abusive, controlling, know-it-all or over-indulgent, symbiotic rescuer…., alternating with — the damaged Child – sullen rebeller, raging scapegoat, or needy victim, incapable isolator….
These are life positions which create energy blockage which keep us from being ‘in the flow’ of the now & being our True Self. These unhealthy modes are founded on basic beliefs about self and others, which are used to justify decisions and behavior. An example: talking as if something is a fact or a reality, when it’s only our belief – something our family &/or community expressed, even if we did not have the same experiences they did (a mother saying: “all men are bums / a father saying: those ‘people’ are taking all our jobs”…. ). We took in what we repeatedly heard & then made it our own ‘truth’, creating energy blockages in our minds.
Symptoms of this blockage depend on which E.S. is dominating.
● When the Parent bleeds into the Adult (#1) we may think & act out of such forms of ‘superior’ hatred as narrow-mindedness, racism or religious judgement. EXP: being Prejudiced
● When the Child bleeds into the Adult (#2) things in everyday life can trigger old wounds & the C becomes frightened at or angry about something which may or may not be unhealthy or unpleasant in itself. EXP: being in Illusion or Delusion – but not necessarily pathological
● When both P & C bleed into the A at the same time (#3) – we have a negative belief AND this makes us scared “Anyone different from us is bad & so we’re in danger”, or we can have a sense of superiority & so feel entitled…. “We’re better than them so we can do whatever we want”
— Ironically, when #3 happens the Adult is ‘ego syntonic‘ – not in conflict within itself – but this does not mean it is correct or healthy. In that state we believe what we think & feel as if it were completely true & unchangeable (“All government is bad”). Others in our peer group may agree, & only someone outside of the circle will catch the logic flaws (CDs).
CUT OFF Aspects – In these cases the Adult has been compromised or eliminated.
Missing Inner Child: When the Parent contaminates the Adult and the C. is cut off, people can’t ‘let go’ to have fun, are rigid & controlling, with little sense of humor, take everything seriously, must always be ‘right’ & know-it-all…. are generally neurotic
Missing Inner Parent: When the Child bleeds into the A. & the P. is cut off people have a weak conscience, do whatever they want with little or no regard for others and are prone to self-destructive behavior in the pursuit of self-gratification
Missing Inner Adult: When the A. is cut off completely there is no ‘reality’ guide, so people can become paranoid, extreme narcissists, socio/psychopathic or psychotic.
CHANNELS of Communications: When 2 people or groups interact, they each choose to come from one of their E.S., & this can shift during the exchanges – possibly several times.
a. Complementary transactions are the ‘clean’ one’, & can continue indefinitely.
b. Crossed ones result in breaking the connection between 2 parties, but is a useful way to ‘force’ a change in a communication.
c. Ulterior ones have hidden messages used to manipulate & are chosen by the Inner Child. The behavioral outcome is determined by the psychological (ulterior) level of the transaction, because the secret agenda carries the most weight.
Good communication: Complementary connections between 2 people or groups is an exchange between: (usually 1 or 2 of these are our chosen preference, & will also depend on who we’re talking to)
● Adult – Adult : problem-solving
● Nurturing Parent – Natural Child : care-taking
● Natural Child – Natural Child : having fun, being creative
● Controlling Parent – Adapted Child : giving guidance & instructions
● Nurturing Parent – Nurturing Parent : discussing how to care for others
● Controlling Parent – Controlling Parent : agreeing what rules to apply to others
● Adapted Child – Adapted Child : being compliant or rebellious together (MORE….)
NEXT: ADULT E.S. (Part 3)