IF I USE ALL MY EGO STATES WELL
I can take care of myself well
PREVIOUS: Ego States – CHILD -#5
POSTS: The Introject (PP)
Reminder: Ego states are normal internal parts of ourselves and are supposed to work together for our benefit – as aspects of our True Self. Before considering how they apply to our interactions with others, it’s important to understand – AND apply – how they’re meant to interact on our own behalf.
PARENT Ego State (PES) ‘Extero-psyche’
PAST: This E.S. is our Introject (positive or toxic) – an internal picture of how we saw our real parents & other important care-givers when we were growing up. Children pick up just as much subliminal info about the people around us as what’s visible. But since all children think they’re the center of the universe, they assume everything the adults do & say is about them, which leads to a limited understanding & sometimes distorted perspective of them. This combination becomes the blueprint for the way to think of ourselves & how function in the world. In healthy families this template will have less discrepancy with reality, but for ACoAs what we absorbed was not only OUR immature thinking BUT also their WIC & PP!
PRESENT: The experiences, emotions & instruction we got from family were taken in wholesale, without consciously considering whether we really agree with any of it or if it suited us. The PES is now our ingrained voice of authority, combining our native personality with our conditioning. It’s made up of a huge number of hidden and obvious mental recordings. We are in Parent mode when we evaluate things, make generalized statements about the world, look after ourselves or others. This is OK as long as we have a Good Parent voice, & the Adult stays in charge (See ‘Contamination’)
● If our family was loving & reasonably healthy then our Inner Parent is a positive one, having taken in useful & accurate rules and regulations, realistic knowledge about the world, how to be appropriately nurturing & helpful…. but even for such people a portion of those parental messages will be out of date & need to changed or modified because:
— we’re no longer children, so some of those rules no longer apply
— in many cases society has moved on (the role of women, fear of technology…), making some of the early info useless or limiting
● , that part of us is mainly the toxic Parent (PP), with B & W, distorted and cruel beliefs that torture us & hold us back. Interestingly, many ACoAs have a version of a Loving Parent, which we only use for others – in the form of care-taking, rescuing, people-pleasing AND sometimes being of genuine help (teacher, nurse, leader, parent….) – BUT don’t apply that benevolence to ourselves.
Our harmful internalized messages have to be identified & replaced:
— they were severely damaging, leaving us with the conclusion “I’m so unworthy, no one will ever love me”
— they don’t apply to positive relationships with healthier people, so we can’t use them to guide us in interactions with others
Ego State POSITIONS
Berne suggested the 3 ego states may correspond to parts of the brain, and that 2nd & 3rd order states contain hereditary material.
1st Order – Basic T.A. model
● Parent, driven by beliefs, via things we were taught – acquired rather than inborn
● Adult, driven by thoughts, via what we’ve learned ourselves – called the neo-psyche (neo-cortex)
● Child, driven by emotions, via what we feel & intuit – called the archeo-psyche, vaguely connected to the reptilian brain (MORE...)
2nd Order – Ideally this is a complete & well-adjusted ADULT with all 3 aspects working to benefit each other as a unit:
● P2 (Parent E.A. as part of the whole) is focused on self-nurturing, as well as the care & protection of children.
● A2 (Adult E.S. of the whole) is mature, wise, makes good decisions, interacts with the other 2 parts & generally acts on behalf of oneself whenever practical functions / decisions / actions are needed.
● C2 (Child E.S. of the whole) is the ideally well-adjusted, un-wounded creative force of ones life. It’s made up of: P1 – the Adapted Child, A1 – called the Little Professor (always asking “WHY?”) & C2 the Natural Child.
3rd Order – Focus is on the Adapted Child with it’s accumulated trauma (see posts re. Child E.S.).
PURPOSE: The survival of the Species
For US: In general – the PES allows us to function AUTOMATICALLY, so we can respond to many aspects of our life without having to think about ‘How or What’ (how to behave in different situation, how to ride a bike or dress ourselves, what we believe, what comes next, what’s right….). This saves time & effort, freeing up the Adult part to make decisions ‘in the now’.
ALSO – it’s the way we treat ourselves, both in inner dialogue & actions. The Inner Parent is either loving or abusive. Because it’s how we parent ourselves, we need to identify it’s toxic content, & then work to correct them.
• P1 in this chart indicates the stage when the ‘early parent’ (C’s P) is formed – from birth to about age five
For OTHERS: Functions as PARENT to the next generation (our own children, & anyone else in genuine need), by combining family experience with our native personality and what we’ve taught ourselves
The ideal parent is “all-about-the-child”, nurturing and protecting them.
• P2: The grown-up Parent ego state is formed between ages 5 to around 20, with continued input from authority of caretaker figures. After that, any time P2 gets triggered, people tend to reacts just like their original role models. But since each of us also brings our own personality, and for some – our Recovery – to how we express P2, it’s possible to act much better than our dysfunctional training!
NEXT: PARENT E.S. (Part 2)