Ego States – PARENT (Part 3)


by developing a Loving, Healthy Parent

PREVIOUS: Parent Ego State (PES), Part 2

POSTS:Rescuing” // Healthy Helping
// 5 Harmful mothers



The chart below shows the Parent aspect of the 9-element model by Wagner, Joines & Mountain, developed in the 1980’s.  While the A. is our Executive branch, & most beneficial as a person’s guiding force, it’s helpful to remember that all 3 ego states (PAC) can be either healthy or unhealthy part of someone, with good or bad motives, and with good or bad consequences.

EXP: The Adult ego-state can be applied to planning a new town on a drawing board, or planning to rob a bank.  Both activities require logic, reason, critical thinking faculties, planning skills, etc.. Review chart of the ‘OK Corral’ (Adult E.S., Part 3)

The next 2 Parent E.S. (PES) modes say: “You’re Not OK” to self & others

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 —
— Outwardly it’s often expressed towards others as prejudice & disapproval
— Inwardly it continues to influence the Inner Child, in the form of S-HParent Mode
EXP: It’s like 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

Negative ‘NURTURING P. is over-protective & may be 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

HINTS the Negative Parent (PP) is ‘on’
Neg. Physical – frowning, crossed arms, finger-pointing, angry or impatient body-language and expressions, finger-pointing, patronizing gestures…
Neg. Verbal – Use condescending tone, judgmental & critical words, patronizing or posturing language : “This is how you should — //  under no circumstances — //  you should always — // never forget to, don’t lie, cheat, steal… 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)

● Re. the POSITIVE SIDE: Since both of these aspects are either missing or weak in most ACoAs – especially toward ourselves – developing & safe-guarding the Good Parent voice is a critical (no pun intended) & fundamental requirement for our growth.
The bottom 2 Parental aspects seen in the chart say: “You’re OKto self & others:
Positive NURTURING P.good parent voice
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 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: This aspect can be seen in the person who lovingly takes care of that dog who got injured by a car while crossing the road

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 attention….  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 — //  stay away from the — //  be careful when you — // I recommend that you…..

DISTORTED or MISSING Parent or Adult ego states means the WIC is in charge, so its negative excessive needs & wants aren’t held in check.
EXP: Active addicts have chaotic lives – such a person will look for substances, people, organization &/or belief systems to be their missing P or A,  symbiosing with it as a way to sooth the pain & anxiety of inner aloneness. (See Contamination’)

PARENT E.S.: Someone with a strong (P) persona tends to focus on:rules & regs
• the ‘right way’ of doing things based on the rules they believe in
• how they can have an effect on others (controlling or helpful…)
• not showing too much emotion, more self-contained
• strong importance on how things are done (specific steps)

➼ When ACoAs function too much out of our PES, we will either be judgmental & finger-pointing, OR patronizing & overly solicitous

NEXT: Parent E.S. (Part 4)


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