If you are overthinking about every decision you make,
…if you are always worrying about what can go wrong instead of what can go right,
…if you get overwhelmed and confused easily
Then there’s every possiblity you would benefit from a bit of Transactional Analysis.
Put simply, we have two roles in our head:
Our inner parent – sometimes called the Critical Voice – it’s the part of you that warns you of any possible danger and always is on the look out for ways to keep you safe.
Our inner child – this is the part of us that wants to play, explore, have fun and go off on adventures.
These two roles that play themselves out within us, have opposing agendas – the parent (P) wants to keep you safe and the child (C) wants to go out and explore fearlessly.
Both of these roles have the power to shut you down and turn you into emotional turmoil.
Your parent, in particular, if it feels like you are heading toward a dangerous situation, appears to have the ability to stop you in your tracks with sickness, tiredness, lack of energy and comatose states of long periods of sleep.
As well, your child, can make a real mess of things if it feels like it’s stifled in a prison. Wild emotional rides, moodiness, grumpiness, resentment, sulking and a wide range of behaviours with much in common with small children who are frustrated by their leash being too tight.
So what does this mean for you?
Put simply, most of us have two positions in our life and they are in conflict and it looks like this:
Your child wants to do something and your parent comes up with a whole batch of reasons why not. Your child starts to exert their power and try and get their own way. The adult tightens the reign and your child struggles. If the parent feels like it’s loosing control of your inner child, it will use whatever means of force to get your child to comply and stay within the safety of behavior determined by the Parent.
Its a real struggle inside you sometimes.
Enter Transactional Analysis – Ta Dahhh!
Transactional analysis creates another inner character into your already crowded psyche.
It’s the Adult (A).
The A’s job is to listen carefully to both the P and the C’s points of view about a situation and how it should be handled. Then, A will make the final decision, moving forward, taking into consideration what both P & C wanted. The A can make a decision that has nothing to do with what either P or C want, but the fact that A has listened to them, helps them accept the final decision.
Your inner landscape now looks like this:
It sounds like a convoluted process – and it is in the beginning – but what happens, if you work your way through this process, generally it starts to happen automatically and under your radar – when you establish your Adult self into the eternal conflict between the Parent and the Child
Your Three Selves:
Parent | Adult | Child
The trick is for you to learn is that
your Adult firstly
both the Parent and
then your Child
Then, your Adult
makes a decision,
taking in consideration what
the Adult and Child want,
but making the decision
based on the Adult’s
of the situation,
the consequences of the decision
& the benefits of the decision.
makes the decision;
the Parent & the Child just want to
be heard out.
Here’s an amazing Ted Talk that shows you what can happen when you try and shut your inner voices down.
There are consequences.
If your internal Parent’s Objective is to sow seeds of self doubt,
It’s only because it’s Purpose is to protect you.
Because it’s only automatic and runs on
recordings from long ago,
It’s ability to protect you only extends to what it ever did when you were a child.
Which, of course, is not appropriate for you in the here and now.
When you begin to earn the trust of your Inner Parent, that you are capable,
…and will protect yourself, then
a new possibility of relationship opens up for you and your Inner Parent.
If you give your Inner Parent the role of ‘Trusted and Respected Adviser’
…and discipline your Adult to ask your Inner Parent to review your strategy,
….and to give you warning of anything you haven’t considered in that plan,
Then you have turned that part of you from a saboteur into an ally
There’s an epidemic of it – especially in the middle classes.
It’s where you believe the persona that you project onto the world and deny any feeling, thought or belief that doesn’t fit.
You have to be nice, have a nice partner, nice kids, shop in nice shops, live in nice areas, drive a nice car……
In transactional analysis, they divide our selves into three parts:
The Parent – a recording of all the things our parents said to us
The Adult – the part of us who makes choices based on evaluating the evidence provided
The Child – the spontaneous, often precocious part of us that just wants to have fun and hear yes to everything they want.
It appears to me that “Nice” comes from the parent.
“Terminal Niceness” comes from having an unexamined parent influencing your thoughts – in other words, you are not aware that your choices are coming from that part of your self.
The adult’s job is to make a decision about the recording from the parent and the hedonistic self centred demands from the child. The adult needs to be able to put “niceness” into perspective. The Parent was always concerned about the child fitting in – therefore “niceness” was only a strategy to enable the child to survive with other people – society.
There comes a stage in human development where the individual needs to identify this as a mere strategy, not a preferred way of being. Jesus wasn’t nice all the time – just ask the money changers on the temple steps!
So, if you keep finding yourself being “Nice” all the time, it would behove you to review this, simply in order for you to discover what is authentic for you as an individual.
……I’d hate to have “Nice Guy” written on my tombstone!
Ugly Betty might be nice, but she is also authentic!
– Funny how the Latinos love her!!