Let’s all play nice
January 7, 2014
We all have different moods or ego states. There are three basic ego states. We all have a parent in our heads talking to us. Sometimes it's a nurturing voice and other times it's a criticizing voice. We all have an adult in our heads speaking logic to us. And lastly we all have a child in our heads. Sometimes this child is hurt and feeling victimized and other times it's telling us to have fun and be silly. These voices in your head are all parts of you.
Optimal functioning is having an adult at the top of the hierarchy dealing in logic and reasoning. Following is a nurturing parent stepping in when life is difficult, telling you, "you can do it." Lastly, having a fun child letting you know when it's time to have fun and let loose. However, many of us have our ego states out of whack! If your childhood was difficult you may have a hurt child who is ruling. This can cause feelings of being a victim. Having an oversized critical parent would come from growing up feeling judged and not good enough. This self judgment causes a strong feeling of needing to perform perfectly and usually bleeds over into judging others.
When our ego states are out of balance the only requirement is acknowledgment. When we take responsibility for our own experiences we can identify which ego state we are processing through. Defaulting to your adult brings logic and reasoning to the forefront where emotions can be calmed. Defer to your adult. Allow your nurturing parent to comfort your hurt child and give your critical parent a permanent vacation. Then allow your fun child to plan something fun to do. When we play well with ourselves we can play with others.
For more information on the above theory of Transactional Analysis you may enjoy the bestselling book, "Games People Play" by Eric Berne, M.D.
Bridgette DeBoer M.A., is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, marriage and family therapist intern. She can be reached at 450-6632.