How to tell if an Inner self is ‘driving the bus’ 


Different people have different selves, each one with its own separate and unique identity, its own kind of energy and way of behaving. Inside you (and those around you) at any one time, there is usually a ‘family’ of five, ten or more easily recognised selves (sub-personalities) working on things and quite a few more in the background or as we say ‘sitting at the back of the bus’ waiting in case they are needed. Here are some pointers that tell you if an inner self has taken over and feeling that it is ‘in charge’  Of course from it's point of view it is just trying to protect its 'person' from what it sees as his or her vulnerability.

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The signs are much the same whether you are noticing your own, or someone else’s selves.
Although the examples are about spoken interactions, you could observe the same pointers if you were reading the words.

1. Are the words being spoken reflecting polarity? Are they describing things as good or bad; right or wrong; one thing you must do but the other you must not do, one will work and the other will fail? Are they reflecting judgment or criticism of another person?

2. Does the level of power between speakers seem unbalanced? Do interactions with the other person seem to push each of you into either a polarised ‘one-above’ or ‘one-below’ position (or you switch back and forth between each one in turn).

3. Are words, phrases or reactions familiar , do they seem like replays of previous reactions, a repeat of similar past behaviour patterns? Each self, being a specialist has a very limited repertoire of responses. Is your response to the same kind of self in someone else similar?

4. Is the level of energy or confusion more intense than you might expect in regard to this particular situation? Is that particular kind of intensity or confusion a familiar pattern? (See Cannons, Crucifixes or Concrete on page 1-53 of Growing Awareness)

5. In TA terms, is the emotional age of the speaker more child like or parent like, than adult. This suggests that the selves are protecting the inner child's "unparented vulnerability". If a strong inner Mother or Father is present the emotional age and intensity will be more adult. Notice here the major difference between the TA 'parent' and the 'inner parent'.

6. Are the ways power and control are being handled also familiar? For example - Are the one-above or TA parent selves trying to exercise control or stay in power in their usual way? (Confronting, dramatic defending, over reacting to challenges, judging others or arguing about excuses.) Are the one-below or TA child selves working hard in their usual way to reduce anxiety or vulnerability? (Rescuing, surrendering, peacekeeper, pleaser, don't rock the boat, giving up, giving in, playing victim or martyr, restraining other softer selves exchanging codependent warranties or setting up deals.)

7. Is there an emphasis on ‘doing’ things? Selves are more interested in actions and outcomes than allowing time for you to just ‘be’ yourself.

8. Is the speaker’s intensity or energy projected outwards towards the other person? Is the conversation about what the other person is doing, about their actions or the impact of what they have done or said? Is the talk mostly about why the other person should do differently or ought to change?

9. Does the speaker project a want, a need, an intention, or concern related to the hoped for results of this communication? In particular is it about wanting someone else to change so the speaker will then feel safer or better about themselves? The level of energy related to this intention may be strong or weak, but if you can see, hear or feel it, that suggests a self is involved in making the proposal.

10. Does it look or sound as though there is a self trying to protect you
in some of the other ways that have been explained in this section? The list on the page, ‘Things the Inner Selves Do For You’ summarises these.


Copyright John Nutting 1996 - - 2009  and      GROWING AWARENESS   All rights reserved World Wide 

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