Do you know the different parts of yourself? Most of us are only vaguely aware of the 3 different parts that I like to talk about in counseling: The Adult, The Little Boy/Girl, and The Angry Teenager. If you want to have a healthy life, you’ll want to become intimately aware of all three parts of yourself!
Adult – This is the part of you that is reasonable, rational, knows the ‘right’ thing to do, and makes pretty good decisions. This part of us can keep our word, see the bigger picture, and remain mature in tense situations. This is usually the only part of ourselves that we see well and, since we like that part of ourselves, we like to think that is all of us. Picture The Adult having a calm, rational discussion about a very intense topic.
Little Girl or Boy – This part of us is much more insecure, needy, sensitive and easily wounded. They are impulsive, have immature reactions to things, and are not very in touch with their emotions. This part of us comes out big time in relationships and we are often just as surprised as our partner when it does! Picture The Little Boy/Girl as pouting under the coffee table having been terribly wounded by a minor oversight by another person.
Angry/Immature Teenager – This part of us is also impulsive and immature, but has the capability of doing much more damage than the little girl or boy. They might react by lashing out with harsh words, or squealing their tires out of the parking lot. They have to have the last word. They might un-friend you or post details about the current drama on Facebook in an angry snit. If they can’t get the other person to ‘admit’ to their horribly offensive behavior, they might turn it on themselves and get suicidal (real or empty threats) in order to get the other person to ‘hear’ their pain. Picture The Angry/Immature Teen as keying your car in a fit of rage.
If you only see the Adult part of yourself and are disconnected from the other parts, then the Little Girl or Boy and the Angry Teenager could be running behind the scenes causing all kinds of damage. It is like having a virus that is running behind the seemingly normal functions of your computer, but wreaking all kinds of havoc without your knowledge. You will have little to no control over your actions and reactions.
A healthy person is in touch with all three components of themselves and can speak to them. The little child can identify that he is hurt or disappointed and takes it to the adult to get relief (talk to the person who disappointed them) vs. pouting under the coffee table. The angry teenager recognizes their anger as a signal that something is wrong and works with the adult to decide the best course of action. NOTHING has to be done this second. When all three are working as a team, they can sit with something and let the best decision come to them.
Recognizing these other parts of yourself may just be the very thing you need to take you to the next level of emotional health. If you need some help along the way, we will be happy to help you. It is a difficult journey, but a very worthwhile one!