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Why do I feel like I am a different person at different times? Understanding the parts of ourselves
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Adriana Gordon - London Private Counselling (PGDip, Reg MBACP)
9th January, 20180 Comments
‘Why am I so confident sometimes, and the next moment I act like a small child?’ ‘Why do I feel so vulnerable and lost in certain situations? And in others I am a control freak and in charge?’ ‘Why do I feel so intimidated by that person, but so authoritarian when I am with that other person?’ ‘Who is the REAL me?’
If you have ever had those kind of thoughts, you are not alone. We all have many different parts of ourselves, each manifesting in different ways and intensities, depending on the situation.
Since we were small children, we have been finding strategies to survive in the world. Consciously or not, we have been developing ways of coping and dealing with the people and environment around us. We learned some of the strategies from parents, teachers, other adults and family, and other strategies we developed ourselves, by trial and error, as we grew up.
The REAL you is all of those parts, together.
Discovering & learning about each part of us
As a result, we have many different parts in us. If we start looking at them - trying to recognise and name each one - we will notice that some parts are stronger and more powerful than others.
As an example, the ‘controller’ in you might be dominant and evident most of the time, making decisions at work, being assertive and wanting to be in charge. But then, when it comes to romantic relationships, you might feel like a ‘small child’, a little insecure, unsure and wanting to feel loved.
You might feel that the ‘critical’ in you is constantly present and alert, a tough and harsh voice in your head, following every step you take, criticising your choices and trying to put you down. You might also feel confused and perplexed that the ‘same you’ can, at other times, be so confident and assertive.
How can you be so different, so many times, in different situations?
Noticing, recognising and understanding each of those parts can bring a huge sense of relief, a greater understanding of yourself and, most importantly, a much more conscious control of your life.
Once you learn about the individual characteristics of each part – and what each has to offer – you will be able to find a more central place in you, from where you start to determine which part will come into play, in what moment of your life.
‘The Orchestra’ - using those parts to your own benefit
My favourite analogy is the Orchestra.
Imagine you are the conductor and each part of you is a different instrument. If you let the instruments play as they wish – without your conscious decision or awareness – it is very likely that they will produce a loud and unpleasant noise.
If you take the ‘conductor’ place - knowing each instrument and what you want from them - you will be able to ask them to play (or not play) at certain times, in harmony. Only then you will be able to produce the music you want to.
As in the orchestra, it is very important to remember that all instruments are equally important and fundamental in order to produce the final result. Without judgment. They are not ‘good or bad’, but pieces of a greater whole.
Of course, that also means that some instruments will need to be quieter at times, or even not play for a while. Some music might not require some of the instruments, and they will simply need to wait. It is about taking turns, respecting the other parts, finding balance and harmony between them.
By doing so, you will become more aware of the voices inside you. You will recognise that, sometimes, your reactions come from a certain part of you, very often unconsciously.
The more you get to know those different aspects, the more in control you will become. All those parts make who you are, they just need some tuning and guidance.
About the author
Adriana is an experienced Psychosynthesis Counsellor offering individual sessions to adults, in Covent Garden and London Bridge (Central London)
Adriana is also a group facilitator in systemic/family constellations, offering workshops in English and Portuguese.
Contact her on:
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