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Explaining The Emotional Age  Guide


All of us, from the very earliest days in our lives are developing what I like to talk about as different inner selves or systems to help us deal with life.

Psychologists have lots of other more complicated names for these, for example, sub-personalities, life skills, repeated patterns, persona, schema, life systems or “inner selves”.

For the time being just think of them as repeated patterns of behaviour that we have learned over the years because they work when we have to do different jobs.


Each system or each inner self uses different “emotional tools”  


One tool for each job

It is important to be aware of:

1. Which energetic state or inner self you are in at any one time.

2 .Which kind of emotional tools you are using at that time because each one is different and works in a different way.

They are just like any other set of tools. Each one works in a different way. Imagine  yourself in a workshop full of tools and wanting to do a specific job, say cutting a piece of wood.

What are the risks if you automatically grab any old tool off the bench and start using it in the hope that it might cut the wood.

It’s the same with your inner selves. You need to be able to label them, know what each one does, when it’s good to use it and when not to use it. You need to sort them out so you can find the right one when you need it.


Equally important is noticing when you are using the wrong tool or self and changing over to a better one.

That kind of noticing is called self-awareness. It’s not a tool in itself. It’s more like a having a way to organise your tool kit.


An  emotional age tool guide will help you to:

1. Sort out your tool box, that is classify all your selves and their emotional tools according to what they can and can’t do for you.

2.  Choose the best inner self and emotional tool for each job.

Choosing is largely a case of recognising the inner self that is powering each tool and its emotional age

3. Recognise when you are using the wrong tool and why it is not going to work.


Sorting out your tools

The picture below is the starting point. It classifies some different kinds of inner selves or tools  according to the different systems, patterns and emotional ages that you or I move into each time we find ourselves facing a different situation.


1. Your wonderful and magic  Inner Child is in the middle - each and every one of the parts and inner selves and tools that surround the inner child are there to protect and watch over that child.

2. Vulnerable child - pink  zone

3. Needy child inner selves - orange sector including charming child and compliant child tools

4. Young fighter-survivor selves - red sector

5. Young fixer selves - yellow sector

6. Young thinking fighter selves. More capable of combining thinking tools with younger fighting ones  - yellow green and moving towards green.

7. Thinking fixer tool box - darker grey green

8. Aware and thinking systems - bright  green tools more organised

9. Aware thinking and feeling systems - green moving towards blue.

10. Growing up and Growing awareness systems-light blue moving towards darker shades of blue.

11. Aware Grown up System -SAGE  - like the germinating seed of an Aware ego

Recognise Your Different Energy states or inner selves and the different Emotional Tools they each use


Each stage or inner self is recognisably different because inside you will  feel a different energy in your body. Each state or inner self is accompanied by different thoughts, words and feelings.

Each  inner self uses different emotional tools to help make things happen or get things done.


My first tools - younger inner selves

A starting point is the pink sector which is where you, and I too, can find ourselves at times when we feel absolutely devastated, lost, unable to cope. It’s as though at that time, we have lost all our tools and our fuel tank is empty as well. It’s similar to the way you used to feel when you were a small child and had nothing to help you deal with problems that appeared to be so much bigger than you were.

If this happens to you today it actually helps if you identify your emotional age at this moment. You have suddenly returned right back at very your original very young and very vulnerable state. But today it is only a temporary state.


Very Vulnerable child state - Pink   “I can’t cope any longer!” Or “I should .... but I can’t”

Thoughts, words  and feelings ….

“I just can’t cope any longer, I feel like giving up. It’s all too much.”  “I just can’t work it out”. “I just can’t go on” “I am lost”. “I give up”. “I shouldn’t have to do this”. “I’m  frightened”.

Accompanied by a sense of loss about “essential resources”.

There is just not enough …….. …. time, money, energy, etc etc.” I don’t have enough power, I don’t have enough skills, I don’t have enough space, I don’t have enough joy, I don’t have enough love, I don’t have any friends, I don’t have enough brain power.” “I just can’t get started”.

May also be accompanied by a feeling of great tiredness.

“It’s all too hard;  I don’t want to have to do this any longer.” “Just too tired. Giving up or giving in unconditionally.

You are all grown up according to the calendar and perhaps a very successful business executive, teacher or a fellow therapist. But just at this time you have flipped out of your aware grown-up system and have slipped back as we all do sometimes, into this very much younger state.


Quite quickly even as a small child you learned that there were better places to be than stuck in the pink Very Vulnerable child place. That was when you started to develop your very first set of inner selves. Today, you will probably find yourself moving out of the pink state quite quickly and letting other inner selves take on the basic everyday tasks, solving problems that the very vulnerable child state just cannot cope with.


Needy Child  state - Orange       Usually “I have to …..  “ but sometimes “ I should ... or I ought to ....”

There are three distinct sub groups or inner selves.

1. Complaint child inner selves

2. Charming Child inner selves

3. Undeserved Victim inner selves

Each of these inner selves we send out different messages about what we need, what we feel we “must do”  and what we want to receive in return from others when we do that “must” thing for them.

All three project similar messages about needing to be protected, liked, loved or wanted. Hidden in the background of each  message is a signal that reflects a feeling it has very little power on its own and needs help getting essential needs met.

A. The Compliant Child inner self signals a willingness to fit in with more powerful people in return for protection and having lots of needs met by that person. Three of the most common compliant inner selves are “Don’t rock the boat”, “Pleaser” and “Peacekeeper”. All are masks, but if  we wear them for too long we pay a heavy price. We give up on ‘me’. We seldom get to be our authentic self. We forget how to say ‘No’. We may even forget who the “real me” is.

B. Charming Child inner self - The charming child can be a fabulously successful mask, in terms of getting needs met by others. If  we wear it for too long, however, we pay the same price.

We don’t experience what it is like to be  the “real me”.  More and more, we lose touch with the authentic side of our self, who we really are.

In both cases, sooner or later your anti-pleaser the Fighter-Survivor self steps in to rescue your “real me” from oblivion.

C. The Un-equal or Undeserved Victim inner self is centred on strong inner beliefs that:

1. As the victimised person I need others to stop their unjust behaviour.

2. If they just stopped doing those things to me l would no longer feel victimised.

3. Whoever is victimising me is unfair, unjust, dishonest, unreasonable, or just plain mean.

4. There is nothing I (as the victimised individual) can do to stop this happening again and again.


With all of the needy child selves, neediness gets in the way and makes it harder to see things clearly. Too much black or white (polarised) thinking. Medicating rather than fixing. Confusion about what is reality. Overly strong emphasis on needing help from others.

In the end a Young Fighter-survivor self usually steps in to change this situation. They are seldom the best selves to do this but they are a better option than being stuck in the needy child state. As you will see below, when you can access a thinking fixer or a rational mind self or better still a self-aware grown up system these can do a much better job.


Young Fighter - Survivor selves - Red         “You must ....  or else I will ....... ”

Young Fighter Survivor selves are powerful but may over-react in a “young” way when feeling too vulnerable themselves and not seeing things too clearly.  They are specialists, which means they automatically employ the same emotional tools or follow the same patterns every time.

The emotional age of a typical Fighter-Survivor is still quite young. These  selves  developed early in life and they helped you, as a child, develop the skills you needed to survive. Some are quite powerful when it comes for fighting to maintain survival, but many of them over-react in too much of an “emotionally young” way.

One of their particular difficulties that they often do not see things clearly.  

Examples:

Blaming people or situations outside of me rather than looking for solutions or ways to change.

Exaggerating or distorting an issue.

Criticising, generalising, stereotyping

Forecasting catastrophes that may never happen

They often use a lot of energy judging or looking for flaws in other people.

One of the unfortunate outcomes when Fighter-survivors try to solve problems with other people  is that they don’t have a very good success rate. They help you survive but they don’t get things fixed very often.


The Young Fixer selves -  Yellow  -I will ...  or  You will .... “

When the young fixer selves start to take over things begin to be sorted out.

Fixers certainly can act a little older on the emotional age scale. They also feel more confident than the fighter-survivors. Fixers use tools that are less automatic more selective but their approach to fixing things and problem solving still shows child like elements.

Fixer selves  are seldom able to look at issues clearly from both sides. They still see too many solutions as ”outside of me” or requiring others to do most of the fixing. So fixer  parts  commonly place a strong emphasis on their need to control other people.

We are becoming aware that any of our selves that see solutions as “outside of me”  tends to be a bit out of touch with reality and still a bit young emotionally.

Typically these selves often have us talking and acting like ‘parents’ but their energy, even as they are doing this, is still that of a young fixer, not a more balanced grown up fixer. They project  excessive over-confidence and may say things like“ Of course I am sure” to hide their reality that they are not at all sure about things.


Pusher-driver selves - Darker yellow    “This I will do ..(x).... and that will fix it .... “

Feeling much stronger. Rational mind is now able to share some of the work. The Pusher-driver selves use tools that work better by looking at  problems first then reasoning, analysing and  arguing but often with an eye to winning rather than resolving the problem.


Thinking Fixer selves - Grey green     “How can we fix it  ...?”

Emotional Age is now growing and feeling more confident. Thinking Fixer selves work with the Rational mind so the thinking side can now help by providing the tools to look at issues clearly from both sides, then reason, analyse and resolve issues.  However the fixer side is not always accompanied by a mature outlook.


Rational Analytical Mind takes over - Bright green   “I decide to  ....”

This marks a big step forward in emotional age.  At this point reasoning and logic selves take over from the younger automatic inner selves and can consciously over-ride many of them. Reality is becoming clearer.

Not so skilled yet at integrating feelings in decision making.

The more  I can think rationally and analyse the issues and see things from two or more different points of view the better I am at solving my problems.

The more I think through a problem rationally the stronger I feel and the less my emotional pain.

However, somehow I still can’t fix everything. I know I am “good enough” but deep down inside I sometimes still feel “not good enough”. It seems to me that there are some things that rational thinking cannot get to or fix.


Starting to Grow my self- Awareness - Aqua blue   “I choose to ........”

As your emotional age grows so you become conscious of your  developing self-aware grown-up parts. Your selves are now well organised and you are becoming better at choosing just the right self for each task. You can also use several selves at the same time to improve the results.

Problem solving is getting better. Less emotional pain.


Growing Aware systems - - Light blue “I can change and I can choose  ........”

Emotional Age and Emotional Intelligence are growing. Power and control issues are less important than being authentic.

Realising at last that controlling others doesn’t help me feel better inside or fix anything inside me.

Less interest in power and control issues. I am starting to feel good enough inside.

Growing sense of grown-up self-awareness and balanced self-empowerment. Feeling good enough lots of the time.

Emotional wounds healing. More vulnerable but feeling self protected in ways that don’t get me into blaming or controlling others or trying to take their power away from them.


Aware Thinking and Feeling (integrated) and Growing up Self Awareness System - Blue

Integrating Aware thinking and Feeling selves - Emotional Age and Emotional Intelligence are both growing together. Seeing reality even more clearly. Combining feelings with reasoning gives a more balanced view. Better at noticing what I am doing and saying and feeling.

I accept myself as I am. I no longer need validation from others (though it’s nice when it happens). I can do almost anything I want to. Nothing seems “too much” for me  any more!


SAGE - Self-Aware Grown-up System. Dark Blue   “I am the real ‘me’ .....”

Strong Emotional Intelligence. Strong Rational thinking yet flexible and balanced with powerful empathy, intuition and spirit. Power and control issues replaced by loving and sharing skills. Welcoming growth and change.

I am  now  the ‘me’ I was always meant to be, my balanced authentic self! - Self-loving and self honouring, aligned with my own value systems.

I march to the beat of my own drum. I am no longer bound by other people’s rules. I can change and adapt because I am flexible and have the power to make my own choices.


NOTE:  A Flip is a sudden automatic shift from one position on the gauge to another position or inner self, usually right over to the opposite side.

The more I work with Voice Dialogue and the Inner Selves the more I come to appreciate the significance of the emotional age of each individual inner self.

I have a new website

www.flying-free.com.au

This site goes into a deeper study of the emotional age factor and I have just published a new book about  emotional age awareness.

The notes below are extracts from my new website. Please keep in mind that this new site has been written for readers who know nothing of Voice Dialogue or the world of the inner selves so I use alternate more everyday terms there to explain what is going on.