A 'VADED' CHILDHOOD
Different parts of the personality are termed ego states and we have distinct states that we move into and out of. At any one moment one state is in charge and this state is called the Executive. All feelings and emotions in that moment are the ones attached to that state.
In other words, Ego States are the neural pathways that define all our different emotions and behaviours – both positive and negative, and most usually start in childhood.
Vaded Childhood States
When we have experienced challenges in childhood, we will have neural pathways that are overly sensitive to certain situations that really shouldn’t trigger us beyond mild annoyance.
As a mature adult we may have great awareness of the past – but this doesn’t mean we have resolved it. They generally only come out but when dealing with our partner, our parents, or others where we have a relationship that is more than just a close friendship.
The problem is – when they are triggered, they become the executive, a then when we calm down or self sooth, our mind cunningly covers up for them, and as a result we don’t have any real awareness of them. Our partner will say we are in denial – but this is not true. Other states are actually covering up so we don’t experience any further damage to our self esteem.
How Do They Work?
Vaded Ego States hold anxiety-producing levels of fear or rejection. These are reactive parts of the personality – but when in the executive they show emotion that is misplaced in the current setting.
Consequently they feel out of control, have a sense of disempowerment and stop the person from responding in a preferred, calmer or more acceptable way.
Are They Common?
As a couple counsellor these states are identified and discussed with amazing frequency. Probably 75% of couples coming to counselling have one or both with this history and consequent Vaded States. Unfortunately NO children have perfect childhoods. Even if only a perception.
How Do You Know You Have Them?
This is the million dollar question. Because of their nature, you often won’t have great awareness yourself. Consequently it is very hard for psychologists and counsellors to identify when you are going for personal therapy. In fact, the feeling that clients often have is that their partner is the problem - especially as friends never see this trait in them.
It is only when a partner says things like “I worry about my answer”; “It feels like I am in trouble”; “It’s as if I am walking on eggshells”; “I felt we were going great then we fell out over something really trivial” … these are indicators that something is awry.
Should I Be Worried?
If not acknowledged and dealt with they can make someone feel many things: they can never find a normal partner; they can’t trust their partner; life seems like a roller coaster, etc ...
However – when acknowledged, validated, resolved and helped by other states – life can feel calm and peaceful.