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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-
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-
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 -
2. Vulnerable child -
3. Needy child inner selves -
4. Young fighter-
5. Young fixer selves -
6. Young thinking fighter selves. More capable of combining thinking tools with younger fighting ones -
7. Thinking fixer tool box -
8. Aware and thinking systems -
9. Aware thinking and feeling systems -
10. Growing up and Growing awareness systems-
11. Aware Grown up System -
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 -
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 -
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-
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 -
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 -
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-
C. The Un-
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-
Young Fighter -
Young Fighter Survivor selves are powerful but may over-
The emotional age of a typical Fighter-
One of their particular difficulties that they often do not see things clearly.
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-
The Young Fixer selves -
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-
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-
Feeling much stronger. Rational mind is now able to share some of the work. The Pusher-
Thinking Fixer selves -
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 -
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-
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-
As your emotional age grows so you become conscious of your developing self-
Problem solving is getting better. Less emotional pain.
Growing Aware systems -
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-
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 -
Integrating Aware thinking and Feeling selves -
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!
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! -
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
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.