If you look at your passport or your driving license you can see your name and your photo. Even if the photo is bad you can tell that it is you.
You appear to be just one person. But is that true?
On the outside you may project an image of calm, capability, or one of the other ways we like to present ourselves to the world. Behind the eyes and beneath the skin it can be a different story.
Have you ever said or heard someone else say?
- I am not good enough
- There is something wrong with me
- I can’t forgive myself
- Nobody loves me
- I hate myself
Each of these statements is about an ‘I’,’me’ or ‘myself’. They speak about our identity, who we are.
Beneath what we hope are our socially acceptable exteriors there may be parts of ourselves that are not happy.
These parts: the ‘I’ in “I’m not good enough”, the ‘me’ in “Nobody loves me” and the ‘I’ and ‘myself’ in “I hate myself” are sometimes known as sub-personalities. Sub-personalities are parts of our inner selves that step up and wear the mask of our outer selves.
These parts of ourselves are usually suffering.
The ‘I’ in I’m not good enough is not having a good time.
The ‘me’ in “Nobody loves me” feels distress.
The ‘I’ and ‘myself’ in “I hate myself” are both feeling stressed.
These parts of ourselves are often formed in childhood at times of stress. They carry what they felt, thought and did at that time through life in a capsule of that stress and distress.
You may also remember times when it felt as if a younger part of yourself took control of your adult self. It’s as if you had been hijacked by a terrified child or angry teenager. If you’ve had this experience you have felt the presence of a sub-personality.
It’s bad enough that we can carry these pockets of stress and distress within ourselves, but it gets worse.