Recognizing the communication of a part

Everyday language

Our everyday language has developed descriptions of parts. We may not know exactly what is behind these sayings, but it accurately describes what we feel in ourselves and see in others. We say things like “Part of me feels,” “There is a side to a person,” “You don’t seem like yourself today,” or “Where is the wife/husband I married?” Even the saying, “I was beside myself with anger” is speaking of parts. All of this language is describing the behavior of parts surfacing in people.

Recognizing a part’s communication

Every part of the mind is generally active. Parts may influence us from the background or temporarily take control and speak for themselves. There are three primary ways that parts express themselves in daily life:

1) Through emotions. We feel inner emotional pressure to do something or to think about something differently.

2) By telling the core adult what to do. This can be an inner voice that you may hear from time to time or that is communicated through emotional impressions.

3) By taking control. A triggered part may temporarily take control in place of the adult core personality. The change is usually unnoticed by the person who is triggered because: a) the part is still you, so you don’t feel like a different person, and b) the behavior, even if grossly immature, is age appropriate to that part of you. If the triggering is strong enough, you may feel somewhat disconnected from the situation. Some people recall feeling as if they are sitting at the side or back of their head watching themselves do something such as chew someone out. While that happens, the part of you watching may be thinking, “Why am I doing this? This is too much!” while the one talking is throwing off all restraints, as if it only wants to push the person out of your life. This does not happen to everyone. But when triggering becomes this noticeable, you are seeing a child part up front and in control while your core adult self is temporarily pushed aside. This is the origin of the phrase, “I was beside myself with anger. ”