The Inner Parent, Adult, and Child

Every girl (in fact every human) is made up of three personality parts.
Most human frustration comes from the failure to understand that fact.

If you’ve ever said, thought or had somebody say of you:

“I can’t understand why I keep getting into relationships like that…”
“You’re crazy bitch”
Even (with apologies to Toad), “I can’t understand what I did last night…”

It was probably because you didn’t understand two very basic sets of facts about how the human mind works. In the next few weeks, we’re going to explain them in plain, clear, language…

The first Fact – Parent Adult and Child

Not everyone wants to learn how to understand other people and themselves…
You can curse. You can say “girls are crazy” or “boys are stupid.” But if you want to be a good Master (or a good person) you can stop, breathe, and understand about a half dozen facts that aren’t rocket science and will ring true.

Why doesn’t everybody talk about these things all the time. Well there are a lot of reasons. One is that despite living in an advertising driven economy, where knowing how people think is next to gold, our schools and even our peers are very reluctant to talk about what makes people think the way they do. I think there are two basic reasons for this:

a) We’d rather think it’s all someone else’s fault and we’re fine – goes double for aspiring Dominants
b) We fear that to know all is forgive all, and we don’t necessarily want to forgive all…(see a)

You can use a lot of models to understand why people think the way they do. I’m going to teach you the one that is most useful for general purpose, quick understandings of the darker and harder parts of the human personality. It may sound a little complex, but it’s all just simple stuff we all understand and I’m going to make it easy. Ten minutes of understanding these concepts will get you a long way.

If you find this interesting, my girl miranda did a very good writeup on PAC a while back that I strongly recommend.

A Little History about PAC

I’m admit always a little chagrined to haul out Eric Berne’s Parent-Adult-Child Model of Personality, because as “Transactional Analysis,” it’s gotten quite a bit of shit in the past thirty years as being very hippyish and hokey..the late Warren Zevon enshrined the social mockery of T/A as faddish and upper class in his song “Gorilla You’re a Desperado.” Still, like many things that got overblown, it was popular because it made sense and there was some truth in it. The classic music of tomorrow is getting overplayed today.

I was introduced to Eric Berne’s theories many years ago by a friend who was working on a Master’s Degree in Psychology. I largely forgot the details, though it is clear that I assimilated them well enough to make them part of my own personal instinctual understanding and modeling of people.

Berne created a really practical tool that almost anyone can use to hold their personality up and see the shit that is hurting them in their life. I think you can take it too dogmatically, and there’s been no end of push to de-popularize it and make it obscure again, but in the end, it’s a good simple model for understanding what goes on in people’s heads.

The Parent-Adult-Child Model

You may already be familiar with the basic model in Berne’s work. It’s not too dissimilar to Freud, just different enough that it makes more sense.

The Psyche has three parts:

The Child – everything we feel emotionally. All wants and needs. The only area where this gets weird is that “Child” is a generic term for the self-oriented part of the mind…the part that just wants. So sex is a Child function, because it ties in to hunger for touch, intimacy, stimulus. The Child has two parts

Rebellious Child – “I hate you all, I don’t wanna”
Compliant Child – Service, wanting to please

The Parent – everything you’ve ever been taught to believe. The Parent is “wear your coat,” and “nice girls don’t do that.” And if conflicting adults teach you conflicted things they all go in there. The parent isn’t critical and doesn’t sort things out. People get fucked up when one thing in their Parent conflicts with another. Bioparents, Guardians, Schoolteachers, Religious Figures, Television, and Older Siblings fill up the Parent. In a later post we’re going to talk about what happens when the parent gets severely fucked up, such as ending up with a message that “pleasing men through sex is the only way to have any value whatsoever,” or “nothing about sex is good, all sex is abuse.”

The parent is responsible for the dangerous myth of a conscience, or that “still small voice” that tells us good from bad. That voice is not common to all humans, and it is why an Afghan may blow you up and a Korowai may eat you, and both sleep very soundly after the fact. Some things are pretty common to most people, so they happen to be in most people’s parent…”thou shalt not kill.” But they exist because they were put there by repetition, not because they are intrinsic to human beings.

The parent forms until about age 8, then from age 8-14, there is a “sealing off” process in which the Mind begins to become more rigid, and information cannot enter the parent as readily.
The Parent has two parts

Nurturing Parent – make sure to wear a raincoat…it’s cold outside…
Critical Parent – how could you behave like that…good girls (boys) don’t!

The Adult – The Adult is “You.” The more you think in ways that aren’t based either on kneejerk acceptance of what your parents/elders told you, or simple response to emotions “I wanna piece of cake,” the stronger your parent…your “self” is.

Neither the parent nor child think analytically. One acts on basic instincts “I am horny,” the other acts on things they have been told “only dirty girls feel horny.” The adult gets to sort the mess out. Unfortunately the Adult is often overwhelmed. About half the people you see around you are going through life just listening to their Parents. A smaller minority never outgrow acting entirely from their child. Most end up a tug-of-war between the two, living in a war torn country being periodically ravaged by powers they don’t understand.

PAC and Training

While there are a few people who are self-assured, know exactly what they want out of life, and know how to get it, who are drawn to D/s and M/s, the vast majority or not. Even the very strong willed candidate often talks about a lack of focus…they don’t know what they want to do with themselves. Others have a lack of self control that keeps them from getting the things they want an seek a Dominant knowing that they need “discipline.”

The typical 20ish female candidate is caught in a series of emotionally painful spirals between the desires of the Child (which have usually been repressed, overindulged, or both) and the lessons of the Critical Parent which carry all the neuroses and defense mechanisms of the Parents.

In past eras it is probable that the child was heavily repressed, giving us the “repressed” general sensibilities of the Victorian Era, and the dour faces of Grant Wood’s American Gothic, but most trainees you will encounter were not raised that way.

The culture of dour privation is rare. The child of a fucked up alcoholic may have been subjected to tremendous emotional repression through fear of rage or punishment, yet also have been given sporadic gifts, or left largely unsupervised to engage in childhood fantasy. Emotional abuse may have been “bought off” producing a child who is both spoiled, and scared.

I can only imagine that most male submissives who seek a Mistress must have similar core problems, though I will comment that our society gives more conflicted messages to young women than to young men, resulting in…in my opinion…a more fucked up parent.

Young Men are told pretty uniformly that they need to get jobs, be breadwinners, be good at sports and sex, get a good girl, and reproduce. Young Women are told that they need to be astronauts and achievers, but are also still presented with a lot of role models and fiction that suggest they exist to make babies and be a helpmate. The existence of a transition culture is probably beneficial to the human endeavor, but means that modern young girls find themselves at the center of a storm of conflicting demands.

Next we’ll discuss some specific paths to applying PAC to Training, and the situations one is likely to find…

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