Have you ever wondered who you really are? In fact, it is likely that more than once you have acted without thinking and let yourself be carried away by passions, discovering a part of you that you did not even know existed.We usually think of us as a single and indivisible entity, but the the truth is that every day we multiply going to take on different personalities. We are the child who accompanies his mother to the hospital, but also the parent who takes care of his children, the loving couple and the colleague at work. In all these different environments, we not only behave differently, but we also feel different "Theory of I"
postulates that our personality is fragmented, composed of a multiplicity of 'I's who take the initiative from time to time, when necessary, to protect us from dangers, to ensure our survival and make us less vulnerable.
How do these different 'I's develop?
The child is born with a unique constitution, a named quality "Psychic imprint"
. In fact, many mothers realize that siblings are different from the womb, some move more and respond to stimuli while others are more relaxed and lazy. But along with the psychic imprint, the infant also has the potential to develop a variety of energy patterns, or 'I's, the combination of which will result in personality. However, the infant is helpless and vulnerable, dependent on adults for the survival. Soon the child learns to avoid problems and disappointments, he must exert a certain degree of control over the environment. Attempting to gain this control marks the beginning of his personality, which develops as a necessity to deal with vulnerability, transforming into an armor that protects him from the world. In the course of development, we are rewarded for certain behaviors and punished for others. As a result, some behaviors come out strengthened and others weakened. Each time we learn a lesson, our personality develops in one direction or the other. Indeed, one of the first aspects of the personality to develop is the controlling / protecting ego. He is a kind of bodyguard who constantly looks for dangers and determines how he can protect us from them. This "I" incorporates parental and social rules, and controls our behavior. He makes sure we follow a set of rules, because they guarantee our safety and social acceptance. The controller / protector ego determines how emotional we can be and makes sure that no action is inappropriate or ridiculous. This "I" constantly examines our environment to determine which of our behaviors will appeal to most people. Under his guidance, the simplest and most natural behaviors, such as laughing, lose their spontaneity and become automatic reactions to environmental stimuli. We become less authentic, because our controller / protector is continually monitoring and evaluating the alleged threats. This "I" is only the first of many others that we will develop as we grow up. It is a series of sub-personalities that define us as a person and who, ultimately, are the real culprits for our behavior. For example, the controller / protector ego will decide whether it is important to please people, if so, it will join the primary 'I' system with a 'complacent ego' whose mission will be to gain approval. The controller / protector can also give free rein to a "stimulating ego", which would be responsible for constantly motivating us, without giving us respite, to achieve success, or could allow the formation of a "perfectionist ego". These primary "I" are created by the controller / protector ego to form a protective shield that defends us from vulnerability, and are the result of the different aspects with which our ego identifies. They reveal what is important to us in all circumstances, which means that this balance of different 'I's can change over the course of life, to the same extent that our priorities change. Some of these' I's are pleasant, familiar and curious. while others are strange or even unpleasant, in this case they turn into "I renegade". In essence, these sub-personalities are formed from behaviors that have been punished every time they have emerged. It could have been through punishments such as withdrawal of attention, verbal reprimand, public humiliation, or even physical punishment.This way the child learns that these underlying behaviors and energy patterns are not socially accepted, not socially accepted. they help him have more control over the environment and do not protect him from vulnerability. As a result, it represses them. However, these "I's" do not completely disappear but remain in the unconscious, where they continue to influence our life, secretly. In fact, according to the theory of I, much of the stress we experience is due to our tendency to attract the reflection. of our disowned 'I's in our relationships. In practice, we develop an ambivalent relationship with these "I's", we do not recognize them in ourselves, but they attract us to others. Obviously, the repetition of these patterns in our life only causes suffering. What is the solution?
The "Dialogue of Voices" technique
The main problem with developing different 'I's is that in doing so we lose track of our initial psychic imprint. Therefore, while the stronger our personality is, the less vulnerable we will be, but at the same time, we will move further and further away from our authenticity. As a person becomes stronger, the more he will lose touch with his uniqueness. The child senses that he should wear a "mask" to face the world, but over time the mask becomes his personality and he takes it as his own, until it becomes a part of him. This mask becomes a truth that hides the original and authentic part of ourselves, as these qualities are frowned upon by society.
What to do to regain the initial mental imprint?
In the early 70s, American psychologists Hal and Sidra Stone created a very original technique called "Dialogue of Voices", which they explain in detail in the book "The Dialogue of Voices"
. The main goal is to channel each 'I' through a conscious ego, so that we can get the best out of each one. On the contrary, a “lazy I” put the brakes on. Indeed, we must realize that we all have different energy patterns with which we identify or reject, and each of these 'I's has its opposite pole, operating consciously or unconsciously. Through the Dialogue of Voices we can become aware of the multiplicity of 'I's, to help us make good decisions in our life. It is a tool that increases our awareness and generates a process of internal transformation.With this technique the psychologist has direct access to the sub-personalities, so he can separate them from the overall personality and treat them as if they were different psychic units. In this way he can discover the different 'I's, without the interference of the controlling / protecting ego acting as a repressive critic. Furthermore, since each of these sub-personalities experiences life differently, they can offer us new perspectives of the problems we face or may encourage us to live more satisfactorily. At the same time, by embracing the disowned 'I's, we accept all sides of ourselves and can take real control, to break out of those relationship patterns with toxic people.