The 4 Subpersonalities And How They Prevent Self Fulfillment

The 4 Subpersonalities And How They Prevent Self Fulfillment

3. The Victim

Description:  This subpersonality creates helpless and hopeless feelings.  It is that part of you that believes you have an inherent defect that makes you unworthy and incapable.  It tells you that nothing will ever change, and circumstances are irreversible and incurable.  The Victim consequently places obstacles and barriers between themselves and their goals, depriving themselves of self-satisfaction.

Key Expressions:  “I’ll never be able to …”, “I can’t”.

Examples:  “It’s too late to do that now … I’m too tired/old/unpracticed/unskilled”, “I’ll never be able to get a pay rise, so what’s the point of trying?”, “I can’t do that – it’s too hard for me”.

4. The Perfectionist

Description:  This person constantly pushes themselves to do bigger and better, always telling themselves that they aren’t doing well enough.  They derive their self-worth from external achievements, driving themselves with the mantra that they “should do” this or “should be” that.  When they fail to do something that doesn’t conform with their high standards, they are intolerant and self derisive.  The Perfectionist does not forgive or forget, creating great pressure and anxiety for themselves.

Key Expressions:  “I must”, “I should”, “I have to”.

Examples:  “I should be competent – I must get this done well”, “I have to always be selfless and caring”, “I should be the best at this recital – I have to do well”.

Read 10 Signs You’re A Perfectionist and How To Overcome

How To Free Yourself & Find Self Fulfillment

Which subpersonality was the most dominant in you?  It could have been two of them equally – this is normal.  Or it could have been just one like me (The Perfectionist).  Now that you have an idea of the Four Subpersonalities, you may be pondering the best course of action.  As prolific author Ray Bradbury suggested in his book Zen in the Art of Writing: don’t think – just do!  This is one approach that requires no mental action or analysis. However, some find this approach ambiguous, and as to how it is done, whether through meditation or some other self-prescribed method, it is entirely up to your own devices. However, there are other ways to counteract the negative self-talk of our subpersonalities. These come with 1) being mindful of your thoughts, and 2) interrupting your thoughts with any of the following questions:

1.   Are you being objective?

2.  Is this always true?

3.  Was this true in the past?

4.  Are you looking at the big picture – or simply focusing on the details?

5.  What are the objective odds of this happening?  Why?  Why not?

6.  What is the factual evidence for this?

7.  Truthfully, what’s the worst that could happen?  Why is this so bad?  How would you deal with this?

When trying to free yourself from the poison of your subpersonality/s, the goal is to a) challenge, b) look for evidence, and c) maintain an objective state of mind.  The biggest creator of pain is subjectivity.  Once you use these 7 questions to challenge your subpersonality/s, you will almost certainly find how little truth your self-limiting talk has in reality.

If this article inspired any thoughts in you, I’d love to hear about them below.
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The 4 Subpersonalities And How They Prevent Self Fulfillment
The 4 Subpersonalities And How They Prevent Self Fulfillment

5 thoughts on “The 4 Subpersonalities And How They Prevent Self Fulfillment”

  1. As a psychotherapist, I do not agree with this simplified and black and white view of the subpersonalities.

    Firstly, there are many subpersonalities and not just four.

    Secondly, these personalities are developed through childhood based on our defense mechanisms and are created by our psyche to protect the Inner Child and help her adapt to her surroundings.

    Thirdly, subpersonalities are not all terrible, as you have made them to be. Each subpersonality has a positive and a shadow side. The positives could be such as the Inner Critic can act like your coach, the Perfectionist helps you to strive towards a goal and stay focused, etc.

    Finally, fighting a subpersonality just makes it worse. We would want to dialogue with the subpersonality and give it a new job description and boundaries. I am sorry to come off as rude, but this article is partially misleading. I suggest people who were intrigued by this post to read the book – Embracing Your Selves, by Hal and Sidra Stone, to get a more accurate and balanced perspective.

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