What is a Cast of Characters?
“Personality can be seen as a distinct group of ‘characters’ that interact in a highly differentiated internal system. Our experience of ‘our self’ is really the experience of all these different parts of our personality and the way they interplay. Over time we develop a highly distinct and consistent ‘cast’ of internal characters, each one of which is capable of interacting by itself with the outside world.”
What Other People Say About the Inner Selves Sandra Karen Watanabe O.T.R. – Family Therapist – Boston
Other Terms and Models – In different models of personality the inner selves are known by similar names including:
- inner voices
- inner families
- adapted selves
- cast of characters
- protector or coping mechanisms
- coping behaviour or coping patterns
- adapted adult-child patterns
- ego states
The Parts of Me
- expresses rage, angry; cruel, destructive, hateful; pursues unhealthy sexuality; has fantasies of death and destruction
child age 5
- Liz, the Controller
- bossy, critical parent; wants to remember the bad stuff about people and past relationships
- wounded child, hurt, quiet, shy; takes comfort in relationship with animals; enjoys going to bed and snuggling with teddy bear or pillows; wishes she could disappear; doesn’t know how to accept complements; hums or sings made up songs; freezes when afraid
child, age 4
- The Kid
- clown, punky, easily jealous, wants to be the center of attention, high energy, adventurous, looking to find own place, wants to go on vacation
child, age 10 or 11
- Leo the Lion: tenacious, healthy leader; wears jeans, cotten t-shirts, flannel shirts, sweat shirts and high tops; likes to ride horses, climb trees and rock climb; wears bandana headband; talented, skilled, physical ability. Attended Outward Bound course. Sings along with the radio.
age 15 to adult
- intellect, a joy for learning, delights in gaining knowledge; the thinker, the whiz kid; likes to journal, analyze, study.
age 8 or 9
- creator, organizer, idea generator, designer; paints the living room; fixes the garage door; makes costumes.
- healthy sexuality.
age 22 – 24, maybe 32
- attitude of everything will be okay and things will work out all right; nurturing parent.
age 22 or 39
- responsible; always showing up for class or work; motivated by feelings of guilt; trying to be as good; trying to earn love
- crazy, out of control, rushing, nervous energy, doing too much, frantic, impatient, panicky, bites finger nails, eats while standing up; learns by doing; doom and gloom attitude; doesn’t study for class or read text books; procrastinates; hinders balancing the check book; seeks sexual relationships in order to feel better.
- perfectionist; everything has to be perfect; intense; extremely detailed.
- intuitive, feelings.
- naive; can’t believe that the men in my life have all lost their feelings for me; innocent; hope is the anchor inside the vail part of Spirit or Faith? Asks, “if love was there once, how can it not be there now?” Believes that love never fails.
- doesn’t like rules, doesn’t want to grow up, thinks life is a shit hole; says: “no one loves me,” “life is hard,” “I’m tired”; cleaves to being to being Bipolar.
age 6 or 13 or 16