Who's Driving Your Bus Through Pandemic? Prior Mileage Counts
Parts/Ego-State Psychology teaches us that over the course of our lives we develop Parts of Self through various stages and adversities. This evolutionary advantage of homo sapiens promotes psychological and social adaptation within the individual, for the benefit of the species. A simple example might be when part of you wants to order from the dessert menu, while another part of you warns of future regret. As we grow up, we develop newer, age-appropriate or context-appropriate Parts. Nonetheless, some Parts of Self stay with us and offer their assistance albeit contextually or developmentally incongruent.
Imagine yourself as a bus driving its passengers along the highway of life. Generally speaking, your responsible adult self is driving the bus while your other Parts rides passively in the back. Once in a while perhaps the responsible adult self calls upon another Part for help navigating, but remains in the driver’s seat. In some cases, another Part usurps the driver’s seat and life goes into disarray for a while.
A pandemic poses enough disruption that it can prompt past Parts of self to re-emerge, scanning the current environment for clues their assistance is needed once again. This includes Parts associated with:
· prior losses
· relational discord
· perceived past educational/occupational skill deficits
· prior events which posed threat to personal/familial/or community safety
· Parts uneasy about uncertainty and change
· and many more.
This pandemic can also cause the development of new Parts of self, as your Driver vacates the driver’s seat, unsure of how to navigate, looks at the Passengers onboard and realizes none of them are qualified to drive the bus either.
If you find yourself behaving outside of your usual character, or feel as though you’re carrying a weight you cannot define nor put down, you may be experiencing one of these Parts, old or new. Working with a therapist can help you reconcile the roles of your Parts of self, so that the one in the driver’s seat has the KSAs to keep the bus on course.