I have a fifth thought this morning, which seems at least moderately worth pursuing.
In accepting that the parts exist, I am accepting the bits of my personality and my past that are buried in those parts. That much is obvious. That’s not the thought.
The thought is that I am also accepting the individual who created them. They are evidence of that individual’s resilience and creativity.
The circumstances of my growing up demanded I have no authentic needs or feelings of my own. I must present a front. Not necessarily one that might please the rest of society, but one which did not betray the reality that my needs as a child were not being met—all kinds of need: the need for protection, the need for protection, the need to be emotionally responded to, the need for warmth, the need for privacy and autonomy, the need for consistency, the need to know what to expect, the need to express myself, the need to be liked for myself.
This was confusing for a while, because the front I presented wasn’t necessarily one that would live up to my expectations or the expectations of the larger society either. I mean, I am not the perfect wife and mother. But I was fine. Fine was very important.
Anyway, the circumstances of my growing up seemed to point out that the problem was me. I needed to not be me. I needed to be an “apparently normal” person who did not have needs or feelings or an authentic personality which expressed those needs and feelings, including the need to be helped to cope with the trauma I had suffered. So this person could not know about the abuse either.
But that person is not me. I thought it was me for maybe 40 years. I am the individual who created that person.
And yet all the needs and feelings and evidence of authenticity persisted. I created other people to accommodate them. I have 13 of them the last time I counted. I was very creative. There were lots of needs and feelings and evidence of personality and I created a place for all of them.
That is me. The creator of the whole emotional landscape. I did this.