bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

PAC - Parent Adult Child

There’s something very important I’m beginning to understand about myself that defines my relationship with God and Christianity. It affects the way I relate to the world around me and the way that I visualize myself in that world. I would not say that it encompasses all of who I am or all of who I strive to be, but this new revelation about how I’m wired is beginning to answer a lot of questions that I’ve had for most of my life. My hope has always been that by understanding more of the WHY I am the way that I am I can understand the WHO I am as a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. Likewise, the thought is always that understanding the WHO I am will lead to a greater understanding of the WHAT I have to offer to those around me and the WHEN it all needs to take place.

Psychologically, I’ve been an “adult” since the age of about 11. Now, I’m not going to go into all the reasons behind why I think I missed out on much of my potential adolescence or childhood because I don’t think those reasons are the point of what I’m trying to get at. Besides, in some sectors of the world the expectations of 13 – 15 year old boys is to begin taking on the responsibilities of men and I’m not about to approach whether or not these types of cultural expectations of the universal male population are either good or bad—healthy or destructive.

At about 9 years old, my nurturing as a child figure in our household ceased and was replaced with the reality that I would soon begin to have to start taking care of myself more and more. Many of us, both men and women, have travelled this road. Again, the reasons why are varied, but the outcome is similar—we had to grow up way faster than many of those around us whether we wanted to or not. It just is what it is. It’s called survival.

Here’s the point—when you spend the first 9 years of your life being a child, the next 2 years of your life transitioning to adult, and everything thereafter as a functioning adult you DO NOT relate well to the Child ego state.

Child ("archaeopsyche"): a state in which people behave, feel and think similarly to how they did in childhood. For example, a person who receives a poor evaluation at work may respond by looking at the floor, and crying or pouting, as they used to when scolded as a child. Conversely, a person who receives a good evaluation may respond with a broad smile and a joyful gesture of thanks. The Child is the source of emotions, creation, recreation, spontaneity and intimacy.

Likewise, when you haven’t been parented (raised and nurtured) since you skipped into double digits you fail to possess a solidpoint of reference for the Parent ego state.

Parent ("exteropsyche"): a state in which people behave, feel, and think in response to an unconscious mimicking of how their parents (or other parental figures) acted, or how they interpreted their parent's actions. For example, a person may shout at someone out of frustration because they learned from an influential figure in childhood the lesson that this seemed to be a way of relating that worked.

When you spend 9 – 11 years as a child and the next 30 + as an adult you tend to understand only one of the three ego states well—the Adult one.

Adult ("neopsyche"): a state of the ego which is most like a computer processing information and making predictions absent of major emotions that could affect its operation. Learning to strengthen the Adult is a goal of Transactional Analysis. While a person is in the Adult ego state, he/she is directed towards an objective appraisal of reality.

Yeah, I know, it’s all a bunch of psycho-babble used to explain the ways we humans interact with one another. But something occurred to me recently—this type of analysis explains a great deal about how I relate to God and why I do not jive with contemporary forms of mainstream Christianity as expressed through organized religion. Simply put, a light bulb went on over my head and I continue to discover deeper explanations about what makes me function the way that I do.

Plain and simple, I relate to God as Adult to Adult. I view Jesus as a physical representation of God (Jn 14:7). Therefore, I relate to the concept, presence, and embodiment of my enigmatic creator as one adult to another adult just as his disciples related to Jesus. This explains a great deal about why the congregational brick and mortar design of “church” causes me to sit there in my pew or chair and stare without comprehension at someone teaching from a Parent ego to a group of people consensually receiving said teaching using their Child ego state. Likewise, the religious role of God as Father (presuming a Parent ego) to us as His children (presuming a Child ego) does nothing for my personal expression of Adult to Adult relationship with my enigmatic creator.

Look, I understand how the Parent ego works as I am a loving father. I understand how the Child ego works as I’ve spent many times flat on my face crying out to God for an escape or rescue. But I don’t live there. I have chosen not to consistently function outside of my very comfortable and well-established Adult ego for a multitude of reasons—one of which is that I don’t understand how I’m supposed to be Adult everywhere else in my life and, yet, participate as Child when I’m encountering God in a church-type setting. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

I’m an Adult that does not apologize for enjoying alcohol. I’m an Adult that does not apologize for using foul language when it is appropriate (and, yes, it IS appropriate from time to time). I’m an Adult who thoroughly loves the company of what most would consider “unbelievers” by the standards of religious Christianity over the company of church-fed Christians any day of the week and twice on Sundays. I’m an Adult that talks to God the same way that I talk to my Stepdad—like the true friend, confidant, mentor, and loyal brother that he is. No, my stepdad is not my biological brother—sheesh!

How do you think this type of relationship works when you walk into a congregational setting in a mainstream church of today? Let me tell you, unless you’re ready to flex a great deal and pretend to be someone else it not only creates a great deal of frustration for your pastors and others in the crowd but it ultimately leads to confusion, animosity, and a final rejection by the very people who profess to have your best interests at heart. It just doesn’t work.

So here is how this hypothesis works—I believe that many of us are rejecting the Parental role of religion in our lives because we don’t want to have to separate our spiritual self from our physical self anymore. I believe that the only way to effectively function within the religiously defined role of mainstream Christianity is to accept the role of Child and uphold the institutional “church” as the acting Parent in lieu of an absentee God—Creator—Father.

Next up, I get into the dynamics of God (Father) – Jesus (Son) – Church (Bride) – Us (God’s children) as it relates to rules, expectations, loyalty, and grace. Wow, I hope I’m up for that one.

How am I doing so far? Believe me, it gets deeper still. You might have to choose between the Red pill and the Blue pill if you travel this road with me much further. A proper pint or a glass of wine might be in order to wash that pill down.