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Sunday, 12 February 2017

My Many Selves

Hello there! I'm back, and I'm feeling like talking about something that maybe many other authors have experienced or use in their work. The subject this week concerns a concept that may be familiar to psychologists, psychoanalysts and authors the world over. The multifaceted self, also known as the Internal Family System.

This Internal Family System has numerous wrinkles and details that might make it rather daunting to understand, but the principle is simple enough. It's a combination of ideas that stretch back as far as the concepts of Carl Jung, which I will get into later. It's the concept that everyone has more than one "persona" within themselves, and that we add more selves and expand our knowledge base and psychological dimensions over the course of our lifetime - this setup has come to be compared to a family system for our own minds. If you want something a little more in-depth, then you can read more about it on this page.

A major precursor of the Internal Family System is the work of Carl Jung. Sigmund Freud is also cited, but his theories aren't really relevant today and his methods and diagnoses meant that many abuse victims and the like didn't get the help they needed. Jung, most notably in his Red Book of Dreams, described the human psyche as being made of multiple parts, in addition to being connected to a wider unconscious plain for all of humanity, with his archetypes and by extension several popular story figures being drawn from these archetypes. The most famous manifestation of his work is the Persona, a general term for the various archetypes that exist within us. When you strip away the mythical elements and the terms Jung used to communicate his theories to the elites of his time and be accepted, he's got something going for him. If you want a breakdown of his work and concepts, this page will do.

I must admit, before I heard of Jung and the Internal Family System, the only system for understanding the self I'd had any real interest in was Freud's outdated concepts of the Ego, Id and Superego. Once exposed to the concepts of Jung, I began to understand myself better, and the Internal Family System added an extra layer to that concept. With that in my head, I was able to understand more of myself, and it also ended up helping me get into the heads of the characters I create. While I of course use others around me for inspiration, and most certainly read and/or watch numerous other stories so I'm not starved of necessary input, it's also useful that I can dive into the many different parts of my self and find what one of those selves might think. So I can get into the frame of mind to understand both the darker (the lust for vengeance, sadomasochism, suicidal impulses and such) and lighter (being a prankster, feeling the full weight of love or happiness, raucous abandon prompted by joy) parts of my characters. All of this separate from my normal self, thank goodness. Heaven knows how I'd manage if all that was confined to just one personal self. I'd never fit it in my head!

If you're really interested in the result, then you read my work both on this blog and on Kindle, and see the many characters I've drawn from my multifaceted self. Enjoy!

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Writing samples on "Thomas' Thought Blog": FB3X Drabble Cascade #168 entry - "Stable Visitor" and Writers Online Talkback Forum: One Word Challenge - February 2017 - Word: Promise

Crystal and Sin; Complete Edition on Amazon UK and Amazon US.

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