What is parts language? It’s when we are aware of parts of us, or we can call them sub-personalities, anything in us that are somewhat like their own little beings. And we acknowledge it to ourselves or someone else in words.
For instance, I may say “a part of me is scared of this!” or “a part of me is angry that it didn’t happen”.
When there is a mutual understanding of parts language, I find it very helpful. It signals that we are aware of something in us, and we are not so identified with it. There is enough space around it so we recognize it as a part, and we don’t feel compelled to believe what it tells us or act on it. It’s just an acknowledgment of something that’s here that we notice.
When there is not a mutual understanding of parts language, it can be misunderstood. I have experienced this when I assume someone is familiar with parts language (a psychologist or therapist), I use parts language, and they respond as if they think I am completely identified with the view of the part I am noticing and giving words to.
It can be quite dismaying. And I have also discovered it can be difficult to explain and clear up.
For instance, when I went through my process of being officially diagnosed with CFS, I met with a psychologist and used parts language freely. I mentioned several parts I have noticed, and I saw it as innocent and completely ordinary since I am used to using parts language with therapists and the parts I mentioned are universal. Somehow, she saw it as if I was completely identified with these parts (why would I otherwise mention it?) and that they were strong (again, from her perspective, why would I otherwise mention it?). It led to complications and a longish process to clear it up which involved seeing specialists. Fortunately, they realized quickly that she had misunderstood and misread the situation.
So why do we even mention what we notice? Especially if it’s not necessarily strong and we are not so identified with it? For me, it has to do with transparency. I notice something in me and wish to share. Also, when I put words on it, and especially if I speak it out loud, it removes some of the power and charge out of it. It is named. It becomes an object. Trolls burst in daylight. And it’s also a reminder to myself to perhaps later explore it more fully and invite in healing for it.
Parts language can be very beautiful and helpful. And, as I have learned, it’s good to not automatically assume that the other understands it even if I a part of me thinks they should because they are a psychologist. I also need to remember that I lived most of my adult life on the west coast of the US (