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While we are growing up our brain is recording everything. Three tapes are recording at the same time. Tape 1 is recording everything about our childhood, especially our feelings and emotions about what is going on around us—both good and bad. Tape 2 is taping everything our parents did and said, especially how they felt about us. This includes their values and opinions about everything. Tape 3 is taping everything our teachers and mentors are teaching us about what it means to be a healthy adult—how to be mature. Tape 3 is a work in progress
Our child tape is divided into different sections, one for each age and personality. According to John Bradshaw we have an infant, toddler, school-age child, and adolescent. Each of these different children will also have a different personality. For instance, my infant is terrified, my toddler is always sad and crying, my school age child is angry, and my teenager is self-destructive. She is the addict and alcoholic.
Our parent tapes are usually both positive and negative—but not always. Both my parents were supportive sometimes and neglected me on other occasions. The parents who neglected me became my inner critic.
Our adult tape is still playing. It turns on at different times for different people. My adult tape started when I got into therapy in 1969, where I learned how to process my feelings instead of acting out in negative ways. Then I went out and found healthy role models and did what they did. Then I joined a 12-Step program and spent every day learning how to be a healthy adult. Finally, since 1982, I have been reading self-help books about how to grow up and become the woman I am today.
I call the process of recording new information on the adult tape, The Art of Changing, which is also the title of my second book. As I look back all I can say is that before recovery these tapes turned off and on at will. In recovery I took charge of the recorder.
I’m Ok; You’re OK by Thomas Harris
Homecoming, John Bradshaw.