Claim Your Own Mental Fitness

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A penny saved is a penny earned.

Until now most blogs here have focused on your Critical Parent and the Toxic Beliefs that it holds. You must also get to know your Indulgent Parent, or suffer long-term consequences. Blog 21 described the see-saw mood swings you can experience if your Adult doesn’t balance these two Parent influences. Blog 22 refers to the most pervasive Indulgent Parent Toxic Belief, #9, that it’s more comfortable to avoid problems and responsibilities than to face them.

To know your Indulgent Parent, you must gain deeper insight into your Child and how it takes control much more than you may realize. When your Indulgent Parent is in charge, your Child can get you into lots of trouble. Marketing forces have focused billions of dollars and their shrewdest minds on how to target your Child without your Adult noticing. Sometimes you recognize their more blatant efforts to spin your Child into a strong impulsive and demanding force. The brain chemistry of this excitement can overwhelm your Adult, allowing you to buy the car you can’t afford or gamble away your savings. But with these big temptations, your Adult may be able to see the lies within the marketing and steer your Child into safer pleasures.

It’s when the ploy is more subtle that you can get taken in. When you see that something’s priced at $199.99, do you fully realize that it’s closer to $200 than $100? I get tricked by this even though I know the truth. My Child doesn’t want to face reality, so it overrides my Adult and gets the yummy new boots. My Indulgent Parent gives it permission to avoid facing this with Belief #9. It also assures my Child that she’s special and deserves these great boots with Belief #11. Finally, my Indulgent Parent pushes Belief #10, that happiness depends on what life gives you. When my Child puts these boots on, it’s thrilled and feels just fine. When the credit card statement comes, my Critical Parent berates it, calling it irresponsible and foolish. This puts a cloud over the pleasure of these tempting boots.

Your Indulgent Parent sets your child free to do whatever it wants right now. It overrides your Adult efforts to plan for a good future. It sabotages your budget, deludes you about how long things will take and lets you fail to keep your promises. Your Child is in many ways a force without its own judgment. It will always pursue what it wants now, without regard for the impact on your future or on others in your life. For you to have good relationships or develop what you plan, your Adult must have the support of your Wise Parent. Your Wise Parent can offer the revised beliefs that come from balancing your Critical and Indulgent Parent influences.

My Wise Parent, pulled in by my watchful Adult, could remind my Child that it also wants to get some plants for my garden, or take a trip to our favorite coastal town with the volcanic basalt rocks along the ocean. It could note that $199.99 is just one cent away from $200.00 and the bad advertising people are just trying to trick us. It could make clear that happiness comes from making wise choices about how to use your money, not really from the things money can buy. It feels good to know you made a plan and followed it through to enjoy your life, and not feel foolish because you got distracted and cheated yourself out of guilt-free fun.

Your Child feels secure and has good self-esteem when your Adult and Wise Parent take charge. It suffers when your Adult is careless and lets your Indulgent Parent seduce your Child with its permissive Toxic Beliefs.

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