When the Too Serious Kid grows to adulthood nothing changes. The Too Serious Kid becomes the Super-Responsible Adult. The Too Serious Kid may be identified in the Caretaker, the Rescuer, and even the Codependent.
The characteristics are the same and the motivation to fulfill this role in relationships seems to be relentless. There is always an Inner Judge - a critical inner voice. There is the hyper-development of the caretaker role. And the Inner Child is suppressed and emotionally beaten up. The Critical Inner Parent - the Judge The Inner Parent in the child develop the Caretaker Parent directed toward others and the Critical Parent directed at the Inner Child. This can establish a life-long tendency to focus on the needs of others rather than their own. It often results in the person stepping into many relationships where they are the responsible one. This results in stepping into codependent roles.
The Inner Child has to be kept quiet and undemanding so the personality can specialize in keeping things safe and caring for everyone. Therefore, the Inner Child is suppressed by the Critical Parent. This distortion means in adulthood the person will still be hearing an inner voice trying to suppress their Inner Child.
The Inner Parent part of the personality has the job of suppressing the Inner Child. The voice of this part of the personality sends messages to the Inner Child that will shat down the Inner child and divert self interest and self-expression into the task of creating peace, security and nurture for others in the family system. We can give several names to depending on the way it manifests:
1. Critical Parent: a stream of criticisms directed against the Inner Child to suppress accusing the child of being ‘too selfish’ or ‘immature.’ 2. Inner Critic: pointing out what is wrong with the Inner child. 3. Inner Judge: making the Inner child feel guilty through many accusations. 4. Risk Assessor: always pointing out what could go wrong.
The results of all this self-criticism include:
a habit of blaming self when anything goes wrong, and
A habit of taking responsibility when anything goes wrong.
What is missing for the Inner Child is inner sources of support, loving and nurture.Without this nurture it may be easy:
To feel unloved,
To feel isolated,
To feel rejected,
To feel misunderstood,
To feel rebellious,
To feel like hiding, or
To feel like running away.
The Nurturing Side of the Super-Responsible Personality Style Another thing that happens in the development of this personality being drawn into Parental Inversion is the super-development of the ability to nurture and care for others. A part of the child develops this nurturing side. We will call this part the Nurturing Parent.
The Nurturing Parent has responsibility to:
Caring for others,
Taking on Responsibility in the family,
Being a mediator in conflicts - a peace-keeper,
Focus on the needs of others who need help,
Stabilize the family system,
Nurturing other family members, and
Protecting other family members.
The weight of these adult responsibilities piled on a child, combined with the reduction of inner nurture for the child, combined with ongoing harassment by the Critical Parent of the child creates anxiety and depression in the Too Serious Kid and in the Super Responsible Adult.
It is clear that the Too Serious Kid deserves our attention and care but no-one sees inside the Super Responsible Adult to see the Critical Parent hammering away at the Inner child trying to stop the creative, spontaneous, rebellious, demanding and selfish sides of the Inner Child. No one appreciates that lack of nurture and love felt by the Inner Child of the Too Serious Kid. All we see is someone who takes responsibility and is helpful and caring of others. Why would anyone stop that?
The Pain within the SuperResponsible
However, for the Too Serious Kid, each of these adjustments come at a cost in life going forward into adulthood. The adjusted personality may last for the rest of one’s life as the Too Serious Kid transitions seamlessly into the Super-Responsible adult. There does not seem to be any break.
Here are some of the negative implications of this personality adjustment for the Super-Responsible and why changing this personality orientation is a good idea:
1. The spontaneous Inner Child is suppressed. This can result in whole aspects of the personality going missing. One loses joy, spontaneity, creativity, intuition, closeness to God, hope and faith in the world.
2. In its role in suppressing the Inner Child the Critical Parent tells the Inner Child things like: ‘Don’t be so selfish,’ ‘Don’t be so immature’, and ‘Don’t be so childish.’ These self-critical messages become a permanent part life leading to depression and low self-confidence?
3. As the Critical Parent shuts down the Inner Child, the person becomes out of touch with their inner needs and just become work horses. This person is at risk for burnout as they overwork and ignore their own needs.
4. The person develops a hyper-inflated Caring Parent. This caring parent is focused, however, not on the Inner Child, but on other people that need help.
5. One becomes very responsible and that means going overboard in helping others, getting the work done and apologizing if anything goes wrong. This reflects a poor sense of boundaries. One can even lose jobs from working too hard, encroaching on other’s work, and undermining team work.
6.As the Critical Parent goes overboard in generating things to worry about, one becomes risk adverse, and develops high levels of anxiety.One can become over-cautious and and miss opportunities. One can become a negative and critical person.
7. Because the child tried to pacify their angry parents, as adults they are good mediators orpeacekeepers. However, as leaders in their attempts to keep the peace they are at risk for becoming controlling leaders and stifling the voice of their followers.
8. The child who had the role of caring for a sickly parent, may become a good professional caregiver such as a nurse or doctor.
9.They are always there to care for others while no-one notices how poor is their self-care. Who notices when a caring person neglects self-care.
10. As the Critical Parent shuts down the voice of the Inner Child, there is the loss of one’s voice, of doing one’s own thinking. One may have difficulty writing, speaking or expressing oneself.