I’ve made a lot of progress on this issue, mostly thanks to @malcolm’s post on partworks.
Here are some excerpts to understand what I’m about to say:
- What is even partswork? In short, it’s a model where you split yourself into multiple parts.
“Partswork” (usually “parts work” but it’s on its way to being one word like “cupboard”) is sort of a catch-all term for therapeutic or introspection approaches that involve orienting to yourself as having different parts, that have different desires, wants, needs, beliefs, experiences, perspectives, etc.
- How can it be used to solve internal conflicts? In short: dig into root causes and find innovative solutions to satisfy all constraints.
PCT says that in order to solve conflicts, the solution is to direct attention to a level or two above the level where the conflict is showing up, to a level where something more abstract is wanted that isn’t necessarily in conflict. For instance, a person who is late driving somewhere has two high-level goals (“friends not mad at me”, “don’t get a speeding ticket”) which each create a medium-level goal (“don’t be late”, “don’t speed”) which produces two conflicting speeds (“140km/h”, “100km/h”). Unless they deal with the conflict, at the low level they’ll end up either compromising, maybe at 120km/h, or they’ll oscillate. Given that they didn’t leave themselves enough time, they can’t achieve both of “don’t be late” and “don’t speed”. But one level further, it’s possible to achieve both “friends not mad at me” and “don’t get a speeding ticket”. They could call the friends to give them a heads-up. They could buy everyone dinner as an apology. Or they could outrun any cops, or talk their way out of a speeding ticket. Maybe. Some options are better than others! But you can’t even choose while each part is trying to get its own way while disregarding the other parts.
Sorry for the super-long copy-paste
My own personal hell
I’ve been trying to apply partswork to myself for the past couple days. When I get stuck, I take a few minutes to jot down on a stick-note what’s going on in my mind’s parts.
I’ve done it 3 times, and every time, I get stuck on the same stuff… Which I summed up in this diagram:
On the back of the note, I write down the activities that I should do that would satisfy most of the constraints.
However, this process is quite consuming, mentally…
Let’s short-circuit it!
Now, I can easily detect when my mind gets stuck in this mode.
I usually start wandering around the house, saying to myself “I want to watch anime/ eat this stuff but I should really work”. (thankfully, there are fruits in the house and I have no weight problem, but I 1000% understand people who struggle with compulsive eating…)
So, what if I just picked a default action to do when I enter this mode? I believe that addiction might’ve been the wrong term to sum up my current problem. (in the past, I’ve been an addict to programming 100%, though ).
It’s more like a deadlock problem, which happens in computer software when the logic (my brains!) is not super well made and two programs are trying to use the same resource (my body!). The code is blocked and nothing can move, and time is wasted.
Key concept definition: what’s a default mode?
I call a default mode an automated response to a conflicting state. A conflicting state is when I get stuck with conflicting feelings like in the diagram above. I only observed the work X pleasure conflict, but I believe that I also got the plan work X plan to see friends conflict and tons of others I don’t really understand yet…
Ruminating on them won’t help unless I really take a few step backs.
- Either I get good at drawing the diagram in my head + finding a solution + being decisive about the solution that I pick
- Or I plan default actions that I apply when I “feel” that I got into a specific conflicting state
So that’s what a default mode is!
|work X eat chocolate endlessly
||prefer work until target hours or outcome has been reached
|work X see friends
||prefer see friends unless work is lacking OR it’s going to be a bad event due to weather or other interferences
Planning my “default mode”
Due to deadline, tomorrow, my default mode will be “work on ScrapingBee until I’ve either finished the project or worked 3 hours for the company”
Here is another resolution that works quite well and that is in accordance with my goals: “making music on my computer” or “making music on my guitar”
@narthur, my fellow ADHD twin, does this situation happen to you?
@malcolm huge shoutout to you, your blog post and Complice for allowing me to fix this kind of stuff on my own
And everyone else reading this; your thoughts and hearts are much appreciated!