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Parts Therapy Protectors

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Pingman, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Pingman

    Pingman Well known member

    The more I read about IFS, it appears that the key to gaining control over our parts and returning back to a true self where all parts are happy is to work on accessing the protectors first.

    For me and my current anxiety that was triggered from a health scare, I am trying to figure out what protector I have that is causing me to have the tension I am currently feeling.

    In the past when I have had tension induced health scares I was able to ignore the pain and saw it eventually leave. While I had anxiety with those episodes it was not on the level I have experienced with this round of TMS.

    My solution in thepast was to ignore the pain, not really deal with it. I can't say I came to the conclusion that I was actually 100% healthy but I chose to ignore the pain so in a sense I exiled my concerns to some degree thinking I still might have an issue. This go around, I can't exile the fear and concern as easily. For some reason when I see a condition that has one of my sensation associated the fear gets triggered all over. My protector can't seem to exile the current tension away.

    It is almost like the protector is either being stubborn and won't allow my SELF to step up and say that I can handle the stress so it keeps me in a contsant state of symptom checking and worry.

    I guess I need to know which protector to focus on. I have tried to visualize the times when my anxiety has been high as well as visualize my past HA scares to see which one is involved btu can't pin point it.

    I know that this protector has been working hard for me now for awhile...trying to keep me safe from the fear that I have had all of these health issues, so I can continue to function and keep on with life for my wife and son. I just don't know how to access it.

    When I think of a protector I think of a perfectionist protector or a judgemental protector. I can make sens eout of why they do what they do. My perfectionist protector comes up because of how I was raised and how I needed to be perfect to gain acceptance when I was younger. My judgemental protector steps up to protect me from some of the pain I suffered as a youth wehere I was let down by friends and family causing me to mistrust and judge others right from first meeting.

    I just can't put a face to what protector might be causing my anxiety over my health. I have read some of Jay Earley's blog posts and wonder if it has to do with a inner critic of some type.

    Any ideas would be helpful...
  2. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Can't believe I missed your post, Pingman! So sorry about that.

    You say, "I just can't put a face to what protector might be causing my anxiety over my health. I have read some of Jay Earley's blog posts and wonder if it has to do with a inner critic of some type."

    This could very well be true (gotta love those inner critics!) but what I've come to in my own journey is that I don't worry much about which protector I want to talk to but which protector wants to talk to me. This takes a lot of pressure off. Of course, it also means I might not find the quick fix I'm after but it gives parts who are reluctant to come forward a chance to observe the process and decide for themselves when to come out to visit.

    I have decided to get to know my internal family of parts as thoroughly as possible. Not just connecting with the ones who are causing immediate problems. For one thing, they are often hiding more important protectors and exiles I could never imagine existed. In other words they are working together to protect me. I'm going to help them do that by bringing Self into it and helping the internal family function better.

    Again, sorry I missed your post for so long. The topic is just excellent.
  3. Becca

    Becca Well known member

    I think what njoy mentioned about parts coming to you, rather than you seeking out parts, is a good point. But, I've also had some success talking to parts and identifying and understanding them without them coming straight to me. It can be a difficult process, but it is possible. The times I've had the most success here is when I'm fully experiencing it. Most recently: I was in the middle of writing my final exam, and I randomly lost about 1/3 of my work. My anxiety, which was pretty bad to begin with, went through the roof. I was on the verge of a panic attack. Then my thoughts started going out of control: you'll fail, this only happens to an idiot, you're stupid, you'll never finish this paper now, you'll never finish this semester, you'll never graduate, you are a terrible person, you're worthless...etc.

    Long story short, I ended up doing IFS with this part of me that felt the need to punish me so crudely with these really awful thoughts (at the time, they felt more like truths than thoughts). I didn't know what that part was: what to call it, what it looked like, where it really came from. I knew, essentially, nothing.

    I started by trying to see where it lived in my body, and I tried to visualize it. This was tough - it felt like it was everywhere, and that terrified me. So I (Self) asked this scared part to step aside. I went through this process for a while, going through anger, and fear, and frustration, etc. until I could finally see something, and feel I could talk to this part.

    It was through this conversation with this part, which turned out to be an 8 year old version of myself, that I was able to understand her origin, her motivation, her own fears and even her own aspirations. I won't go into all of this here, but my point is, perhaps going through that slower, gentle process of reaching out to the unknown part might help reveal (at the very least) whatever part is at play here.

    If I may, this seems to me to be coming not from Self, nor from the protector part, but from a separate part that is quite frustrated about not being able to identify or get in touch with that unknown protector part. Effective communication comes from being open to your part, and communicating that to your part as well. So checking in with how you feel about your unknown protector part, and when necessary asking any parts that may interfere with that openness if they can step aside just for now, or sit and watch, etc. really helps!

    Just remember, compassion - for your parts, and for yourself - is key :happy:

  4. njoy

    njoy aka Bugsy

    Great post, Becca. I think both methods are necessary at times. Of course, when something is bothering you so profoundly (as in the situation you described) there is no time to be wasted. I'd love to hear a longer version of what you did to track down the 8 year old part.

    The times when I sometimes just sit back and ask any part that wants to talk to step us are usually not when I'm under a lot of pressure as you were in your exam. In fact, everything is good. Then I wonder if there are parts who have something to say but are not causing (and perhaps never cause) trouble. They must wonder when, if ever, they will be heard. Well, now's the time!

    In your response to Pingman, I think the parts you refer to might be those that Jay calls Concerned Parts. If I understand the matter correctly what you advised was just what he would suggest. Concerned Parts are often happy to step aside as soon they know you want to you work with the Protector.

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