Who Are Your Protectors?

“When a protector leaves you, it looks like the end of the world. But you gradually learn to walk by your own feet” – Bangambiki Habyarimana

I recently started therapy and my therapist and I are prepping for EMDR through IFS and other means. If those acronyms make no sense to you no worries. EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, essentially it mimics the eye movement that occurs during REM sleep. It helps you process traumatic memories and put them in the past and helps with PTSD. IFS on the other hand stands for internal family system. This helps you name the separate parts of you, I’m mainly working on my protectors. Now this isn’t people outside of you and this isn’t DID, dissociative identity disorder, this is a form of therapy.

I’m been labeling my protectors, the parts of me that are there to try and keep me safe. It got me thinking about other people and who their protectors are. So far I’ve named three different ones and they each are individual but all have the same goal of keeping me safe and away from danger. You might have a different mission but in the end, the goal is to protect you.

I was able to put a look at my protectors so I know what they look or feel like. The point of practically creating a different being is so that when they’re present but not needed I can tell them to leave. If it isn’t necessary and I am safe then they aren’t needed. For me, fight or flight and an overly anxious mind created a handful of hypervigilant protectors, present at all times and never disappearing.

This is my experience with protectors, yours might be different but knowing who they are and helping you create a safe space is crucial. Who are your protectors? What do they look like? What would happen if they weren’t around or around less? Are they helping or hurting? What are their goals?

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