Internal Family Systems
Growing up we all, to varying degrees, experience lack of attunement, lack of connection, often for very different reasons. Either as a result of direct abuse or neglect, or lack of emotional availability from adults around us.
With extensive developments in neuroscience, we now understand that those experiences have profound consequences on our body, our nervous system and our psyche.
Inside of us we carry those wounded, younger parts of us who are stuck in time with overwhelming feelings of fear, loneliness, shame, worthlessness, pain of feeling unseen, unlovable or like we don’t matter.
We often bury those unbearable and overwhelming feelings, and we build a protective armour to keep us away from the overwhelm.
This protective armour can show as protective parts such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, lack of motivation, relationship challenges, harsh criticism towards ourselves/others, numbness, inability to relax, workaholism, addictions, overfocusing on achievements, being overly caring/responsible towards others, people pleasing, perfectionism, hypervigilance – a feeling like something bad is going to happen, etc. The list is endless.
Some of those protective mechanisms serves us well until a certain moment in life. Even more so, they were often fundamental to our survival. However, at some point in life this protective armour becomes too heavy, and it is not protecting us but is keeping us away from being seen and known by ourselves and others. It keeps us away from being the partners, the parents, the professionals, the loving and gifted human beings that we want to be.
In our work, using IFS, my invitation is to go inwards to truly connect with yourself and to start feeling into what is driving that protective armour. Over time, begging to know it better and understand what it is trying to protect. In that process you begin to get access to your wounded parts and with time, help them heal by releasing the heavy burdens they carry.
According to IFS, this process of ‘unblending’ from protective parts and ‘unburdening’ the wounded parts allow us access to our core Self – the place within that holds the wisdom, compassion, care, curiosity, calm, confidence love and expansion.