Which ‘Part’ of You is Leading?
Parts Therapy is a powerful tool that helps you identify, name, understand, and know the many parts that make up YOU. It helps us comprehend our rich and complex internal world. The habitual and often frustrating patterns and conflicts that continue to arise in our lives are better understood when getting to know our many parts. Parts Therapy gives us access to these parts and allows us to find healing so our parts are ready to work with us when we need them.
Our personality consists of many various parts, think of a giant jigsaw puzzle, which are all living in our subconscious mind. Each piece of the puzzle is created as a result of the programming that occurs throughout our childhood. Some of our parts, in an effort to protect us, are actually creating patterns of self sabotage. This is because many are created in our youth; stuck in our subconscious. They are unaware that we are now adults. They are running on old programming and need to be updated.
Sometimes we may want to cut off or deny parts of ourselves. It can be hard to see how these parts may get in the way of creating what we want in life. It is often our tendency to avoid dealing with them; however, to do so creates more of the same. Rather, it is important to learn to accept all of our parts. Every part of you is precious and lovable.
When we become triggered, one of our parts has essentially taken over. You can be 42 years old and have all the tools and knowledge to effectively manage your triggers and suddenly begin feeling or acting like a 6 or 12 year old. When this happens, your inner child, or inner adolescent, needs your attention, support, and understanding, much like you needed when you were 6 and 12. What does this look like? You may be unconsciously playing out what you needed back then. You may engage in people-pleasing behaviors, overly accommodating others. You may become overly nervous and busy yourself, or go to problem solving. You may throw a tantrum, sulk, or shut down. Basically, this ‘part’ of you is trying to keep you alive, safe, and acceptable.
The more you are able to work with triggers, the less they trigger you. So what do you do when you are aware that you are triggered?
- Stop and pause, recognizing a part has been triggered and needs your attention.
- Remind yourself that these reactions occur when your inner child feels unsafe or overwhelmed. Allow yourself a moment to connect with a sense of safety and calm. You can do this with deep breathing, cold water, or playing with a pet.
- Do a body scan from your head to your toes and notice any sensation you may be feeling. Slow down and breathe into the sensation.
- Turn toward the part that’s been triggered and introduce yourself. This part is stuck in time and does not know that many years have passed and that you are an adult now. Let this part know your name, age, and tell it today’s date. Do so out loud.
- Have a conversation with your inner child the way you wish you were spoken to as a child. Ask how they are feeling, what they need, what are their concerns, and what they are protecting you from.
- Validate what they are feeling and share your appreciation for all they do to protect you. Ask what they need to be released so you can take over and they get to be a child again.
- It can be helpful to continue to check in with this part of you over the next few days and weeks. Sometimes you may need to create a relationship of trust so your inner child knows that you have their back.
Remember that every part of you that gets triggered is a precious and beautiful part of you. It is easy to judge these parts harshly as they are uncomfortable. We may feel childish, and that is expected, as it is often the parts of our inner child that we are leading the way with when we are triggered. When we are harsh and critical of ourselves, we are judging one of the parts of ourselves. They simply need to be seen and heard, validated and loved. Much like you!
If you find that you need someone to walk with you on the journey of doing your Parts Work, contact Carrie Sensenich, LCSW at Willow Holistic Center, LLC. I am currently offering sessions both virtually and in person. You don’t have to do it alone!