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3 ways to set your defenses down and 1 may surprise you
Have you ever seen a baby in search of a toy or working to get some piece of food in their mouth? It is impressive. Most impressive.
They keep at it.
We are conditioned early on to not give up and stay with a task. Sometimes we even gain an imprint to work harder than actually is needed in order to survive through an impossible situation.
This conditioning leaves an imprint in our psyche and dulls a part of us (or many parts) leaving us desolate for being who we are meant to be.
Internal Family Systems refers to this part of us as an exiled part. This part represents aspects of us still in pain, shame, fear or trauma from childhood as they were not welcome into our life experience. There is no malicious intent for this hiding. In the psyche, this management is completed as part of what appears to be typical development.
It is only later in life when you are needing reserves to shift perspective on life that one begins to notice gaps, holes and voids within who they are. You might begin to notice an intensity around anger or resentment, more jealousy flourishes, or you become more emotionally charged over seemingly minor exchanges with others.
In Jungian Psychology, Carl Jung – a Swiss Psychiatrist who founded Analytical Psychology – refers to these abandoned aspects as the Shadow. In Jung’s work, the shadow represents an archetype that presents in moments of highly charged emotions coming from patterns within our self that are underdeveloped or hidden.
Both perspectives can help one illuminate a more wholistic vision of who they are.
Defensive patterns of behavior keep one perpetually in a cycle to safeguard truth, keep perceived threats away, and keep caged those aspects that have been hiding in the dark.
Defensive actions spur into an active state only when another person or situation moves in closer to what is hidden.
What is one actually hiding?
We hide parts of who we are that have been judged in the past, that felt deeply in the past, and the part of us who does not know what to do in a given moment. The latter is a shocked part that is stuck in what was experienced. Getting closer to this imprint is highly charged and typically results in more defenses coming into play.
Imagine you are a parent who has given your children advice for years and now you are in a position where you have no answers.
Imagine you have concealed your emotions for years and now you experience emotion s that others can witness with you.
Imagine becoming softer in areas of your life you have been hardened.
These are examples when the shocked self feels safe to be shared. The initial imprint can actually resolve what was experienced.
How do you lay the defenses down?
Find a mentor. Don’t go alone. Even though many early childhood imprints result in one being highly independent, one cannot know the depths of the ego to defend any closeness to the shadowed part. Find a mentor. This can be a close friend if they have done inner work to this depth. Most often, a trained practitioner can help guide emotional agency around allowing this shadow or exiled part to use its expression in healthy ways.
Move. Shifting the energy around an entanglement can help to free its defense around keeping itself hidden. Dance. Walk or run. Ride a bike. Jump. The expression of the part that is hiding or in the shadow will begin to reveal itself as it feels safe to do so. Creating a strong body will offer a refuge for its expression.
Breathe. Breathing makes space for the nervous system to regulate giving it a shift in frequency. Breathing also helps to calm the defense and giving it a regarded presence. A more analytical approach can find expression. Breathing helps balance the mind with the body. This balance offers new solutions and a willingness to brave the unknown territory.
While these appear as simple approaches to deep wounding and traumatic imprints, they can sometimes result in additional layers of fear to emerge. Think of these as initial steps so you can take inspired action toward your truth.
The goal is not to push away any part that seems unreasonable or intense. The aim is to show compassion to these internal aspects and hidden archetypal parts so that curiosity and creativity can unfold in an organic manner and guide you to live your life that feels good for you.
When you find yourself or can witness yourself highly charged and engaged in defending, those are signals a part of you has been repressed and is seeking to be seen and heard.
For more learning, go to www.kristipeck.com