Two Kinds of IFS Protectors

As you explore the positive intent of the IFS protectors, you will discover that they protect in one of two ways.

  1. External Protection.
    Some protectors try to keep an exile from being harmed by other people. These protectors see the exile as vulnerable and unable to protect itself. For example, an angry protector might want to be strong to keep people from attacking you. Consequently, they will take whatever actions they think are necessary to keep people from harming an exile, even if that isn’t necessary anymore.
  1. Internal Protection.
    Some protectors try to protect you from feeling the emotion an exile carries, such as an intellectualizer that keeps you in your head to numb emotional pain. These protectors close you down or distract you to block out the pain or trauma that the exile feels. Or they may try to provide you with comfort or pleasure or self-esteem, to override the exile’s suffering.

Both types are protecting exiles, but they have two different relationships with the exile.

Protectors of the first type care about the exile and want the best for it, so they try to protect it from the world.

Protectors of the second type think that the exile is dangerous because it might flood you with pain, so they judge it and push it away.