In my system, protectors will sometimes front on their own, for no reason other than just to front. They’re alters too, so of course, they’d like fronting sometimes. It’s always very funny when they do unless they’re forced to the front for a situation that needs them, they tend to be a little scared of things? I’m not sure if that explains it quite well enough.
Jumpy! They’re so hypervigilant about everything that they get nervous about simple things. Of course, though they try to still act tough, you can feel our heart rate rise in situations it normally wouldn’t if it was just a regular fronter doing it.
We went into Micheals (a craft store in the USA). Joji and Elijah both were fronting with me (Kenny), we went in to pick out some sort of craft to keep ourselves busy. Joji and Elijah are both very big into crafting. Joji sews most things in headworld. Elijah likes to knit and scrapbook.
I figured it would be the perfect place to take them. It was kind of great really, they were very nervous. They acted like I was going to do something, or that someone was going to do something to me.
That’s not what I wanted this post to be about though. I wanted to talk about protecting them.
First I think I should define “protecting” and what it means to me and the rest of my system.
To protect someone in my system, it doesn’t mean actively keeping them from danger- though that was a big part of it at one point. It still can be at times, but once we realized that we are all in the same body and have learned our bodies limitations, we know that they cannot protect us in all the ways they would like to.
Some of the time their protecting comes in the form of doing things that they deem too hard for anyone of us regulars to do. That could be going to doctors appointments, acting in cases of emergency, going to triggering places.
Usually, they do emotional care and internal supporting. It can be calming their protectee down from a flashback or panic attack or helping them work through an emotional moment even cleaning up after self-harm. They are the ones who provide us the love and the care that we don’t get from outside sources.
That is their main job, providing love and care.
But who ‘protects’ them? Who provides them with love and care that they so badly need.
Simple! Us protectee’s do.
I should explain something else to provide a little more context. There are two levels of ‘protector’, mains and lessers. There can be a lot of blurring between the two of them. Though the defining characteristic of a lesser protector is that they themselves have a main who protects them. The blurring happens mainly in their actions, and it way too complicated to get into in one post!
The mains are; Joji (who is the head protector), Elijah, Squall, Kuzu, Duck, and Clarence. Our lesser protectors are; Renau, Adam, Kyu, and Cat. We are still figuring out if there are any kiddos who are protectors but Zack has a lot of the same characteristics of a main protector.
Back to my main point! It’s very obvious that the protectors look at their protectees has cute little bunnies/puppies who can do no wrong. They find it funny whenever we try to act tough. We worry about them a lot though. The protectors have been through some stuff. I’ll talk about Elijah more because he is my (and Ren’s) protector. Elijah is also the oldest main protector, meaning he has been around since we were very young.
Elijah sometimes has these moments of extreme guilt. He feels like he didn’t protect me the right way, or that he has caused some of my trauma because of things we used to do in headworld when we were very young.
He gets these thoughts that he is an abuser or an introject of our abuser. He 100% isn’t, and is getting better at accepting it. Our therapist on Monday helped us explain to Zack the difference in size between us and our abuser at the times when the abuse was happening. Lolly and I dragged Elijah to watch it too, hoping that he would get the message too.
In these moments of great sadness, Elijah will usually need someone to help him. He will sometimes go to another protector but he usually saves that as a last resort. I feel like Elijah and I are very close, we’ve been through so much together. I always feel somewhat responsible for the abuse he has endured.
I try and give him emotional support whenever I can, and usually, we support each other at the same time. Kind of leaning on one another even though we’re both falling down. We weren’t through a time where we were both going through flashbacks that were basically the same. He was strong, but we had to hold each other to get through that month. We also really depended on Renau for help, and he did great really.
I’ve talked a lot of personal stuff in this post, but I want to talk about how important it is to take care of everyone in your system. The way to heal isn’t by fighting each other until you all go dormant and have blocks between each other. Trying to take care of one another, even if integration is your end goal, is taking care of yourself.
I have different views about who my parts are, and how they got into my body (trauma is obviously the reason they’re here), but from a clinical point of view, your parts are part of you. It’s no use fighting yourself or ignoring parts in the hopes that they’ll go away.
The key thing I try to remember is that we are all abuse survivors at the end of the day. Try and give your parts they same kind of care you’d offer any other abused person.
Protecting your protectors is important. They can’t do a good job of protecting you (no matter what that means for you) if they’re emotionally compromised.
Thanks for reading! I know I cover this basic idea a lot.