We all have parts. Parts inside that have ideas, beliefs, opinions, and hopes about how we should present ourselves to the outer world. I’ll share some of mine so it makes sense…..
When the going got tough during the Covid pandemic, a part of me managed the day-to-day operations to prevent contracting Covid, like sourcing and buying tons of hand sanitizer, masks, and online groceries and farm shares. Another part managed to set up a home office so I could continue seeing my clients who mean the world to me. A ‘nutrition therapist’ part that showed up on time. I have a billing part that creates amazing, organized spreadsheets. A housecleaning, straightening part that keeps everything in order. And, I have a part that just wants to have an ice cream sandwich, a few chocolate caramels, and maybe a side of tortilla chips after dinner.
You can see that some of my parts are treasured souls that have been with me a lifetime; others that could step to the curb without me noticing and in fact, there’d be gratitude if they did. But, it doesn’t work this way.
We have little, young parts tucked inside of us, parts that felt betrayed by our parent’s divorce and blamed ourselves for it, shamed by continued physical and verbal punishment for not keeping our mouths shut in 2nd grade and a “D” in conduct landed on our report card, cried themselves to sleep when they had to move and lost best friends, or longed for tender moments with mom or dad when bullied at school.
You have your stories, your narrative. These little parts want to be comforted, held, seen, listened to, understood, and ultimately healed of these heavy burdens they carry. But, the parts I mentioned above, called protective parts, manifested when these little ones were initially hurt and pushed them out of sight because the pain was too great to bear. And they are strong, present, hard working, and will not give up or step aside.
You can see how even at 6, 8, 12 years old, let’s say, a protective part can manifest to keep the little one safe from the feelings of loss, unworthiness, fear, not good enough, shame. It learns tricks and amasses a toolkit so every new school doesn’t feel so scary. So it doesn’t feel it doesn’t matter here. The sadness. Anxiety.
Working internally with our parts can bring relief, we become the loving adult in their lives providing support and contentment. In my role as a nutrition therapist, I help you notice parts around food and body. Those that blame and shame you for eating “bad” foods, follow stringent food rules like ‘don’t eat a lot in public’ or rigid meal plans, or criticize and judge you to the point of not eating at all until you’re home safe and sound and food is a reprieve. Or parts that use food, weed or alcohol as a way to numb out. Our parts that show up every day, work tirelessly on a hamster wheel to keep us safe … are exhausted. If we asked them, they’d say they are ready to go on vacation, retire, or do something else entirely. But, they are loyal to their role and can do that only after we can bring some peace to the little ones.
Reach out to me if you’d like to know more about how IFS can help your food and body image parts. It’s a journey well worth the risk and time. I’m so eager to join you on the path of healing.