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IFS Shadow work journal part 2: electric boogaloo

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I had a really good journal about IFS on the actualized forum. I made a lot of progress and a lot of people read it and asked me loads of questions about IFS and I'm happy to have helped them. Unfortunately a certain DMT plugging, megamind looking ass mofo decided to ban me for calling out his spiritual ego. 


Now that I've found a new home on AOB my journal is ready for a comeback.

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Recap on IFS:



  • It is the nature of the mind to be subdivided into an indeterminate number of subpersonalities or parts.
  • Everyone has a Self, and the Self can and should lead the individual's internal system.
  • The non-extreme intention of each part is something positive for the individual. There are no "bad" parts, and the goal of therapy is not to eliminate parts but instead to help them find their non-extreme roles.
  • As we develop, our parts develop and form a complex system of interactions among themselves; therefore, systems theory can be applied to the internal system. When the system is reorganized, parts can change rapidly.
  • Changes in the internal system will affect changes in the external system and vice versa. The implication of this assumption is that both the internal and external levels of system should be assessed.


  • To achieve balance and harmony within the internal system
  • To differentiate and elevate the Self so it can be an effective leader in the system
  • When the Self is in the lead, the parts will provide input to the Self but will respect the leadership and ultimate decision making of the Self.
  • All parts will exist and lend talents that reflect their non-extreme intentions.


  • Subpersonalities are aspects of our personality that interact internally in sequences and styles that are similar to the ways in which people interact.
  • Parts may be experienced in any number of ways -- thoughts, feelings, sensations, images, and more.
  • All parts want something positive for the individual and will use a variety of strategies to gain influence within the internal system.
  • Parts develop a complex system of interactions among themselves. Polarizations develop as parts try to gain influence within the system.
  • While experiences affect parts, parts are not created by the experiences. They are always in existence, either as potential or actuality.
  • Parts that become extreme are carrying "burdens" -- energies that are not inherent in the function of the part and don't belong to the nature of the part, such as extreme beliefs, emotions, or fantasies. Parts can be helped to "unburden" and return to their natural balance.
  • Parts that have lost trust in the leadership of the Self will "blend" with or take over the Self.


  • Different level of entity than the parts -- often in the center of the "you" that the parts are talking to or that likes or dislikes, listens to, or shuts out various parts
  • When differentiated, the Self is competent, secure, self-assured, relaxed, and able to listen and respond to feedback.
  • The Self can and should lead the internal system.
  • Various levels of experience of the Self:
  • When completely differentiated from all parts (Self alone), people describe a feeling of being "centered."
  • When the individual is "in Self" or when the Self is in the lead while interacting with others (day-to-day experience), the Self is experienced along with the non-extreme aspects of the parts.
  • An empowering aspect of the model is that everyone has a Self.



  • Young parts that have experienced trauma and often become isolated from the rest of the system in an effort to protect the individual from feeling the pain, terror, fear, and so on, of these parts
  • If exiled, can become increasingly extreme and desperate in an effort to be cared for and tell their story
  • Can leave the individual feeling fragile and vulnerable


  • Parts that run the day-to-day life of the individual
  • Attempt to keep the individual in control of every situation and relationship in an effort to protect parts from feeling any hurt or rejection
  • Can do this in any number of ways or through a combination of parts -- striving, controlling, evaluating, caretaking, terrorizing, and so on.


  • Group of parts that react when exiles are activated in an effort to control and extinguish their feelings
  • Can do this in any number of ways, including drug or alcohol use, self-mutilation (cutting), binge-eating, sex binges
  • Have the same goals as managers (to keep exiles away) but different strategies


  • Assess parts and sequences around the problem.
  • Look for polarizations:
  • Within individuals
  • Among family members
  • Look for parallel dynamics: The way you relate to your own parts parallels the way you relate to those parts of others.
  • Introduce the language of the model.
  • Check for individual's awareness of parts -- ask how he or she experiences the part: thoughts, feelings, sensations, images, and so on.
  • When working with families, check for the family's awareness of parts in self and others.
  • Make a decision about how to begin using the model: language, direct access, imagery, and so on.
  • Come to agreement on initial goals of therapy in terms of the internal system -- create a "contract."
  • Assess the fears of manager parts and value the roles of the managers; explain how the therapy can work without the feared outcomes of the managers happening.
  • Inventory dangerous firefighters; work with managers' fears about triggering firefighters.
  • Assess external context and constraints to doing this work.


  • The way you relate to your own parts parallels the way you relate to those parts of others.
  • Individual's internal system affects and is affected by the external system of which he or she is a part.
  • Internal and external systems often parallel each other.
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Would you mind if I sometimes comment in your journal and ask questions. 

I'll keep my comments limited, I promise. 


So basically I'm an autistic INFJ BPD sigma Pisces female with anger and CPTSD issues. Wow wow. 

My plate looks full. I Couldn't have been weirder than that. Now I get why I'm so idiosyncratic. 

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Over the past few months, I've managed to unburden many of my parts. I've created a dramatic transformation in my inner psyche. Old habits and thought patterns have been dissolved and I feel like a completely different person to who I was before.

However there are some drawbacks.


The major one is the constant ego/protector backlash. Every major change I make to my psyche destabilises the homeostatic balance of my mind causing a period of turmoil in my mind where parts struggle to balance themselves. It's impossible to get every protector to back down and I just have so many parts.

The second is the fact that too much inner transformation can make me feel like I'm losing my identity. I'm at a point where I don't really know who I am anymore. The person I once was is gone.

Its also quite difficult to manage my internal system. Parts need to be constantly checked up on and it can be difficult because there are so many of them.

Also, each round of progress, uncovers more deeper parts. As soon as I think I'm completely healed, more parts reveal themselves.




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My areas to focus on from now are:

  • sexual trauma and frustration.
  • attitude towards girls and dating.
  • addictions, distractions and procrastination
  • feelings of unworthiness
  • resistance towards change
  • feelings of emptiness tiredness and numbness
  • fawn response and people pleasing
  • resistance towards living consciously
  • intrusive thoughts
  • parts that resist IFS

Damn that's a lotta homework. Best get cracking

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Been working with a protector that resists IFS. The protector promised to keep me safe from my abusive childhood. Now it resists change because it views the unknown as dangerous. I've noticed significant backlash from this part that has really hindered my IFS journey.

There is also another part that feels like IFS is futile and is overwhelmed by all the work that must be done.


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Came here to say i was following your thread on actualized forum and i'm following your journey. Your story is very similar to mine and wondering what does your IFS practice look like.

best of luck. And i really hope you get out of this experiment stronger than ever. You got balls.  

Edited by Atronoid
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@Atronoid Thanks!


I generally use the traditional methods outlined by dick schwartz. My typical routine goes something like:


1. sit down and meditate for a few minutes

2. notice the parts that arise during the meditation. Notice trailheads and trace to the parts.

3. pick one of the parts to focus on, try to befriend the part rather than resisting, ask the part to unblend

4. notice any parts that get triggered by you befriending the part and ask them to relax

5. if one of the parts refuses to relax, return to step 3 with a focus on that part instead

6. once you befriend the part, ask it what its trying to protect you from

7. thank it for protecting you and let it know that you are safe now and don't need protection anymore.

8. if you do this right the part will either unburden itself or point you to an exile.

9. if you are pointed to an exile, simply project love and acceptance towards it and listen to what it has to say. 

10. let it know that you will stop abandoning it and that you wont leave it behind and project as much love as you can towards it. If you do this right it will unburden and you will feel a huge energetic shift.


Good luck in your journey as well!

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Noticing some repressed rage coming up. I used to be small and weak as a child and I was bullied for it a decent amount. Since I couldn't fight, my natural response was the fawn response making me timid. This continues to this very day and I am still scared of aggressive and violent confrontation.


However, there is another part of me that wants to fight back and beat these people. Because of this part, I have trained in Muay Thai, BJJ and MMA for a while now and I'm fairly confident in my ability to handle myself in violent confrontations. However, The timid part of me is still there avoiding conflict and being a wimp. I still wilt at any kind of confrontation. This makes my fighter part very angry. Why am I cowering to people I could beat? I could smash their faces in, break their limbs and choke them unconscious and yet I am still scared. In order to calm this angry part and comfort my scared part I made a pact with the angry part that the next time someone acts aggressively towards me, I won't fawn. If I have to fight I will use all my aggression even if it means I kill that person or die trying. This is the only deal that the angry part would accept but now I am scared of going to prison or ending up dead. But I'd rather die go to prison for murder than live my life as a coward.


I can see how this could be dangerous. Perhaps there is another way.


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A lot of protectors and exiles have begun to resurface simply because my environment now calls for them. For example, the protector part that resists hard work is suddenly active now that I have a job. Now that my life is moving forwards, a lot of parts concerning dating, sex, social circle, money and the direction of my life are now active. But I have noticed that my previous IFS work has made me more confident and extroverted. I'm definitely no longer in my own way now.

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