Internal Family Systems are like those different voices you have in your head. Unless that’s just me…
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I recently heard of Internal Family Systems on, you guessed it, Gabby Bernstein’s podcast. I just can’t seem to get enough Gabby! And for good reason!
If you don’t know her qualifications go check them out but I think I just identify with her and her story so much. Both of us being in recovery, her occasional curse words, and our dedication to living our best lives and hopefully helping you do the same!
I tell you this to give credit where credit is due, I never heard of some things Gabby has mentioned and that’s why I’m so excited to share them with you. Things like EFT Tapping and her money mindset games. But while Internal Family Systems is new to me in terminology it is not new to me in theory.
Do you talk to yourself too? That’s like your Internal Family Systems dialogue in real time.
I know it sounds silly but I do talk to myself in my head. And I think that this is relatable to everyone. Those inner dialogues remind me a lot of Internal Family Systems at their core. Because it’s like the angel and the devil on your shoulder, from my understanding.
There are different names for different parts of who you are in the system. And then there is your core self. Your core self I relate to that inner wisdom that you pull upon when you are in a crisis. It’s your gut, the part of you that inherently knows right from wrong.
Your core self runs into problems when there are outer conflicts that arise that lead to conditioning. Your true nature is kind and sweet, but your nurture has been taught that you need to be cautious. This can happen for a multitude of reasons.
Your Internal Family Systems as it relates to nurture vs nature.
So I mentioned nurture and nature above. If you’re unaware of the concepts, in nutshell it’s the question psychologists are still trying to understand. Are people born the way they are or are they who they are because of their upbringing?
I believe it’s a combination of both, and I think many could agree. Of course, there are things that are inherently you since the day you were you, and other things you learned as you adapted to your environment.
The different parts of Internal Family Systems as they relate to who you are is that you have different roles you play at different times. When you are afraid, do you fight, flight, or fawn (yes I think they added one now)? What you do in different situations is the different parts of you.
What do you call these parts?
As I recall from the podcast, and I will repeat the terminology because it is a good way to understand it, there are protectors and child parts of you. For each child part, exiled part, wounded part, there is a part of you designed to protect that part.
When I’m in danger I fight, basically all of the time. Now obviously that is a protector part of me, but it is protecting the vulnerable part of me that felt like if I fought then I would be safe. There is also the part of me that cries when I can’t convey my words properly, that’s protecting the exiled part of me that has been told that my feelings don’t matter. And there is the whiney part of me that complains to protect my wounded ego from people that hurt my feelings.
I used those examples for Internal Family Systems because I think that everyone can relate to a certain degree to those different parts. You have similar parts even though you may have different reactions as well as different triggers.
How does this help you own your awesome?
You know those parts of you that you maybe would have changed if you had been given the option? Sure everyone says they wouldn’t change a thing because it all makes up who you are, but deep down we all know we would love to get rid of our awkwardness!
And how about those bad periods and moments in your life that you acted less than you know you are capable of? When you get deep into Internal Family Systems that’s when you can really begin to understand, appreciate, and eliminate those negative feelings attached to memories and parts of you that have been wounded or exiled.
It helps you own your awesome because you begin to heal your trauma at its root instead of on the surface level. The more you do that and the more you embrace all of you, the more you will live a peaceful and abundant life.
If you want to listen more to Gabby’s podcast do that here.
I hope that you found some value in this post today! If you did please share this with people that you care about so they can understand this as well.
Grab Dr. Richard Schwartz’s book here.
P.S. This is touched on in my new book Fireflies available for pre-order now on Amazon!