This is not articulate. This is emotional. This is scattered. This is all made up and it’s completely true. None of it matters and all of it matters.
One of the most permeating, painful truths that I have felt in my heart for years and years and years is that I don’t belong anywhere. And that I don’t make sense all together. I have pieces inside of me that don’t connect with each other and I feel disjointed, with different goals and needs and motives. Context is everything for identity, sometimes– I very much struggle with finding a sense of self.
I read a book last year that changed my life and introduced me to the Internal Family Systems framework.
This is the truth that IFS is built on: scattered pieces of ourselves aren’t integrated. One piece needs x, one piece fears y, one piece is so scared and hides so deeply inside that we hardly get to know her. IFS says that all our pieces– even (and especially) the painful, angry parts– want to protect us, take care of us. Even when someone is acting like an aggressive, angry, raging, hurt soul– that’s just it– they are hurt, and they are trying to protect themselves in a way that, in that moment, for whatever reason, makes sense.
It doesn’t make sense on the surface, but with curiosity and patience, we can work with all our pieces. Just like Rumi and The Guest House.
It makes sense to me. It makes so much sense to me– more sense than the Highly Sensitive framework, or stigmatized PD approaches. Neither of those two explanations seem to encompass my whole– and, well, HSP/PD are labels. Static. IFS is dynamic, it’s a solution, it’s a framework.
It’s a peace of mind to acknowledge all the pieces of mind. It’s also terrifying and scary… especially when I dare share something of these discoveries with a friend and it doesn’t make sense to them. It sometimes feels like a kick in the gut, a reminder that in the bell curve of emotional regulation and mental wellness, I’m a bit on the edge. And that’s okay– there is absolutely nothing wrong with where I fall statistically in that +/- 2%. What matters is that I figure out how to love and work with myself. Knowledge is power.