i decided today to talk about my internal defence system.
as with any defence system it has its own alarm. its own perception of what is dangerous and what is not. and procedures to follow when any situation becomes too dangerous. my internal defence system is made up of my male parts. with a part named Alistair at the head of it. he is the alarm.
when Al perceives a situation as dangerous, he has a few options. he can alert other parts as to why he thinks the situation is dangerous. he can “hijack” the body and divert us from the dangerous situation. he can gather all of the male parts and form a “protective wall” inside. or he can simply withdraw the shared memory and shut the whole system down.
it has taken a lot of work, but Al has worked with our therapist to change his perceptions of what is a dangerous situation. and this has helped the whole system greatly. walking down the street and having an adult male walk past us is not grounds to shut the system down. it makes us feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. these feelings are manageable. watching a movie and finding that it has triggering content. “hijacking” the body and getting us out of there is a reasonable reaction.
changing these perceptions and working on being able to sit with feelings, has meant that we are not so afraid to go outside any more. we have noticed that being able to deal with internal feelings has greatly reduced the perceived danger of the situation. the less anxious we feel, the less dangerous Al perceives the situation to be.
i would also like to talk about what happens when Al shuts the system down. first he withdraws our shared memory. which means that when a part switches in, they cannot access memories from other parts. they cannot recall what has just happened, or any memories since the last time we had access to the shared memories. when Al shuts the system down, all of the internal communication stops. we cannot talk to each other inside. we are basically isolated. in extreme circumstances this can mean that all but a skeleton crew are “hidden inside”. and only the skeleton crew of essential parts can access the body.
it is because these measures are so drastic that we are very proud of Al for working with our therapist to alter his perception of dangerous situations. we can now function better as a system and not have the system shut down when it does not need to be.