Hello everyone. This is the Inner Defender here. I sometimes go by Beth, but defender, protector and all sorts of relatively derogatory names have been used. Some days I mind. Some days I don’t. I like to keep it as inconsistent as possible. That really gets under Elisabeth’s skin. And to be fair, we are a conglomeration of defenders, so inconsistency is inevitable.
I haven’t been a big fan of Elisabeth’s recovery journey. I admit I thought the whole thing was stupid. It was incredibly risky to take on the past emotions like that. Anything could have happened. We could have died. Not to mention, emotional pain just isn’t very much fun. Personally, I was fine with keeping those emotions under the surface. I mean really. Society doesn’t like them. Nobody wants to see anybody cry, including me. I’ve got better things to do with my time. And if those emotions were going to kill us, that wouldn’t make us any different from everyone else walking around with endless health problems. But I put up with her reckless pursuit of the truth because honestly, I couldn’t stop her.
But she stepped it up a notch when she opened her mouth about it. I mean seriously. It was like a suicide mission or something. She was trying to get us killed. How many times did I have to show her the death threat memories? How many times did I replay the violent attacks for her? But nothing worked. There she was blabbing it all over the internet. I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
And then she quit her cushy corporate job to coach survivors about trauma recovery? What? That is when I knew she had lost it. I lost it. I knew we were doomed. I knew we were going to be homeless. What about the kids? And she was doing this all because of her intuition, her higher self, something she couldn’t even prove was real? Crazy, I tell you.
I have to admit that things haven’t been as disastrous as I thought. I will even admit that I might have been wrong about a few things. But my strategies worked when we were growing up. Elisabeth will admit that anytime. I kept us safe, so she could eventually take over. I’m not 100% on board with her antics. Sometimes I still think she has lost her mind. But I am coming around a little. In the end, I know she needs me. She tells me all the time.
And that brings us to this blog. She asked if I would write to you about some of my favorite defenses, the stuff that really stumped her. So here goes.
1) Confusion. This might not seem like a defense mechanism, but that is why it is so great. When I get concerned about her direction, Elisabeth can read or hear something over and over again and still not make sense out of it. I know exactly how to make it unclear until she drops the idea for a while.
2) Dissociation. Dissociation is well known these days. I worked hard to keep most traumatic memories hidden with the inner children. In the worst cases, I could just take over, put her to sleep or send her far away from her body. But dissociation can be used in small ways too. Sometimes it can show up as forgetfulness. If Elisabeth would get an idea in her head that I didn’t like, I could just make her forget. Sometimes, she would write it down only to find the piece of paper months later.
3) External manifestations. No. I’m not God or anything. But energy attracts things. And when she would get on a roll, all hell could break loose in her daily life. Suddenly, the car would break down and the dog would get sick in the same day.
4) Body manifestations. If I really wanted to stop her in her tracks, there was always illness. Anything would do really, as long as she had to rest for a while. And because she was such a willful one, she would often keep going until she got really sick.
5) Sleep Interruption. A tired Elisabeth is an unproductive Elisabeth. With all that trauma and inner turmoil, a lack of sleep is just what I need to put her over the edge. Anxiety at 3 AM is often just enough to render her useless the next day, especially if she has a lot planned. All I have to do is get her thinking about finances and it is all downhill from there.
6) Doubts. My favorite strategy was to tell Elisabeth all my doubts. She rarely knew it was me. She thought she was thinking those things. And I wasn’t lying. I believed all of these things. I would just tell her that it was a crazy idea, it would never work, doom was certain, she didn’t deserve good things, anything that made her question her direction.
7) Paralysis. There is nothing more difficult for a willful person than to have a list with no physical motivation or ability to get it done. She would sit looking at her list for hours without the ability to start working on anything. I know those moments were incredibly difficult for Elisabeth, but sometimes, I had to do it.
In the end, I did my job and I did it well. I kept us safe. And while the jury is still out on Elisabeth’s new approaches, I have joined in her quest for now (sort of). However, I reserve the right to stop the madness if things get out of hand. I mean really. We all know I know best.