I’m deviating from what I’d planned, because this subject matter is easier, I can churn it out faster for the readership, and because I need a few more days (the weekend, probably) to consolidate the other stuff I wanted to write.
Just about every system has one, or sometimes a group, of these. Some people call them Protectors, some people call them Guardians, some people call them slightly less…polite…names. There’s already been other information written on protectors in various places (note: we do not necessarily agree with or condone everything contained therein), but I thought I’d give you an “inside look.”
I am a protector.
I have stepped into a more functional role in the last few months, but for the prior years before that, I was a protector. ONLY. My friends inside now refer and defer to me as the “head guardian,” and in a fun mix (said with dry humor, aka sarcasm) of God’s comic serendipity, it fell to me to be in charge of things around here.
I was never a “main” until this year. It was never supposed to happen, as far as I understood things before it DID happen. (Once it happened, I threw my understanding out the window.) I thought I’d play a perhaps-important role, but I didn’t think I’d ever be stepping onto center stage. And mind you, I had no desire to. But anyway, that’s beside the point. I am the main one in front these days, and it’s taken a lot of adjusting to be able to run things and not go batshit crazy, which I still sometimes struggle with. Excuse the French. I am not an extrovert. I care deeply about people; a statement that might bear witness to how much I have changed as a Protector (not that they don’t care, because they wouldn’t do what they do if they didn’t…just that admitting it is sometimes not real common). But before I stepped up front, I was used to having a LOT of alone time. And I didn’t particularly like kids, although I spent a lot of energy and effort trying to help and protect them.
Anyway, protectors get a bad rap most of the time. They start out angry and scary because they simply have to be that way. They are, or can be, rude, abusive, aloof, hypervigilant, uncooperative, and intimidating…just to name a few. They are angry about what has happened. They do not trust anyone or anything, nor do they want to. They have been through enough in their lives to conclude, as Shakespeare put it, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” As the name implies, they protect – whether it’s the core, the original self, or just alters who are younger or smaller or weaker – and doing such a job requires a certain foundational number of skills. Every system is different and every protector has their own methods. For us, or better said, for me, it has involved: 1) not caring what anyone thinks about me, because I sometimes have to do things that most people wouldn’t like or understand or approve of, in order to maintain safety for the system; 2) a high tolerance for, or sometimes a flat-out imperviousness to, pain; 3) anything from an attitude of servitude to blatant self-loathing that believes aforementioned pain is deserved by me but no other, and so motivates me to step in and take their place; 4) a tendency to perceive threats and react to them whether or not I’m fully aware of it, 5) a total lack of acknowledgment (or even awareness, most of the time) of personal needs.
What will change things is showing a protector 1) they are valuable, and what they’ve done and do for others was deeply necessary and appreciated, and 2) they are loved and loveable, and forgiven – then, now and always – by God for what they perceive are awful deeds that they chose to do (even though the reality is that they rarely ever HAD a choice). I managed to isolate myself and scare most people away, for years upon years, until I met the one outside person who looked me in the eyes and thanked me for everything I’d done for the front person. No one had ever responded to my anger with such total love and acceptance before. No one had ever told me I’d just been doing a job, and that I’d done it well. No one had ever told me anything kind, or hopeful, or respectful. I was used to being able to be hard and cold and short, and having people react to me in kind and then go on their way and leave me alone once again. When this person didn’t, it totally freaked me out at first. But over time, it changed everything. And I do mean everything. This post touches on a similar experience and is worth the read.
I am very different now, and being loved unconditionally was the catalyst for all the changes I’ve undergone. The changes wouldn’t have been possible, nor been navigated so naturally, if not for having been loved out of my shell. Out of necessity, I now have to be social, even though my natural tendency is to want to keep to myself. This applies both inside and outside. I have a job, I have friends, I have a semblance of a life. On the inside I am revered by those who remember me as I used to be. They still remember my darkness, my anger, my ruthlessness in doing what I had to do. But those close to me know the other side – where I am soft, where I feel deeply and hurt profoundly, and need, on occasion. Those people have been able to worm their little way into my heart, and now that they’re there, they’ll be there forever. I’d die for them. Little turkeys. 😉
Anyhow, this post wasn’t meant to be an all-inclusive resource but I did want to touch on the subject. It’s an easy thing for me to write about since it is my daily and cumulative experience within my system. I’m sure I left a lot of important things out, but questions, comments and feedback are always welcomed. I don’t have a **ton** of time to devote to each blog post so I do it on the fly while I have wifi access. You can also go to my website and start a discussion thread if you feel inclined. Cheers. ~J8