EMDR protector/helper?

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
T wants me to pick a person/figure to help in EMDR sessions. So I have questions:
1. How did you pick one?
2. How did you get past the fact that it would mean a witness to the event? I can’t even express how opposed to that I am.
3. How do you ask for and get help…from anyone really but mainly for the purposes of this?
4. If you do EMDR do you have a protector?

I realize safe space and protectors are some of the first things you build in EMDR, but did anyone else skip the protector part?

My brain is screaming 😱 noooooo you do not want someone there and you do not want to have to rely on them.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
i haven't done emdr, but i have gotten considerable mileage from both safe spaces and protectors. those theories are both older than emdr and i believe they are instinctive. as a child, i routinely escaped into fantasies of safe places and strong, safe people to carry me to and/or sit with me in those safe places. my first protector was joan of arc. i am 68 and half a century removed from my first psychotherapy appointment, but i'll still sic joan on you before i dial 911. i allow myself to get creative and diverse in my use of safe places and protectors. these days my favorite protector is chief paducah. he's teaching me how to be a river pirate on "the great loop" when i grow up. if you've never heard of the great loop, it is a highly entertaining and historical surf.

My brain is screaming 😱 noooooo you do not want someone there and you do not want to have to rely on them.

getting past this ptsd symptom has lead to quite a few recovery breakthroughs for me. these days i am calling this complex symptom subset, "the secrecy code." abused children are rather routinely taught from an early age to keep secrets for their abusers. abuse cannot survive well without some sort of secrecy code. the symptom subset still surfaces in me once in a while and my healing progresses a little further every time i calm and silence that piece of my brain.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
i haven't done emdr, but i have gotten considerable mileage from both safe spaces and protectors. those theories are both older than emdr and i believe they are instinctive. as a child, i routinely escaped into fantasies of safe places and strong, safe people to carry me to and/or sit with me in those safe places. my first protector was joan of arc. i am 68 and half a century removed from my first psychotherapy appointment, but i'll still sic joan on you before i dial 911. i allow myself to get creative and diverse in my use of safe places and protectors. these days my favorite protector is chief paducah. he's teaching me how to be a river pirate on "the great loop" when i grow up. if you've never heard of the great loop, it is a highly entertaining and historical surf.



getting past this ptsd symptom has lead to quite a few recovery breakthroughs for me. these days i am calling this complex symptom subset, "the secrecy code." abused children are rather routinely taught from an early age to keep secrets for their abusers. abuse cannot survive well without some sort of secrecy code. the symptom subset still surfaces in me once in a while and my healing progresses a little further every time i calm and silence that piece of my brain.
Yeah apparently I was a control freak even as a little kid. I played dolls and school and I was always in charge. I was always the protector. I didn’t read until I got older and imagination wasn’t as coveted a trait.

Secrecy code! Yep, that, honestly the amount of secrets I’ve carried my whole life it’s a wonder my brain hasn’t exploded.
 

StillPen

MyPTSD Pro
@Charbella , I don't know what the purpose is for this figure in regard to EMDR, as it sounds as though "Protector" is being pulled from the 'Internal Family Systems' framework/model of treatment. But, from what I gather, you've answered your own question...at least in part.

I was always in charge. I was always the protector.
So, YOU are that figure. If you can engage your 'internal self' as the protector (for me, that 'internal self' is who I hear when thinking internally, my own internal dialogue, not that of my parts), then maybe that will help you engage in EMDR, Also, you were there, so you don't have to think about bringing another 'part' of you into the session to 'see' everything (which would scare and embarrass the shit out of me). This may mean that some memories will get unlocked that 'you' as the protector have been blocking, but that is the point, right? To unlock those things that are keeping you deep in your illness (SI, SH, debilitating flashbacks, invasive thoughts, rumination, unhealthy core beliefs, etc....these are all the things that send me spiraling just about every. single. day.).

Now, if this is a real, physical person, I totally get the hesitation there....I would be like, "NO f*cking way!"

If this is an imaginary 'figure' you bring into session like a mentor...anyone who would 'protect' you and parts as you go through this, I could see that role, however, if you never had that growing up with family, neighbors, loved ones, teachers, etc., I could see how your brain might find it hard to come up with someone external in the first place, much less let them see the things that give you guilt, remorse, disgust, fear, pain, etc.

Maybe, you could 'make' someone up? Doesn't even have to be human. Could be an orb, color, shape, historical figure, figurative (an actual figure), fuzzy, big, tiny, other-worldly....literally anything that would serve as something that could protect you from any and all harm while you move through the EMDR process.

I wish you luck no matter what...let us know how it turns out. I want so badly to engage in EMDR but my T will not do it 😔. Says it makes me too unstable. As always, take what you like and think helps and toss the rest right out the window.

Many Hugs.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
Yep, that, honestly the amount of secrets I’ve carried my whole life it’s a wonder my brain hasn’t exploded.

i believe my brain DID explode from all the secrets i had to keep as a child prostitute. ironically, my military communications training/service, which required a top secret/special category security clearance, taught me about sustainable secret keeping. since i started refusing to keep the secrets of the class of folks who buy and sell children, etc., i have freed up considerable brain capacity for more functional purposes. keeping secrets is hard work.

a secret that is told is a truth let out of jail.
be brave. set the truth free.
 
I've never heard of a protector with EMDR and I've done it with three separate practitioners. It does seem very IFSish.

It actually sounds like a pretty good idea. My current therapist and I use the container exercise after each reprocessing session.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
I’m a bit confused…

Are you talking about ACTUALLY bringing a person in with you?
Most definitely not! I’d be no way and I wouldn’t ask anyone else’s opinion.

No basically he wants me to bring someone in in my imagination to help when I’m stuck. Like @arfie said. So when I’m to afraid to get around him to help mini me.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
If this is an imaginary 'figure' you bring into session like a mentor...anyone who would 'protect' you and parts as you go through this, I could see that role, however, if you never had that growing up with family, neighbors, loved ones, teachers, etc., I could see how your brain might find it hard to come up with someone external in the first place, much less let them see the things that give you guilt, remorse, disgust, fear, pain, etc.
In case I give off a DID impression, I do not, though EMDR makes me seriously question how it’s possible to be me and mini me, the conversations are so realistic.

But to answer your question yes he’s thinking imaginary mentor and I don’t know what that is like. I do know what it’s like to rely on yourself but for some reason I can’t get past my odd fear of him to get around him so logistically I get stuck trying to figure out how to reparent. Probably because I was neither parented nor am I a parent.
 

StillPen

MyPTSD Pro
In case I give off a DID impression
Nope, but I strongly believe all humans have parts. Weather one refers to their "inner child" (common lingo in the 90s), their "creative side", their "logical" side, etc. I just thinks those parts are fully integrated into one single stream of thought. This my absolute, non-educated, non-scientific opinion. It's the only way I can wrap my head around my own DID. So, the notion he wants you to imagine a protector makes sense. How you and mini you conversate, in my mind, is still a single threaded linebof communication (mine are too, for that matter, they just come to the front of my consciousness and think for themselves, too).

So, to revisit
1. How did you pick one?
2. How did you get past the fact that it would mean a witness to the event? I can’t even express how opposed to that I am.
3. How do you ask for and get help…from anyone really but mainly for the purposes of this?
4. If you do EMDR do you have a protector?
1. I've picked protective parts in other modalities. Symbols worked and orbs of light worked best for me, don't know why. I alwaysvenvision them floating up high, 7 to 8 ft in the air.
2. Mine were used to overcome specific, current struggles rather than past events, but if you choose something inanimate, it wouldn't technically "witness" anything...a force field, if you will...
3. Don't follow this question I don't think
4. First I've heard of EMDR in this manner, but if you are that blocked, it may be a really useful combination of treatments.
but for some reason I can’t get past my odd fear of him to get around him
Odd fear of who to get around who? Are you afraid of your T or are you referencing an abuser? Sorry, I'm being dense.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@StillPen thanks for normalizing some stuff and giving me info! I didn’t realize he was combing modalities but that’s probably because I’ve been back and forth reading EMDR stuff and IFS stuff.

3. Do you just ask for help when you need it? Like I’m suicidal I should tell my T and get some help or even I’m struggling with this recipe I should ask the friend who gave it to me. I don’t fully understand this concept, for me asking means I can’t do it and generally I can…eventually.

Odd fear of abuser and before you say it’s not odd it is! He would’ve been the one I asked for help as a kid, and did occasionally which I’m seeing now might be an even bigger reason why I don’t ask for help. To me he wasn’t scary but at the same time I have this fear. I’ll be honest it makes no sense at all.

I agree with you DID is an amplification of a normal process, kind of like ADHD amplifies anyones ability to stay on task, everyone has issues some are just much more extreme than others.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
If it were me, I would pick someone internal. For me, I don't know about you, but that would skip the idea that "someone else" has to witness it because my internal processes have always been there && would have been there during the original event.
 
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