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Making Friends With Your Protector Response

From Audio: The Protector
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Sas Petherick explores how we can overcome the unconscious stress response called the protector, which has learned to shield us from the harmful situations in our pasts but can hold us back from present opportunities. In this snippet, Sas offers examples of how one's protector can manifest: fear of public speaking, for instance, and ways to recognize when a stress response isn't serving one well.
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Well, that's what I wanted to talk to you about today. Um, and I have five things to know about your protector so that you can start to begin a relationship with this part of you the self doubt. So you can characterize it into something you can kind of hold. And if you want to explore this concept in depth, do come and check out your self belief map. In this program, which starts next week, you'll meet your protector and get to understand more about why it's showing up in the way it is holding you back from specific aspects of your life, even the things you really want. So here are five awesome things to know about your protector. The first is it's so much more sophisticated than an inner critic. Now, much of the conventional thinking about self doubt tends to describe an inner critic or self saboteur that creates imposter syndrome. So we have this tiny judge that sits on our shoulder hurling abuse about how rubbish we are, and it's only a matter of time before everyone else finds out. But this just does not bear out in the research. It doesn't reflect many people's experience of self doubt. And frankly, it feels a little misogynistic because Self Doubt is viewed by the mainstream media is very much a woman's experience, and this is simply false. In every mass survey, at least 70% of all respondents, regardless of gender, report a marked experience of self doubt. And this characterization of self doubt as an inner critic puts us in a position of being in a battle with a faulty or broken or persecuting part of ourselves. So this sets us up with this internal conflict where the only way through is to infantilized this critic or use willpower to fake it or crikey, learn how to manifest what you want. So we end up in this double bind of not taking any action towards what we want and blaming ourselves for being stuck. It completely ignores all the systemic cultural narratives that perpetuate and benefit often profit from self doubt. So this approach can just leave us trapped in comparison with others who seem to find it all much easier from money, work and parenting activism to laundry. We feel like everyone else has their stuff together because they've somehow managed to shut up there in a critic, it creates a sense of loneliness that somehow we're the outsider. We don't fit in. There's something wrong with us. So you protect. It is way more sophisticated than an inner critic, and this is the second thing I want you to know. Your protector is as old as you. It's been a witness to your entire life. So we're all born innocent into the lottery that is family. And we learned through the people we grew up with, how to take care of ourselves, how we get our needs, met what's expected of us, how to belong, how to be accepted, how to navigate a life, living with other people. And as we learn how the world works were collecting information all the time, and we begin to form a sense of who we need to be in order to have safety and belonging. So for those of us who grew up in unsafe or chaotic families, your protector may have saved you from substantial harm. If speaking up invited the judgement or criticism of a sibling or parent, you will have learned to keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself. Or maybe you grew up with a perfect family where there was no room to ever make a mistake. Perhaps there was the sense that you couldn't do anything right or you're being compared to a sibling. We protect ourselves the best way we know how. When we're very young. And when these ways seem to work with seem to offer some comfort to us, they become fused with our sense of self. So throughout these experiences and relationships are protector is like a radar constantly scanning the events and the people that cross our path looking for potential risk. It remembers every single one of our hurts, and it's trying to protect us from ever repeating them. So our protector is this combination of all the coping mechanisms. All the ways were found to take care of ourselves. So your protector is the witness to your life.