The inner protector who protects too much

Photo by Jason Briscoe

Photo by Jason Briscoe


Life says yes,

but something inside me says no

and the dance is cut off

before it begins.

The no is swift and involuntary,

like a guillotine falling

and chopping off my own head

Yet it is also subtle

because it is often undetectable

in the moment of activation.

After 30 plus years of saying these yes no’s,

I wonder what life would be like without the no.

Would I still wish I said no

because there is something familiar and soothing

in the pull back of this inner movement?

Or would I just glide over each new edge with abandon,

freed from the security guard within

that wants to protect

but unwittingly chains me?

We all have protective parts that operate in our psyches. I have an inner manager inside me that at times wants to fiercely keep me on the straight and narrow. She doesn’t like it when I want to explore or do anything she deems impractical. She can be a hard task master who wants to keep me within the boundaries of her known world that she believes is safe. As soon as I start to make a move on the advice of my intuitive self, my inner protective manager cuts in and tries to pull me back with what often seem like logical reasons for not moving forward until they are investigated. Her other tactic is to use fear.

When I contemplated walking the whole Via Francigena from Canterbury to Rome, my inner protector objected very loudly with logic and fear:


You didn’t save any money this year, and you didn’t save for this. It’s expensive.

It’s a long walk.

It is summer, so it will be too hot.

Everyone goes on holidays in August. You won’t be able to find any accommodation.

What if something happens to you?

You don’t know anything about hiking. What if you can’t finish it? What a waste of money that would be.

But the loudest objection I heard was the question of why on earth would I want to walk 2000 kilometres. What was the point of that?

Fortunately at the time, my inner wise self also spoke up, reminding me that where there’s a will there’s a way and if not now, when? I had just been made redundant and I had the time to do the whole walk in one go (it takes around 3 months). What if I never had this freedom again?

Through my personal psychotherapy and healing, as well as my counselling studies and mindfulness practices, I have developed awareness of my inner parts and when they start running the show, although sometimes they can still be slippery and quick acting and go under the radar.

When a protective part of you speaks up, there is no need to shame it, argue with it or make it wrong. There’s also no need to try and get rid of it. Instead, we listen to it and make it more consciously known to us. It can hold valuable information you need to know. The key is to become curious and always be compassionate towards yourself.

With love and courage,


PS If you’re feeling stuck and unable to move towards something that you’re really longing for, it could be that your inner protector is at work whether known or unbeknown to you. Email me or get in touch if you would like some support.