Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and John Wayne Gacy. Without a doubt, some of the sickest individuals to roam America in the 20th century. But according to IFS Therapy & Richard Schwartz’s book, “No Bad Parts”, they aren’t pure evil.
But hang on, if they aren’t pure evil, then who is? — and does the concept even exist?
In today’s episode, you’ll discover the answer to this question at (5:42). You’ll also discover the concept of “blending” to understand the forces behind evil intentions and actions.
Show highlights include:
- If you’re researching the therapeutic process, then you need to add this rare book to your collection (it’s stood the test of time, is a best seller, and is a must-read) (1:00)
- How having a cup of coffee at Starbucks with a serial killer could prevent future slayings (6:21)
- The insidious way your parents potentially sabotage your relationships with women because of passing on “LB” (7:23)
- How IFS therapy provides clear steps to overcome even the most demonic and brutal fantasies (and is considered “radical” when compared to the psychiatric establishment) (8:58)
- Why the Church is dead wrong about it’s proclamations of “pure evil” (9:50)
- How the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket is tyrannizing your thoughts when you try to quit smoking weed cold turkey (11:18)
- In order to understand instances of evil, you need to understand the concept of “blending” (14:46)
The book analysis is on this book – Richard Schwartz, “No Bad Parts” – available here:
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Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now, here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. In this episode, I’m excited to do something I’ve never done before in this podcast, which is to focus on an analysis of one book.
I used to do a book analysis every month for my Legendary Coaching Group, and those turned out to be super popular, so I thought I’d try it here in this podcast—and the book I’ve chosen for this episode is the book I’d recommend the most to those who are interested in learning more about what therapy can be like and what it can do for you, and the therapeutic process, and it’s the second book that I would recommend everyone go to in doing their own research in the therapeutic process. The first book I would recommend is Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score. [01:05.5]
That is such a mega bestseller. It’s been sitting on the nonfiction bestseller list often at the No. 1 position for years, so I don’t think it needs any more publicity. If you don’t yet know about it, I don’t know if you’ve been living under a rock, go and get that book, The Body Keeps the Score. It is now like a classic. It’s one of those rare books that have stood the test of time, in the sense of when it was first published, it wasn’t a huge bestseller, but years later, it got picked up and took off, and I think it’s still on the bestseller list.
That’s the first book I’d recommend, The Body Keeps the Score. In fact, it was in The Body Keeps the Score, over 10 years ago, that I first learned about IFS therapy. For those of you who are new to this podcast and don’t know about IFS therapy, IFS therapy is the second evidence-based therapy practice that is listed in the National Registry for Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), which is a national repository maintained by the U.S. government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). [02:09.2]
Interventions listed in the NREPP, including IFS and CBT, have been subjected to independent rigorous scrutiny and are deemed to show significant impact on individual outcomes relating to mental health. The U.S. government’s independent and scientific review, which is now listed on the federal NREPP website says, and I quote:
“As a clinical treatment, IFS has been rated effective for improving general functioning and well-being. In addition, it has been rated promising for each of: improving phobia, panic, and generalized anxiety disorders and symptoms; physical health conditions and symptoms; personal resilience/self-concept; and depression and depressive symptoms.”
In other words, they indicate promising effects on the mind, the body, and the spirit. That was in 2015, and since then, the number of studies that have proven the efficacy of IFS therapy based on scientifically-reviewed evidence has just skyrocketed from there. [03:08.0]
That’s the number one book that I’d recommend you go to first, Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score. The second book is No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz, the founder of IFS Therapy. For many years, I was recommending his textbook-like book called Internal Family Systems Therapy, which is now in its second edition, also by Richard Schwartz.
The second edition is co-authored by Martha Sweezy, but that book has been pretty heavy going for most people and it reads much more like a clinical text that you would expect graduate students to read, and it has a lot of really heavy case studies and it has a lot more jargon and specialist terms in it than the general reader, I expect, would enjoy. [03:54.7]
No Bad Parts is a lot more approachable and it’s more recent. It was published in 2021 with a foreword from Alanis Morissette, and right off the bat, he’s got sections that are quoting Jonathan Van Ness, so it’s a lot more relatable for the general reader. I now recommend this book as the first book in IFS therapy and it’s the second book overall for learning about psychotherapy and the therapeutic process.
I’ve also heard that the audiobook is a really great deal because there are meditations, generally, at the end or in between the chapters, and in the audio version of the book, you have Richard Schwartz delivering the meditations, so those are really great to go to multiple times. You can do them over and over. If you prefer to go through books on audio, then this is going to be even more exciting for you. Go and get the audio book for No Bad Parts.
I’ve found, through the many years that I’ve been doing book analyses every month and sometimes multiple times a month in the Legendary Coaching Group, that people really enjoy it when I read out excerpts from the book that I’ve chosen, and this is not a review of the book, it is not an analysis of the book, it’s more of a commentary. I’ll provide my personal commentary on it. [05:07.8]
But what I’m really hoping to do here is to motivate you to go and get the book and read it yourself, and a great way that I’ve found to do that is to read out the parts of the book to give you a taste of the flavor of the book and tempt you to go and read the whole thing yourself. I’m going to read out a section that, in my edition, is on Page 20, and this is from the chapter entitled We’re All Multiple, indeed Chapter 1, Page 20, and this section is entitled No Bad Parts.
“If the title of the book didn’t trigger this question for you, I’ll ask it directly now. What are we to do with parts that have committed terrible violence? What about those that have murdered or sexually abused people, or parts that are determined to kill their person? How in the world can these be good parts in bad roles? [05:58.8]
“As I did IFS with clients, it became increasingly clear that the burdens that drove their parts were rooted in early traumas. So, in the late-1980s and early-1990s, I came to specialize in the treatment of those who had suffered complex trauma and carried serious diagnoses, like borderline personality disorder, chronic depression, and eating disorders.
“I also became interested in understanding in treating perpetrators of abuse, because it became clear that healing one of them could potentially save many future victims in turn. For seven years, I consulted to Onarga Academy, a treatment center in Illinois for sex offenders. I had the opportunity to help those clients listen to the parts of them that had molested children, and over and over, I heard the same story.
“While the offender was being abused as a child, one of their protector parts became desperate to protect them and took on the rageful or sexually-violent energy of their perpetrator and used that energy to protect themselves from that abuser. From that point on, however, this protector part continued to carry that burden of the perpetrator’s hatred and desire to dominate and punish vulnerability. The part also was frozen in time during the abuse. [07:17.0]
“Thus, the kick in molesting a child came from being able to hurt and have power over someone weak and innocent. These perpetrator parts would do the same thing in their psyches to their own vulnerable childlike parts. This process in which protectors in one generation take on the perpetrator burdens of their parents while they were being abused by those parents is one way that legacy burdens are transferred. As we healed their parts stuck in early abuse, their perpetrator parts unloaded their parents’ violent or sexual energies, and like other parts, quickly transformed and took on valuable roles. [07:58.4]
“During this period, I had the opportunity to work with other kinds of perpetrators, including murderers with similar findings. I remembered that famous Will Rogers’ saying, ‘I never met a man I didn’t like,’ and I realized that I could say that about parts. I, ultimately, liked all of them, even the ones that had done heinous things.
“Now, decades later, I’ve worked with countless clients, as have other IFS therapists around the world, and I believe it is safe to say that there are no bad parts. Spiritual traditions encourage us to have compassion for everyone. This aspect of IFS actually helps make that possible. IFS operates from the radically different assumption that each part, no matter how demonic-seeming, has a secret painful history to share of how it was forced into its role and came to carry burdens it doesn’t like that continue to drive it. This also implies clear steps for helping these parts and the people therein to heal and change. It brings hope to the hopeless.” [09:06.4]
This is a pretty radical assumption and break from, for example, the psychiatric establishment that over-relies on the DSM classifications, for instance, labeling somebody, let’s say, borderline or narcissistic personality and making that the whole story about that person, and then based on that diagnosis, then, obviously, these are nice neat diagnoses for the insurance companies and so on. But based on that diagnosis, you just treat them as that’s who they are and that’s how they are, and then you manage them that way.
Now, Richard Schwartz there, in that excerpt I read, referenced spiritual traditions and the importance of compassion in those spiritual traditions, but it’s also from those more religious institutionalized traditions where there is an emphasis on evil and judging an individual as either good or evil, and if they’re evil, then that’s that and they go onto eternal damnation, because they deserve it, because they’re evil. [10:08.3]
What Richard Schwartz is saying here and baked into the model of IFS therapy is the assumption that, if you get to know that person well enough and get to know the parts of them that seem evil to you, and might have and could very well have done evil acts that have resulted in great suffering, that if you get to know those parts of them well enough, you’ll find that that part is, in fact, not evil, not even bad.
The main point of this book that there are no bad parts connects to the theme of the podcast episode I did earlier on the House of the Dragon, in which I looked at the myth of pure evil and I read out a page or two from Richard Schwartz’s book, No Bad Parts, but I mostly focused, in the second half of that episode, on the myth of pure evil and taking that from Baumeister’s book on evil. If that review of the House of the Dragon on the myth of pure evil piqued your curiosity and interest as I know it did for a lot of people who wrote in to me, you absolutely must study this book by Richard Schwartz, No Bad Parts. [11:13.7]
Now I’ll read for you a short excerpt from Page 11.
“We often find that the harder we try to get rid of emotions and thoughts, the stronger they become. This is because parts, like people, fight back against being shamed or exiled. And if we do succeed in dominating them with punitive self- discipline, we then become tyrannized by the rigid, controlling inner drill sergeant. We might be disciplined, but we’re not much fun. And because the exiled (bingeing, raging, hypersexual, etc.) parts will seize any momentary weakness to break out again and take over, we have to constantly be on guard against any people or situations that might trigger those parts. [11:56.5]
“Jonathan Van Ness tried and failed at drug rehab several times.” Quoting now Jonathan Van Ness, “‘Growing up around so much 12-Step, and seeing so much abstinence preached in rehab and in church, I started to take on an idea that healing had to be all or nothing, which has really not been my truth. I was trying to untangle sexual abuse, drug abuse, and PTSD, and it was something that for me wasn’t conducive to a never-ever-smoking-weed-again approach…. I don’t believe that once an addict, always an addict. I don’t believe that addiction is a disease that warrants a life sentence…. If you ever mess up or can’t string a couple of months together without a slipup, you’re not ruined.’”
So, it’s not an all or nothing thing. This is really important. I mean this is part of what I was getting at in that review, the analysis of the House of the Dragon on the myth of pure evil. I’ll quote another section here from also– Richard Schwartz is quoting Van Ness here on Page 9, which is also earlier in the book. [12:58.1]
“When people asked me if I was ready for my life to change, I don’t think I really understood what they meant. It wasn’t just that strangers would know who I was. It was this other thing that started to happen to me: when I looked in their eyes, sometimes, there was a little voice in my head wondering, Would you still be so excited to meet me if you really knew who I was? If you knew all the things I have done? If you could see all my parts?”
I’ve been exploring this concept of the exiled parts in ourselves or the parts of ourselves that we’re ashamed of, and that are our shadow or unconscious shadow parts. I’ve explored this in many episodes, including the analysis on Black Panther 2.
If you find yourself having a moralistic or judgmental reaction that’s very strong, you might want to consider how much you might be repressing out of fear of your own parts that you are ashamed of or are afraid of, the, quote-unquote, “dark parts” of yourself, so to speak, the bad parts of yourself. Maybe the sinful or naughty parts, the sexual or angry parts. Those parts of yourself that you don’t like and would like to cut out or exile, and that energy that you’re projecting onto those other people. [14:09.7]
Psychology would say that that is a reflection of the amount of energy you’re using to repress those shadow parts in yourself. The more work you do on yourself to understand your own shadow and shadow parts, and those parts of yourself that you were previously ashamed of and wanted to go away, or that you were afraid of or thought were bad, the more that you can understand them and be there for them, the easier it will be for you to see that there are no bad parts, that there are no evil parts in people.
But then how do we explain evil and evil behavior? First you have to understand the concept of blending. Now I’ll quote from the book.
“In IFS we use the term blended to describe the phenomenon in which a part merges its perspective, emotion, beliefs, and impulses with yourself.”
This is from Page 29. [15:01.9]
“When that happens, the qualities of yourself are obscured and seem to be replaced by those of the part. You might feel overwhelmed with fear, anger, or apathy. You might dissociate or become confused or have cravings. In other words, at least temporarily you become the part that has blended with you. You are the fearful young girl or the pouting little boy that you once were.
“Why do parts blend? Protective parts blend because they believe they have to manage situations in your life. They don’t trust your Self to do it.”
Capital “S” Self.
“For example, if your father hit you as a child and you weren’t able to stop him, your parts lost trust in your Self’s ability to protect the system, and instead came to believe that they have to do it. To make the parallel to external families, they became parentified inner children. That is they carry the responsibility for protecting you, despite the fact that, like external parentified children, they’re not equipped to do so.”
Now I’m going to skip a couple paragraphs. [16:02.7]
“The point here is that these symptoms and patterns are the activities of young, stressed out parts that are often frozen in time during earlier traumas and believe that you are still quite young and powerless. They often believe that they must blend the way they do or something dreadful will happen, often that you will die. Given where they are stuck in the past, it makes sense that they would believe this.”
Again, skipping a few paragraphs.
“It’s important to remember that regardless of how blended we are, the Self”—the capital “S” self—“is still in there. It never goes away. In ancient times, when there was a solar eclipse and it suddenly got dark because the moon blocked the sun, people would panic believing the sun had disappeared. Like the sun, the Self can be temporarily obscured, but it never disappears. When the moon passes by or clouds dissipate, the sun shines as brightly as ever. Similarly, when parts unblend, the Self’s nourishing energy is readily available again and the parts are comforted to sense the presence of such a strong, loving inner leader. [17:04.4]
“Blended parts give us the projections, transferences and other twisted views that are the bread and butter of psychotherapy. The Self’s view is unfiltered by those distortions. When we’re in Self, we see the pain that drives our enemies rather than only seeing their protective parts. Your protectors only see the protectors of others. The clarity of Self gives you a kind of x-ray vision, so you see behind the other person’s protectors to their vulnerability, and in turn, your heart opens to them. Self also senses the Self in everyone.
Again, these are capital “S” Self, and later on, he defines what that is. If you’re new to IFS therapy, this is a term of art. It’s not just meaning Self as a normal, like, “Hey, you, you, yourself,” but this is a specialized use of the term Self.
“Self also senses the Self in everyone and, consequently, has a deep sense of connectedness, as well as a strong desire to connect to the Self of others. The sense of connectedness has a spiritual element to it that we’ll explore later in this book. We feel connected to Spirit, the Tao, God, Brahman, to the big Self. We feel that because we are connected to it. When we blend with burden parts, we lose all sense of this connectedness and feel separate from one another and from Spirit, alone and lonely.” [18:24.3]
Skipping a bit here.
“Thus, finding blended parts and helping them trust that it’s safe to unblend is a crucial part of IFS.”
Okay, now going forward to Page 38 and then there’s a section in a box and that section in the box is called Five Things to Know About Parts, and I’ll just read out a couple paragraphs from there, on my edition, Page 38, number two out of the five things.
“There aren’t any bad parts. As you get to know them, you’ll learn their full range of personalities. Most are young, even the ones that dominate your life and can be quite intellectual. After parts unburdened, they will manifest their true nature in valuable qualities like delight, joy, sensitivity, empathy, wonderment, sexuality, and in resources like the ability to focus, clear discernment, problem-solving, passion for serving others of the world, and this allows you to have new access to and enrich your life.” [19:18.8]
Point four of the five:
“They can cause a lot of damage to your body and your life. Because they’re frozen in dreadful scenes in the past and carry burdens from those times, they will do whatever they need to do to get your attention when you won’t listen, punish you or others, convince others to take care of them, sabotage your plans or eliminate people in your life they see as a threat.
“To do these things and more they can exacerbate or give you physical symptoms or diseases, nightmares and strange dreams, emotional outbursts and chronic emotional states. Indeed, most of the syndromes that make up the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM, that is, the standard textbook for psychiatry, are simply descriptions of the different clusters of protectors that dominate people after they’ve been traumatized. When you think of those diagnoses that way, you feel a lot less defective and a lot more empowered to help those protectors out of those roles.” [20:20.4]
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Moving forward to Page 54 in the chapter entitled, This Changes Everything, Chapter 3. [21:07.8]
“At this point you may also find yourself having strange experiences during the exercises. Maybe you become unusually sleepy, find yourself thinking about other things that you have to do or you get a headache. None of that is uncommon. When protectors aren’t ready, they feel like they’ve got to distract you or take you out in some way that makes it more difficult for you to do the exercise.
“Don’t fight them on it. My advice is just to get to know the resisting ones from this curious place. Find out what they’re afraid of and honor their fears. Not only is it natural for us to have parts that judge other parts as being bad, but it’s also reinforced in our society.”
Quoting now from Chapter 4 on Page 62:
“The view of humanity that has dominated the Western world trends toward the pessimistic. In order to justify slavery, white Europeans started to differentiate themselves from other less civilized cultures. We might all struggle with primitive impulses, but according to that paradigm, some, typically darker people, were not as skilled at controlling their irrational bestial, beast-like parts. [22:15.3]
“This veneer theory of controlling the primitive can be applied not only to impulses, but also to people. One theme of this book is that how we think about and relate to the inhabitants of our inner worlds translates directly to how we think about and relate to people. If we live in fear of and strive to control certain parts of us, we will do the same to people who resemble those parts. This is just as true in a relationship or in a marriage.
“The veneer theory suggests that civilization forms the protective layer necessary to contain and hide all our primitive instincts that are constantly wanting to break through. Historian Rutger Bregman asserts that, in contrast to the veneer theory, people are basically good. He debunks the research of notable thinkers like Richard Dawkins, Philip Zimbardo, and Stanley Milgram, all of whom held extremely pessimistic in highly influential views about people. When Bregman took a second look at the methods and data from their famous studies, he found enough rampant distortion and falsification to discredit them outright.” [23:15.8]
As an aside, he’s referring to Rutger Bregman’s book, Humankind: A Hopeful History, which is a great book. It’s a pretty big book and I recommend it to everyone. Unfortunately, Bregman writes too much to the general audience and it comes off as kind of a little bit too bombastic, a little bit too hyperbolic, but it’s great on summarizing the research. Back to Schwartz here.
“Bregman’s argument is that we have organized all our institutions based on this selfish view of people, and that if we realized that wasn’t true, everything would change. Once we shift paradigms to the knowledge that, at their essence, everyone is decent and kind, we can reorganize our economic systems, schools and prisons. He offers many examples of successful institutions and programs that are based on the positive view of human nature.” [24:01.7]
Skipping down the page.
“Clearly, our veneer-based approach of control and contain isn’t working. What if it was true that there are no bad parts, only burdened ones frozen in the past that needed to be unburdened rather than punished? What if, at their essence, everyone was a capital ‘S’ Self that could be accessed quickly? How would the world be different?”
Now, in Chapter 5 on Page 78, he’s got this section on spiritual bypassing, which I think for those of you who have been in the meditation circles and more of the spirituality self-help, even some types of life coaching, that type of world, it’s really important to have a balanced view of what’s happening there, and IFS therapy presents a very good counterweight to that, so I’ll quote from Page 78. [24:54.8]
“I referred to spiritual bypassing in Chapter 1. Many people come to meditation to escape their feelings and I find the use of spiritual practices to transcend one’s exiles to be rampant in the communities I treat. Your firefighters will get you addicted to the practice in part.”
By the way, if you don’t know, firefighters is a particular type of extreme protector part.
“Your firefighter parts will get you addicted to the practice, in part because it’s a great solution for them. You’ll feel good as long as you do it, and unlike other addictions on the menu, no one’s upset with you for doing it, including your own managers, your own manager parts. In fact, people admire or envy your discipline and see you as holy. Unlike manager parts, firefighter parts love going into the higher realms and losing control. The further from your pain the better. In those higher realms you can access a lot of pure Self, which feels great, even though it doesn’t heal anything and can make exiles feel even more abandoned.”
Now we move to Chapter 6, in my edition, Page 90. [25:56.2]
“If you were raised in a perfectly harmonious family, in a perfectly harmonious culture, you wouldn’t have parts in these roles. In fact, you would hardly notice your parts, because they would be working together, caring about each other and feeling connected to your Self. In other words, your inner system would be in harmony.
“Some people do have many parts that were never burdened, parts that are still in their naturally valuable states. We therapists don’t tend to work with people like this because they don’t especially benefit from therapy. Instead, we usually work with the burdened parts of people that are attached to the problems they bring to us. Recall the four goals of IFS, to liberate parts from their roles and return them to their natural states, to restore trust in the capital ‘S’ Self, to reharmonize the inner system, and to become self-led.”
I read that section out because I often get asked the question, “What does it look like when the IFS work is, quote-unquote, ‘done’?” right, so to speak. I think it’s because partly it’s the protector parts of them that need to fix themselves, and often it’s out of the motivation of “When I’m finally done this therapy stuff, then I can start getting laid like a player and all that,” which is unique to my audience, simply because that’s how they originally found me from their looking for dating and getting women type of thing. [27:14.1]
That was my old audience, and then now I’m presenting the therapeutic process and so they’re using the therapeutic process to get laid. They will take any way to whatever the in is to get you into the therapy sessions, but, hopefully, along the way, you’ll get to know those parts and why they need so desperately to get women to like them. It’s not just for sexual gratification because there are far easier ways to get sexual gratification than spending the hours, weeks, months, years learning how to be better with women and get women.
The degree to which you have qualms or resistance to getting the sexual gratification on its own, separate from earning it, then you already know that you’re trying to actually get or parts of you that are trying to actually get more than just me sexual gratification from being with women. You’re also looking for a sense of significance for yourself, a sense of self-worth, but also for many people, connection and security, and love and so on. [28:13.8]
If you follow the therapeutic process fully, you will be able to get to know those parts of you that are so desperately needing that from another person. If you want to know what it looks like when you’re further along the process, maybe not quite finished because there isn’t such a concept, but further along, that’s a pretty good illustration or description of it on Page 90 there that I just read out.
By the way, I also read out that section where Richard Schwartz was referring to some parts of you that might protect you from going to more vulnerable places, which is necessary for growth. They might protect you by making you fall asleep or by making you lose interest and so on, and it’s really important that you notice when that’s happening and you don’t have to fight it or power through it. [28:59.6]
But the IFS approach instead is to notice that that’s there and to say hello to it, sort of like, “Hello, part that’s been making me fall asleep at these crucial moments,” or “Hello, flaky part,” or “Hello, numbing part,” and they’re all doing these things, these coping mechanisms or these preventative strategies, as a way of protecting you from some hurt from long ago, so they all have positive intention.
Now, staying with the question of “What would it look like when things are going well on the therapeutic process?” quoting now from Page 107, Chapter 7.
“Developmental psychology and attachment theory have helped us understand what children need from their caretakers as they develop. IFS can be seen as attachment theory taken inside, in the sense that the client’s Self becomes the good attachment figure to their insecure or avoidant parts.
“I was initially amazed to discover that when I was able to help clients access their Self, they would spontaneously begin to relate to their parts in the loving way that the textbooks on attachment theory prescribed. This was true even for people who had never had good parenting in the first place. Not only would they listen to their young exiles with loving attention and hold them patiently while they cried, they would firmly, but lovingly discipline the parts in the roles of inner critics or distractors. The Self just knows how to be a good inner leader. [30:21.5]
“So, why is this important? For one thing, if you can become what I call the primary caretaker of your own parts, then you free intimate partners, or therapists, children, parents, etc., from the responsibility of taking care of raw and needy exiles. Those people then act as the secondary caretakers of your parts, which is a much more enjoyable and feasible role. Most of us have that reversed. Our exiles don’t trust our Self, and, consequently, they and the protectors who try to get them to calm down are looking outside of us to get what they need.”
As an aside, the reason why our parts lose trust in our Self’s leadership was that when we were hurt as young children, the Self couldn’t protect them at that time, so these child parts think that they have to take over. Now returning to Page 108. [31:13.1]
“When we encounter a person who resembles a profile exiles have of their ideal protector, redeemer or lover, they feel elated, infatuated and relieved through what’s called positive transference. Our parts put distorted images on such people who can’t help but disappoint those extreme expectations. Then comes the negative transference from angry protectors.
“You see this a lot in psychopathy where there’s an idealization phase followed by a devaluation phase, where you put the person on the pedestal and they can do no wrong and they make your life whole, and then when one thing goes bad, then, suddenly, they’re like the devil. They’re evil. They are the enemy, the worst of the worst.”
Now, a reading from Page 125, Chapter 7. [32:01.0]
“Leading from Self amid conflict becomes a goal unto itself. For example, when I have a fight with my wife, I ask my parts to step back and let me stay to relate to her and not simply to get her to calm down and be nicer, although it often has that impact. Instead, I do this to further convince my parts that I can lead my system, so the goal becomes trying to maintain the presence of Self regardless of how the other is behaving.
“To do this, it helps when your parts come to realize that you are not a child anymore and that, as your ‘S’, capital ‘S’ Self, you possess powerful qualities and can be forcefully assertive when necessary. Often protectors look down on some of these qualities. For example, they think you’re a mushy bundle of passive compassion with porous boundaries who will give away the farm or that you are too innocent, trusting or scared to take care of them. They only know you as you are when you blend with those other parts. It’s often shocking to your protectors to discover that you are able to separate from those parts, and they learn that you have agency and can protect your system so they don’t have to. [33:09.1]
“This is quite a challenge in some circumstances when you face threatening people or events, for example, and yet amid the terror or the rage, the Self in each of us is always there, the eye in the storm, the calm depth beneath the roiling waves. There is always Self no matter how triggered and extreme our parts. If we can get them to separate enough, we’ll have access to at least some of the qualities of the Self, and we’ll be able to be with our fear or anger rather than blend with it.”
Continuing on this theme, I then skip to Page 137, and this is on the chapter, Vision and Purpose, Chapter 8.
“Often your protectors don’t trust you with the difficult task of protection, because they think the Self is too tender and is only capable of caring and compassion. My experience is that the Self is adept at all of the C words.” [34:01.8]
By the way, if you’re new to the podcast and you don’t know the eight Cs of the true self in IFS therapy, they are creativity, connection, confidence, calm, compassion, curiosity, courage, and clarity. When you’re fully in the state of your higher self or the true self, you embody those eight qualities. You also embody the five P’s, which are more of the true self in a kind of therapeutic role, helping others, and those are persistence, playfulness, patience, presence and perspective.
Again, this isn’t a completely comprehensive and closed-off list of qualities. They’re just a list of qualities that start with the same letter to make it easier to remember them and it gives you the general idea, and the more of these qualities you feel, for instance, the more curiosity that you feel when you come to a part or calm or compassion, or courage or clarity, etc., that you feel when you’re being with a part or with another person’s parts, the more likely that and the more of your Self’s energy you have at that moment. [35:04.0]
Okay, so returning to Page 137.
“My experience is that the Self is adept at all of the C words that are related to being nice to people, including clarity, confidence, and courage. When you see through the clear eyes of your Self that someone is doing something hurtful to your parts, you don’t have to turn them into a monster. That clarity empowers you to see that their actions arise out of their own hurt, and you also can better see without confusion the damage they do to your parts.
“This means you have the courage and confidence to set boundaries with them in an effective and, if necessary, very forceful way. It’s important to help your parts trust that they really can rely on you to deal with people and set boundaries that’ll protect them, and that, actually, if they trust you to do it, the effect will be more powerful and effective. [35:55.3]
“Ideally, this is what the martial arts foster, protection from a non-attached, but powerful place. As you enter triggering situations, it’s interesting to notice what happens in your body and your mind. You’ll start to notice trailheads, which will enable you to learn about the parts that you feel a need to protect. If you have access to a therapist or skilled practitioner of IFS, you can then actually go through all the healing steps with support. As you do so, your parts will gradually come to trust you more and won’t be so triggered in the future.”
Okay, now skipping to Page 150 and Chapter 9.
“When we’re in Self, we automatically relate to others from those eight C words and, consequently, we know how to communicate effectively. Good communication involves calm, clarity, creativity, and compassion. Like so many other performance activities, the main challenge is not so much in mastering a particular skill as it is in convincing the manager parts who make you self-conscious and afraid of failing to trust yourself to lead.
“When that happens, it isn’t as difficult as it once was to repair broken relationships, because you can better work with the minimizing parts of you or the ones who carry shame. You can reassure those parts in the moment that your mistake doesn’t make you bad and you won’t be punished the way you were as a child. [37:15.0]
“Additionally, you can be present with the other person’s hurt without needing to fix or change it, because you can be present that way with parts of you when they are hurting. The way we relate to our parts translates directly to how we relate to people when they resemble our parts. In the same vein, if you don’t fear your own anger, you’ll be able to stay Self-led when someone is angry at you. The person’s judgment of you won’t trigger your own inner critics because you know who you are, and because those critical parts of you have retired or taken on new roles. So many of the obstacles in our relationships are because we fear that mayhem that someone else’s behavior will create in our inner systems. When Self leads, the mayhem is gone.” [38:03.8]
Now skipping to Chapter 10, Page 160.
“There is a law of inner physics that I want to mention here and you’ll find it illustrated in some of the transcribed sessions included in this book.”
This is on Page 161.
“There’s nothing inside of you that has any power, if you are in Self and not afraid of it, as in, not afraid of that part. This law has also never been proven false in the decades I’ve been doing this work, and keep in mind that I’ve worked with clients who have parts that are extremely intimidating and are even determined to hurt or kill them or someone else, and then we do our work together in parts that clients have been afraid of most of their lives, parts that feel like actual monsters or demons, suddenly, can’t do anything to them. The parts’ usual attempts to control or intimidate now seem feeble, because the client sees what that part is all about and they see how that part has been stuck in a role. [38:58.6]
“Having said that, it’s also important to know that, if a person is afraid, these inner parts often carry nasty burdens and can have a lot of power to make people hurt themselves and others, so being in Self and not overrun with fear is crucial.
“It’s also important to remember that the parts aren’t what they seem to be and, if you can stay centered with them, they’ll reveal their secret histories of how they were forced to be in these extreme roles. They’ll also let you know what they’re protecting inside, after which you can help those parts transform, too.”
Okay, so that’s No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz. Highly, highly recommended. I read out portions that I thought were especially pertinent, but there’s so much great quotable stuff in this book. I highly recommend it. Compared to almost all the psychotherapy books that are any good, this is a really light and easy read, but that’s something I’ve discovered over the past year. If you’re not used to reading psychology books or academic books, this might feel a little bit dry and heavy going, and as I’m reading it now, I’m seeing that Schwartz is not the clearest writer. [40:10.5]
So, if you’re not particularly bookish or you don’t have a background in academic reading, then you might want to get the audiobook and just have it sort of playing and just sort of resign yourself to having to listen to it multiple times to really get it. The audiobook also has the meditations, as I mentioned, so that’s another bonus for the audiobook.
I didn’t listen to the audiobook. I have a background in academic reading, quite a big background in it, so I found Schwartz’s book incredibly approachable and relatable. In fact, this is the book that I recommend the most to people after The Body Keeps the Score. I’m only recommending The Body Keeps the Score first because it’s a bigger overview and it’s actually really well-written, and it’s one that is already a mega, mega best seller. It also just seems like it would be basic first reading, and No Bad Parts would be the next book after that that I would recommend that you dig into and study. [40:58.6]
There you go, No Bad Parts: Healing Trauma and Restoring Wholeness with the Internal Family Systems Model is the title, written by Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, and foreword by Alanis Morissette. Get that book, read it. Let me know what you think of the book. Let me know what you thought of this book analysis and let me know if you would like me to do more book analyses.
If I don’t hear any encouragement on that front, then this will be the first and only book analysis on this podcast, but let me know if you would like to hear more about book recommendations. This is such a great book that it was worth the risk of you not liking a book analysis. Go and read No Bad Parts by Richard Schwartz, the best overall first introduction to IFS Therapy that is out there currently, and let me know what you thought of this podcast.
If you liked it at all, please share it with anyone that you think would benefit from it. Hit a like on whatever platform you’re on, getting this, and let me know what you thought, leave a comment. I love getting feedback, and I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. Until then, David Tian, signing out. [41:57.7]
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