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Holding Space for Your Partner’s “Parts”

Internal Family Systems is a therapeutic model that posits that every person has multiple internal parts or sub-personalities, and these parts interact with each other to form our personality. The IFS model suggests that we all have different parts that we may not be aware of or may not want to acknowledge, but they still play a significant role in our life experiences.

Internal Family System – Part

When our partner displays behaviors that seem out of character, we can assume that their internal parts are triggered, causing them to act in a way that is not aligned with their true self. In such situations, holding space for our partner and validating their feelings is helpful. Listening to this way means creating a safe emotional space for them to express their emotions without fear of being judged or rejected.

We can hold space for our partner’s broken parts by modeling curiosity and empathy towards their subpersonalities. We can ask questions and actively listen to understand their perspective rather than reacting to their behavior. When we approach our partner’s broken parts with curiosity, we can help them identify the root cause of their behavior, which can help them understand themselves better.

When we validate our partner’s emotions, we can help them feel seen and understood, creating a more profound connection. Holding space for our partner’s broken parts can help them feel heard and validated, which can be incredibly healing. Validating our partner’s emotions can also help them regulate their feelings, leading to a more peaceful and harmonious relationship.

It is crucial to recognize that our defensive responses towards our partner’s behaviors are not necessarily directed towards them but are often defensive responses towards our internal parts activated due to unhealed wounds. By acknowledging our inner parts and working to heal them, we can create differentiation within ourselves, which can help us become more self-aware and more present in our relationships.

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