In IFS, exiles are young child 'parts' that are in pain from the past. Exiles are often stuck at a particular time in childhood, at a specific age. They are frozen at that time because something difficult or traumatic happened then, and you didn't have the inner resources or the external support to handle it. They are exiled from your inner life and kept in dark dungeons away from the light of consciousness.
An exile is usually caught up in its own little world and is unaware that you have grown up and developed new strengths. Whenever something happens in the present that is similar to the old pain, it reactivates that pain.
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