Thank you. This is an important thing that you're seeing and you already identify it as a protective response.. I wouldn't actually say that it's any kind of anxiety about this inquiry, rather that it was already there and the inquiry has brought it to the surface. It feels like a protection of a sensitive inner aspect that has not been able to express itself for fear of others' reactions
It usually helps at this stage to give this some attention and, though it may sound a little strange at first, actually thank that loyal, protective impulse.
In fact there never was a self that could be hurt or destroyed. Nobody will be harmed at all. You could even 'talk' to the protective aspect and explain that it's safe to relax now?
All the best