Safety First

Safety First

I was raised by narcissists.  I am not talking about the general selfishness that plagues the human race.  I am referring to sociopathic narcissism in which their only concern is reducing their own pain.  There is no interest in the feelings or pain of the other … ever. This type of familial environment has left me with priorities that can be challenging when I attempt to interact with the rest of the world. As a young child, I realized that I would not be able to rely on others to protect me and keep me safe.  I started making decisions based on my safety.  This continued in to adulthood.  In some situations, I am overly accommodating because I consider the situation unsafe.  I am trying to keep from experiencing retaliation from someone I consider dangerous.  This is a tactic that I learned as a child and unfortunately, it is not helpful as an adult.  I should eliminate these people from my life.  My underlying need for safety produces the opposite effect.  I have spent far too much time with dangerous people in order to appease them. My underlying need for safety was also impacting the decisions I made in regards to helping others.  My energetic resources were so depleted from my constant safety assessments, and the anxiety that accompanied, that I was unable to do much for others.  Usually, I would make the decision to help others based on my assessment of their ability to provide some level of safety to me in the future.  And this safety could mean many things.  Although I would help others on occasion,...
Losing Others, Losing Me

Losing Others, Losing Me

As I have struggled through some very dark days of trauma recovery, I have come to understand some universal laws that have helped make sense of my chaotic life.  The most basic law is that the inner child will recreate the challenges of the childhood until the challenges are resolved.  To the inner child, the perception of resolution may be very different from the adult’s logical brain.  But I have learned that the resolution can come in many forms. For a sexual violence survivor, this law holds no more true than navigating the intimate relationships of adulthood.  Sometimes, this law is referred to as “women will always marry their father”.  But it manifests in other ways too. This law would be easy to address if it wasn’t happening in the unconscious realm of our being.  Unfortunately, we rarely know we are recreating our childhood.  In the case of memory repression, it is worse because we don’t remember the events we are recreating.  Sounds like a losing battle, doesn’t it? When I first reached adulthood, my self-esteem was non-existent.  I was convinced that I was not worthy of a partner who had the potential to love me or make me happy.  I was convinced of the opposite.  I was sure that the only partner for me was an abusive addict who would eventually leave.  Of course, all of these beliefs were unconscious.  In my conscious mind, I was convinced that I was deserving of a great partner.  Unfortunately, the unconscious ALWAYS wins. And so began my series of painful, impossible relationships.  But never fear … my inner child had a...