It’s been a little more than two weeks since the big move and my inner conversation has been intense. I definitely moved here to help with calming my inner system, but I knew the initial response would be anything but calm. So this isn’t very surprising. Even the conversation points have not been very surprising. But on some level, I guess I was hoping for a miracle. I think we do that in this work. Maybe this next thing will somehow be easier than the pattern for all the other things. Maybe there’s a way to cheat this time. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just get a special waiver on this round of emotional processing? But that’s not how it works. It never does.
This inner work comes in layers. It can feel like we have completed some part of the journey only to have that (seemingly) exact same belief come back up to the surface later. It isn’t that our previous work was not helpful. But we have gone deeper into the issue. We have circled around for a new layer of processing and releasing what is not serving us. And when we do something big in the external world, it can be exactly what takes us there. But it is important not to listen to our defenders when they tell us we aren’t getting anywhere. Believe me. They will tell us that.
When I moved here, I thought it was a response to the inner work I had done to release my ties to my family. Just the act of moving was breaking multiple contracts about how far from my family I was allowed to be and how happy I was allowed to be and how independent I was allowed to be. I was proud of those. But I had not realized there was still a part or two who thought I was being protected by my family. This is a common contract. Abusers will tell us they will protect us from other abusers in exchange for our undying loyalty. As children, we don’t realize we are getting a bad deal because we are still being abused by our protectors. We lose our freedom for fake protection. And of course, the abusers make sure we feel like we need protection too. Either the world is dangerous or we are not capable of avoiding danger or some combination of both. This week, I have been seeing that coming forward from my inner parts in some big ways. Here are some beliefs coming to my awareness.
I will no longer be protected if I get into danger. I didn’t realize I thought this protection was still in place. I can guarantee you that my family never had any intent in protecting me from abusers. They were abusers and often sold me to abusers. But since I chose to go no-contact many years ago, I assure you that my family wouldn’t care if I died. I only had value as their own personal slave. And once I chose to be on my own, they lost all interest in me. The only exception was the loss of access to the grandchildren which I am sure my mother whines about to anyone who will listen. “What a horrible daughter I have.” It is important for me to show my parts they haven’t had family protection in childhood and certainly not in the past ten years. And it won’t be needed in the future.
I am incapable of protecting myself from danger. My parents made it very clear that I had a problem with keeping myself safe. They made sure I knew that I didn’t have the judgment necessary to avoid dangerous situations. This is why I needed them. In reality, my parents were the reason I could not perceive danger. They were constantly putting me in harm’s way, so I had to shut down my basic understanding of danger. I had to stop listening to my intuitive wisdom. I had to create blind spots to survive. Those blind spots allowed me to pretend everything was okay. They kept me from falling into despair. But I don’t need those blind spots anymore. I have been working to redevelop my understanding of danger. I have more ability to sense it than I ever did in my very dangerous childhood. And now, it is important for me to show my parts that things have changed. I do have the ability to sense danger now.
I will be punished for believing I can do this on my own. Abusive families make it clear to their children that independence is unacceptable. The false promise of protection is critical to their success. Being “out on my own” feels terrifying to my parts because I will no longer have protection. But it goes further. Not only will I lose protection, but I will lose any safety because they will punish me for breaking their contract. They will not only stop protecting me, but they will go out of their way to ensure I am punished. And with no protection, I will be completely exposed to danger going forward. It is important for me to let my parts know that I will not allow my family to infiltrate my life and cause problems for me any longer.
The idea that we need protection from our family unit is one of the biggest obstacles in healing complex trauma. Our families made sure we were wired for fear and then used it against us to keep us stuck. If we do manage to leave, we will often walk right into a relationship meant to protect us from our family. But these relationships are often abusive because they are based on protection. We need to help our parts see a new reality. When we become adults, we can live on our own and do just fine. Humanity’s need for the tribe to stay alive is no longer a requirement. Would it be nice? Yes. Is it still possible down the road? Yes. But it isn’t going to come in the form of our abusive family. So it is time to claim your freedom and head out on your own. Make a life for yourself. Practice your discernment and boundary setting. You can build the life you want without any ties to your abusers. You can protect yourself and eventually, find your real tribe. Don’t fall for the myth of protection. Your future doesn’t need it.