Safety

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have discovered that the most important part of any relationship (there are many parts of course) is Safety. Your partner MUST feel emotionally and physically Safe around you as much as possible. I would say ALL the time, but that’s pretty difficult to do. Maybe we can put a figure on it and say 95% of the time. I would say that this percentage was very low with A and I over the past 12 months, at a reflective guess I would have to say at least 30%. How did I come up with this figure? Well I would hate to think it was higher cause if it was 50-70%, which I think is not bad, that would make A a low down dirty skank with less morals than I thought she had! PLUS I had been pushing her away for a very long time.

The idea of safety is not my concept either. You can thank Al Turtle for that (American Relationship Counsellor). I have learnt so much reading his works. He bases his safety idea on your human brain. It gets all technical and I’ll try to summarise things. The lower part of your brain is the part her refers to as your “Lizard” it only has two states it lives in; Safe mode and Unsafe mode. When everything is all good; Safe mode. When things aren’t so good; Unsafe mode. Simple right. When your Lizard feels threatened by something, emotional or physical it will do one of 4 things; Flee, Freeze, Submit or Fight. How you react depends on your past life experience. Everyone reacts differently. And your reactions don’t necessarily happen in that order either! My Lizard would deal with any conflict by Freezing. I wouldn’t often submit and I didn’t often want to fight. I would flee though. Just anyway for me to get out of conflict. Negative behaviour. Any relationship issue never really got talked about or fixed/solved.

I can easily identify MANY times when I made A’s Lizard feel unsafe. I try not to beat myself up and remind myself “I can only take responsibility for my own actions; negative or positive”. She has things she is responsible for too. For me the only ‘responsibility’ of her’s I could think of was “letting me get away with treating her like crap for so long”. When you are the one left behind it is VERY easy for you to ONLY think of all the good times you had with your ex and none of the times that they ‘did you wrong’. Trust me I’m in that situation right now!

How do you make your partner feel safe? From what I have been able to gather it’s simple. Don’t treat them like crap! If you are treating them like crap you have to quickly figure our why? If you don’t know, then you better find out! Hindsight is a lovely thing, but maybe you can just open your eyes before anything like my situation happens to you. Open communication is obvious. But what if your partner’s Lizard is freezing you out? You’ll most likely go into fight mode yourself OR flee. It frustrates me that I never stumbled upon this information until it was TOO LATE. I kind of look at this information/knowledge like Insurance, you never need it until something terrible happens. And when it does happen you are SO glad you had your insurance ready to back you up…whew! Take you communicating with your partner and talking through your troubles as ‘payments’ on your ‘premiums’. The more payments you make the more insurance you will have to save you! Peace of mind.

Self reflection is a wonderful tool. It’s a pity I could only do it when in pain. If you want more labels to use when communicating. Prevalidate, Validate, Mirror your partner. Al Turtle can explain these better. Keep you and your partner in a happy place by doing all these things. A Safe, happy place.

 

Comments
  1. alegra22 says:

    Great thoughts. I definitely know all about that lizard brain and it is so important to recognize 1) when you’re reacting to a perceived threat 2) identify what it is you think is at risk
    It is powerful to be able to go to the root of what is happening instead of just reacting to your interpretations of events.

    • It’s in your Lizards nature too to react. It’s still difficult for me to control my Lizard, even armed with all this information. Hence the journey. By the end of these 2 years my Lizard is going to be so relaxed and chilled out I’m gonna have to go somewhere sunny to thaw him out!!!

      Thanks for your comments Alegra!

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