How to Develop a Feeling of Safety?

Friday

Moderator
And stupid question, is 'reproduction' supposed to be sex?)
Yes & No.

There have been some attempts to revamp the pyramid putting mate acquisition, retention, and parenting near the top… but the whole thing with Maslow was the idea that each level / all of the “top” is sacrificed (painfully, or easily, in pieces, or in total; doesn’t matter) when the needs below aren’t met.

Parents? Overwhelmingly (abusive and neglectful f*cktards, for as much damage as they do, are the very small minority) will sacrifice anything/everything for their kids (including their own physiological needs at the very bottom of the pyramid, both a willingness to die for their kids, and to starve/freeze/sicken in order to feed their kids, keep them warm, get them medicine, etc); meanwhile those in search of a mate, or in attempts to keep one, will sacrifice one whole helluva lot (future plans and other tippy top pyramid stuff, often the first to get tossed out the window; journeys end at lovers meeting… meanwhile sacrificing their own physiological needs & desires in order to protect/provide for a mate; like dropppig out of school to work or getting pregnant despite the risks to one’s health, starting physical fights with those who threaten their mate, or abandoning their “life” -family/connections/etc- to run away with their mate, or head their own household, etc. is so common as to be considered normal / the natural order of things in most societies. Hundreds of different ways that one’s mate and offspring becomes one’s highest priority… the absolute foundation upon which the rest of their lives are built).

And all of that is healthy/normal/expected partnering/parenting before the life&death aspect -and changes to everything above on the pyramid in different way- being raped or regularly raped, forced or “trap” pregnancies, forced celibacy/held prisoner by one’s parents/spouse/enemies/politics, and other not being in control of one’s reproductive system has on one’s life.

So it’s not just food/water/shelter for one’s own self that forms the foundation of the pyramid but one’s sexual safety, being just as baseline.

Think PTSD… Life threatening trauma AND sexual assault. Because it’s that foundational.

Hence why it’s on the bottom of the hierarchy. Whether one currently has a family (mate &/or children) or not? That most people will sacrifice everything for that family, is one of those defining differences between healthy people & abusive/neglectful people. And that it doesn’t matter if you have a roof over your head, and lovely clothes, and delicious food if you’re being raped every day? One’s full oomph is gonna be directed on getting the f*ck up on outta there. Even if it threatens their other food/water/shelter needs for a time, sexual security is as important as food security, etc.

The whole modern ideal of “become your best self before having children”? Doesn’t take into account human nature & the ferocity of love… regardless of age, experience, social standing, etc. Nor, in my opinion, does it have much understanding about sacrifice, or what a person is willing to sacrifice even for a stranger, much less those they claim as their own.

Species survival. In part about sex, sexual needs/wants/desires. But also about a helluva lot more.
 

Friday

Moderator
I know there have been some threads on this, but would be grateful for what people have learned or can offer as suggestions to develop a sense of safety or cure the feelings that come with the opposite?
Most basically… how would you go about developing any other feeling?

If you wanted to feel more bittersweet, or feel more pride, or feel more regret, or more joy, or more certainty? More sadness, fear, curiosity, excitement? Pick a feeling, any feeling, good/bad/middling…

- Break it down into component pieces / what are the pieces that make up that feeling?
- Figure out where those pieces CAN be sourced by
- Determine which of those sources you actually want to add to your life (all sources are not created equal!)
- Trace the paths those (pieces & sources) lead to
- Have reasonable expectations (no feeling exists 100% of the time. Feelings come and go, both by their nature, and in response to changing circumstance).
- Start taking action

An example of the above (actually ON safety), I wrote out below, elsewhere:

Build up self confidence, instead. Build up joy. Build up passion, and delight, pride, and self worth. Build up everything that is f*cking amazing in YOU. Whether it exists now, or not. Who you are. Who you want to be. The abilities you have. The abilities you want.

Feeling safe? Doesn’t mean someone won’t break your trust. That’s them. What’s you, is what you do once they cross the line.

***
Instead? IMO… trust yourself. Your own limits. Your own decisions. Your own heart and mind. Which can change. And for durn good reason.

Don’t seek trust & safety in others. Which can happen, and is a bonus of knowing them, for damn sure. Both good/bad. But? Seek safety & trust in yourself. (You’ll know it by the lack of fear AND “f*ck it”.) And the rest? Falls into place. Which is very rarely where we want it to fall. But that’s them. Not you.

That way? Any feeling of safe? Is attached to YOU… not them. Feeling safe because you trust you. Regardless of how safe you actually are. That way you can feel safe in the middle of Armageddon, or a snake pit, but? It’s tied to knowing YOU will sort shit. To the best of your ability. Strengths and weaknesses accounted for. Both in your own self, and in whomever happens to be around you.

Another couple that I broke down -that also highlights on the importance of taking action- are on “connecting with what I value” & “self worth”.

Since both of those feed into self confidence, as well as each other; which all -potentially, since one chooses one’s own sources; and self confidence, self worth, strong values, and trusting yourself may or may not be sources you want to bring into your life- feed into feelings of safety? I figured the content as well as the process might be useful, if tangentially.

C’est Moi... How do I connect with what I value?

Action & Awareness.

Action is by far the most important of the two for a few reasons. Not the least of which is that I discover what I value, become aware of it more often than not, in motion. Sure, I can theorize all day long, and to some degree that’s useful. Turning things over, exploring, thinking things out has a place in my life. Larger, sometimes, than I’d care for. But it’s where the rubber meets the road, not what I think I’ll do, or want to do or have done, but actually do* that informs my character the most.

I wrote a bit on that in the Self Worth thread, below.

For example, if you value nature, or academics, or museums, or physical prowess, or spontaneity? You think those are profoundly worthwhile things / traits / endeavours*? But don’t spend time outside, or learning, or in the Arts, or using your own body (or watching others use theirs, Hey sports fans! It’s a thing, or so I’m told ;)), or acting on a whim/in the moment ? “Here’s something I view as important,.. that I do nothing about, that is not in my life, that moreover is indistinguishable from the things I don’t care about, or even despise.” will wear away at most people’s self worth over time.

Putting time and energy, word and deed, into the things one values? Into what’s meaningful to them? Actively pursuing, being a part of what one values... Builds a person up. Puts your money where your mouth is.

________ is really important to me.
I really value __________.
Oh yeah? Prove it :sneaky:

That’s the fun part.

The hard part is usually determining what one actually values.

And not being put off by seemingly inconsistent or opposite mores. Like being a person who both demands rigorous honesty and delights in mischievous lies? Might seem impossible, but Scientist by day, community theatre by night, voila. Or a thousand other variations.

Becoming the person one wants to be, determining the content of your own character? To misquote a bit... some are born with it, or have it thrust upon them, whilst others achieve it.

One may not have always been this way, or stumbled into it by accident/handed it on a silver platter, but one can decide to become it.

Decide what you value, bring it into your life. On every level. Seek it out.

As far as being aware of what I value? That can be a bit of a double edged sword if I’m not actually living by my own values, so it’s something I tend to approach cautiously when my life is all f*cked up six ways from Sunday. But it’s also a delight, and source of strength, and (word that means promoting integrity, as in personal integrity, like a shatter vase has lost its integrity... cohesiveness) and can be the glue that starts welding me’self back into something recognisable.

Practical advice...

When I can’t learn who I am and what I believe and their relative hierarchy by living it?

- (not) Word Association (a different kind of association)
- So you won the lottery...

The first is simple... break out a dictionary, or simply free write. 5 or 500 or 5,000. Doesn’t matter how many. Words you relate to, and feel close to, or aspire to. Let synonyms take you down rabbit holes. Wink at the antonyms that are just as valid in different ways. Make note when something grabs your attention whilst reading. Or when you meet someone who has a trait you admire. Find the connections that are already there, between yourself and the words... and explore them.

So I won the lottery... is a game I used to play periodically just to double check that my life was on the course I wanted it to be. Pick some obscene impossible amount of money and then spend it. (Is it literally, when it’s imaginary money, or figuratively? Huh. Not sure.) I Literally/Figuratively portioned it out including what I was giving away, and to whom, how much was going into savings, what presents I would buy, or things I would build, etc. and once I had all the “housekeeping” done... how the f*ck else would I spend it? Because what I found, was that everything I would do in imaginary land? I could in real life, simply with a different time frame involved. Fund an archeological expedition? Couldn’t do that in real life, but I could (in descending order of commitment) go to school to become an archeologist, be a paying volunteer on a dig, attend lectures by archeologists, subscribe to articles about archeology / simply read about it as an interest. <<<< This ties directly into the quoted piece above “If you value art but don’t go to museums, spontaneity but never do things on a whim, athleticism but sit on a couch all day, etc.” >>> By using the imaginary lottery winnings I could cut through all my mental bullshit of what I “should” or “could” be doing, what was acceptable, blah blah blah. It was simply a thought exercise (even though I knew where it was going). So I got to be both as wild and as practical as I wished, and only after I had my lists of adventures and philanthropy down did I worry about making them real, and to what level.
 
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MnM

Confident
@Rosebud

I made a thing based on Maslow's triangle, to measure my progress and to keep my expectations real and pace myself (I am so impatient with myself).
1641431460324.png

I've weighted the categories to 100, each row item I score out of 5. What each row "means" is up to me and how I define it, but is based on Maslow definitions.

It helps to ask myself:
Is it possible?
Am I doing it?
Is it working?
Is there joy in it?

Then I can extrapolate fancy charts, to show progress:
1641431624428.png

So regardless of whether or not my symptoms are worse this month or not, or the particulars are different, I can still see I'm progressing in the last six months.

Doing this also gave me the realization that some categories will never reach 5 (for me, reproduction and family). I have to acknowledge then that my system will always have these fissures and there will probably always be grief or loss or some lack of fulfillment, some sense of struggle. Seeing it like this helps me accept those feelings as appropriate, healthy, and whole - they don't mean I'm broken.

Doing this also will tell me when I can add another friend that I'm not seeing currently or maybe reach out to a family member (not talking to anyone currently). Seeing this chart puts my guilt to bed, lets me put down my panic around not connecting. This chart is telling me I'm not ready. I don't feel ready. Therefore what I'm feeling is REAL.

Halle-fking-lujah! 😂
 
I was thinking about this the other day- not sure I have the words- I am thinkiing it has more to do with having a sense of 'protection', or being not alone, aka someone haing my back, or at least on the same page, than safety? Because there is never really safety. But then I asked myself, why protection, or if so, then simply ability/competence makes up for it. But it seems more like emotional protection- yet that itself seems to feel like physical protection, or be 2 sides of the same coin. Maybe it just was inevitable, ie after childhood? And why a dog there feels like that. You know they are as they seem, are there for you and them, etc, there is physical protection, but it comes first from knowing the emotional connection is solid. (Yes I get they have teeth, but it's deeper than that).
 
I accidentally saw this, I think it partially explains it (except for history/ triggers or health):


So if one has awareness of it, one can deal with it (if not a child). But it says it's child (person)-specific. I think they call it safe brain/ survival mode. But a bit of the next step, including how to be in a place to co-regulate for others.
 
So I was thinking more about this, because they don't say the solution for one's self (just a child, which doesn't apply as I am an autonomous adult). But then I thought, if adults can co-regulate a child by practising self-care, that is, so they can be regulated, then perhaps that is the soulution? Much as, for eexample, cursing attraffic in the moment, helps not blow up incidentally later (naming and expressing what one feels). And/ or, not being able to go to bed (reverse procrastination) is helped by moments of self-care (specifically 'me'-time, no matter how miniscule, eg having a sip of water) throughout the day.

So I figure I'll try that, since it seems rather ridiculous to me to feel that degree of negativity if not warranted. I mean, I'm not even that fearful of physical harm, though I try to be realistically prudent, based on what is genuinely around me.

And it would also explain why a dog around is so helpful, even one just visiting, since as a child I had no fear whatsoever/ emotional support (in my mind) when mine was there. I mean if you're an independent kid, and then have that, it didn't feel fearful.

Figure it's worth trying. Seems to me something that seems illogical is not likely to budge with just logic alone.

Thank you everyone. 🫂
 
I'm not sure of the words, but from what occurred today (& past), and also seeing a theme of posts on safety or overwhelm, I'm starting to think it isn't all about making it safe, as it is finding what makes one feel safe internally depite it or as an antidote to it to some degree, in order to instead lessen the feelings or even realities of unsafety and overwhelm rather than to try to change the situation to a safe-feeling one. If that makes sense? To divert to what makes the unsafe feel safe(r), and to counter overwhelm? To increase coping and decrease stress rather than changing (not always likely) the situation or even perspective of it initially, itself? Because I was thinking too, some (physical) responses may be more akin to a panic attack. So you would deal with or try to prevent the panic attack, vs giving credence to saying the situation warrants it.
 
Something else occurred to me: when a person has experienced contrary experiences from another person, that is, not communication so much as actions that are contrary (communication would be fine), and one can't be sure what is going to happen 'this time', it becomes like a chess game, one can't love just risk or counter or avoid. And trust becomes nearly nil. And then that experience (or lessons, or feelings from it) can be taken outside of the experience and mistrust in general of others grows. Fighting against that of course is up to the person I guess. And of course to not do it yourself to someone else.
 
I accidentally figured out something today, looking for 'beauty'. I didn't realize how difficult it is- because it's not relevant (to safety), I think. And it got me thinking, the same way with SI etc; it seems to me thoughts (which come with feelings and then more thoughts) are at the core. But I thought of something I once heard, what I would consider a brilliant (and progressive) teacher who said something like, if taking a test for a child is hard, what makes it hard? But instead of saying the material, or remembering it, they said: is it the feel of the pen? The discomfort of the chair? Sitting for too long? The lighting? Etc etc. And I thought the same thing with safety, or SI, or a number of things: it seems simple, just don't think about it, or think differently. But maybe that is going from the wrong question. What is the focus that is demanding attention, or more importantly, why is it? Sort of like I suppose the idea of mindfulness, but how can one be mindful of what is not on the radar? And it's not on the radar because it's inconsequential under those circumstances or mindset (without much effort doing the opposite).

And of course everyone's perspective is different. For example it comes with ease for me to be hypervigilant -probably hard not to be - (I could hear my clothes at one point today brushing together and my mind quickly drew a wholly different negative explanation until I figured it out) because of my history and perspective (which also greatly influences my thoughts). I found it easier to see one thing as beautiful simply because it represented worse disaster averted. So I think this might be very helpful but probably takes a lot of practice and is a process to replace the default.
 
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Friday

Moderator
But maybe that is going from the wrong question. What is the focus that is demanding attention, or more importantly, why is it?
That’s why I build up self confidence, passion, delight, pride, et al (IE components that the feeling of safety is built upon)

<<< aaaaaaand then ditto break each of those things down still further (like self confidence is partly made up of “connecting to what I value” & “self worth”).

That way any feeling of safety is attached to me… and my own abilities/capabilities… rather than to other people “being safe” or situations “being safe”, or there “not being” dangers, threats, etc.
 
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