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! 😂
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
@MnM and all, I thank you so so very much, and all your effort(s) and time! I just can't face this now, but r'n'r and I hopefully will. You are so very very very kind! 🤗🤗🤗💙💙💙
 
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