Monday, September 28, 2015

Never Felt Safe Growing Up

The quote below in Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk's book, The Body Keeps The Score, is by far one of my favorites.  For those who never felt safe growing up, this one is for you.  If you're one of these people, then you know firsthand how true these words ring.

I am one of these people that grew up in a home that was anything but safe.  If I could have filmed every second from the time I was born until I left home, it would most likely be a horror flick.  There was not "safe moments" in our house and if there were, they were far and few between in my life.

 I concluded that, if you carry a memory of having felt safe with somebody long ago, the traces of that earlier affection can be reactivated in attuned relationships when you are an adult, whether these occur in daily life or in good therapy. However, if you lack a deep memory of feeling loved and safe, the receptors in the brain that respond to human kindness may simply fail to develop. If that is the case, how can people learn to calm themselves down and feel grounded in their bodies? - Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keeps The Score.

Having a safe moment here and there doesn't do much when the world you live in is chaos.  When a father screams or makes threats.  When a parent abuses or threatens abuse.  When a sibling treats you in the same manner they have been treated, it means there are no safe moments.  Included in all of this is when you watch the violence and abuse and screaming that is taking place.

My father was constantly screaming among other things.  I saw people being beaten for whatever infraction the authority figures in my house deemed a crime.  I witnessed and felt firsthand what molestation felt like.  It didn't just come from one member of my family, but from multiple ones.

There was no safe place.  There was no place I felt loved.  I just existed.   I tried to hover above the blows and bombs going off around me.  I tried to dodge the bullets.  I tried to shield myself from the words and anger and disdain for me.

Still in my life, I suffer from these effects.  I never felt safe growing up and I often don't feel safe with most people.  It takes me a great deal to trust others and even when I do, I've always got one eye open.  I've tried so hard to let go of this, but it isn't easy.  It permeates every nook and cranny of my mind, body, and existence.

I cringe every time I see some parent belittle their child or jerk them one way or the other.  Everyone wants to worry about the unborn child and make rants about that, but they often do very little to take care of the child once they are born.  Children become nothing more than property to them.

It angers me when I see children being abused in ways that most people feel are "good for the child".  You know, spare the rod, spoil the child or that's how I was raised and I turned out good.  It angers me to see this perpetuated on in life.

I wish more children truly could feel safe in their home.  I wish I could have experienced that too.  It creates a mess later in life that is very hard to deal with and sort out.  I wish we truly cared for our children and ourselves, so that maybe we would not continue to do what was done to ourselves.

Blog Post And Images (c) 7/5/15 by Don Shetterly

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