Pain Versus Safety
Written by: Seada
As I sit in the comfort of my home, planning how to functionally discuss the feelings of pain that can be created in a relationship, I wonder what the best course of action is. Should I exhaustively list different forms of pain? Or focus on identifying the reasons safety and security are so crucial and desirable in an intimate relationship?
As a child, I would watch Disney movies and dream that one day my prince charming would come to my rescue. I am sure many of you hoped for the same. There was a time in grade 4 when I was a princess for Halloween. My mother made me up and dressed me in pink. I felt utterly entrenched in the Disney fantasy. I hoped this fantasy would come to life sooner than later.
As adulthood develops, we learn to understand the failures of Disney movies. Prince charming does not come to our rescue, and we certainly do not wear glamorous pink dresses in our daily lives (unless you’re like me and you wear high heels to every occasion including, BBQs!). Instead, we give up on real life and indulge our fantasies by watching The Bachelorette/Bachelor, The Real Housewives of wherever, and other “reality” TV dramas.
In a world that focuses so heavily on infatuation, I must wonder what we understand about the feelings of love and safety. I use the analogy of best friends. What determines if someone is your best friend? Is it their kindness, their availability, their ability to make you laugh? These are some of the qualities that enable safety and security in a relationship. When we feel safe in a relationship, we are more likely to develop a sense of belonging and acceptance. If the opposite occurs, we feel a sense of threat, which enables fear of loss. A need for reassurance develops as a result, causing complaints from friends or acquaintances.
What might be different in your relationship if tonight you go to sleep and a miracle happens? You don’t exactly know how, but upon awakening, you notice things are significantly better between you and your partner. What is the first thing you will see? How would your partner treat you? How would you treat them? What would they say that would make you feel safe and secure?
This question delves into our ideal worlds and provides insight into our dreams. However, when our perfect world clashes with our reality, we feel pain–under-diagnosed pain and over-diagnosed complaints about a perpetuating issue that neither partner feels they truly understand. When we lack an emotional connection, we focus on external connections to feel a sense of power and control: luxurious spending, addiction, recognition, impulsive behavior, excessive selfies–the list is extensive.
I know that gaining awareness of the self and your needs can feel overwhelming. Let’s slow down and try harder to understand what we need from our relationships to feel vulnerable, to feel safe and secure.