Feeling safe is one of our most basic needs. We unknowingly strive for it. We don’t think about it when we are safe, just when we are not. It is said that when we do not feel safe; well-being cannot fully happen. Feeling safe is probably more important to a person than to actually being safe. Think about a mother holding her baby allowing it to feel safe even if the situation around them is not. It is the feeling that counts.
As we grow older we are conditioned to see safety as a home and a place to live, a parent that loves and hugs us, and perhaps an income to pay for food and bills. Safety becomes a little bit more tangible. But it still comes back to the fact that we feel safe when we have all those basic needs met.
When we are with someone special we want to feel safe with them. Safe to share personal stories, safe to undress, safe to cry, safe to discuss, and so on. It is a feeling…
Many abusers, mine included, use safety as a tool. They tell you how they just want you to be safe and how they could never live with themselves if something happened to you. In a normal situation that is sweet. It is sweet to know that people are worried and care for you. But instead of feeling like you are loved like that mother loving her child you start to feel trapped – in the name of safety.
You are asked not to go places or do certain things. You are harassed by phone or text if you go anyway – or worse he comes with you making the whole experience unbearable just so he can tell you he was right and you shouldn’t have gone in the first place. Everything you have done slowly but surely becomes unsafe in his eyes and he has no problem telling you this. The walls around what you can do without being constantly harassed by him move in closer and closer and soon you feel that it is better to just stay at home.
But, then something strange happens. You start to feel unsafe at home, only a few feet away from him. Anxiety kicks in, you are nervous, you find yourself walking on eggshells, and you might be physically ill too. He who just wanted you to be safe is now making you feel the complete opposite. Yet he is still trying to assure you that with him you are safe and that no one else could ever protect you like he can. That you don’t feel safe is not even clear to you, you just know you have all those unpleasant feelings going on.
His strength and skills to protect you are being used against you but disguised as safety for you. Guns, cameras, and different tracking devices and systems are just a few examples. “We have guns in case someone would kidnap you”, “we have cameras so I know who kidnapps you”, and “with this app I know where you are at all times in case something would happen to you” etc… It is not far away from being a prisoner… and that is exactly what you have become. A prisoner held hostage in the name of safety…