Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The "Safety" Factor...Surviving
Parents of children with severe disabilities, brothers and sisters of disabled siblings, parent-caretakers of the elderly live is a state of constant imbalance because they are consumed about issues of safety for their charges and themselves. Can I do enough? Can I do what is necessary? Can I muster the needed resources to make myself and the other safe? Can I endure this role for months? for years? for a lifetime? What do we need to do to keep our loved one safe...safe from those who don't care, safe from predators, safe from the crippling downward spiral of nursing homes and residential facilities. We have primal need to be safe to survive and we assume the role of ensuring the safety of those few for whom we really care...we would go to every conceivable extreme to insure the safety and survival of those for whom we care.
Traumatic events at birth, deaths, accidents and other critical incidents create a "wound" on family and siblings which perhaps never heals. Safety and security are threatened. Every minor or major event which occurs after the trauma makes parents, siblings and caregivers hyper-vigilant, always expecting the worst, always being seduced by the promise of every healer and therapy which offers a glimmer of hope. At times, some siblings often take on this trauma by believing they will someday be required to assume a life of care-giving responsibility....that they will lose "their lives. and protect themselves by the need for order, for predictability in events and a distrust of "promise makers." (friends who claim they will be there for as long as it takes and soon disappear). Even siblings without the pressure of this perceived responsibility live lives which are altered by a knowledge that life is not always safe and secure and constantly defend themselves against this threat.
Too often we resort to old paradigms and believe the myths that that "god only gives us those burdens that we can endure," or that "if you only believe enough, or pray enough," or that tragedy will make you stronger..."
The reality is that traumatic events unfold in our lives as they should, but they are events from which we can learn about our fundamental needs for safety and security at all costs. It is only when we accept and embrace these primitive needs which pervade every cell of our being that we can move to higher order needs...loving and being loved.