“I want to feel safe, not be protected”

Part of what came out of the conversation about hard tactics to gain compliance was my antiquated belief that my girl friends want me to protect them. Heather has been fairly upfront about her requirements in this area. She wants to feel safe with me, she doesn’t want me to protect her.

These two things are not the same and I’d mention that they are more different than they are similar.

Protection is about controlling a situation or people. It is about preventing things from happening. While it has its place in certain instances - life or death moments, or moments of complete absentmindedness - it isn’t appropriate most of the time in a loving relationship that is based on trust and mutual respect.

Given that it is about control, protection is selfish and fear based. It is an attempt to immunize oneself from a future, a fatalistic prediction about a possible outcome that creates a sense of loss. There is important information contained within the projection, so a need or want to protect someone who is independent reveals a lot of useful information and while it should not be actioned upon, it should not be ignored.

Allowing or helping someone to feel safe is altruistic in nature as it is about the other person feeling safe. It is a fearless way to act in that it is freeing. Safety, in the context of relationships, doesn’t require that someone control a person or situation, it means that the other person has the liberty to act as they feel appropriate.

What does feeling safe in a relationship mean? It means having the freedom to be self-expressed, it means having the option to act as you feel is appropriate without the power struggle, it means acting with a win:win outcome being the goal, it means you get to create your own environment and act naturally within it. Ultimately, it means being able to exist in a relationship in a natural way, free from the others will and live a life rich with the experiences you each bring to it.

2 Responses to ““I want to feel safe, not be protected”

  • 1
    Mary Frances Davis
    August 1st, 2012 13:16

    Hi Pat,

    I haven’t touched base with you in a long time!

    I recently read your blog again, as I have found it in the past to be an amazing source of inspiration as I continue my journey to live cleanly, be fit, and continue to live a “real” life.

    After the birth of my fourth child in November, I have lost the baby weight, have been working out regularily with a trainer and have gained back a lot of strength and muscle. Your suggestions on your blog of how to stay fit have often helped me stay the course in the past, and have helped me again now!

    I wanted to leave you a comment, thanking you for your honesty and candidness, and to also send my best wishes to you as you continue to work forward from your Father’s recent passing. I never met him, but I remember you speaking about him a few times when we were teenagers.

    I really identified with a lot of the comments that you made, as my own father died when I was 21. In fact, on August 4th, it will be 16 years ago that he died.

    I celebrated my 37th birthday yesterday, and it was a reminder of what I have missed with him, and also what I learned from him.

    Your posts about what your father taught you, as well as your lovely thank you letter to him were fantastic to read and some of your thoughts echoed what I had felt about my father when he died too.

    So, I wish you well…am glad to hear that you are once again in a committed relationship!

    The rollercoaster ride is worth it - I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve - and although it has not always been easy to have a partner, since everyone is their own person with their own goals, motivations and dreams, I have found that we have both grown and changed over time, with one person needing understanding and support more then the other alternately, shifting as time passes, and life progresses.

    I love the fact the you have this forum to express yourself! It seems to be a very good thing for you as you continue to work through your life…

    Thanks again for your words and again, all the best to you and your family!

    Mary Frances Davis :)

    Off topic question: I know Des married Sarah (we played together as children), do you ever get back to Mineola West where it all began for us? My mom still lives on IVT and it’s neat to go back and visit there from time to time. Port Credit has changed so much and is very different from the Kingston world I have lived in since 2000!

  • 2
    August 3rd, 2012 15:15

    Hi Mary!!!!

    Wow, what a treat to hear from you after so long!!! Thank you for commenting!

    Congratulation on your forth child and shedding the weight so quickly! Many struggle forever to get back to a place they feel satisfied with so I hope you are feeling fantastic about doing it. It’s inspiring to others!

    Heather is a smart, strong, and amazing person and I’m grateful to have had the good fortune to have connected with her when the time was right. The passing of my dad taught me a lot about how I operated in the world that were not working for me - the lessons of his life became more obvious in their absence.

    16 years is a long time. When I think about 16 years in the future, I can’t even imagine what the world will be like 16 years from now…..

    I don’t make it to Port Credit much but will occasionally go roller blading along the lake front trail. It’s a lot nicer now that it was in years past.

    Thanks again for reconnecting Mary! I appreciate hearing from you!