Do you know a safe person when you see one? Do you know the signs of an unsafe person?
Do you know someone in your life who is always telling you what you should or shouldn’t do? Telling you how to be, how to think, what to say, how you should feel? Who should be your friend and who you should hang with?
If you think about it, do you really know what you like and don’t like?
Let’s try something simple.
Do you prefer square or oval shapes?
Are you a water person or do you prefer the gym? If you had to think hard about it, that is a sign that you have lost yourself, have allowed someone else to have control over you or you never really knew yourself. You may feel like a victim.
But let us face the fact, you gave your power away. You are allowing them to control you and you can, at any time, take your power back. There is something stopping you, a secondary benefit.
What is a secondary benefit? Only you can decide that. Here are some possibilities. If your mate is the main provider, then it could be financial. If you’re the main caregiver of children and don’t really have a skill or education, then you may be concerned about how you can support your children and yourself financially. Maybe you are so co-dependent that you emotionally think you need their approval and what you perceive as or think is love. People pleasing is a sign of co-dependency.
Controlling and manipulating types of people are not giving you real love. It is called “love bombing.” That is when they act like they love you to get what they want, or to get you to do what they want. Playing to your weak spots, and they know them all. They use your weakness and fears against you. Fears and weaknesses that you have privately shared with them.
If family and friends are putting you down, pointing out the negative most of the time, that is not a healthy relationship. It doesn’t matter if it’s your mother, husband or grown child. You need to set healthy boundaries that protect you emotionally and physically. Emotional turmoil can cause you to be sick in many ways. If you find your health keeps going downhill, your emotions and emotional abuse you’ve suffered may be at the bottom of it all.
Safe people will listen to you and not tell you what to do. They may ask questions to help you think it through, but they do not tell you what to do or not to do unless you have given them permission. Safe people do not put you down, they support you and try to help you in a positive way. Safe people will listen more so you can talk yourself through your feelings and figure them out.
Safe people are there for you when you call and let you cry on their shoulder, but will guide you to solutions. As a rule, even with a counselor, your should only spend about 15-20 minutes talking about the problem, then move on to solutions.
Do not dwell on the past. Learn from it and move on. Like Lot’s wife, you can turn into a pillar of salt, a heart of stone. You can become an angry, bitter person. Forgiveness is for your sake, not the offender.
I recommend Audible to learn faster. We can listen in more places than we can sit to read. Recommended books on Audible or hard copy include “Boundaries” and “Safe People” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.
Editor’s Note: Nora O’Malley, a Sun City resident, is a writer, coach and encourager. Visit her blog at noraomalley.com.