information contained within this section was sent to us from an
unknown source. It
has proved very helpful to many people and as such we have only
altered a few aspects. If
you have any comments regarding this section or any other aspect
of our website then please contact us.
We urge you to read this whole section before continuing on with
the rest of the site. Thank you.
have included this chapter at the beginning of this website
because feeling safe in your recovery should ALWAYS come first.
Whether you are working at the beginning or have nearly completed
your journey, you need a framework of physical and emotional
safety in order to progress in your recovery, because child abuse
- at its core - is about being and feeling unsafe. People can
change only from a position of safety. If you don't feel safe,
then you won't progress in your recovery. You want a strong
foundation upon which to build your new self, and safety is the
core of that foundation. Safety is something that you want to
incorporate seamlessly into your daily life, something you
approach with the same dedication as you would a spiritual or
moral practice. Safety is something that you must consider no
matter where you are - at home, with friends and lovers and at
work or play. Recovery entails facing horrible memories, painful
feelings, powerful bodily sensations and potentially
self-destructive impulses and behaviors. To withstand these
reactions, you need to feel safe and strong as much of the time as
possible. There are several steps involved in evaluating your
current level of safety before you proceed with creating a plan
for your recovery.
and Facing Risks.
your abuse and your reactions to it brings with it risk: risk that
you will feel overwhelmed, out of control, unable to make the
right decision in any number of situations. You can't grow without
taking risks, but you won't recover if you take risks that you are
not prepared for. So, as part of approaching recovery from a
position of safety and strength, you need to learn to distinguish
between healthy and harmful risks. Think of safety as an inverted
U curve, with the left end of the inverted U representing total
safety but no risk and the right end of the U representing no
safety and total risk.
optimum growth point is to the right of the middle of the curve -
where high safety is combined with low risk. You always want to be
conservative in balancing safety and risk because you want to
avoid setbacks that may occur when the level of risk outweighs the
level of safety you feel you need. Considering that many survivors
have histories of self-sabotage or of being re-victimized as
adults, SAFETY FIRST! means learning to take fewer risks while you
create more safety for yourself. Besides helping you to avoid
setbacks, the idea of SAFETY FIRST! is to maximize your chances of
success when you do decide to take appropriate risks, so that you
begin to build success and mastery into your life. By mastering
that contain some risks, you will begin to develop confidence in
yourself, which in turn will enhance your self-esteem. In other
words, you want to be s t r e t c h e d by your recovery but never
occurs in small, steady steps taken one after another. Each step
you take needs to be reviewed, evaluated and experienced so that
you can derive maximum benefit from your hard work. Try not to get
ahead of yourself. Many survivors feel impatient with the pace of
their recovery, especially if they have spent years feeling stuck.
You may want to jump ahead and go for the "big success"
out of a sense of wanting to finally put the past to rest. But
remember, when you jump ahead before you are really ready, you
sacrifice safety and risk a setback that can leave you feeling
dispirited and hopeless. Try to reassure yourself that your abuse
occurred over a long period of time - important formative years -
and so full recovery is also likely to take time..
is very important that YOU set the structure and pace of your
recovery. Many survivors anxious to proceed with and
"finish" their recovery often find themselves exploring
recovery techniques that threaten them or make them feel
re-victimized and violated. Often these survivors had some sense
that they were not yet ready to explore their abuse issues at that
particular level, but failed to trust their intuition cautioning
them to move slowly. Although it is difficult to resist a path
that promises to lead to healing and recovery, we strongly
encourage you to trust your own inner sense about your readiness.
If you are not sure yourself whether you are ready to explore your
abuse issues using particular techniques or at a different pace,
see if you can get some help from a trusted friend or therapist.
Ultimately, though, you must be the judge of whether you are ready
for a certain recovery experience. If you have a therapist, she or
he may suggest certain techniques to help you in your recovery. If
you have established a consistent level of trust with your
therapist, you should be able to tell him or her that you do not
feel ready to try a particular technique, or that you feel the
therapy is moving too fast (or too slowly). An ethical therapist
will never force you to do anything about which you are unsure,
and will respect your sense of appropriate timing.
your current safety level>>