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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 1

February 10, 2010

NOTE: For a single post version of all 13 posts click on *SURVIVOR SAFETY* under “Pages” listed in the right hand column. Or, go here.

I was asked to write an article on safety. I am putting it here in segments. The article (or a shorter variation of it) will also be coming out in print in April. After I finish putting this up, I may revisit some of this in greater depth. I would love to get feedback and other’s thoughts on it.

Intro

I know there are unsafe people out there, but do I really need to be concerned about people I only “meet” online? Aren’t other survivors safe? After all, they have been through horrible things like I have! They understand safety…don’t they? What about my therapist? Can’t I count on my therapist to be safe? Do I really need to be concerned about people who are not my former abusers and/or cult group members? I intend to answer those questions. When I’m finished, it will be clear: you DO need to be concerned, especially if you are a multiple who loses time. However, you do NOT need to be fearful…just WARY and WISE.

I am NOT a professional. I am drawing from my own personal experiences and observations and from the experiences of dear friends and others I have met online. I will not cover leaving the cult. There are many good articles written by people far more knowledgeable in that subject than I. I appreciate that some do not like the term “alter”. I am using the term simply for ease in writing. The term “professional” or “therapist” could refer to any kind of trained person offering help, whether that person is licensed, has a degree or any other type of certification. It could also include someone who has “religious” or “spiritual” training.

Interactions can be an incredibly wonderful tool for healing. Yet…there ARE “horror” stories out there. Abuse can be blatantly obvious or very subtle. Sometimes, in our desire to believe that everything is OK and that the person we are hoping will help us is safe, we can ignore important indicators…or dangerously brush them aside. I hope writing this will help others experience healing while avoiding the possible negative side of personal interactions. It does not matter what role the other person plays in your life: fellow forum member, friend, supporter, caregiver, or even a therapist/professional. There is always a risk and I never want someone to go through any of the terrible things that I, and others I know, have gone through.

To Trust or Not and the Middle Ground

Those who have been abused and made it through trauma seem to fall into two very general categories…the extremely suspicious and the extremely trusting, with some falling in between. Those who are extremely suspicious are less likely to be revictimized; however, they are also more likely to struggle with being able to trust others enough to get help with their healing journey. Those who are extremely trusting seem to have an almost childlike naiveté about them. They just cannot seem to believe anyone would lie to them or present themselves as something they are not. While it is easier for them to trust enough to get help, they are obviously very vulnerable.

The best place to be, if you can get there, is in the middle…what I call “cautious trusting”. We need to learn to test the waters and slowly build trust. Without some kind of trust, we lose out on the benefits of the support of others. With too much trust, we run the risk of being revictimized. Finding that balance can be a real challenge.

To be continued…

14 comments

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  13. […] Then I got to thinking about it. I was paying a price in trying to write it up. It had to be done carefully. I am a very busy person with enough of my own stuff on my plate. As survivors, we each have to learn to protect ourselves. I cannot be a protector for others. I can support them. I can point out what to watch for…which is why I wrote the article on internet safety for Many Voices. The longer version is on my blog starting here. […]


  14. […] Then I got to thinking about it. I was paying a price in trying to write it up. It had to be done carefully. I am a very busy person with enough of my own stuff on my plate. As survivors, we each have to learn to protect ourselves. I cannot be a protector for others. I can support them. I can point out what to watch for…which is why I wrote the article on internet safety for Many Voices. The longer version is on my blog starting here. […]



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