The Safety Pyramid – Part 4

“The Safety Pyramid.” – Part 4

Last week we received a two part question from MaryH, and we addressed the first part in last week’s post. This week, let’s look at the part of the question where she asks “I was raised in a family where we were taught to protect and wall in. I know that’s wrong but I don’t know what to do?” I’m impressed with Mary’s self-awareness and self-reflection skills. She’s able to observe herself and reflect back upon how she was trained in her family of origin. In so doing, she is capable of seeing areas within relationships that have the potential of jeopardizing or sabotaging God’s intentions for relationships.

All of us were emotionally and relationally trained by our family systems. For a child, more is caught than taught. By hearing words and phrases, the child learns to speak. The same is true emotionally and relationally whereby we simply observe and absorb the family’s way of connecting or protecting itself from others. In Mary’s case, her parents constructed a fortress that kept people at arm’s length.

The problems then arise when we enter into the adult world of connection with other human beings. Those of us with healthy modeling will do much better overall than those of us who came from a “walled off” protectionist model of relating to others. Or, from the opposite side of the spectrum where people were enmeshed and fused. When everybody is in everybody’s business , there is no separation or individuality allowed and marriage and parenting will be tough.

Adults from a home like Mary’s may tend toward:
• Relational avoidance
• Few if any close friends
• Isolation in pain
• Loneliness
• Social awkwardness and anxiety
• Insecurity
• Superficial relationships

Adults from the enmeshed home may tend toward:
• Becoming your BFF overnight
• TMI: Divulging too much information indiscriminately
• Wanting to know more information that is appropriate
• Gossip
• Offering opinions without being asked
• Forming judgments prematurely without knowing all of the facts
• Taking sides in relational dynamics where taking sides is not even necessary
• Talking incessantly without asking any questions

People from both extremes will struggle as they attempt to perilously navigate the uncharted waters of the safety pyramid. Next week, we’ll talk about how each of these camps can become more mature and relationally successful.

Thanks for listening.
Blessings,
Milan for Milan & Kay

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