“The Safety Pyramid.” – Part 5
This week, let’s talk about how someone from a background like MaryH can choose to grow and become more mature and relationally successful. Recall that she describes her family of origin as a place where she was “taught to protect and wall in.” Inherently she knows: “it’s wrong but I don’t know what to do?” Let’s review some of the adult characteristics of a person from that type of upbringing. They may tend toward:
• Relational avoidance,
• Few if any close friends,
• Isolation in pain,
• Social awkwardness and anxiety,
• Superficial relationships.
These characteristics render the adult weak and disoriented within the world of adult relationships. What steps do they need to take as adults to make up for the emotional and relational deficit from their childhood?
1. Decide to become something different. The emotionally avoidant person must become convinced that their attachment style is inadequate to sustain successful relationships.
2. With a feeling words list in front of you, daily find new words that describe and match your inner emotional and cognitive mood. Post it as a journal entry, tell God about it and risk telling someone whom you trust.
3. Daily ask those around you what they are feeling and what caused that feeling. Don’t try to talk them out of it or rescue them from the feeling. Just empathize (“Wow, that must hurt!”; “That’s exciting!” , “I’d be worried too!”)
4. The next time you see that person, ask them how they are doing since the last time you saw them. By reviewing your journal frequently, you will remind yourself of past conversations. (For me my journal is also my prayer diary which helps me remember important matters.)
5. Keep track of those who remember past discussions and ask you about how things have progressed. Those who do, are worthy of being promoted to a higher level in the Safety Pyramid and over time they will become your trusted confidants.
By repeating this process over and over, relational avoidance, few if any close friends, isolation, loneliness, social awkwardness and anxiety, insecurity and superficial relationships will begin to melt away and a new person will begin to emerge. A person that is more relationally secure and emotionally intelligent. A person who can successfully navigate the safety pyramid.
Thanks for listening.
Milan for Milan & Kay
Our new DVD series: Turning Stress into Opportunities for Emotional Connection should be in the store by next week! We are very excited about it and hope you are too!