Healing from Survival Mode

Healing from Survival Mode

Listen to audio before you proceed:

I created this audio, accompanied by a video—that I cannot seem to find—just last year, with my last significant relationship as it’s inspiration. He made me feel so undeniably small—as you may hear in this audio—and if i’m honest with myself, I enjoyed every moment of it. I wanted to be small right next to him. That would mean that he would do the impossible part and I would benefit by association. it was an unconscious intention founded in a lack of belief in myself that trauma had lended me.Social conditioning. I would be his little girlfriend and one day his little wife. Cheer him on from the sidelines and hope that he’d choose me to be the main character in one of his plays one day—metaphorically speaking.

It was undoubtably my commitment to being small that was my contribution to the demise of that relationship. His contribution was pride and misogyny to be sure

this was my third time on this rollercoaster though. my second time living vicariously through love. relating and loving in survival mode.

relationships should be able to breathe and evolve, die and be reborn again with both parties commitment as the facilitator of that flexibility. But that’s not the case for many like myself, in my case the relationships just died. Brutally. There was no resuscitation or rebirth just flames smoke and shattered pieces, and I was left to pick them up each time. 

Lovers would come back when it was too late and i still hadn’t learned the lesson. a lesson others seamed to skirt by.

I was relating and loving in survival mode  

Doing My Part

I finally went on and became the woman I wanted to be—the woman that I imagined would be standing beside my love, but I did it on my own terms and for myself. I became the woman of my own dreams and the woman I imagined he would cast in one of his big plays one day—metaphorically speaking. Doing this healed a big chunk of my wounds.

But healing myself meant loosing him. Loosing who I made him out to be in my mind. It used to be that he was big and I was small. But the more I invested in myself, the more I saw things I hadn’t seen before. The more I realized that he wasn’t who I made him out to be, I projected my wishes and desires, but so many of those just weren’t there. I wasn’t ready to love someone that was truly as human as i was. He didn’t want me to see the chinks in his armor either and totally played into the fact that I was so blinded by my own insecurity. He was emboldened by my need and encouraged its presence in many ways.

and even still, a lot of people can evolve out of that together and into a new shared reality in relationship. In an ideal situation you would. but unfortunately or maybe fortunately none of my experiences were ideal.

This is so because both of us where loving and relating in survival mode. living out wounds of the past in the present, feeling unsafe in our own experience + bodies, choosing fight or flight instead of communication and embrace, making assumptions based on past pain instead of grieving.

Living In the Present

My therapist shared with me recently that I was living in the past, and that I needed to take a new approach. It resonated, and then I ran across this video I made with some old footage a few years ago:

I have grown, but much of my sentiments in the think piece above are similar to conclusions that i have come to more recently, but in a new way…I think.

It makes me so curious about what living life in the present and leaving survival mode means for me. What has made sense so far is this:

Maybe all we have is right now. Maybe we need to be decisive make our own choices and have faith in them. maybe forgiveness is the answer.

-Amber B

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