Staying connected was never my strong suit.
Because of things that happened very early in my childhood people were scary and intimacy was polluted. I learned down in my emotional body that when I was open and available, I got hurt. Before I had the right and the voice to say no things happened to a child that simply should not happen. People who said they loved me used that promise to compromise and abuse me. And so early on I learned that openness was dangerous, and love could be tormenting.
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If you have heard or read me at all you know that I often remind us all that we are hardwired for both connection and protection. Relationship happens in the tension of these dynamics. They are always at play. We are constantly moved in the direction of connection. And our reptilian brains, our inborn mechanism for survival, is always scanning for danger and triggering us into protection when threats are perceived. One of the many tricky parts of these dynamics is that we can be thrown into protection mode whether or not an actual threat exists.
For those of us who experienced early life trauma (far more than consciously know it directly) the hardwired connection and protection devices are regularly crashing into each other as we navigate relationships. At the level of the Soul this is painful yet also purposeful. We tend to attract people and relationships that are congruent to our perpetrators so that we can say no now that we have the voice to do so. So that we can protect ourselves as adults, whereas as children we didn’t know to exercise that right. So that we choose the depth and quality of our connection. A connection that is mutual, appropriate, with boundaries, and steeped in safety.
This can be a very messy process.
Part of this evolution involves learning the difference between perceived threat and actual danger. When I say danger, I am not really speaking of physical threat. I also do not discount it. We must begin to tease out what is perceptual and what is actual. What is intuition and what is imprinted. What is happening in the moment and what reflects a past wrongdoing.
Err on the side of caution.
As an awakening spiritual being, I developed this perception that I should seek connection and atonement with all beings. Especially those who were also treading a shared spiritual path. And so, when my gut would kick in with pangs of warning, I would talk myself out of disconnecting. I would assume it was just my issues around safety and openness. If there was a problem, it certainly must be me. And so I would deaden the impulse to disconnect and stay in tormenting relations for sometimes decades.
Did I mention that staying connected was never my strong suit?
I have learned the hard way that disconnection can be just as important as connection.
I have learned that in order to stay connected to what is truest and most real within me I must know when to disconnect from others who do not share or at least honor my core values. I have learned that I need to disconnect from people who place their own agendas in front of my boundaries and ideals. I have learned that there are many who confuse my love for them with their freedom to define me. I no longer fall for the games of manipulation and control, and I sure do not buy into those who make my discernment and even guardedness a reason to diminish me.
In these days of social isolation and distancing I am using this time consciously rather than letting this time to use me. I am reflecting more within. I am praying and meditating. I am reevaluating what is most important to me. I am reassessing who is most important to me. I am reflecting on my connections, and on the value of my disconnections. I am forgiving myself for the inappropriate people I left in my sphere for way, way too long. I forgive them for my lack of strength and boundaries. I forgive my habitual self-neglect and even abuse, and I no longer tolerate them from others.
As I type these words, I am realizing that staying connected is becoming my strong suit.
I do not confuse the number of connections with the quality of connection. To have a few heart-connected, authentic, respectful, honest, loving relationships is absolute gold. It is gift. It is literally God.
I just had to disconnect to make room for true and deep connection.
And that, my dears, is serviceable disconnection.