There’s no doubt that we’re going to be here for a little longer—here meaning the unstable and unpredictable world we find ourselves in. Nothing seems certain, no predictions seem to fully come true, and everyone’s trust is absolutely shaken up if not gone completely. For people who have had trauma in their past, especially relinquishees, this constant up-and-down rollercoaster of trust is really exhausting.
We came into this world like any other baby, helpless and fully dependent on people who brought us here and who then… abandoned us. It’s taken many of us a lot of inner work to be able to function in the world without using harmful coping mechanisms that used to help us survive in the untrustworthy world. For me, it was drugs and alcohol and leading a life that didn’t align with my more intuitive, introverted nature. For many of my clients, drugs and alcohol provided similar relief, another barrier that seemed to protect us from the world that kept betraying us.
These days, it’s everyone, not just relinquishees, who are experiencing being let down over and over. The news is confusing and inconsistent, the predictions keep failing, agendas get more aggressively advanced, and nothing seems certain anymore. We see many of our friends lose faith entirely, the ones we considered the most reasonable can start spewing misinformation any moment, and the ones who would have the most reason to give up end up finding strength and patience to carry on better than all the others. Human nature and our inner resources can be a mystery, but what I draw some inspiration from is watching those who do relatively well during this time and try to learn from their example how they manage in this untrustworthy world.
I still attend some online support groups, I still read social media posts where people discuss solutions to problems. But these days, I try not to give any attention to information that seems pointless and that I know will only drain my strength—I am speaking about politics, complaining, conspiracies, and so on. I am only interested in how in this untrustworthy world I can still function relatively well and how I can help others around me who might be struggling.
I am also acknowledging that we might be here for quite some time and that I need a lot more resources and strength than I’ve needed in the past, which means I have limited room for what I absorb. I have to be ruthless with mental garbage, with those negative threads, the endless political discussions that lead nowhere. Just as I wouldn’t eat rotten food, I no longer want to let rotten information enter my mental space. I consider that space sacred (in the most secular way) and absolutely crucial to my well-being. When I surround myself with people, I know those people are individuals I trust, which means that I am no longer making myself available to anyone and everyone who reaches out. As a consulting professional, I am available to my clients non-stop, but as a private person, I ensure I protect my privacy and that mental space. This is because I understand that I need to last in this uncertainty for quite some time and I cannot afford to jeopardize that. I know that with limited outlets (such as travel, or social gatherings) I also have limited ways of diffusing negativity in my life. So I am protective of it. And I wish the same for you. I am not telling you to isolate yourself—not at all. But be discerning of who you trust and who you surround yourself with as we’re in here for a longer haul. You need people who uplift you and understand you. People who will help you survive and even thrive as we all wait out this difficult period in our lives.
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash