Of Teddy Bears and Security Systems

Teddy Bear

For most of my married life, I felt secure. I had a husband that I trusted. I owned a home and had been at the same job for many years. I felt comfortable in my life; I trusted that change, if desired, would come from intention. It was predictable and I liked that. If you had asked me where I would have been five years down the road, I would have answered without hesitation.

That feeling of security and blind trust is what allowed me to become complacent. Too comfortable. I was petrified of losing that feeling of security. I was very conservative in my decisions, choosing to avoid risk whenever possible.

I lost all semblance of security when he left. Everything was in question; nothing was sure. I didn’t have time to let it scare me. I simply had to survive. I was operating at the base level of Maslow’s hierarchy: eating, sleeping and breathing were my priorities.

I started tiptoeing back into life. I branched out but much was still unknown. I could not even imagine where I would be five years hence. And I was okay with that.

At some point I realized that the security that I had held so dear was an illusion, the equivalent of a child clutching a stuffed bear to ward off the dangers in the night.

I had outgrown the need for the illusion of security. I realized that the house, the job, the marriage could disappear.  There were no guarantees in mortgages and marriage certificates. They could be pulled from my hands just as easily as that stuffed bear, leaving me to face the night alone.

I had an experience that highlighted my changing views of security during my Match Madness phase. I dated one man for several weeks. He had money. I mean, real money. After only a few weeks, he mentioned the idea of me moving in, leaving my job and becoming basically a kept woman. I was repulsed by the idea but fascinated by my response. At that point, I had put in my resignation at my job and had no idea where I was going to live or how I was going to make money. I was facing the very real debts from my ex and had not yet received innocent spouse relief from the IRS. In other words, being kept should have been a temptation.

But it wasn’t. It felt like a prison.

I realized that the illusion of security works to hold us in, using our fears as restraints. I would have been bound to him by the fear of being penniless, not out of mutual respect and love. It went both ways. He was accustomed to using his bank account to hold women; he never had to work on relationship skills since he assumed that his wallet would do it for him. He was scared by the thought of a relationship without that hold.

Security looks different for me now. I don’t look for it externally, rather my security comes from trusting myself and knowing that I can make it through regardless of what happens. By next year, I will again have a marriage certificate, a mortgage and a secure job. But now I won’t be looking at them for comfort and assurance; that will come from within. I no longer clutch onto the metaphorical stuffed bears, but nor do I refuse to hold them.

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “Of Teddy Bears and Security Systems

  1. I particularly like the association you make here between the “symbols” of security & comfort we do in our adult life to a child’s hold of a teddy bear! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Wonderful post. I like how you looked at your behavior, as well as his, to arrive at the awareness that you presented. Security can be such a significant issue for women, especially.

  3. I don’t even know what to say…speechless. As i read through each line, it felt as if you were speaking to me, I can relate to that feeling of fearing the loss of ones security blankets; I am going through that same realization now, that nothing is secure, it can be lost in an instant.

  4. I was just talking to my husband tonight about how I feel like he took all my safety away when he admitted to infidelity. The house, the money the things that make me comfortable, they are safe. The crazy thing is I still have these things and I don’t feel safe at all, I feel like I’m lost at sea and can’t see a lighthouse.

    I love this post, thank you.

  5. I love this post, thank you. Great analogy with the teddy bear! So, I’m going through a breakup (wasn’t my decision), and one of the biggest reasons I try to convince myself it’s okay he’s leaving is that I rarely ever felt secure in our 5 month relationship. I didn’t express this to him when we were dating, because I didn’t know if it was really his job at all to provide that secure feeling for me. Instead I worked to convince myself that the things he did do for me were enough to make me happy, told myself I could still feel his love for me through other things he did (sometimes true, other times a stretch), and actively worked on healing myself from past relationship-based fears (i.e. abandonment) that this one triggered in me.
    While I agree that real security comes from within, I still want to be with someone who often compliments me, makes me feel special and communicates daily…and he just is not that personality type, for the most part…or at least with me, he wasn’t. This is not why we are breaking up (again, it’s his decision to leave, not mine), but this is a topic that I am still seeking clarity on, and I would like to not repeat with the next guy. If I’m happier with a man who makes me feel like he’s the luckiest man in the world to be with me, vs. a quieter man who I have to work hard to see the signs that he loves and is attracted to me, is that “wrong”?
    I don’t think it is, but I am confused as to how to even look at this. If I get a man who is more expressive of his adoration of me (what I really prefer), I hope I’d not energetically hand over a big chunk of my feeling of security to him. I guess it’s my choice…something to consciously practice not doing. I hope that I can be 100% secure from within, and still feel secure in the relationship at the same time. Even if it were to end one day…I don’t want to always fear him leaving. I’d rather not frequently doubt his feelings for me, or his dedication to our relationship…and to me, that security would come from his behavior, actions and words.
    Thanks for letting me think this through on this forum 🙂

    1. Such stuff to ponder…

      By all means, you should be with someone that respects you and supports you and appreciates you. However, there is a fine line between helping you be the best you and enabling you to be anxious. I only realized after the fact that my ex encouraged my anxiety because he would nurture it – calming me and soothing me if I felt upset. He always expressed his love and affection, which meant I felt secure. However, it was only a feeling. Not reality.

      Ultimately, I think it comes down to this: don’t give someone else the power to dictate how you feel. I know, easier said than done, but I think it’s a good reminder when those little voices in our head start to chatter. Remember, you always have a choice in how you respond.

      Hugs:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s