Survival Mechanisms Then & Now

When I was a little girl, I had a favorite dress. It was black velvet and had a white vine of leaves down the left side. I LOVED that dress. When I wore it, I felt happy. Here’s a picture of me in 2nd grade wearing it for the class photo. See if you can find me.

I was thinking about that dress. How good it made me feel. That lead me to think about childhood in general and surviving dysfunction. The family environment we’re born into, the passing down of trauma from one generation to the next and the mechanisms we adapt to stay alive.

Examples are:
Perpetual Fight, Flight or Freeze State
People pleasing

As adults, employing the same behaviors that saved us as children can hurt us, impacting our relationships and outcomes.

Back to the dress; I wouldn’t attempt to wear it today. It would never fit. Duh, right?

Just like our favorite outfit, the behaviors that saved us as children don’t fit either; the way we got our needs met, made sense of the world and ultimately survived. Those adaptations are to be applauded. They did their job, and here we are. But they don’t serve us anymore; time to thank them and put them down.

As adults, we have choices we didn’t have as children if we could only see them.

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