Blindly Trusting To Gain Security

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

A few years back my husband and I took our three kids canoeing in southern Illinois. The wooden seats were damp with dew and the floor of each canoe held droplets of water from the previous boaters. The kids quickly acclimated to the fishy door as they leaned over to glance at the dark murky water, gliding their hands to break the tension of the surface.

After a break for lunch we headed back out into open water. The kids were starting to get anxious in the heat and were desperate to return to shore so they could submerge their toes in the sandy beach. As I tried to turn my canoe I struggled to keep it on track. As I paddled, I felt myself drifting further from the shore, not closer to it.

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

At first I tried to right the canoe by alternating the sides I paddled on. My husband could see my struggle and came closer to give advice. I would have nothing to do with it!  I knew how to paddle, damn it. “I can do this” , I thought to myself.  But he could see differently. He could see that the heat had gotten to me too. I was getting sweaty, nervous and flustered. Exhausted, I cried out that I was “fine” and that I knew what to do.

Calmly he approached once more, “Honey, I know it’s hot and this is hard.  You are drifting farther and you are fighting a current you can’t see.  Can you trust me?  I can guide you out of this.”  Reluctantly I submitted to his help.  He canoed close to me, directing me how and where to paddle so that I stayed closer to the shore, making it easier to get back to land.  I had to let go of my desire to be right and blindly trust that he would not steer me wrong.

It wasn’t until later that I realized the experience was similar to being in a toxic relationship.  When you are in the turbulence you can’t see it. You are blind to what it is doing to you and how far you are drifting from where you want to be.  Outsiders, however, can see it.  They can offer advice and give support, but unless you are willing to trust in what they know, what they see… you cannot take the advice or the support.  You will remain in a rip tide no matter how hard you try to right the situation.  

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

I had to take a breath, relinquish what I thought I knew, what I thought I was capable of, and blindly trust.  It is not easy, in fact it is downright scary.  Often the toxic relationship is all you know, it is your reality, it is your normal.  To take the hand of an outsider who sees it for what it really is and trust that they will lead you to safety is a risk.  But it is a risk worth taking.   You must have faith in that outsider and know that their intentions are for your well being.  Most likely they will guide you to the shore, away from the current that was pulling you further from your true self.

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