When I was considering how to tackle this week’s Wicked Wednesday writing on the theme of Passenger there was one question that kept replaying over in my mind.
To what extent am I a passenger in my own life?
In this piece I chose to write about our D/s and how we have navigated some issues around control and trust to develop a consensual healthy passenger/co-pilot/driver analogy with a beneficial and agreed joint agenda that meets the needs of each other.
In thinking about this further, I recognised that in friend and family relationships I often place myself in the position of passenger, however this is often rooted in poor self worth and therefore not always positive for me.
In group trauma therapy yesterday we were asked to discuss our feelings around how we view our assertiveness and how we feel around expressing our wants and needs. We had to reflect upon any memories from childhood where we could recall doing this, or expressing dislike or reluctance, or ever having our feelings, thoughts or opinions validated and given worth when we were young. And I couldn’t recall any instance at all.
In moving into this further we were given copies of a Bill of Rights and the Child’s Bill of Rights (1975) and asked which ones in particular resonated.
I have the right to be respected with regard to my own worth
I have the right to deal with others without being dependant on them for approval
These two were particularly triggering to me emotionally. In discussing this further I said “I don’t know at what point I handed over the keys to my worth to other people” and what the psychologist said was one of those lightbulb moments.
She explained that ‘normally’ a child receives their sense of worth from their parents, that it initially is implicitly verbalised and reinforced by behaviours from the parent to the child and, developmentally, the child then gains a sense of their own self worth as a result and can verbalise this, which is then also validated by the parents.
She said ‘your worth was never yours to give away as you were never given it in the first place’. Well. Boom. There we have it. I was never given a sense of self worth for who I was, just as me, in the first place. My self worth was conditional on achievement, success and being a ‘good’ child.
I always thought I gave it away, that it was my doing I don’t feel it very easily. That this was because I place my sense of worth upon the actions of others. Yet, I see now more clearly that the keys were never mine to give away as I never had the keys to give away. I didn’t do this to myself. And so, like a child, I still search for those keys, that worth. And in placing myself as a passenger, my worth driven and determined by others, I will always lose. I have to provide it to myself, that which should have been provided for me, grown inside of me as a strong resilient seed of belief, unconditionally, when I was little. And wasn’t.
Cuiplash pointed this out to me recently, and not for the first time, when I was anxious about feeling insecure in a friendship and didn’t know exactly why. He made it clear to me that he often sees me placing myself as secondary, as a passive passenger in friendships and family relationships. How I seek to please and help and appease and be of use, because I don’t believe I can be worthy as I am, doing nothing expect just being me. That whilst I actively choose to hand him the metaphorical keys for our own mutual benefit in our relationship where I do feel secure, elsewhere I tend to accept a secondary position from a place of insecurity. That as an equal I deserve to also be a driver, or at the very least a co-pilot.
I realise I inadvertently and unfairly place too much responsibility on others, that my own sense of worth is just that, my own. It shouldn’t be so vulnerable and open to damage or scrutiny. It shouldn’t be negotiated with others. It should be secure and whole and seperate, able to hold fast no matter the action or inaction of others.
This emotional lightbulb moment today made me realise what I deserved and had a right to, what I never received, what I lost as a result and what that has done to me. I need to parent myself in cultivating, validating and protecting my worth. Because that is a precious thing that should never be determined by the hands of another. I deserved better then, and I deserve better from myself now.