We live in a logical world. There is no doubt about it. A long time ago, people stopped believing in things they could not see. Whether you believe it is a conflict between science and faith, or masculine and feminine, it is clear. Society values one over the other. There is no balance. We are taught as small children to drop our fascination with the make-believe and focus our attention on what matters. Math, science and technology have quickly become the highest-paid and most valued careers. I know this. I was one of the people who gave up my passion for a money-making career that I hated. I heard the message loud and clear. More importantly, my inner defender heard the message loud and clear.
Last week, my inner defender shared some of her secrets with a list of her seven favorite defenses. Some are incredibly stealth in nature. Many people have no idea they are falling for these defenses at all. But she forgot to mention one very important defense. A blog commenter pointed it out. She specifically asked about the logic. She said her defender is always “the logical one”. I immediately recognized it as a major defense for me too. I wondered why my inner defender left it off her list. Maybe she saw it as a fact and not a defense. Maybe she wasn’t quite ready to let go of that little secret.
But I thought logic would make a great subject for this week. This defense truly deserves a blog post all to itself. As a matter of a fact, I do believe this defense has been more powerful, more debilitating than any other I have employed. You see, it just makes so much sense. Logic just makes sense. Of course, recovery sounds like a crazy idea. Who would want to go through that much pain again? Of course, quitting a corporate job to pursue a passion with no clear income stream (at the time) sounds like a crazy idea. Who would take such a risk? Of course, leaving my abusive family who had always provided a financial safety net (on purpose) sounds like a crazy idea. What happens if you need help?
I have many conversations with my inner defender in which she clearly has me on the logic front. It is common to hear phrases like, “Have you lost your mind?” or “How could you be so stupid?” or “How could taking such a risk be a good idea?” And I don’t have many answers. Faith and trust are not something she subscribes to. She has internalized all those messages from society and my parents. And those messages devalue all the things I say in return.
But something has always seemed wrong about her messages. They are familiar, but there is something wrong. When I listen to those messages, I feel less anxiety and fear. But when I listen to those messages, I feel empty. I feel like I am missing the point. I feel like I am just waiting to die. I don’t feel alive. While those messages feel safe, they feel like a death sentence, a death sentence while still living.
So I am learning to recognize those messages as an internalization of statement from those who won’t take risks. I am learning to allow my inner defender to say them, but to make decisions based on my intuition. While my intuition can increase that feeling of anxiety and fear, it also brings joy when I step up to the task. While my intuition sounds crazy in today’s world, my higher self is there to cast the net when I jump. Of course, that requires faith and trust. And that certainly isn’t something trauma survivors embrace easily. But I am learning to live. And living isn’t logic-based.
The next time you hear that voice that tells you to play it safe, to avoid risk, to take the logical path, ask yourself some questions. Where is that voice coming from? What experiences created that voice? Who originally taught you to think like that? How is it holding you back? Don’t reject the voice. It is a part of you. But separate yourself from it. Recognize it for what it is. Allow yourself to be bigger than that logical voice. Allow yourself to believe you can do something “illogical” and be okay. You are more than your logic. Society doesn’t want you to know that. But take my word for it. You are much more than your logic.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW
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