My needs # 2. Stability

house and family

I crave normality.

When I was in what I thought was a committed caring marriage, my sense of stability and security was that relationship and all that went with it – my home, my life companion, my secure finances, my rock of support, my sense of purpose. Even when I took a break from routine, by travelling or trying different things, it was both rewarding and exciting. That is because the feeling of security and stability went with me everywhere. It was an ingrained feeling deep inside of me, an inner core of happiness that I carried around with me. No matter where I went, what I did, or whatever adversities befell me; I felt safe and secure.

After my marriage collapsed, that was all gone. I felt unsafe, insecure, broken, worthless, and utterly violated by the act of abandonment. I felt I had lost control over all aspects of my life. I was left inside a fragile shell of my former self.
Since that day, my home has become my sanctuary and I have relied heavily on routine and order in my immediate space to provide me with a feeling of comfort and security. My home has become my protection. Routine and order have become the props that have helped me regain the feeling that I have some predictability to my life. They are things in my life that I can control.
So I live in 2 worlds.
The first is the world of my dramatic changed life circumstances, that I am slowly addressing, but knowing not far below the surface chaos and turmoil still remain supreme. As a result I often still use the technique of dissociation from my circumstances to absent myself from the pain. I do this by living in my second world.
My second world is my day-to-day world of calm quiet routine and order. Living in the quiet moments of watching the sunrise, going for a daily walk, writing, and enjoying the wonders of today and all its beauty. To a degree, in that environment I have slowly healed and I feel secure. However, take away the routine, take away the order; and my feelings of security unravel in an instant.
The first time I realised that was when I visited my son in Canada a year ago. Although I had been looking forward to seeing him, for the first week I was thrown into a tailspin of feeling anxious and unsettled. I had been thrown into the unfamiliar. My props were gone – my home, my routine, my sense of place. I was craving the basic level of human needs of comfort and security. After a few days I did get into a little daily routine and I cocooned myself with the basic needs of food, shelter, warmth, security, companionship albeit that I was now in a different environment.
More recently I found the same thing happened when I visited my daughter for the Easter long weekend in Canberra. I needed the first day to orientate myself, and develop my sense of place, before I could relax and enjoy seeing her and join with her doing a few different exciting things.
I have also noticed that I am over-reacting to any thing that goes wrong. I go through feelings of anxiety and panic over little things that would previously never have bothered me. I instantly think “Oh dear, what now?”
In that regard, I am craving a sense of normality, that life again will return to order and calm in my ‘big-picture’ world as well as my somewhat artificial daily world so that I can truly cope again with life and all its ups and downs. Or that my logic brain “it really will be all right” will eventually win over my crushed soul.
I have a current need for a sense of stability, comfort and security:
I need calm
I need a sense of place
I need routine
I need order
I need predictability
Image courtesy of [Smarnad]:

23 thoughts on “My needs # 2. Stability

  1. I think you’re reacting in a very normal fashion… after all, it was a major life event you went through and it’s not surprising that you’re feeling the after effects. My sanctuary has been meditation… I feel secure when I meditate… hence, I feel, right now I only meditate when I need security…

    • It is interesting how our needs change. In a normal period we don’t feel we ‘need’ security (probably because we have it) and we dash about filling our lives with exhausting pastimes; and yet when a major life event occurs the simple things in life become our feelings of security.

      • This is very true! I think, to some extent, it’s shock… when something happens, you just need to return to “normality” – however you define it – and the quickest path is by re-establishing the simple things we take for granted 🙂

  2. I definitely had similar feelings when my life imploded two years ago, so, even though this current state is not the normalcy you crave, it really is normal. What I have come to discover for myself is that I just now am feeling like I have some sort of a new “normal”, and I continue to grow and change. Be gentle with yourself, as this is a grieving process, and grief takes some time. There is no timetable for it, but there is one thing for sure, the grief will end and be replaced by acceptance. Listen to your heart, as it will lead you “home”.

    • Thanks for this reply. I am coming to realise that there are phases to go through. Firstly one ‘copes’ and reaches a state of feeling OK. However, it is still simply that – coping through a crisis. The phase of reaching a new sense of ‘normality’ comes much later. Probably I am not quite there yet because there is still the grieving for the old sense of security. As you say it all takes time. Thanks for sharing your own experience. It helps to know that others understand.

      • You are more than welcome, and just know that the time it takes will be worth the wait and that each set back will propel you forward. You are not alone!

    • Thanks for the link to Tony Robbins six needs. I find the study of human needs fascinating, especially the concept that you only feel the ‘need’ for those that you do not have. Once the need is filled it is no longer a need. However, I personally think the need is always there, it is just that if that need is fulfilled, there is no longer an ache for it.

  3. i love this post. one of the scariest aspects of divorce is having all of your stability ripped away from you…you do feel like a shell of a person who has to relearn everything all at once. stability is a wonderful thing we can give ourselves, even if it is not always easy to find.

  4. I think that identifying what you need is what they is like identifying you have a problem – you need to do it first, to then pave the way. I reckon it’s great how you’ve identified your needs. I understand them too, as I feel them much indeed. Stability – oh, please!!

    I had some threat to my job security recently, and it still is but not as pressing, and it coloured my every day – the thought of not affording rent for my son and me, the thought at my age having to find work again. It still may be, but not as pressing right now.

    I really feel these words, and I think you are wonderful to identify where you are at and what you need. All the best in your journey! 🙂

  5. My indecisiveness about whether I am an introvert or an extrovert was finally cleared up with the definition of an introvert being someone who RECHARGES by herself while an extrovert recharges with others.

    I love to socialize, but definitely need my little sanctuary, surrounded with some meaningful things and routines. Having to leave my home and only temporarily living in the house I now occupy causes me great stress.

    I think introverts (only you know if you are one) need to make all places, even temporary ones, little sanctuaries. I’ve loved the Incredible String Band since the 1960’s, and think they sum it up with:

    Always looking, looking for a paradise island.
    Help me find it everywhere.

    • I am definitely an introvert. However, it never clicked with me that this deep need for routine and familiarity, of having my own sense of surroundings, and of having a sanctuary, was part of my introversion (rather than distress at the whole separation). It now makes a lot of sense.

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