How safe is it, inside the cage of protection?

Abilene Paradox – When people make decisions based not on what they want, but what they think the other person wants. The other person then makes a decision based on that decision. The result being that no one ever really gets to do what he or she wants, because they think they are doing what the other wants them to do. 

Why is it some people can do something for the “good” of someone else without even taking into account what the other person wants?

What gives someone the right to decide what is best for you?

Is it right for someone to do something to protect you from future hurt if you don’t want them to? And if they realised the method of protection from such hurt was more painful than the predicted future hurt, are they under obligation to stop protecting you?

Can you make someone stop protecting you? If you told them to would they listen? Or would they still believe what they were doing was in your best interest?

And if that person, for some reason, is happy thinking they are protecting you, even though their protection is not something you want, do you let them go about doing it anyway, just to keep them happy?

A child wants a puppy, the mother, who has a deep habitual fear of dogs, refuses. In her mind, she is protecting him; in his mind, she is just being mean. The child misses out on the experience of having a pet, and grows up with the same fear of dogs as his mother.

A teen falls head over heels for the most charming boy at school, her friends tell her he is out of her league. In their mind they are protecting her, in her mind they are being harsh, but she is convinced. She believes she is not good enough and settles for something less. She never regains her confidence to reach for the stars.

Words associated with protection: guardianship, barrier, safeguard, chaperone, cover, wrap, hide, bury, cloak, blanket, cage, coop, shut in, veil. Trust me, I googled it.

Makes you wonder if anyone would really want protection doesn’t it?

Protection is great – don’t get me wrong, people need to be protected. People require the knowledge that they are safe to jump, to meet their challenges head on, and to make a go of life. But what happens when such protection is not wanted? What if someone wants to rock climb without a harness? Or feel the wind in their hair on a pushbike? Why should they feel bound by the protection they don’t even want?

Shouldn’t we all have the right to request protection? Rather than having it thrust upon us? Shouldn’t we have the ability to pick and choose those we are protected by? Those we are protected from?

A child protected from death by not being allowed to go to her grandmother’s funeral does not learn the lesson of life. Being protected from the death of pets and relatives only sets her up for future hurt, when later she will be too unimpressionable for anybody to make it feel better for her.

But if she is allowed the pain of losing someone, then throughout the course of her life, and after coming through numerous painful encounters she realises that, indeed, life does go on after the loss of someone you love, and even though it hurts, there will be better days ahead.

So there is the theory that being protected can scar you, or stunt you, but what’s more is sometimes the things we are being protected from won’t actually hurt us as much as our protectors think they will.

Think of the friend who won’t tell you your butt look fat in those pants, because she thinks you have big-butt issues, when in fact you don’t, or the mother who wont let her disabled child attend a mainstream school because she worries over social issues, which don’t actually exist for her child, or the friend who wont talk to you if they are upset because they don’t want to make you upset, when actually all you want to do is make them happy.

All are examples of unneeded protection, if such words were said, or such actions taken, they would have less of an impact on the lives of all involved, than the barriers created by veiling the issues.

So yes, protection can be good, when it is wanted, but it is a simple law of nature that it is impossible for someone to know exactly what is best for others, no matter how well you think you know them. Being protected can save people some pain, but think about it, have you ever done someone purely for someone else’s protection, even though it wasn’t what you wanted to do?

Did it make you happy? Did it make them happy?

Was it what they wanted? And did it work out for the best?

And if it didn’t, would you go back and do it differently?


~ by Alissa Anderton on June 24, 2010.

One Response to “How safe is it, inside the cage of protection?”

  1. i looked at the title of this and thought ‘it all depends whats in the cage with you’

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