I’ve often been told, and not in a positive way, that I’ve been sheltered. When I was much younger my parents, who kept us in tight restraints in terms of what we could and could not do, told us we were lucky we weren’t subjected to the freedom of taking the bus the school and were driven there. They didn’t acknowledge that the bus represented life, real life that one day we’d be exposed to, and because of our isolation would not necessarily have the tools to deal with. Part of this mental construct of being made to feel lucky in our isolation was the old adage of well your brother doesn’t have a problem with it. Well guess what? I’m not my brother. My predisposition to mental and physical illness was and is different. My needs were different and the effect isolation had on me was very different.
Fast forward to now and my ex-husband tells me I’m lucky to have been protected so much during our marriage. Am I? During those years yes I was ill but delaying the inevitable, in fact, totally keeping me in the dark about where our relationship was heading was not constructive or kind in the long run. When you protect someone it should mean you don’t let them come to the most harm possible. By denying them tools to deal with adversity, by taking the adversity away, or just delaying it, then releasing it all at once is no protection at all.
Don’t get me wrong, consideration and concern for my immediate wellbeing physically is most appreciated, but keeping me away from situations where I would have to learn to cope with normal disappointments and social situations such as relationship breakdowns is not helpful in the long run. I appreciate the caring, I don’t appreciate the hiding.
It’s hard to explain this, as being the one who has been sheltered I have to put myself in unsheltered shoes to explain what I missed out on. It’s like trying to list what you know you don’t know. Today I’m reminded of this particular topic of protection as both father, years ago, and ex-husband recently uttered verbatim, “you are lucky you’re so protected.” I am protected, but I’m not lucky to have been isolated from normal human experiences.