A long time ago, when you were a wee thing, you learned something, some way to cope, something that, if you did it, would help you survive. Make ’em laugh, be the clever one, disappear behind a wall of personality… It wasn’t the healthiest thing, it wasn’t gonna get you free, but it was gonna keep you alive. You learned it, at nine or ten, and it worked, it did help you survive. You carried it with you all your life, used it whenever you needed it. It got you out—out of your walled-in city, away from a prancing narcissist, out of range of your father’s un-love. Or whatever. It worked for you. You’re still here now partly because of this thing that you learned.
The thing is, though, at some point you stopped needing it. At some point, you got far enough away, surrounded yourself with people who love you. You survived. And because you survived, you now had a shot at more than just staying alive. You had a shot now at getting free. But that thing that you learned when you were nine was not then and is not now designed to help you be free. It is designed only to help you survive. And, in fact, it keeps you from being free. You need to figure out what this thing is and work your ass off to un-learn it. Because the things we learn to survive at all costs are not the things that will help us get FREE. Getting free is a whole different journey altogether.
– adapted from Mia McKenzie