If you’re like some of my clients, you struggle with keeping your heart open and not locking it away in a Doom Fortress.
This happens with best friends, partners, family. It doesn’t matter how long the person in question has been around, the length of your history or the depth of their devotion. The Doom Fortress still beckons. You still fight the temptation to close off your heart.
The situation might look something like this:
A conversation doesn’t go well and you start to feel unappreciated. Not cared for. Like maybe you should be treated better.
And you start to consider retreating into the Doom Fortress.
You are having a really good time, and you start to worry about the future — maybe something will happen and it won’t always be so good. What if you get hurt?
And you think it might be a good idea to hide in the Doom Fortress.
A friend or loved one doesn’t pick up the phone or return your text or thank you for your birthday gift.
And you seriously consider kicking them out of your life.
You move to a new town, you don’t meet anyone for a while, and you find yourself hanging out in the Doom Fortress.
Solitary. Locked up. Safe. Alone.
I watch people go into the Doom Fortress all the time, and here’s my opinion about it:
Your friends and lovers and family need your help. Sometimes they don’t even know there’s a problem — they have no idea how grievously they have offended your beautiful heart, or if they have some inkling, they don’t know how to fix it. People can be pretty clueless sometimes, but chances are, they have good intentions.
They’re just living their lives and trying to show they care, taking care of the stuff they have to take care of. But something triggers you, and you decide to put up the emotional drawbridge, hang out inside your Doom Fortress, and not allow them in.
So here are some questions to ask yourself the next time the Doom Fortress is beckoning.
- Will this get me what I want in the long run?
- Is the Doom Fortress really beneficial to me, or do I just perceive that it is keeping me safe?
- Have I considered that something else might be at play, too (Person X is busy, might be upset with me, has her own Doom Fortress, just wants to relax for a while after work, or lost her phone)
This isn’t a message about not giving up. It is fine to draw lines where they need to be.
But I want you to draw lines of your choosing, when it is beneficial to you, and not because you feel that you HAVE TO. I want you to be intentional about your actions, not driven to do stuff because you think it’s the only way. There are lots of ways, lots of paths, lots of perspectives.
If you can bear to keep the connection open, it is sometimes a better route.
So next time you find yourself staging a retreat into your Doom Fortress, ask yourself: is this really the truth? Is this really what I want? Is there a better way?