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Senior Contributor

Fortress of survival

As a young man, five times I loaded up my motorcycle and headed for the hills. Not just a ride but my intent was to permanently remove myself from society...yes, forever. I soon realized my hunting skills weren't up to the task. That 5 cans of baked beans weren't enough. The creature comforts of home were missed. I had to find another answer. It came in the way of country living. This half way point allowed me to hermitise myself. Locals don't treat you as one of them for 30 years it seems, so no risk of a door knock. There is however, another adjustment required. The "fortress of survival" is an idea I developed many years ago. This is an extension of country living and it came about when I introduced social media to my life. Bullying arrived and a message came "go to your doctor and get some more meds nutter" So sad yes, but I'm proactive and I found the answer to surviving social media in the form of the "fortress" The "fortress" is a concept of mind. It means that your mind is your fortress. You allow into your fortress only those people that you think you can trust and give them a temporary visa. If they fail they are turfed out of your castle into the moat. Gone! This discarding of toxic people can seem ruthless however, we are unusual, we have mental illness and society does not protect us. We need a system whereby we protect ourselves. Once you have this system in place, which is really just a frame of mind including basic boundaries you will feel safer. Too many of us are left vulnerable to cruelty and told to "toughen up" when in reality we are who we are, warts and all, sensitivity is us, its part of us, damn it- why should we "harden up"? Why don't they soften down? Don't be afraid of using your fortress on family members. Sure make sure you are certain of your move, but family are often tolerated just because they are family. That's not logical because another way of explaining this is "I'll tolerate abuse, demands, expectations and bullying because they are family. That isn't a system of protection, that's a system of suppression. You can communicate minimal at family events but in your mind you are not trusting of them unless they make serious attempts to understand. An example of my fortress is when I dated ladies in the 1980's (you might laugh). For the lady to qualify to the next date with me she had to pass certain tests. eg She had to enjoy the company of children and baby animals, pay for a meal within 3 dates and finally be on the same emotional level as myself which was tested at the movies. I married my first wife on this "formula". She admired the bouncing lambs in the paddocks as we drove in the country. She paid for a hamburger with the lot (yes with pineapple) and she expressed sadness in a movie called "purple rain" during a sad scene. Bingo we married. The marriage lasted 11 years so the formula needed tweaking. Divorced I introduced a fourth requirement...that she tolerated my moods. lol and she included beetroot in the burger. Seriously, this filtering system is not to be underestimated as far as protecting yourself. We are individuals that need to set boundaries and install certain customized requirements to get through life with the least pain possible. Do you have a "fortress" you can share with us to help us all on our protected journey through life with mental illness? How do you protect yourself.? WK

Re: Fortress of survival

Your post was serious and made me laugh. @Whiteknight Thanks 

I am lousy at boundaries, but familiar with the concept of an Interior Castle through the witings of the spanish mystic Teresa of Avila.  My gatekeeper is a bit slow but learning to weed out toxic situations.

Re: Fortress of survival

Hi @Appleblossum

Many people without MI have boundaries. Ever said the wrong thing and someone jumps down your throat? Seemingly innocently shortening a childs name can receive the wrath from the parent- automatic boundary.

Yet we dont commonly have them- why not?  Maybe we are weaker in terms of mental strength, we dont like upsetting others causing conflict or we are aware of any behaviour could be construed as being a MI mood or similar. The result however of not having boundaries is people think we are easy going, take comments at the bbq as "water off a ducks back" only to drown in our tears later on as they drive off down the driveway.

Humans have boundaries everywhere. Road rules, public places, dog restrictions, laws everywhere restricting our movements. Having no boundaries is IMO not protecting us. Our country could be taken over in days if we didnt have a defence force.

WK Smiley Happy

Not applicable

Re: Fortress of survival

Another interesting thread I thoroughly enjoyed @Whiteknight - thanks for sharing.

My fortesss of mind is believing in myself and having faith. And very similar to what has been said - only allowing my thoughts to focus on what matters to me in life - and allow it to focus on only "who matters" and what is important. The rest is not important. That keeps my mind on the right track. I keep at arms length toxic/ fake and disrespectful people and situations which I am now in control with as opposed to my abusive childhood. It's liberating. 

Re: Fortress of survival

Hi @enigma

"Liberating". What a magnificent word. There was even a WW2 bomber called the "liberator"

An abusive childhood will effect us all our lives, thats a given, but when we organise our lives so we can accommodate boundaries, we get bouyed by the changes we put in place that work.

For me I didnt have my fortress of survival in place and needed it badly. I was exposed, vulnerable and a target for the cruel and bullying and narcissists out there.

Good answer Enigma. Thanks


Re: Fortress of survival

Just wanted to say hi @Whiteknight.

I havent commented on any of your posts yet but have been reading them and they are uplifting and so informative. So just popping past to say thankyou Smiley Happy

Re: Fortress of survival

Thankyou @Snowie

Is that you husky?

Re: Fortress of survival

Hi @Whiteknight

No, it is just an animal I love!

I have a little fluff ball however at homeSmiley Happy


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