The Dwarfs Are For The Dwarfs

Defense Against Defensive Detachment

To be detached from others is to believe such things as one is not good enough, one doesn’t belong, is not lovable, not cared for, doesn’t know how to connect with others, and the list goes on.  It is a sad state of being that many in our day find themselves in.  Sadder still is what is known as defensive detachment, a step beyond detachment where we picture one holding up their hands in protest stating, “not only do I feel I don’t belong but I will never trust again. I have been hurt too many times. I will never risk again.”

And yet, risk we must.  At some point we must venture out again, and seek out healthy, safe community.  Not everyone is worthy of our trust, but there certainly are still those in this world that are a safe and healthy  community.  It is in these that we must risk to trust again and take a step away from cunning and choose belief.  We must backtrack one step at a time, out of defensive detachment and into detachment. Out of detachment, finally reaching a place of healthy attachment again.  Attachment is the place where we know that we are worthy of love, care, friendship, and that we belong.

This is no easy task, but a daily decision to step into life again.  It is a choice to believe. It is a step of faith. It is choosing to love ourselves, and to let others love as as well.

To illustrate this picture of defensive detachment take a look at a curious scene near the end of the tale in The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis.   Night falls on the land of Narnia, and a group of its most ancient people, a small band of Dwarfs, have been so lied to and mislead by the enemy that they no longer know who to trust or believe, and so they rely only upon themselves. And even with each other they are not so trusting. The Dwarfs believe themselves to be in a dark stable, unable to see or do much of anything, when really they are in open sunlight, on a beautiful lawn, surrounded by great Kings and Queens. Queen Lucy, of great character and certainly one who is trustworthy throughout the Narnian Chronicles, takes pity on them.

“Aslan,” said Queen Lucy through her tears, “could you – will you – do something for these poor Dwarfs?”

“Dearest,” said Aslan, “I will show you both what I can, and what I cannot, do.”   He came close to the Dwarfs and gave a low growl: low, but it set all the air shaking.  But the Dwarfs said to one another, “Hear that? That’s the gang at the other end of the stable. Trying to frighten us. They do it with a machine of some kind. Don’t take any notice. They won’t take us in again!”…

“Well, at any rate there’s no Humbug here.” said the Dwarfs.  “We haven’t let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs.”

“You see,” said Aslan. “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.”

There comes a time when we must try again. We must lay down our cunning and choose to believe.  We must step out of the prison of our own mind, surrender our rumination, and step into the presence of others around us. One day at a time. Sometimes, one moment at a time.

Posted by Thaddeus Heffner, LMFT – December 16, 2012




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