What Makes People Unsafe? What Should We Do About It?

Aug 05, 2022

Problem:

Someone in your life regularly makes you feel bad, under threat, uncertain and insecure, or thwarts your progress toward meeting your needs or realizing a goal that you wish to accomplish. You are not sure whether the problem is your fault or theirs, or somewhere in between.

Solution: 

Learn the difference between safe people and unsafe people.

A safe person helps you become a better version of the person you were created to be.

A safe person helps you become more connected, and able to connect, and oriented to connecting with other safe people. Love begets love.

A safe person helps you draw closer to God, your higher power, and your sources of love, forgiveness, health, purpose, service, your talents. In short, they help you get closer to your sources of life giving energy and fuel.

Safe people help us become contributors. They nurture our talents and abilities. They teach us. Unsafe people break our trust muscle. They erode our capacity to be able to invest in ourselves and others.

Unsafe people tend to promote bondage. They try to oppress and own other people. They are possessive and controlling and work against our God-given freedom. They take the steering wheel away from others and do not let them live their own lives. They invade our boundaries by attempting to take over our property.

Unsafe people damage our capacity to metabolize difficult parts of our lives.

Take failure for example. Safe people will help you mend your wounds, they won’t beat you up for failing. They identify with us. Unsafe people do the opposite. They make going through that failure worse, or they may inflict that damage upon you.

Unsafe people exploit our talents and gifts for their own ends.

There are many different types of unsafe person. A person being unsafe for you does not necessarily mean that they are a bad person, it just means that they are unsafe for you for reasons specific to your relationship and your individual characteristics, tendencies, priorities, and goals.

When you surround yourself with healthy people, your statistical chances for becoming healthier are much greater. The opposite is true as well, and this is why it is essential for us to recognize and identify those people who are safe and unsafe to us.


Reflect on a few significant relationships and determine the safe and unsafe characteristics of those relationships.

Who are your safe people? Who is unsafe for you?


How (and whether) to Remove Unsafe People From Your Life

Problem:

You want to remove an unsafe person from your life but you want to be sure this is the right thing to do, and if so, how to do it.

Solution:

When we’re talking about unsafe people we could be talking about anyone from the cranky neighbor all the way to someone who is really, really dangerous. For that reason, this may not be something you should try without professional help.

Let’s start with the most basic principle. Becoming a person who has had their senses trained. What we mean by this is that, as a mature person, we have developed the ability to recognize and separate good and evil, and safe from unsafe.

We can’t remove the lack of safety until we learn to recognize it.

If you invite an unsafe person into a safe family’s home for dinner, the family’s well-trained senses will likely help them to recognize that there is something off about this person. Invite the same person to dinner with a dysfunctional family, and their lack of safety may go unrecognized.

Once you can recognize it, it becomes much easier to operate on.

When it comes time to think about the ‘removal’ aspect, we have a few tools:

Be honest.

If someone is critical and used to getting their way, giving them honest feedback may elicit a strong reaction from them which makes them feel uncomfortable and not accepted and they may go away on their own.

If someone is prone to controlling behavior, simply learn to frustrate them. They can try to control you, but if you put up resistance and refuse to be controlled, they will go from being a controlling person to being a frustrated person. There’s no such thing as a controlling person if they say ‘no.’

The biggest way to remove unsafe people from your life is to be healthy, because dysfunction won’t work on you. Unsafe people don’t like it when you require safety. If this doesn’t work, you may want to get a third-party involved. Two people may be more persuasive than one.

Sometimes it isn’t this simple. If you have an addict in your life, for example, you may not be able to do this on your own. That’s where you may need to seek a group such as Al-Anon. Sometimes it takes a village and the resources of a village. Such as legal resources, and professional resources that you don’t possess.

Something else to remember is that people can grow. Unsafe people can change.

Sometimes people are ignorant about their own behaviors, and they behave the way they do because they’ve never received loving feedback. There are some people who don’t take feedback well. They may cause damage to others in their lives as a result of a failure to take responsibility for their actions. They are not usually trying to hurt others, but they do.

In these situations where feedback isn’t working, it may be time to set more specific limits. This can take the form of an intervention or simply a conversation, but the key here is that you have to introduce consequences into the dynamic. They can behave the way that they are behaving, but if they do, they won’t have access to your help, or the relationship will have to hit pause.

There are also people out there who are attempting to inflict damage for the sake of inflicting damage. They’re not listening to you and there’s not a lot you can do other than protect yourself. In that situation, you’re not going to coach that person out of that.

Get yourself safe. Get yourself healthy. Those are the first steps to removing unsafe people from your life.