Castles and our defence systems
Historically the castle was the domain of an Englishman and the fact was established as common law by lawyer and politician, Sir Edward Coke in 1628: "For a man's house is his castle and each man's home is his safest refuge."
However, this is not about English men or even the obsolete legislation; in counselling terms it refers to the castle-like qualities of our lives. It’s about our defence mechanisms; the processes or ways of dealing with all aspects of life - that have kept us safe throughout our existence. For instance, the absence of a loving parent or being hurt by our first real love is quite often a template that we carry from that moment on, without realising; it becomes an unconscious or a second nature way of keeping safe.
So, lift the drawbridge, drop the portcullis and sit safely behind hugely thick and high stone walls; we have saved ourselves future agony by taking refuge in our castle. It doesn’t matter how many times we are approached or our defences tested - we are more than likely going to stay perfectly safe in our castle, free from external harm. A defence system is a two way thing; it operates just as well by isolating the person inside from “hurting” those externally as well as vice-versa.
Can we fulfil that basic human desire to relate with others if we don’t get out of the castle, knock down the walls or drop the drawbridge and let others in? Can we risk the chance of being hurt again or maybe finding that connecting with others doesn’t always have to follow the same well-worn path?
Counselling helps you reassess the ways you’ve been dealing with issues from within your castle; whether it’s close relationships, family, work or addictions. They all have a basis in castle defence systems. Examining the defence systems and seeing if they are still necessary or if they can be altered to work better at keeping you safe but not confined or isolated are good ways to move forward.
A castle on an island is a very lonely place to be and as that other saying goes – 'no person is an island'.
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About Ian Collings
I understand people and how everyday life can seem to be black and white when in reality it's trying to live in the grey that hurts. I provide support, acceptance and understanding through counselling and psychotherapy in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire; to individual clients and couples.