How to Make Safety Agreements
I was asked about resources for safety agreements. I don't have any other than the agreements I offered last month. The Alive program is the only place I've seen the concept. It doesn't define agreements beyond the ones we make to equalize: that we are violent and willing to stop our violence. Other agreements are based on specific issues that arise in the relationship and the individual needs for certain types of safety.
Our adoption triad had two sovereignty issues that initiated our safety process. The first issue was about housework when we lived together. We argued about the "right" way to clean or do dishes, as if there is a right way. There isn't. This is one of the subtle ways we act out superiority and violate sovereignty in our households - by believing our way is the right way.
The second issue was the source of our fracture. I made choices that triggered abandonment trauma in Lake's mom and she proceeded to violate my sovereignty in a variety of ways. Our conflict eventually involved all four parents violating one another until I ended the relationship. When we came together in our account and repair process, we made agreements based on what took place.
We didn't actually make a formal agreement about sovereignty, working the program for 9 months put us all in the mindset. But a safety agreement around sovereignty could be as simple as - we don't tell anyone else what to do, nor do we harass and punish people for their choices.
Specific agreements we did make: Lake's dad gets easily overwhelmed in conflict, so we agreed not to put him in the middle of the moms or contact him at work during conflict. My partner needs a lot of time to process conflict before they feel safe to repair, so we agreed to honor their process no matter how uncomfortable it is to wait. I needed an agreement that our conflicts wouldn't threaten my relationship with our shared son. Lake's mom asked for an agreement that we spend Christmases together as a family.
These agreements are how we hold ourselves accountable to the relationship. If a hurt or violation arises, we can point to our agreements rather point blame, or ask for new agreements as new issues and needs arise.