Similar to being stuck-front, being locked out of front usually happens when there's anxiety involved. It's a protective mechanism, available in emergencies, usually triggered when a guardian-type resident lands hard in front. When it's on, no one can take over front. This is a little more deliberate and understandable than stuck-front, though, and possibly a little less forgivable, since usually the guardian-type is doing this somewhat on-purpose to handle a situation for the system without interference from the others.

As someone who has been dubbed more than once as a "guardian-type resident" (staunchly denied of course, for various reasons), and as someone who has ended up locking onself out front, one thing I've noticed is this. It may be on some level deliberate, but it is not always so. The motive is not a belief that others can't handle the situation, or the desire to keep people out of the decision making process. It has to do with realising something is wrong and not being sure how to fix it. The agitation and anxiety makes it hard to leave, even when you reassure yourself that others can handle the situation just fine. It's a fear of letting go. Fear of losing control. Of letting go of control. You feel you are in danger, and must remain alert. Every instinct tells you "Pay attention. Be PRESENT!", however you are asked to instead lie back. It's like being asked to go to sleep during an earthquake, or having someone suggest slipping out of conciousness in the middle of a fight. It feels in direct opposition to every survival instinct on hand. Although I suppose one can understand the reason for the offense taken at the apparent lack of trust the guardian-type is demonstrating towards other system members, I don't know if that is the best take on the situation. Among other things, I have found that attempts to calm, relax, and reasure the person in question works. (Worked on me anyhow. Another resident suggested I relax and have a nice cool drink --nonalchoholic--, and was soon front after I took a few deep breaths and successfully calmed down.) --Anonymous

Tips for people dealing with another resident who's locked themselves out front.

  1. Try to contact the person if possible. If they've managed to lock everyone out of their "head", I'm not sure what to do from there on in. However, assuming you can get in touch with them.
  2. Try to get them to relax, or give them suggestions which will help them relax. Suggest a cold glass of lemonade, or a soothing song. Remind them that a cool head will help them most situations.
  3. Attempt to ascertain the level of safety in the area. Discuss it with them in a reasonable fashion, calmly. Make it known that you understand why they are agitated. If you feel that they are over-reacting and can offer evidence to confirm this, do so. If you feel that they have an accurate idea of what's going on, let them know that as well. It is important to not make them feel like you are "blind to the situation" while at the same time, not sending them into full-on paranoid panic.
  4. Focus more on getting them to relax than getting them to go "back". You'll find that once they feel that they can let their gaurd down, switching should be a lot easier.

Tips for residents who have locked themselves out

Important things to remember/know:

  1. Most importantly, know the true reasons why you are doing this. Be honest to yourself.
  2. Remember, there are other residents who should be part of the problem solving process. Even if you remain front, keep lines of communication open, and listen to the other system members.
  3. Know that if you ever want to be able to take a break, you have to let others help you. If you always take control of every situation which you percieve is dangerous, noone else in the system will develop the skills to handle such a situation, and you will lock yourself into that task every time it comes up.

Tips for "letting go of the helm"

  • Try to take a few deep breaths and relax.
  • Reassure yourself that you are in no immediate physical danger
  • If you need to, listen to something that will help you relax.
  • Have a nice cold glass of lemonade (or other appropriate beverage)
  • If you find yourself starting to tense up again, make sure that someone you know is aware and understanding of the situation (internal) is ready to take the helm, and relax into their presence.

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