Being Seen: Can Developmental Trauma Cause Someone To Believe That They Have To Hide In Order To Survive?
In general, one could feel as though they don’t exist, and this is not going to be because they won’t have a pulse. No, it will be due to the fact that they will rarely feel seen and heard and what they do in life might not have much of an impact.
So, when they are around others, they could often be ignored and people could look right through them. As a result of this, they will know what it is like to feel invisible and as though they are not real.
When it comes to what they do for a living, they could have a job or a career that is not really going anywhere. During their time at work, they could largely be overlooked and not be acknowledged by the people around them.
If so, it will be as though they have no value and the only value that they have relates to what they do. Then again, if they are not treated in this way, they may find that they have not been able to make much progress.
The Bare Essentials
This can mean that they will earn just enough money to survive but not enough to truly thrive. Thus, when it comes to where they live, it is unlikely to be somewhere that ticks a lot of boxes, so to speak.
Still, what could often enter their mind is that it is far better than living on the street. As for what they typically eat, they might have a fairly balanced diet, or they might often neglect this area of their life.
But, as they rarely feel seen or heard and don’t feel as though they have the ability to have much of an effect on their life, they are likely to experience a lot of pain. Eating food that is not good for them can then be a way for them to try to feel better.
By experiencing life in this way, they can often feel hopeless and helpless and they may find that they often feel worthless. Naturally, experiencing life in this way is going to take its toll on them and they are likely to be desperate for it to change.
They will want to be seen and heard and to see that they have an impact but this will be seen as being out of their hands. With this in mind, if they were to think about what would allow their life to change, they could believe that something out there needs to change.
Until this time, they will need to do what they can to keep it together and not allow themselves to fall too far down. However, what if what is taking place inside them is what needs to change for their life to change?
If they were told this, they could struggle to understand how what is going on has anything to do with them. They could say that they want their life to change and that what is going on is causing them to suffer, so this is not possible.
This will be the truth, at least on one level, but on another level, there is a strong chance that they want something else. At a deeper level, they could have a strong need to not be seen or heard.
What they will need to keep in mind is that they have both a conscious and an unconscious mind. The former will contain things they are aware of; whilst the latter will contain things they are not aware of
Furthermore, the latter will be far more powerful than the former. Considering this, for them to understand why their life is the way that it is, it will be essential for them to explore this part of them.
If they were to go deep inside themselves, what they may find is that being seen and heard is associated with death. Therefore, as painful as it will be for them to feel invisible and not have much of an impact, the alternative will be seen as being far worse.
At this point, they could wonder why this would be going on at a deeper level; it could make no sense whatsoever. What this can show is that their developmental years were not very nurturing and their childhood years might not have been much different either.
Back In Time
From the moment they were born, they might have often been neglected and when they were given attention, it might have largely been misattuned care. This would have prevented them from receiving the nutrients that they needed to start to develop a sense of self and they wouldn’t have felt safe enough to exist.
The pain that they experienced would have automatically been repressed by their brain and they would have gone into a shut-down, collapsed, frozen and disconnected state. Part of their self, or ego, would have gone into hiding and this would have meant that they formed a false self.
A Brutal Time
As this was a time when they were powerless and totally dependent, there was absolutely nothing that they could do about the pain they were in; they could only disconnect from themselves and become a fractured being in the process. Many, many years will have passed since this stage of their life but they will continue to associate being seen and heard, so expressing their needs and feelings, with being rejected and abandoned and their life coming to an end.
Ultimately, this is something that has already happened and how they felt was repressed. For them to know, at the core of their being, that this has already taken place and they survived, they will probably need to work through the pain that is inside them.
If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.