Sense Of Safety: Can Child Abuse Cause Someone To Believe That It Is Not Safe Enough For Them To Exist?
Although someone could live somewhere that is relatively safe and they are therefore free to express themselves, it doesn’t mean that this will take place. They could often isolate themselves from others.
When they are around others they could typically do what they can please them, overlooking most of their own needs in the process. Due to how they behave, they are likely to stay small and their true self is rarely if ever going to see the light of day when they are around others.
From The Outside
If another person was to hear about how they live their life, they could say that it’s as though they live somewhere that is unsafe. This will then explain why they often hide away from others and have the need to please them when they are around them.
Thus, not behaving in this way will be seen as a threat to their very survival. But, as they don’t live somewhere that is unsafe, they could end up wondering why they are this way.
There is the chance that they have been this way for most if not all of their life and so it will just be what is normal. Consequently, there will be no reason for them to do anything as this will just be seen as how their life is.
They are then going to do the best that they can to handle how things are and this could mean that they often feel low and helpless. Still, part of them will want to grow and expand and to express who they are, which will go against what another, stronger part of them wants.
And, even if they are not consciously aware of this part of their being, they will still experience the effects that it has on them. This can cause them to feel deeply frustrated and angry and as though they have no control.
What is clear is that they won’t be thriving, they will merely be surviving. Their life is likely to be very repetitive and both joy and happiness can be something that they seldom experience.
If they were able to get to the point where they can no longer take living in this way and ended up sharing their experience with another, they could be encouraged to push through their fear. The key will be for them to change their behaviour.
By following this advice, they may find that they are able to gradually change their life. Then again, they may find that it is not long before they feel overwhelmed and end up going back to how they were before.
If the focus on changing their life is put to one side for the time being, what stands out is that they don’t have a felt sense of safety. Thanks to this, they have the need to isolate themselves or hide themselves when they are around others.
In addition to this, they are going to be carrying a lot of pain, and this pain will be unlocked if ever freely express themselves. Some of this pain will also enter their conscious awareness at other times.
What’s going on?
If they were to see that they don’t have a felt sense of safety, something that would allow them to inhabit their body and freely express themselves, they could struggle to understand why this is. Assuming that they have been this way for most of their life, they may believe that they were simply born this way.
What this may illustrate is that their brain has blocked out the information that would shed light on why they are this way. This will have taken place to protect them, not to undermine them.
During their early years, they may have been deeply wounded by one or both of their caregivers. Throughout this stage of their life, they may have been neglected and physically harmed.
The person or people who were supposed to love, care, protect, and guide them would have stopped them from being able to grow and develop in the right way. Ergo, instead of being able to develop a felt sense of safety, security, worth and love, they would have felt unsafe, insecure, worthless and unlovable.
As they were powerless and totally dependent, they wouldn’t have been able to fight back or find another family; their only option was to adapt to an extremely toxic environment. This would have taken place by them automatically repressing how they felt and going into a shut-down, disconnected state.
Another way for them to handle what was going on may have been for them to hide from everyone. Ultimately, these early experiences would have told them that it wasn’t safe enough for them to exist, hence why they are just existing now that they are an adult.
This stage of their life is over, however, although their conscious mind has moved on the rest of their being hasn’t. The pain that they experienced all those years ago will be held inside their brain and body.
This pain will need to be worked through in stages or else they will end up being taken out by it. This is a process that will take courage and patience and persistence.
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.