Sense Of Safety: Can The Need To Feel Safe Consume Someone’s Life If They Experienced Childhood Trauma?
For some people on this earth, feeling safe is something that is a normal part of their life. This is not to say that someone like this won’t ever feel unsafe; what it means is that this is something that they will rarely experience.
However, even though they probably won’t think about the fact that they generally feel safe, feeling this way will allow them to fully show up and to live a life that is worth living. Thus, their felt sense of safety will be the foundation that just about everything else rests upon.
On the other hand, when someone doesn’t have a felt sense of safety, it is unlikely that they will be able to full embrace life or have a life that is worth living. The foundation that every other part of their life would be built upon simply won’t be in place.
Said another way, as the first element won’t be in place, the rest of the elements won’t be in place. And, even if they have built a life, this is unlikely that all of them will be on board with it or that it will be a life that reflects who they truly are.
Nonetheless, while one will live in this way, it doesn’t mean that they will realise that they don’t feel safe. Instead, what is going on can just be something that they are accustomed to.
As a result of this, it will cause them problems but there will be no reason for them to do anything about it. As far as they are concerned, this can be seen as how life is and something that they just have to put up with.
For their life to change, they will need to be able to take a step back from what is going on. From here, they will be able to find a way to change their life so that they can develop a felt sense of safety.
Until this happens, though, they will continue to live a life that doesn’t bring them much joy. It could be a lonely existence that feels like a curse or it could be an existence where they are able to experience ‘positive’ feelings from time to time by pleasing others.
When they are around others, they can lose touch with how they feel and end up playing a role. The reason why they can lose touch with how they feel is that they won’t feel safe enough to be in their body.
This is likely to be something that just happens as opposed to something that they consciously choose to do. As for playing a role, this will be a way for them to try to gain the approval of others.
Being in their body will be seen as being too much of a risk; whereas being out of their body will be seen as the way for them to survive. What this comes down to is that if they were to inhabit their body, it would be a lot harder for them to spot and to avoid a threat.
Once again, this is unlikely to be something that they are consciously aware of or are choosing to do. Their need to play a role or a number of roles that allows them to please others will be due to them seeing other people as being in control of their very survival.
If they were to settle down into their body and to allow their life to be an expression of their true-self – their feelings, values and intuition, for instance – or their whole being and not just the part of their being that relates to their survival, they are likely to experience a lot of fear and anxiety, and even terror. Living on the surface of themselves and doing what they can to please others will be a way for them to keep together.
Still, although this will allow them to keep their inner world under control, there can be moments when it doesn’t. Like jam spread thinly on a piece of toast, anxiety could be spread thinly over their life, making it hard for them to feel at ease.
A Life of Isolation
Another part of this is that they might have a strong need to spend a lot of time away from others. This will stop them from being able to meet a number of their needs but it will allow them to settle themselves down.
Thanks to how strong this need is, they might not even think about most of their other needs when they are by themselves. This can also be a way for them to re-charge as being round others could typically cause them to feel more deregulated than regulated.
What Is Going?
It could seem strange as to why someone wouldn’t feel safe and would need to spend most of their life in a disembodied state and a lot of time by themselves. The primary issue is that they don't have a felt sense of safety and this can show that they had a deeply traumatic childhood.
During their early years, they may have been abused and/or neglected on a weekly, if not daily basis. A time when they needed love, nurturance and protection in order to grow and develop would have been a time when they were pushed to the limit and all of their resources were used to keep them alive.
Another way to get an idea of what it was like for them would be for someone to imagine that one’s early environment was like a warzone. The difference is that unlike a soldier, they were defenceless, extremely vulnerable and undeveloped and, thereby, totally unequipped to handle what was going on.
If one 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, 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.