Survival: Can Developmental Trauma Cause Someone To Feel As Though Their Survival Is Constantly Under Threat?
Even though someone can live a life where they often feel as though they are going to die, it doesn’t mean that they will be consciously aware of this. However, if they are not aware of this, they are still likely to suffer.
What can be normal is for them to experience a lot of anxiety and fear, making it hard for them to feel at ease. But, if this is just what is normal, there will be no reason for them to do anything about it.
As a result of this, they can typically do their best to keep it together and function. If they were to become aware of how unstable they often are, they could end up reaching out to their doctor, for instance.
After speaking about what they have been going through, they might end up being referred to a cognitive behavioural therapist. If they do end up going down this path, they could be told that their ‘irrational’ thoughts are the problem.
A Surface-Level Approach
By focusing and changing what is going on up top, so to speak, they might be able to settle down. If so, as the weeks and months pass, their life will gradually change.
Then again, they could try this approach and find that it doesn’t work or that it only works for a short while. Consequently, they could end up feeling hopeless and helpless and wonder if their life will ever change.
More to It
At this point, what could enter their mind is that there is more to what is going on than them just feeling anxious and fearful. They might see that they often imagine living on the street and having nowhere to live.
Furthermore, what could stand out is that they rarely have enough money. At times, they could have just about enough or more than enough, and, at others, they could struggle to make ends meet.
The Main Issue
After realising this as well as other things, what they could come to see is that it often seems as if their life is going to come to an end. This is then why they spend so much time feeling unstable.
Not having enough money and other resources is then going to make things worse. But, even when they do have enough, they could find that they still spend a lot of time worrying about not having enough and how they will handle it.
A Closer Look
If they were to look back on their life, they may see that they have been this way for as long as they can remember. What could then occur to them is that they were simply born this way and are just someone who is naturally anxious and fearful.
Nonetheless, even if they have been this way for most of their life, it doesn’t mean that they were just born this way. What took place during their formative years is likely to have played a big part in how they experience life.
A Deeper Look
Throughout this stage of their life, they might have often been left and when they were given attention, it might have largely been misattuned care. As the years went by, the lack of love and support might have continued with them often being left and ignored when they didn’t behave how their parent or parents wanted them to.
The outcome of this is that they would have been deeply traumatised and deprived of the nutrients that they needed to grow and develop in the right way. To handle this, their brain would have repressed how they felt and they would have gone into a shut down and disconnected state.
A brutal Time
What they needed was at least one parent who they could securely attach to so that they could receive what they needed, develop a strong sense of self and turn to when they were dysregulated. But, as this was not what took place, this would have been a time when it continually felt as though they were going to die.
These experiences would have had an impact on their brain and nervous system too. The thoughts and how they feel are then not actually irrational; they are a reflection of what took place during their formative years.
What is clear is that this stage of their life is over but their brain and body won’t know this. For them to settle down and no longer feel as though their survival is constantly under threat, they will probably need to work through the pain and arousal inside them.
Doing this will change how they see life at a deeper level and allow this deeper part of them to truly move on. This is something 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 26 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.