The Tragedy of Never Feeling Safe
Growing up in a dysfunctional home, many who have developed complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) did not have the emotional or physical support they needed from their parents.
Often, as children, survivors were left with an internal and eternal feeling of being unsafe because of the trauma they faced daily. This piece will focus on the importance of feeling safe, hypervigilance, and methods you can use to overcome feelings of doom.
The Importance of Feeling Safe
As children, survivors of complex trauma did not receive the reassurances we needed from our caregivers that they would be okay. Survivors did gain a sense of hope and acceptance that they could still thrive no matter what life threw at them.
Feeling safe means not feeling that you will soon be involved in a nuclear war or fall off a cliff. Feeling safe means not feeling worried about being criticized by those around you. It is also the ability to develop and use a safe place in your mind that can be accessed in the presence of childhood trauma. That safe place is a natural device when we are born but is soon lost during abuse.
Feeling safe also means being full of self-assurance, lacking self-doubt, and emerging from childhood, feeling deeply that you deserve to live in a sane environment that brings you happiness.
Feeling wanted leads to feeling safe in the world. However, for many survivors, there was a bleak absence of love and security; therefore, they never felt safe and secure, let alone attached to their caregivers.
Without feeling safe, children cannot thrive, nor will they attach themselves to others outside the home. This leaves children isolated and in fear, which, if left untreated, can cause many mental health problems later in life.
Hypervigilance is a state of extreme alertness and makes a survivor who experiences it very sensitive to their environment. Hypervigilance causes a survivor of childhood trauma to feel unsafe and wait for another episode of trauma, even though the likelihood of anything bad happening today is unlikely.