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Breaking Down the Taboo: Understanding the Psychological Impact of Never Feeling Safe

Breaking Down the Taboo: Understanding the Psychological Impact of Never Feeling Safe

Many people who have complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) did not receive the emotional or physical assistance they required from their parents as children because of their dysfunctional home environment.

Because of the everyday trauma they endured, survivors frequently experienced an internal, enduring sense of unease as children. This article will emphasize the value of feeling secure, extreme attentiveness, and techniques for overcoming emotions of impending catastrophe.

Children who had experienced severe trauma did not get the assurances they required from their caretakers that everything will be fine. In spite of everything life threw at them, survivors learned a feeling of hope and acceptance that they might still flourish.

Feeling safe entails not having the impression that a nuclear war or cliff-jumping are imminent. Being secure entails having no fear of judgment from others around you. In the context of childhood trauma, it is also the capacity to create and utilize a safe space in your mind. When we are born, that safe zone is a built-in mechanism, but it is quickly gone due to abuse.

Being secure also entails having a strong sense of self-worth, being free of self-doubt, growing out of childhood, and believing wholeheartedly that you deserve to live in a happy, rational environment.

Feeling wanted makes you feel secure in your surroundings. Many survivors, however, never felt safe and secure, let alone attached to their caregivers, because there was a stark absence of love and stability in their lives.

Children cannot develop or form relationships outside of the house if they don't feel safe. Children are left feeling alone and afraid as a result, which, if ignored, can result in a variety of mental health issues in later life.


Extreme awareness known as hypervigilance renders a survivor extremely sensitive to their surroundings. Even though there is little chance that something horrible will happen today, being too vigilant makes a person who has experienced trauma in childhood feel uncomfortable and wait for another episode of trauma.

Hypervigilance is frequently a sign of mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, complicated PTSD, anxiety disorders, and dissociative identity disorder. Being too attentive can have a negative impact on a survivor's life as well as how they interact with and perceive other people. In addition, when the victim battles with feeling unsafe, it could lead to paranoia.

Because of their experience and what happened there, survivors typically need expert assistance to overcome the uneasy feeling. Hypervigilance is accompanied by a variety of symptoms, including bodily, psychological, behavioral, and emotional signs.

Physical symptoms of hypervigilance.

  • Racing heartbeat
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion


Emotional symptoms of hypervigilance.

  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Severe anxiety
  • Persistent worrying
  • Fear the judgment of others
  • Judge others unfairly
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Mood swings
  • Emotional outbursts


Behavioral symptoms of hypervigilance.

  • Feeling jumpy
  • Having knee-jerk reactions
  • Overacting to loud noises
  • Overreaction to comments of others


Mental symptoms of hypervigilance.

  • Paranoia
  • Sleep problems
  • Foggy brain
  • Inability to concentrate


The extreme discomfort of hypervigilance can seriously hamper a survivor's capacity to engage with others in a healthy manner. When you worry that your intimate partner will leave you or damage you, things become difficult.

Triggers and Feeling Unsafe

People who are hypervigilant and fearful don't respond effectively to environmental cues. These triggers cause the survivor to have unexpected emotional outbursts that can vary from wrath to extreme terror.


Some common triggers for hypervigilant episodes are as follows:



  • Feeling abandonment
  • Feeling trapped
  • Feeling judged
  • Feeling unwelcome
  • Hearing loud noises (yelling, arguing, and sudden noises)
  • Anticipating pain or fear
  • Feeling physical agony
  • Reminders of the past trauma
  • Feeling out of control


These powerful emotions mirror those the survivor felt when they were abused and mistreated by the adults in their lives.


Healing Options

Your doctor must first try to identify the underlying the cause of hypervigilance in order to treat it. Depending on the reason why a patient never feels safe, the doctor may apply a different treatment plan for each patient. It's critical to take into account the possibility that you'll require a recommendation for a therapist or psychiatrist.

Therapy. If you want to overcome not feeling safe, therapy with a licensed therapist or other mental health specialists may be beneficial and perhaps required. Here are a few therapy techniques you might want to try.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Anxiety can be effectively treated with CBT. You will discuss your painful background with your therapist during a CBT session, directing the discourse. Your therapist can help you identify the root of your inability to feel safe and provide solutions.

Eye movement desensitization and processing(EMDR). Eye movements are combined with recalling and processing painful experiences during EMDR.

Standard talk therapy. You will discuss your recollections of what happened during this therapy session, and you will work through them until they are no longer bothersome and have vanished into the past, where they belong.

Exercises for grounding. Being a child trauma survivor, I've spent my entire life being hypervigilant. I occasionally experience random feelings of terror and dread as if horrible things are about to occur. Doing grounding exercises is one practice that helps me get past the horrible feelings of impending doom.

Medication. If you have a trauma-related condition such complicated post-traumatic stress disorder or dissociative identity disorder, or if you have an anxiety disorder, you may need medication. Antidepressants, beta-blockers, and anti-anxiety meds are some of these drugs.


Exercises that ground you help you return to the present so that the overwhelming feelings or flashbacks from the past are less intense.

It is crucial to keep in mind where and when you are in the "now" when you feel like the world is about to end or that something terrible will happen at any second. Say aloud to yourself your name, age, and current location.


You can also wash your face with some water. You might perform another activity by taking a look around the room and naming each item.


The first two grounding exercises stated above cannot be done in front of coworkers or in the workplace. On the other hand, you can breathe slowly and deeply via pursed lips whenever you want to.

When hypervigilance strikes, you can try a variety of activities to help you regain your balance. The deep breathing practice is what I use the most, but I've also tried the other two on the list. I can feel my fight-or-flight reactions subsiding after using them, and I can resume my daily activities.

To Conclude

A terrible outcome of childhood trauma is never feeling secure. You do not have to continue being a victim of this internal issue, though.


You may discover fresh, practical coping mechanisms for the feeling of not being safe and the accompanying hypervigilance during therapy. However, you can utilize the following resources outside of therapy sessions:


Think before you act

Recognize your inner feelings and emotions.

Practice being mindful.

Establish sound boundaries with both you and other people.

Constantly feeling unsafe is draining and can be problematic for building connections. You can only be relieved of the anguish and suffering of hypervigilance via good treatment.