One of the many aftermaths of trauma is that survivors develop hyper vigilance for any stimulus that reminds them of what happened to them before out of fear that it may happen to them again. Safety can become an illusive goal that may seem beyond one’s grasp. What may have been taken for granted before the traumatic event(s) now becomes a major source of distress.
It makes absolute sense that if one wants to feel safer, she/he should focus more on her/his safety. However, the definition of safety needs to be sufficiently inclusive to truly achieve a felt sense of safety.
- Physical safety is just one of the many facets of safety that require attention. It may come in the form of self-defense classes, restraining orders, physical distance from danger, etc.
- Emotional safety is a critical component of all interpersonal relationships. It includes the ability to express yourself, experience healthy connections, and have your emotional boundaries respected.
- Psychological safety refers to you and those you associate with. It is your ability to make healthy coping decisions versus falling into self-harming behaviors and requires engaging with others that support your healthy choices versus encouraging your self-destructive impulses.
- Sexual safety includes being free from any type of sexual abuse, coercion, or exploitation. It also includes setting boundaries that discourage and/or eliminate unwanted sexual innuendo, comments, looks, etc.
- Financial safety is controlled spending to avoid overwhelming debt and shared financial decision making so that money does not become a source of power and control within a relationship.
Achieving a felt sense of safety is possible. For trauma survivors the path back to that felt sense is re-thinking what safety really looks like and being willing to make the changes necessary to ensure that safety exists across the many different facets of life. Trauma Therapy Toluca Lake with Shari Brickin, M.A., MFTI specializing in therapy for trauma, PTSD, DV, grief/loss, anxiety, depression. EMDR, Somatic, Mindfulness, and talk therapy.