Updated: Sep 8, 2022
Do you feel connected to your body?
Are you afraid that your body will turn against you?
Are you afraid that your body will make it impossible for you to live a healthy, free-spirited life?
Feeling unsafe in your body is a common symptom in people who have experienced a trauma. Join me as I outline some signs that can help you recognize the disconnection and finally make the connection between your body and mind to total wellbeing.
Signs That You Feel Unsafe In Your Body
Chronic illness is a sign that you feel unsafe in your body because your body is trying to get your attention of the imbalance that exists in your mind-body.
Migrating pains and chronic illness are symptoms that your body is trying to get your mind's attention to the hidden hurts and pain that you are holding in your body.
Chronic illness is saying, "Hey! You're feeling something and refusing to confront how you feel about a trauma. Pay attention!"
Instead, we focus on medicating our pain. We find ways to shut it up with alcohol, drugs, ice, heat, and even food.
Chronic illness is a way of getting more and more of your attention. Unfortunately, it focuses on "nursing the pain" rather than healing the pain once and for all.
Inability To Get Pregnant
If you don't feel safe in your body, there may exist an unconscious fear that another soul would not feel safe in your body either.
This may be true for people who want to get pregnant, but find it hard no matter how hard they try.
This does not mean that you do not want a child or are incapable of carrying or loving a baby. It may be an unconscious way of protecting your unborn baby from harm inside your own body.
Feeling Stuck On Past Life Events
Do you find yourself replaying life events in your mind? Do memories of the past seem to keep replaying even when you're not trying to relive them?
It may be your body trying to process an experience, but you're only letting your mind's eye see the experience rather than getting past the experience emotionally.
Emotions live in the body, not the brain. The way to emotionally resolve past events is to "drop down" into the body and deal with the feelings.
If you do not feel safe in your body, you may be avoiding the feelings and therefore the pain of the memory. However, it is important to say that you don't have to relive a painful life event to heal it in your body, you just have to want to resolve it.
Panic Attacks & Paralysis
I felt panic attacks and paralysis the most in the past because I felt as if my body was going to overcome me.
As such, I stuffed my feelings down into my body and lived mostly in my head, intellectualizing every life experience.
Unfortunately, we can only intellectualize and "think things through" for so long. Eventually, our body (more specifically, our autonomic nervous system) will start to get louder and louder and the thoughts we hear in our head become more fearful in nature.
We then start to "feel nervous" and then our mind retreats and the body's voice starts to take over. That manifests as a panic attack or paralysis (wanting to stay in bed, stay inside, not move). It may even manifest as uncontrollable crying, vomiting, ticks, and other physical anomalies.
Why Do You Feel Unsafe In Your Body?
The common cause for feeling unsafe in your body is due to a trauma or an adverse childhood experience.
Something happened in your past that made you feel that inhabiting and fully living in your body was an unsafe thing to do. And, as a result, you unconsciously decided to retreat into your head to try to figure things out and process life.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, you can only do that for so long until your body starts to bark and want to deal with the trauma. It's your body's way of loving you, but it really feels like it's trying to frighten, hurt, or even destroy your sense of self.
Here Is A List of common types of trauma that make you feel unsafe in your body:
Sudden childhood illness
When I was fourteen, I experienced a serious case of hives in the middle of the night. Everyone was asleep and all I could do was feel a tremendous amount of burning and pain all over my body.
So, I went to the shower and took the hottest shower possible so that my mind would focus on the heat rather than the pain I felt in my body. Looking back as an energy psychology practitioner, I obviously didn't feel comfortable in my skin and internalized the tension I felt as my parents marriage was falling apart (they separated within that next year).
From then on, I felt a sense to retreat into my mind, where nobody could hurt me as a way of avoiding physical pain - however, we know that doesn't work at all, but our self-preservation mechanisms kick in to protect us in the moment, but eventually become maladaptive response mechanisms later on in life.
Car Accident or Unexpected Physical Injury
Car accidents and unexpected physical injury can make you feel unsafe in your body because you were going along in life and then *BAM!* instant pain.
What happens is that you either black out, fall asleep, or turn inward to avoid the shock of the experience. The urge to "continue on as usual" kicks in as a way to bypass the trauma of the sudden injury, but what really needs to happen is to stop and work through the experience and feelings associated with the event.
Sexual & Physical Assault
This may be the most obvious cause of feeling unsafe in the body, but the effects of sexual and physical assault are deeper than the physical violation that occurs.
What often happens is that individuals retreat into their minds as to not relive the trauma. They might hide inside their minds because they feel disgusted, angry, or disappointed with themselves or by the experience. There is a fear that the residual pain that comes with being physically overtaken will overcome their minds and totally consume them should they confront the issue. Because victims are often blamed for sexual and physical assault, survivors want to disconnect from rather than be identified with their experiences. It seems like a logical response, but not a long term solution to the trauma.
I have seen this symptom in sexual assault survivors who rather deal with issues intellectually or push the experience out of their minds altogether. However, without dropping into the body to resolve the emotional effects of violence, the unresolved emotional energy stays stuck in the body and eventually manifests through self-sabotaging behaviors in an effort to self-preserve or take control in the future.
Physical insecurity can take shape in the forms of food insecurity, lack of safe housing, inadequate shelter (not enough heat or water), physically threatening adults or individuals, witnessing abuses of power or authority (corrupt cops, abusive teachers/school administrators, parents who food or resource hoard), being abandoned by a loved one, and even witnessing events outside of your control such as natural disasters, accidents, deaths of loved ones, and so on.
These types of experiences can make us feel like the world is not safe and that, as a result, being in our body INSIDE of the world is thus not a safe place to be, either. If you're hurting because of feeling cold, or hungry, or tired because you're unable to sleep then your body may be an unsafe place and will make you want to retreat into your mind for safety and solitude.
Starting To Feel Safe In Your Body Once Again
I wrote this article because of my own experiences with panic attacks. Those panic attacks were symptoms of unresolved traumas that my unconscious mind was trying to resolve. Importantly, these problems could not be resolved by simply "forgetting that the trauma ever happened".
Your unconscious mind is trying to help you be healthier by getting you to deal with the unresolved trauma. It's not trying to get you to relive it. Rather, it's saying, "Hey, you have something hidden here that wants to be let go."
Inside of our bodies, we hide a lot of hurts, pains, and unresolved emotional trauma. When your body is "acting up" and not letting you "get on with the routines of life" it's saying, "Take a day, a few days, even a week to love yourself to health."
Your body is not your enemy. It has never failed you. It's trying to find equilibrium, homeostasis, and health so that you can regain your full power. Your full power is the total connection between your body AND mind.
The first place you can start is by saying to yourself is, "I feel safe in my body."
Repeat it over and over like an affirmation until you start to feel a shift. However, be warned that by simply saying this will not just get rid of all the trauma you've experienced in the past. Rather, it will give you the confidence to dive into your body to gain the full picture of what you were feeling and experiencing at the time. This will allow you to fully process and let go of the experience and limiting beliefs learned as a result of the trauma.
Getting Expert Help To Feel Safe In Your Body
I hope that this article helps you to begin to gain the awareness you need to feel safe in your beautiful, healthy body once again.
I want to encourage you to find a reputable and caring medical doctor and/or energy psychology practitioner who can safely guide you into feeling safe in your body once again and clear away the cobwebs of traumatic life experiences.
If you are taking medication, consult with your doctor or psychiatrist to be sure that you're on the right medication and dosage for the time you need medication/treatment.
You are not alone in your struggle to feel safe in your body. I know I lived with that feeling for a very long time. Even the most "well-adjusted" individuals don't feel safe in their body and that can manifest in ways that they hide very well.
You don't have to be ashamed of feeling unsafe in your body. It's a normal response to trauma, but it has to be safely and wisely dealt with so that you can actually live your best life and do all the things you want to do with it.
Start the appointment by saying, "I don't feel safe in my body and I want help to feel safe again in my body."
These magic words will open up the bridge of incidents to get you there. Be kind and patient with yourself. You will feel safe in your body again in no time.