I Don’t Ever Feel Safe & I Know This Is Mainly What Holds Me Back


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I don’t ever feel safe. I try to trust people in this world but it leads down bad roads, ie guys who end up hitting me, etc.

I don’t know how to build up a sense of safety in this world, in the REAL world. (Please don’t suggest building up safety with a therapist. I am an Uber realist and know it’s not a true interpersonal relationship. And I have been able to trust therapists in the past. This trust doesn’t translate to the real world because one environment is is a safe one, while the real world most definitely is not.)

I don’t know where to start. I’m pretty naive when it comes to relationships because when everyone else was learning social skills as a kid, I was too busy being hypervigilant. I know I cannot go back and learn everything I missed, but I have hope I can make some changes.

I just don’t know what to do at this point.


I hate to be the first response here…. But? f*ck “safety”. At best it’s just a feeling, which comes and goes like all feelings, and is often wholly unrelated to reality.

Build up self confidence, instead. Build up joy. Build up passion, and delight, pride, and self worth. Build up everything that is f*cking amazing in YOU. Whether it exists now, or not. Who you are. Who you want to be. The abilities you have. The abilities you want.

Feeling safe? Doesn’t mean someone won’t break your trust. That’s them. What’s you, is what you do once they cross the line.

It’s not black and white. I keep people in my life who have crossed a helluva lot of lines. That’s them. I know that they will do that. What’s me is tolerating that. Not full on. I’ll tolerate someone stealing a million bucks from me when I won’t tolerate anyone else stealing 5. I’ll still be furious when they do it, even though it’s a known quantity about them, because what they did was wrong, and it crossed the line. Just not…. The line that ends things… with them in particular. <<< That? In and of itself? Creates a feeling of safety. Because I know my money isn’t safe with them. I can take steps to limit their acces, but when push comes to shove? They will f*ck me financially in ways I couldn’t have imagined (and therefore didn’t take steps to limit their access… like the fact that hospitals will let ANYONE take financial responsibility for your care, regardless of their ability to pay. Cancelling your insurance benefits. Which, sure, is theoretically on the person who signed the “I love you” form, but in practice suspends all treatment until payment is made. In advance. (It’s NOT an “I love you” form. Brick wall. Bang head.) Ditto someone who is physically, verbally, or emotionally violent. Once I know their f*ckups? I “feel” safe / in control, whilst at the same time am very much not. It’s like the abused spouse blaming themselves for being hit, because they “know better” than to XYZ.

We choose our own tolerance levels. A black and white tolerance is very rarely useful or effective, as is it’s evil twin a no holds barred approach of anyone/everyone can cross any/every line.

You’re going back to someone who kits you? You DO feel safe with them. No matter how angry/hurt you get in the moment? You almost undoubtedly feel safely in control &/or trusting them. Exactly because you know they’ll hit you. If ABC (they forget, they like it, you did xyz, whatever). f*ck that noise. f*ck feeling “safe”. Trust? Is a close second. Yep. You can trust that they’ll hit you. Given the right circumstance. Trusting that someone will rip you off or hit you? Can be at 100%. That doesn’t make it something to strive for. Instead? IMO… trust yourself. Your own limits. Your own decisions. Your own heart and mind. Which can change. And for durn good reason.

Don’t seek trust & safety in others. Which can happen, and is a bonus of knowing them. Both good/bad. Seek safety & trust in yourself. (You’ll know it by the lack of fear AND “f*ck it”.) And the rest? Falls into place. Which is very rarely where we want it to fall. But that’s them. Not you.

My 2.02
That way? Any feeling of safe? Is attached to YOU… not them. Feeling safe because you trust you. Regardless of how safe you actually are. That way you can feel safe in the middle of Armageddon, or a snake pit, but? It’s tied to knowing YOU will sort shit. To the best of your ability. Strengths and weaknesses accounted for. Both in your own self, and in whomever happens to be around you.

See why I hated to be the first response? Jaded to the nth. But? Still in love with life and the people populating it.
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gentle empathy on being held back by fear. there's not a doubt in my damaged brain that fear is a mindkiller which holds me back. no, feeling safe in a controlled environment such as a therapy room is not the same as feeling safe in the "real world," but it's a place to start. sharing here about your fears is another step on that healing path. hope you can find the courage to take another step. one step at a time.

for sure, living in constant fear is surviving more than living.


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Thanks, but IIRC our traumas are different and as such I don’t believe we are on the same page here.

I missed out on that stage of childhood development, and I think you progressed through it, if memory serves me correctly.

We are IMHO talking about different things here. I’m at the point where if I can’t fix this problem, I’m not going to be alive much longer.

I have done a lot of analyzing of the issue. It’s a root issue. It’s not a flighty feeling. It’s an interpersonal relationship issue.

This is a deeply rooted issue that cannot be skirted. Working on other areas of my life doesn’t help. I don’t subscribe to the avoidance tactic that you have advised.

If I cannot chip away at it, I will be alone for the rest of my life. Would you want to face a lifetime of being completely alone?
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If I cannot chip away at it, I will be alone for the rest of my life. Would you want to face a lifetime of being completely alone?
I can't offer any advice here, but this sounds sooo familiar. I really haven't done much work on the safety thing; I think I got to a point where interpersonal relationships of almost any kind felt impossible. My mom is my best friend--and knows nothing or pretends to know nothing--about life when I was younger. So my almost 87-year-old best friend really doesn't *know* me in terms of my trauma and the aftermath. We get along great, but it's like how I feel is nonexistent.

When she's gone, I have no one. And that's terrifying. So I understand in a small way what you are saying here.


So my almost 87-year-old best friend really doesn't *know* me in terms of my trauma and the aftermath. We get along great, but it's like how I feel is nonexistent.

When she's gone, I have no one. And that's terrifying. So I understand in a small way what you are saying here.
Then you need to branch out. People think others don't exist who understand them. What is understanding? What is friendship? Does every friend need to know your past trauma?

The people I served overseas with, military operations, I don't see them these days. I do still have contact with friends who served at the same time as me, but not with me, overseas. They know what I have done, where I have been, sort of, but otherwise don't know the ins and outs of the specifics. I don't need anyone to understand me, what I need is for people to accept me, now, today. Not my past, not my future, now, present tense. Who are you now? That is what's important to share with others. Everything and anything else comes in time, not the moment you meet someone. And that's if you're comfortable with telling them.

Past tense is past tense. Leave it in the past. Focus on the now and what you feel now. Only bring what you feel now based on past events to the table now.


I haven’t seen the deleted message.

I don’t think we have to trust people to advance in life. I used to think of trust as a bet, and betting that is better to be trusting at the cost of sometimes being wrong—and believe me, I got hit on the top of the head literally and metaphorically with this.

So now, no, I don’t trust people in general, or just to a certain extent.

In an adult life, in real conditions that aren’t a safe boot mode, you can’t trust anyone as you would trust a parent.

That absolute trust and abandonment to someone else, wishing to be saved? Not gonna happen. Or even when it does actually happen, it feels shitty and not good.

But it doesn’t mean you’re condemned to be alone. As anthony said, no one is capable to truly understand you in the depths of your bones, we still don’t have cables to dive into each other in that way.

And I wonder if this loneliness is more on the romantic side or the friendship side?

In any case I do think @Friday did hit the nail when saying it’s about trusting ourselves. Forgetting about interpersonal.

But in terms of social abilities, there is a part of it that is technical and it comes with some training. If you’re isolated, why not going to a group of something? At least you get an area to practise social skills. I do realise it’s the kind of advice I wouldn’t like to hear. That practice makes perfect and that it takes a f*cking awful lot of time and looking forward doing it.

But so:--

So just hoping you’re alright. This place of loneliness is hard, but it isn’t infinite. So far, so good. You’re here and it’s the most important. Hold on.


I relate to what you are saying completely Eve. We may experience it different, but I understand that survival mode. My fear makes me anxious. My fear keeps me from doing things that I would have done before. It causes anxiety, which in turn causes health issues. It feels out of my control. It can be paralyzing. I have a few relationships....but its complicated. I hope you come back and share more about your experience. I think its important and it has made me think too.