Safety and Recovery - #1 the belief that we are responsible for our trauma - #2 that is was our fault.


The core beliefs I would like to discuss are #1 the belief that we are responsible for our trauma, that is was our fault. #2. The fundamental belief that there is something wrong with us.

A long time ago, I sought professional help from a trauma treatment facility. They explained that our imagination is strong enough to affect our emotional reactions. If you think of something scary, you feel scared. If you think of a peaceful lake with mountains and a forest all around it, it is relaxing. I was instructed to find a place in my imagination that I felt safe. No matter where it was, mine was in a cave when I started, now I am on a sunny beach feeling safe. This concept was so foreign to me, I had to learn, practice, and learn and practice, but I knew for me it was the right thing to do. My T's helped me form an image of safety, not by drawing the image, but guiding me to safety through their understanding, or description of it.

Anxiety prevents resolution. Relaxation doesn't enable the feelings of safety. Imagining we are in a safe place will help us relax. When we lower anxiety we increase our ability to be aware of the present. Then we increase the understanding of what we feel like when we are safe now. Ever since I was informed of imagining a safe place, This is what I have been doing.

I was once told a long, long time ago, that I had mal-adapted behavior. Now I see, I adapted perfectly to the mal-training I received to handle the mal-treatment I got, both were at home. I was not trained professionally at all until I started T at 21 years of age. When I started, I had no understanding of what happened or even who I was. I had no understanding of what I needed to do to handle it. Talking to T's I learned. I think a lot of times T's misunderstand that the solution is in us, not in their understanding, but ours. The conflict is in us, the solution is in us. The reasoning was missing in me. When I learned to verbalize what I understood, piece by piece the T could help me understand my circumstances better which enabled me to resolve each conflict.

I am not conflict free because I don't run into conflicts. I am conflict free because I know now what resolves conflict, the goal is for me to be safe, and keep others safe, what I needed to do to know I am safe was my resolution to the ultimate conflict in me, and it is also the same resolution to all my conflicts. Once I understood what I needed to understand that feeling safe was the goal, then I could understand what I needed to do to get there. I recovered by explaining how I understood what I needed to do to be safe and what I understood safe meant to me by talking to T's. My memory was not important. My conclusion that "I" drew, as a result of the memory was my conflict. When I understood I was mistaken about my conclusion, it resolved. While I was correct to respond in fear, the danger ended but my awareness that it ended was not accessible. I had to learn how to do this: but what I did was connect the awareness that I was safe now, to my conflict. The conclusion changed, when the awareness hit me. Peace was the result.

While the conclusion that I was still in danger now was inaccurate, the conclusion that I was in danger then could not have been more accurate. I was right to fear, the threat is gone, the danger is over for me. It is safe to relax. And relax I did, I am functioning better. And I am at peace.

I am here.
Last edited by a moderator:


Thank you so much for reaching out to me. My poor brain has been processing as fast as it possibly can for 4 months now and although I understand more about where I am, and I understand I am completely safe now, I have a lot to learn about how to facilitate physical, mental and spiritual cooperation within me. And although I don't have a lot of experience function with peace at my core, I do know where I was, how I functioned before, and none of it disturbs me. I can explain it better than I can explain where I am now because this peace is all new to me.

If I say something that you need to edit, feel free. If you need further clarity, please let me know.

I had a good life up until I was 5. My dad had been in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He had an alcoholic father. One day, I woke up and heard noise in the kitchen. I went to see what it was. My dad was there. I could tell he was upset. I tried to understand by asking him what was wrong. There are no words to describe what I saw in his eyes when he turned and looked at me, but it wasn't him. In that instant, I was so terrified, I went in to a stasis type of shock. That shock is what protected my person, me, from receiving "any" damage what so ever. My body and mind, well, they were a total loss. I was a happy normal child until that day. I believe what happened to me was my subconscious and conscious mind were disconnected to keep me safe. The problem was, because I had to disconnect them to remain safe, I could no longer get messages from my conscious mind that would indicate I was safe afterwards, and although over time, I somehow learned to operate with the two disconnected, my functioning was severely compromised. I could not communicate on the same level as anyone else.

I had two main triggers in my childhood. One was that day, and the other was from being unable to protect my sisters and mom. It took half a century for me to learn to talk to therapists, learn what they needed to know, learn how to explain it, receive not instructions, but an understanding of the parameters of my options for dealing or coping with each conflict I had at the time, then process and integrate each solution to reach a decsion. While I did not have conclusive evidence, my dad did tell me that the reason I was attacked was my fault. I had to understand first that it was not my fault, before any progress at all could be maintained. A friend explained to me in a way that I understood that it was not my fault when I was 42. And it is precisely because I had the concept that it could have been my fault that I tried to understand what I did wrong. The problem with that is that it "was not" my fault, so that I could never get an answer. Once I understood that it was not my fault, I was grateful for 4 years straight. That is what I called a perspective shift. I was able to conceive I was safe a couple years after that. I went for EMDR therapy at a hospital I had been at a few times over 10 years, so I knew the Dr who was working with me. I resolved those two conflicts within 3 sessions. The first one he asked me to find my safe place and to aware that I was going to bring up awareness that will disturb me, but to know that I am safe now throughout it. He guided me to safety, the understanding I was safe, before we opened the subconscious awareness of my conflict. I was able to see it, but I can't explain how, I saw it like my mind remembers an auto accident. Somehow we can recall what happened, but not the fear we experienced in an auto accident. We can use our imagination to form sort of a video where we can imagine the cars, where they would be, and how the accident happened. However, because we were in one of the cars, we didn't have the view to remember. There is a difference between remembering, and experiencing. I understood what I saw, but it wasn't disturbing. I was able to remain emotionally neutral throughout the EMDR sessions, I became aware that the conflict what I believed it was my fault. My core belief was it was my fault. So the second time I went back into the state of mind where I could explore and be aware of my subconscious memories, I changed the accepted conclusion I had before which that he attacked me because it was my fault, to "it was not my fault". The second trigger was not my fault either. Knowing that my dad's behavior was not my fault enabled me to change my processing from "it was my fault, to it was not my fault." I did feel better immediately afterwards.

The only thing I can gather is that it took 6 years for my subconsious to come to the level of safety I needed to be at to be able to zero in on, and be open to the awareness that I am safe now. I but when it did... I saw my dad's eyes and instantly I knew that is what terrified me, and instantly I relaxed knowing I am safe now. I believe what happened is that because my conscious mind and subconscious were now joined the danger signal was disrgarded and full integration began.

Perception, understanding, knowledge and experience... What I beginning to understand is that we are more complex that anyone can fathom. Our personal reasoning is at the core of our existence. With it we form opinions which are meant to guide us in life, and under normal conditions, now get this... "Automatically" we come to an opinion that we are taught we are free to express, we learn to put our experiences into words, communicate our opinions to others with mutual respect, to reach mutual agreements, to understand each other's boundaries, so we can respect them, and instinctively we communicate that we have a bond based on mutual understanding and agree to respect each others boundaries. Now that is what is supposed to happen. What happened to me was I was terrified, and blamed as the reason for it. I assumed this was true because my dad said it was my fault, that it was my fault. But right after it happened, I was in the abyss. As I grew, I learned to talk, but it had always been suppressed. I could not talk clearly. Somehow, I think what I did over 52 years was I learned to ask for help. And apparently I asked the right people, all along the way, because I finally got it. The area I am working on now is to understand #1, I am not alone. There are people who suffer the way I did, and there people trying to help us. #2. Everyone is always right. By that I mean everyone forms their opinions supernaturally. Our subconscious works in ways no one understands, our mind applies reason to our perception of reality automatically, based on: understanding, knowledge and experience. Very seldom the problem we have due to an inability to perceive and reason using our understanding of our experiences to reason with. Believe me, some people have doubted I could do that. And I'm sure, for a long time, that may have been the way it appeared because I was pretty much trapped in Pandora's box, so to speak. I found my way out through learning to use the therapeutic process that the therapists were helping me with to help myself. When I learned EMDR, I learned how to do it by myself. Not consciously, but subconsciously. 6 years after my EMDR sessions, I was processing, which is very normal for me, I suddenly saw the conflict; it was my automatic reaction based on my perception, my understanding, my experience, and my reasoning... All were 100% correct. And now I see that the very thing that was designed to keep me safe is what kept me from being safe. My normal, human integrated functioning. #3. The idea of right and wrong do not apply to people's opinions. If the opinion is wrong, that does NOT mean the person is wrong, that means they have different information that we do. The solution is not to label people as right or wrong, good or bad, the soultion is to listen, find out where the difference in experience, understanding, knowledge and perception is, and through discussion reach a mutual understanding. That is what I am trying to do.

Right now, I am in an adaptive state of mind. I am open to all communication. Somehow I am now able to communicate with others without even using words, but I can talk with no pressure now. On the deepest level, I am safe. I don't know if I am using the right words to describe what I have been through or how I understand what happened, in a way that you can understand. But I hope so.

Please give me your feedback, I am open to constructive criticism, and I have time to answer you fully.

Thank you,


In replying with my past and present understandings, I forgot to reply to your questions.

I would like to understand the copyright circumstances you asked us to read. I don't understand them. I tied reading the information provided, but I don't understand.

The core beliefs I would like to discuss are #1 the belief that we are responsible for our trauma, that is was our fault. #2. The fundamental belief that there is something wrong with us.

I do have a deep sense of a healing that I have never in my life encountered before. And although my spirit is at peace, my mind has been fed misinformation, recycled misinformation, and re-recycled misinformation for 52 years. My body is at rest. It is still slowing down somewhat, but over all much more relaxed. I have asked my Drs what I can do to facilitate integration, but I only have 1 hr a week with my T and a whole lot more than that to work with. I went for psych testing 2 years ago. Perfect baseline. I just got re-tested last week. This week, I will get the results and the Dr's conclusion. Hopefully I will gain some clarification of what happened to me. He mentioned that what I was describing to him when I saw him for the testing was that it was in line with a spiritual experience. I agree. I am presently gathering information on EMDR, and have been in therapy with a therapist named Eric. The test results should answer some important questions that I have. Both my T and P agree with me on what I have shared with them, but I went much more in depth with you here, because I have time.

Please understand that this change is so big that I have been at my maximum processing capabilities for 4 months. While I rest, take breaks, and naps often, my subconscious is still processing. I trust it now. I will understand when it understands what I need to know. I don't know how long it will take to reply to you when you send me a message. I have what I call "survival chores", like grocery shopping, we all have things we have to do to survive physically. Mine are a little more complicated because I am processing too. I cannot really provide you with a time frame because it all depends on the test results. What they are, what they mean, what they mean to me, and what I can do.

If you would, I would like for you to let me know that you have received my reply and understand where I am at, and coming from. And on the same note, if there is one or two things you may need clarification on, I can clarify what I need to briefly. I get the test results on Wed.

I am playing catch up with my physical survival chores because I have spent so much time processing lately, I'm behind physically. But I can reply to a request for clarification of what I explained, it would be hard to explain further because I don't feel safe making any conclusions, only that what I have concluded so far is safe to rest in.


Mod Note:
I would like to understand the copyright circumstances you asked us to read. I don't understand them. I tied reading the information provided, but I don't understand.
Please drop us a line at Contact Us so we can address the issue with you directly (rather than derailing the thread with a discussion about Copyright).
The core beliefs I would like to discuss are #1 the belief that we are responsible for our trauma, that is was our fault. #2. The fundamental belief that there is something wrong with us.
I’ll add this to your opening post to give members a clearer picture of what you’d like to discuss.


The core beliefs I would like to discuss are #1 the belief that we are responsible for our trauma, that is was our fault. #2. The fundamental belief that there is something wrong with us.
These are related. And they have to do with ego preservation and survival. If someone else could do something so damaging to our bodies and minds that we become mentally and physically wounded then we are exceptionally fragile and vulnerable. One of the jobs of the ego is to obscure the reality of how dangerous life is because we would be living in terror otherwise.

So believing the trauma to be our fault preserves the sense of power (ironically) because we are not actually subject to random and directed acts of terror, says the ego, rather we are so powerful that we *allowed* it to happen. And therefore all we have to do is not allow it to happen and then we will be safe (cue hyper vigilance, avoidant attachment, mind-reading, etc.)

Believing there is something wrong with us is tied into this because if we can just fix ourselves then we’ll be fine (perfectionism). Or alternatively the ego tells us we MUST be hyper-vigilant, avoid relationships, predict others’ motives without communicating, and so-on because we are so broken beyond what anyone else has ever experienced that we have to live this way and no one can ever understand. That keeps the perceived power in your court. Losing control is seen as dangerous because losing control is believed to be what got us traumatized to begin with (not that we were subject to random or targeted acts of violence.)


Thank you OliveJewel.

Reply received with 100% understanding and agreement. I can verify that these conclusions are valid, and I am processing. I will reply soon.




Thank you so much. I am still at peace inside. Somehow, someway, I found peace in the abyss. What I understand is accurate to me. What you understand is accurate to you. Our communication hinges on our ability to look at what we both understand, openmindedly, as we look to our own understanding to find what differs. If there is a difference, it is in the information we are drawing conclusions with, we apparently see the same things. I have been lost in confusion for 52 years. Clarity that I am safe came to me. I never connected with any human being on the face of the earth in respect to understanding the answer you gave me above. I processed that understanding with what I understand, I am doing my best to be respectful of your understanding while explaining my understanding to gain a deep understanding that we can both agree is valid.

The understanding of the concepts you mentioned are valid. I can see how those conclusions came about. And I agree, that ego preservation and survival are the concepts that need to be addressed. I also agree that the awareness of our fragile nature and our immense vulnerability, with no understanding of how to protect ourselves will cause fear as a natural conclusion instinctively. However the concept that what happened was my fault, though could be seen in two different lights. What you explained as "perfectionism", could be seen as a mal-adapted behavior or thought patterns. OR, It could be that what you explained as "perfectionism" is our instinct to respect others by honoring the instinct to respect ones' self without the knowledge of what self respect is. I believe our instinct to self evaluate and bring about safety within our reach to gain our own understanding of our opinion or "the knowledge of what we need to do" so we can "CONNECT With Others" is attempting to evaluate self to reach that conclusion, to know what we need to do to connect with others. Until that instinctive need is met, no safety, or peace can be sustained.

Therefore, my conclusion now is... perfectionism could be a direct result of a lack of not self awareness, but the knowledge of how to bring that awareness into an understanding of what we need to do --- With that awareness.

It may be that when we perceive that "losing control"of what is outside of us would indicate that we would lose control of "ourselves" could be the conflict there. While it is dangerous to lose control of ourselves, the misconception is that the only way to prevent inner breakdown is by controlling the outer one. I believe misconception is because we are missing the key ingredient to feeling safe...

This is what is missing... While understanding our environment, evaluating our options, and determining a course of action is part of the solution, the key ingredient is missing; a knowledge of our inner options. If we are not aware we have an option... We don't have it. My conclusion here is based on the fact that no one is in control of anything outside of themselves. No one has control outside of ourselves, no one ever did, ever will, or ever could have control of anything - Key understanding here - "Out side themselves"...

Here is my point, my conclusion, what I understand is... If I had never been taught who I am, what I am responsible for, how to know what my instincts are, how to achieve self sustaining understanding of what "I" need to do to be safe, in every aspect of my survival, the logical conclusion for anyone to come to is... "I need to control my environment" to feel safe. With the lack of awareness that what we can control, which is only our inner selves, our environment appears to be what we need to control to any of us. Within us, we do have the full capability for complete, 100% absolute, T-Total, and irrefutable control. Yet without a working understanding of it, ... we are in the abyss. If my premise the foundation for all my conclusions upon which I depend on to be safe depends on the outer environment, no peace can ever be achieved. Only when we understand oursleves. Know ourselves, trust ourselves, and our judgment, can we know peace.

Only when we understand ourselves, are we able to understand others. And the whole point in understanding ourselves is at the most critical, and fundamental level that when I understand myself, it would enable me to communicate and connect with other people...

I would say that is the difference between where I was on Dec 26th and Dec 27th. I understand what I am trying to explain, the best I can, I need you to understand that only 4 months ago, I was in terror. I was not aware of myself. Because I have been in therapy 37 years, I learned how to identify myself, and how to keep myself safe, in my inner space. Outside is dangerous, inside, I am safe.

So, if I am thinking that if I am going to lose something I don't even have... then it is the idea that I "could" lose control, not the fact that "don't have control" that causes fear! And, if the idea that I, me, myself and I, inside myself conclude that I cannot control myself, or perhaps could or would lose control... does not strike fear in all of us?

The above differences are in understandings. Not that one is right or wrong, but one is accurate in light of what I understand, and one is accurate in the light of what you understand. The new information was constructed or built from an understanding of the old information. I had heard what you mentioned in your reply, and things like it, and I could not gain clarity from them. With my new understanding, and that information, I am explaining what I understand, please process and reply in your time.

I am fully aware I could not communicate. I did not make that up. It is a proven fact. I experienced a demand to deal with danger I was not prepared for. Awareness of danger was the result. I was "more aware of the danger, than I was of myself." Through communication, I eventually learned how to understand myself. When I did, I found peace. And it is not because I am in control, or think I am. It is not because I am not afraid, because I am. It is not because people understand me, it is because I understand what "I" need to feel safe. I understand how I can rest assured that I am safe. I know how to keep myself safe. Safety is not found in any type of control of anything outside of us. That is an illusion. Safety is found in understanding. I found the understanding I need to keep me safe fully aware as I can be that danger exists, external circumstances are not required for inner peace. Internally understanding what our insticts are telling us, knowing how to communicate them, enables us to reach out. Those who understand us and can agree, form a bond through that agreement. It is not a contract, it is a shared understanding of the amount and type of respect each individual needs for themselves, what boundaries there are between us and others, how to respect theirs and ours at the same time.

What that understanding is, depends on the conflict we become aware of. It is an understanding of what has been communicated to us. From trauma to a hug. We need to understand how to form relatively accurate evaluations of our environment and circumstances so "we" can understand what "we" need to do, to keep ourselves safe.

How to stay internally safe, as I understand:

We need to remember what we are taught,
we need to think within our own boundaries,
we need to gather information that is required to understand both the demand, and the options we have,
And with that, we need to know how to come to integrated conclusions that will help us determine the best course of action we can take... respecting our own needs and the needs of others at the same time.

We are all equal based upon what we need, not what we have.

The awareness of my instinctive needs enables me to zero in on what I believe now to be the same needs for understanding that everyone has. Coming together in agreement in a mutual understanding that respect is the highest need we all have, and that listening to others is the highest form of respect one can give.

As we share our understandings, the mutual understandings we agree on provide the safety of knowledge and the light, with which we all see... we are all the same...

The differences we once saw in each other, were images within us, based on fear. Understanding that the only differences between any of us are outside of our personal spaces. Inside we are all the same.

The world we live in is full of chaos, we all know we cannot control it. Peace is found through an integrated understanding of all our options for coping that each of us need to come to a conclusion on that we can agree with. Yet being unaware of our inner options is what prevents Peace within us, not that it is unattainable. I found it through communicating with people who listen, and by listening to them.

I'm listening.


I am sorry @OwlEyes , I know these are excellent posts and I have to come back to read them (the bulk of text is difficult for me), but as the title states I do feel somewhat responsible for my inaction in response to what was an initial trauma, and therefore do feel culpable for that, for me it does not register as a distortion. I didn't cause it, but neither did I stop it. So I guess there are different flavors. I know a document from the military suggested apportion of blame.

Does that make sense?


I've reread your posts a few times but unfortunately I'm no closer to understanding what it is you're trying to say. Based on the title of the thread (which was supplied by a moderator, so I don't know if this is what you're looking for)? Yes.

Most people look inward first when trauma happens to them, whether it's taking responsibility for events outside their control or merely ascribing meaning beyond what is reasonable. As a species we are hardwired to "look for the answers" in otherwise random, chaotic events. Even though blaming ourselves doesn't feel good, it is often easier than accepting that things happen (particularly interpersonal violence) which are entirely outside of our capacity to control or predict.

However, like anything, it's not always cut-and-dried. Sometimes a person is responsible. Sometimes we do have things wrong with us. Sometimes, all of this can be true simultaneously. There are plenty of aspects of my trauma that are essentially "my fault." They are a result of direct, logical decisions that I made in the moment. They caused genuine harm to others, harm that would not have happened if I had made a different decision or wasn't involved at all.

And yep, there are things wrong with me. I have a plethora of developmental and neurobehavioral disorders, some of which are caused by trauma and some I was born with. None of these things make my trauma less traumatic, or less relevant, or less important to work through. It just is yet another component of my experiences that must be handled appropriately.