When you have had little sense of true safety in your life, how do you go about building some? Once your external safety has been handled, safety becomes an inside job. You can develop a sense of internal safety, a way of feeling in your body that lets you know you are okay and that everything is all right. This ability to relax or let down your guard is often what was so damaged through sexual abuse. Even when your relationships and the world you have built around you are safe, you may feel like you are never really safe. Most trauma survivors experience this feeling of low-level, insistent, persistent danger.
    To build an internal sense of safety, let's look to your body. What sensations do you feel there? Notice temperature, pressure, and movement. Notice sensations all over your body, front and back, inside and out, top and bottom. Do you feel warmth in your legs? Cool feet? Tension in your stomach? Tingling inside your head? Are you feeling blocked or rigid in your chest?
    Now look for a place in your body where you feel a sense of peace, strength or well-being. Do you feel strength in the palms of your hands? A sense of well-being in your right hip? Where do you feel your body comfortably settling? A sense of openness or spaciousness? Look for the literal sensations. What are they?
    If you are unable to find a place in your body where you experience comfort, find something you like outside of your body. Think of your favourite animal, a beautiful color, a person you love, a place in nature, or something you love to do, like singing, skiing, or surfing. Notice what happens in your body. Does a smile come across your face? A feeling of warmth spread across your chest or back? Maybe your hips relax and get warm. These sensations are the building blocks for your sense of internal well-being. You can call these your sensations of safety or pleasure, well being or resourcefulness. These are what we will use in building a strong internalized sense of safety.
    Bring your attention back to those sensations again. Have they changed at all? Sensations in the body are alive and shifting all the time. Place you attention on your body and look openly at where you feel those resourceful sensations now. What are these sensations like? Are they moving?
     Now practice making these sensations smaller. Can you shrink them down? And bigger. Can you expand that warmth and spaciousness? What is it like to sit and breathe with these resourceful sensations for thirty seconds? Try this now. I will ask you throughout the book to call forth these sensations of safety. The more you notice them, the more apparent and present they will become. Noticing these sensations does not make other sensations, feelings of fear and anger or triggers go away; rather, it gives you a safe place to approach them from. By accessing these sensations again and again, you can build an internalized sense of safety or resourcefulness to return to when facing challenging moments in your healing---or even when you are having sex.

-- (By permission - on file) Source:
"The Survivors Guide to Great Sex: "
'How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse'
by Staci Haines
 ISBN: 1573440795
Publisher: Cleis Press
Pub. Date: April  1999
Edition Desc: 1 ED
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2000 Dennice is solely responsible for the opinions expressed 


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