If we were not yet grounded in ourselves at a level of esteem needs at the time we experienced some form of abuse, neglect or other trauma, we would have interpreted that event as potentially threatening to our existence. In some cases, it truly was. In many cases, it was the emotional and psychological impact of those abuse experiences which impacted us most severely. So, while we may not have been physically on the verge of death, the experience undermined our sense of security on a deeper psychological and emotional level.
Our sense of the world – our worth and deservedness of respectful treatment and of dignity – was undermined deeply in many of these situations. This was traumatizing, without a doubt! Yet most of us were either told directly or indirectly to ignore or discount our natural and appropriate responses to that trauma. And that interpretation led us to develop a number of coping strategies to deal with our natural and appropriate responses.