Hidden Stressors-Part Three


In Part Two in this series on Hidden Stressors, I talked about trauma.

How there are no “little t” traumas. Traumas have to do with how the nervous system responded to an event that was overwhelming at the time. Some people, especially highly sensitive people, may have more finely-tuned nervous systems that take in more information—hence, may be more susceptible to trauma.

I just finished watching hours of the Trauma Superconference 3 that aired the replays recently. It made me realize that a lot of us are carrying around unhealed, even unknown trauma in our nervous systems.

These traumas may be triggered by the recent (and current) collective trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Especially the trauma of unmet needs.

None of us had perfect parents. Whether unmet needs become a trauma probably depends on whether your caregivers generally met your basic needs, and your perception of that likely is influenced by your innate temperament and level of sensitivity.

3 basic human needs: safety, love, boundariesIn that Trauma Summit, Alex Howard talked about three basic human needs that must be filled, somehow:

  • the need for safety

  • the need for love

  • the need for boundaries.

For those of us whose need for safety was not met as a child, I think the pandemic might have greatly triggered and exacerbated feelings of “not safe.”

What was the worst part of the pandemic? The real pandemic was the pandemic of fear. Fear of “the virus,” fear of getting sick, fear of suffering, fear of dying, fear of isolation, fear of other people, fear of what might happen if we don’t comply (to mask wearing, for example). Fear of the future, of economic collapse, fear of loss, of violence.

All exacerbating a basic fear so many people have: “fear of not enough.” Not enough safety. That particular trauma is c9nstantly triggered into emotional inflammation by the news.

And what about love? That took a big hit over the past few years, too. Relationships, social interactions are often where we get to feel safe. During the pandemic, lockdowns interfered with so much normal human interaction. People divided over their perceptions of what was going on. We were made to feel suspicious of each other, judgmental toward each other. We were forced into isolation. Studies show that people have not recovered their former levels of interaction. Children were irreparably harmed.

Ongoing, though things may seem to have gone back to “normal,” have they really? Or are we ignoring the fallout, the harm that happened? Are we sweeping things under the rug because we so desire to feel safe?

So there’s fear, there’s not feeling safe, there’s interruptions to love. It’s all around. We take it in, as the authors of Emotional Inflammation say, even if we don’t watch the news. We absorb the energy of it that’s all around. To me,  sometimes it’s so thick it’s palpable.

What can we do to allay that fear, counteract the emotional inflammation?

How can we feel safe?

Some say you need to learn to feel safe in your own body. I admit, I struggle with this. Feeling safe in my own body is something I must learn, because my earliest experiences in life were of not being safe in my body. (I’m talking major surgery in the first week of life, hospitalization for the first 6-7 weeks.) Emotional Inflammation is something I feel physically.

Where I personally go is to God. As I pondered what Alex Howard said about the 3 basic human needs, I thought about how exquisitely God meets each one of them, at least as is revealed in the Bible.

The need for safety. How often in the Bible, especially in the Psalms, does it talk about God being a refuge? (See Psalm 62:8, Deuteronomy 33:27, 2 Samuel 22:3, 2 Samuel 22:31—just for starters!). He is a strong tower we can run to and be safe (Proverbs 18:10), a “very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). And how many stories are there of protection and deliverance?

The need for love. Love is all over the Bible. In fact, it states that “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Then there’s this famous verse: “For here is the way God loved the world—he gave his only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.” (John 3:16, The Passion Translation)

And this, from the Old Testament: “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3).


The need for boundaries. We need go no further than the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, to see that God set up a boundary for the first man and woman.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die’” (Genesis 2:15-17).

We were never meant to know evil. That was God’s good boundary. The serpent deceived the man and the woman, and they disobeyed God. They crossed that boundary—and death entered the world. Spiritual death first—shame and separation and banishment from the Garden, from paradise. But also physical death and decay, throughout creation.

You may not believe this world view. But to me, it makes sense of so much of what we see in the world. I’m always mystified by how some people seem to be blind to evil. I just don’t get it.

God himself did something about our crossing his boundary—he sent his Son, as was mentioned. Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves: live a perfect life. But more than that—he also took the consequences for our turning away from God upon himself, “bearing our sins on the cross.”

And then he rose from the dead, conquering sin and death once for all. Now he lives in heaven: an actual human being in a glorified body in the Godhead.

Kind of astounding, actually.

Anyway, this is what I believe. This is where I turn to deal with Emotional Inflammation.

I have a little visual I do that helps me let all the negative energy pass through me.

I imagine my heart space is open, as if I’ve unzipped my heart to create a hole. Jesus is behind me. I even have a little tune I sing to myself as I picture the energy going through me to Jesus: “Through me to Jesus, Jesus is Lord. Through me to Jesus, Jesus is Lord. Through me to Jesus, Jesus is Lord. Jesus is Lord of all.”

Rather than try to fend off the negative energy, or the pain (such as when someone shares a difficulty they are going through), I picture it going through me to Jesus behind me. He knows what to do with it. It doesn’t have to lodge in my heart space. There truly is somewhere for it to go: either to the cross of Jesus, where he conquered sin and death, or into his hands. In his hands, he can transform anything into something good. (See Romans 8:28.)

Perhaps this will help you. Perhaps you can picture running to God who is your strong tower where nothing can harm you.

My new program, Align with Your Divine Design, will help you to strengthen your connection to God so that you know God personally and can truly feel safe, loved, and clear about your life purpose—your divine design. If you’re interested, send me an email ( for more information.

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